United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Western Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
Scott Coogler United States Disttrict Judge.
Willie Louis Mack (“Mack”), proceeding pro
se, filed this action against Defendants Walter Maddox
(“Maddox”), in his official capacity as the Mayor
of the City of Tuscaloosa; the West Alabama Narcotics Task
Force (“WANTF”); and several WANTF agents and
criminal investigators,  in their individual and official
capacities (collectively, “Defendants”), alleging
claims under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985. Before
this Court are motions to dismiss filed by Larkin (Doc. 7);
Windham, Mills, Cousette, and Jones (Doc. 13); and Maddox
(Doc. 15). For the reasons stated more fully herein,
Larkin's motion is due to be granted in part and denied
in part. Maddox's motion to dismiss and the motion to
dismiss filed by Windham, Mills, Cousette, and Jones are due
to be granted.
November 18, 2014, Tuscaloosa County Circuit Judge Brad
Almond issued a warrant authorizing the search of Mack's
address, which was described as “a tan residence with a
red roof, ” for controlled substances. The subject of
the warrant was an individual named Anthony Carl Benson
(“Benson”), “a black male in his
mid[-]twenties [who is] approximately 6'05” tall
and weighs approximately 252 pounds.” Larkin prepared
the warrant application, and his affidavit in support of the
warrant asserted that he “received information from a
reliable confidential informant that ha[d] personally
observed a quantity of marijuana in the possession of a black
male known as [Benson] while at his residence, ” which
was stated to be Mack's address.
morning of November 20, 2014, Windham, Mills, Cousette, and
Jones arrived at Mack's residence to execute the warrant.
When Mack answered the door, the officers, who were dressed
in plain clothes, identified themselves as members of WANTF.
Windham, the lead WANTF agent, asked Mack if Benson was
present at the home, and Mack told the officers that Benson
did not live there. Windham then stated that WANTF had
“conducted a controlled drug buy” inside
Mack's residence on November 17, 2014, during which
Benson sold marijuana to a WANTF confidential informant.
Windham also informed Mack that WANTF had a warrant to search
the home. When Mack asked to see the warrant, the officers
showed him the warrant for which Larkin had applied several
then began to argue with the officers, stating that they knew
Benson did not live at Mack's residence and had never
visited Mack's home since Mack had lived there. Mack also
stated that the officers knew that Benson had never sold
marijuana from Mack's home or on Mack's property.
Mack alleges that a video, which he has attached to his
complaint, demonstrates the officers' knowledge of these
facts because the video shows that the sale to the
confidential informant actually occurred inside a vehicle
that was parked on the public street. Windham ignored
Mack's arguments, however, and ordered another agent to
place Mack and his wife, Angela Roberts
(“Roberts”), in handcuffs. During a search of the
home and of Mack's and Roberts's person, the officers
discovered “a pack of Top Cigarette rolling papers and
a single partially smoked marijuana cigarette.”
Standard of Review
general, a pleading must include “a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). However, in order to
withstand a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6), a complaint “must plead enough facts to state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Ray v. Spirit Airlines, Inc., 836 F.3d 1340, 1347-48
(11th Cir. 2016) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)) (internal quotation
marks omitted). “A claim has facial plausibility when
the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Stated another way, the
factual allegations in the complaint must be sufficient to
“raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Edwards v. Prime, Inc., 602 F.3d 1276,
1291 (11th Cir. 2010). A complaint that “succeeds in
identifying facts that are suggestive enough to render [the
necessary elements of a claim] plausible” will survive
a motion to dismiss. Watts v. Fla. Int'l Univ.,
495 F.3d 1289, 1296 (11th Cir. 2007) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556) (internal quotation marks
evaluating the sufficiency of a complaint, this Court first
“identif[ies] pleadings that, because they are no more
than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of
truth.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. This Court
then “assume[s] the veracity” of the
complaint's “well-pleaded factual
allegations” and “determine[s] whether they
plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.”
Id. Review of the complaint is “a
context-specific task that requires [this Court] to draw on
its judicial experience and common sense.” Id.
If the pleading “contain[s] enough information
regarding the material elements of a cause of action to
support recovery under some ‘viable legal theory,
'” it satisfies the notice pleading standard.
Am. Fed'n of Labor & Cong. of Indus. Orgs. v.
City of Miami, 637 F.3d 1178, 1186 (11th Cir. 2011)
(quoting Roe v. Aware Woman Ctr. for Choice, Inc.,
253 F.3d 678, 683-84 (11th Cir. 2001)). Additionally, because
Mack proceeds pro se in this matter, his complaint,
“however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007) (per curiam) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429
U.S. 97, 106)).
Statute of Limitation
assert that Mack's claims are time-barred because his
complaint was filed beyond the two-year statute of
limitation. “Claims brought pursuant to [§ 1983]
are subject to the . . . limitations period governing
personal injury actions in the state where the action is
brought.” Wellons v. Comm'r, Ga. Dep't of
Corr., 754 F.3d 1260, 1263 (11th Cir. 2014). In Alabama,
general personal injury actions must be brought within two
years of the date the action accrues. Ala. Code §
6-2-38(l); see City of Birmingham v.
Leberte, 773 So.2d 440, 444 n.1 (Ala. 2000) (quoting
Payne v. Ala. Cemetery Ass'n, 413 So.2d 1067,
1072 (Ala. 1982)). The events alleged in Mack's complaint
occurred on November 20, 2014. Pursuant to §
6-2-38(l), any action based on those events must
have been filed on or before November 20, 2016. Mack's
complaint was filed on November 21, 2016.
first asserts that because his complaint alleges intentional
conduct, the six-year statute of limitation applicable to
actions for “trespass to person or liberty”
governs the timeliness of his suit. See Ala. Code
§ 6-2-34(1). Because Alabama law “provides
multiple statutes of limitation for personal injury
actions, ” however, this Court must apply “the
general or residual statute for personal injury
actions” to a § 1983 claim, rather than the
statute of limitation addressing particular intentional
torts. Owens v. Okure, 488 U.S. 235, 249-50 (1989).
Mack's suit is thus subject to the two-year limitations
period for general personal injury actions, Ala. Code §
6-2-38(l), and he must have filed his complaint by
November 20, 2016.
next argues that because November 20, 2016, was a Sunday and
the courthouse was closed, his complaint was timely filed
because he filed it on the next business day. Fed.R.Civ.P.
6(a)(1) provides that “if the last day [of
the limitations period] is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal
holiday, the period continues to run until the end of the
next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal
holiday.” Therefore, the limitations period applicable
to Mack's claims expired on ...