United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
DAVID PROCTOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
case is before the court on the Motions to Dismiss
Plaintiff's First Amended and Restated
Complaint (Docs. # 47-49), filed by Defendants
Judicial Correction Services, Inc. (“JCS”),
Correctional Healthcare Companies, Inc. (“Correctional
Healthcare”), CHC Companies, Inc. (“CHC
Companies”), and the Town of Harpersville
(“Harpersville”). This case is also before the
court on Defendant Harpersville's Motion to Strike Class
Allegations Based on Griffin and Ewing.
(Doc. # 89). The motions have been fully briefed and are
under submission. (See Docs. # 59-61, 64-66, 100,
suit is a putative class action challenging conduct related
to probation sentences issued by the Town of
Harpersville's Municipal Court (“Municipal
Court”). It is similar to several putative class action
suits that have been brought against JCS, corporate entities
related to JCS, and municipalities that contracted with JCS
for probation supervision services. The court has ruled on
numerous motions to dismiss raising arguments similar to
those presented in these motions. Having said that, the
motions before the court are unique in two respects. First,
Plaintiff has brought claims against Defendants under the
Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
(“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq.,
and Defendants seek to dismiss those claims. Second,
Plaintiff filed this suit after a similar state court
putative class action had been pending for over five years;
this related class action suit affects the statute of
limitations analysis. After careful review, and for the
reasons explained below, the court concludes that: (1) JCS
and Correctional Healthcare's Motion to Dismiss is due to
be granted in part and denied in part; (2) CHC
Companies's Motion to Dismiss is due to be granted; (3)
Harpersville's Motion to Dismiss is due to be granted in
part and denied in part; and (4) Harpersville's Motion to
Strike Class Allegations is due to be granted.
court begins its factual discussion with a review of the
related court actions that preceded this suit. Then, the
court discusses the allegations of the First Amended
March 3, 2010, a group of plaintiffs sued Harpersville and
JCS in the Circuit Court of Shelby County, Alabama for
conduct occurring in the Municipal Court. (Doc. # 6 at ¶
21). Although the original complaint in that state court
action, Richard Garrett, et al. v. Town of Harpersville,
Alabama, et al., Case Number CV-2010-900183 (Cir. Ct.
Shelby Cty., Ala.) was not filed with the court, the court
has reviewed that document because it is a public record
referenced in the Amended Complaint. The original
Garrett complaint sought declaratory and injunctive
relief on behalf of a class. (See Garrett v. Town of
Harpersville, Case No. CV-2010-900183, Doc. # 2 at
¶ 10 (Cir. Ct. Shelby Cty., Ala., Mar. 3, 2010)). The
proposed class included all persons incarcerated by JCS and
Harpersville “in whole or in part for failure to pay
fines and/or court costs, . . . where [JCS and Harpersville]
made no determination as to such persons' financial
ability to pay fines and/or court costs.” (Id.
at ¶ 11). Among other claims, the initial
Garrett complaint alleged that JCS and Harpersville
violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by violating the
plaintiffs' Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth
Amendment rights. (Id. at ¶¶ 56-58).
17, 2012, the plaintiffs in the Garrett action filed
a third amended complaint asserting class claims. (Doc. # 6
at ¶ 23). That class complaint sought declaratory,
injunctive, and monetary relief on behalf of multiple
classes. (See Doc. # 11-2 at ¶¶ 7-10). The
proposed classes in the third amended Garrett
complaint included (1) all individuals incarcerated by JCS
and Harpersville for failure to pay fines and/or court costs
without any determination of indigency, (2) all individuals
charged jail fees by JCS and Harpersville for each day of
incarceration, and (3) all individuals charged a monthly fee
of $45 per month by JCS. (Id. at ¶¶ 7-9).
Among other claims, the third amended complaint in
Garrett alleged that JCS and Harpersville violated
42 U.S.C. § 1983 by violating the plaintiffs'
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment
rights. (See Id. at ¶¶ 64-70).
August 14, 2015, Plaintiff Dana Carden filed this putative
class action on behalf of two classes of individuals who
appeared before the Municipal Court. (Doc. # 1 at 1 &
¶ 6). Plaintiff sought to sue on behalf of individuals
assigned to probation with Defendant JCS by the Municipal
Court and individuals “incarcerated without
consideration of their indigency” by the Municipal
Court. (Id. at ¶ 6). Plaintiff filed her First
Amended Complaint in September 2015 on behalf of the same
proposed classes. (Doc. # 6 at 1 & ¶ 6). The First
Amended Complaint discussed the existence of a similar suit
against Defendants Harpersville and JCS in the Circuit Court
of Shelby County, Alabama. (Id. at ¶ 21).
initially sought to stay or dismiss this case under the
Colorado River doctrine. (Docs. # 11, 14). Defendant
Harpersville argued that this putative class action
duplicated the putative class action in Garrett.
(Doc. # 11 at 3). The court denied Defendants' motions to
abstain from considering this case under the Colorado
River doctrine finding that the relevant factors weighed
against abstention. (See Doc. # 43 at 19-26).
Furthermore, it concluded that abstention was not mandated
under the first-filed rule. (Id. at 26-27). In
September 2016, Defendants filed the current motions to
dismiss. (Docs. # 47-49).
Relevant Allegations in the First Amended Complaint
court reviews the “facts” of this case by
examining the well-pleaded facts alleged in the First Amended
Complaint. Plaintiff alleges that she received the following
citations from a Harpersville police officer in 2007:
speeding, driving without insurance, and driving without a
license. (Doc. # 6 at ¶ 63). Plaintiff recounts that she
did not receive a court date for that ticket. (Id.
at ¶¶ 64-66). In May 2010, officers in Sylacauga,
Alabama arrested her for outstanding warrants from
Harpersville. (Id. at ¶ 67). The warrants
against Plaintiff charged her with failing to appear.
(Id.). Plaintiff remained in jail for 19 days in May
and June 2010 because she could not pay the $1, 434 bond
demanded by Harpersville. (Id. at ¶¶ 69-70).
appeared before the Municipal Court on June 10, 2010.
(Id. at ¶ 71). Judge Larry Ward presided over
the Municipal Court. (Id. at ¶ 73). Plaintiff
alleges she was shackled during her hearing at the Municipal
Court (id. at ¶ 76), and was not represented by
counsel. (Id. at ¶ 77). She explained that she
could not pay the cash bond because she had been caring for a
premature baby and could not obtain work. (Id. at
¶ 79). The Municipal Court sentenced her to probation --
to be supervised by JCS -- and required her to sign the
probation papers to be released from jail. (Id. at
¶¶ 80, 82). According to Plaintiff, she was charged
$967 for speeding, $628 for driving without a license, and
$578 for driving without insurance. (Id. at ¶
87). Plaintiff claims that these fines exceeded the statutory
maximum for municipal-court fines because she was also
charged for daily jail fees. (Id. at ¶ 88).
Plaintiff alleges that Harpersville issued another arrest
warrant against her when she was unable to pay the amounts
JCS demanded her to pay. (Id. at ¶¶
First Amended Complaint states that Harpersville's City
Council dissolved the Municipal Court on August 8, 2012.
(Id. at ¶ 98). All of its traffic cases were
transferred to the District Court of Shelby County, Alabama.
(Id.). On December 27, 2012, the District Court of
Shelby County declared all active traffic cases from the
Municipal Court to be paid in full. (Id. at ¶
99). The District Court also recalled any warrant associated
with a traffic case from the Municipal Court. (Id.).
But, Plaintiff received no notice from Harpersville or JCS
regarding the District Court's termination of traffic
cases. (Id. at ¶ 101). She called the
clerk's office at the District Court, but the District
Court's clerk did not confirm that the warrant against
her had been invalidated. (Id. at ¶ 102).
Claims in the First Amended Complaint
has filed suit on behalf of two classes. (See Id. at
¶ 104). First, Plaintiff seeks to represent a class of
“individuals who were assigned by the Harpersville
Municipal Court to ‘probation' with JCS for the
collection of fines.” (Id.). Second, Plaintiff
seeks to represent a class of “individuals who, despite
their indigency, were incarcerated without consideration of
their indigency for failure to pay fines, charges[, ] and
fees from the Harpersville Municipal Court.”
presents five sets of § 1983 claims against Defendants.
First, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Harpersville violated
her due process rights by agreeing to require the Municipal
Court to include probation sentences and probation
supervision fees in the orders entered by the Municipal
Court, regardless of whether the Municipal Court imposed a
jail sentence. (See Id. at ¶¶ 123, 125).
Plaintiff also claims that Defendant Harpersville violated
her due process rights by failing to ensure that, before
imprisoning her, the Municipal Court (1) considered her
indigency, (2) gave her notice of all charges against her,
(3) conducted a hearing on charges that might result in her
imprisonment, and (4) provided her assistance from counsel.
(Id. at ¶ 127). According to Plaintiff, the
system created by Harpersville and JCS imposed fines and
charged fees to indigent persons without considering their
indigency. (Id. at ¶ 133). And, Harpersville
personnel allegedly accepted JCS's recommendations to
imprison probationers without conducting delinquency
hearings. (Id. at ¶ 136). After probationers
were incarcerated, Plaintiff alleges that Harpersville
violated their due process rights by arbitrarily releasing
some of them based solely on their ability to pay cash bonds.
(Id. at ¶ 146). Plaintiff alleges similar due
process violations by Defendant JCS, who she claims
“conspired and acted in concert” with
Harpersville. (See Id. at ¶¶ 149-80).
Specifically, Plaintiff charges that JCS's actions often
caused court costs, fines, and fees to exceed the
jurisdictional maximum of $500 and caused probation sentences
to exceed the two year statutory maximum. (Id. at
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Harpersville violated her
Fourth Amendment rights by arresting and detaining
probationers, including Plaintiff, who could not pay the
fines imposed by the Municipal Court. (Id. at
¶¶ 183, 187). Plaintiff claims that
Harpersville's police officers enforced the collection
procedures used by JCS, allowing JCS to threaten probationers
with arrest or probation revocation. (Id. at ¶
188). And, Harpersville's employees purportedly
“cooperated with JCS to arrest and jail the Plaintiff
and class members.” (Id. at ¶ 189). With
regard to Defendant JCS, Plaintiff alleges that it
“instituted the issuance of arrest warrants” when
it knew that the probationers it proceeded against were
unable to pay the amounts owed and that many probationers had
no jail time assessed against them by the Municipal Court.
(Id. at ¶ 199). Moreover, Plaintiff claims that
JCS sought to either revoke probation sentences or instituted
charges against probationers for “failure to obey court
order” unless the probationers promptly paid JCS.
(Id. at ¶ 200).
Plaintiff asserts that Harpersville and JCS violated her
Sixth Amendment right to counsel. (See Id. at
¶¶ 203-40). Plaintiff alleges that she was arrested
and jailed for 19 days due to tickets that had been issued to
her several years earlier. (Id. at ¶¶
206-08). The Municipal Court directed her to pay a fine, but
placed her on probation when she was unable to pay the fine
immediately. (Id. at ¶ 210). Plaintiff claims
that JCS threatened to jail probationers and actually
incarcerated probationers -- with the assistance of
Harpersville employees -- “if the fines, fees[, ] and
costs were not paid as demanded.” (Id. at
¶ 216). According to Plaintiff, JCS routinely initiated
charges against probationers for probation violations,
failures to appear, or failures to obey court orders.
(Id. at ¶ 218). Even though Plaintiff and other
probationers faced jail sentences at that point,
“neither JCS nor Harpersville routinely provided
counsel for these ‘offenders.'” (Id.
at ¶ 219). Plaintiff contends that Defendant
Harpersville denied her the right to counsel when she was
imprisoned for nineteen days “because she could not pay
the $1, 434 cash [bond] demanded for her release on traffic
ticket charges.” (Id. at ¶ 222).
Moreover, she asserts that JCS instituted a system where
“there was no finding or hearing on the issue of
willfulness” to substantiate charges that probationers
had willfully failed to pay the amounts owed to JCS and
Harpersville. (Id. at ¶ 236).
Plaintiff claims that Harpersville and JCS violated her
Eighth Amendment rights to be free from excessive fines,
excessive bail, and cruel and unusual punishment.
(Id. at ¶¶ 241, 259). She alleges that the
fines and fees imposed by the Municipal Court, including
purportedly illegal probation fees imposed on behalf of JCS,
exceeded the statutory maximum fine that could lawfully be
imposed by the Municipal Court. (Id. at ¶¶
244, 248, 250). Moreover, she contends that the periods of
incarceration imposed for probationers' failures to pay
exceeded the maximum imprisonment term authorized under
Alabama law. (Id. at ¶¶ 245-46, 250). And,
according to Plaintiff, JCS and Harpersville violated the
Eighth Amendment by charging her jail fees of $15 per day of
incarceration because “[t]he practice and policy of
charging for jail time when a person has neither the ability
nor opportunity to obtain release violates the Eighth
Amendment prohibition against excessive fines and cruel and
unusual punishment.” (Id. at ¶¶ 251,
Plaintiff claims that Harpersville and JCS violated her equal
protection rights by disparately treating Municipal Court
defendants on the basis of wealth. (See Id. at
¶¶ 275-99). Plaintiff claims that poor people
received disparate treatment in the adjudication of their
traffic offenses because Municipal Court defendants who could
fully pay fines and costs were not placed on JCS-supervised
probation, whereas Municipal Court defendants who could not
fully pay fines and costs were placed on JCS-supervised
probation and required to pay court costs and jail fees if
imprisoned. (Id. at ¶¶ 277-78). Plaintiff
insists that no rational basis exists for the disparate
treatment. (Id. at ¶ 281).
addition to her § 1983 claims, Plaintiff has sued
Defendants under RICO. (See Id. at ¶¶
321-417). Plaintiff alleges that JCS and Harpersville created
an association-in-fact enterprise as “a result of
[their] conspiratorial agreement to use the City Court's
authority and police power to extort money from the
poor.” (Id. at ¶¶ 321-22). She
claims that JCS acted in concert with Harpersville and the
Municipal Court by keeping separate records and failing to
review the Municipal Court's original court records.
(Id. at ¶ 324). Likewise, Plaintiff alleges
Harpersville failed to check or audit its files.
(Id. at ¶ 325). Plaintiff contends that
Harpersville police officers participated in the extortion
scheme by arresting people who were unable to pay amounts
owed and seeking cash bonds for their release. (Id.
at ¶ 327).
alleges that JCS and Harpersville furthered their enterprise
by requesting the Alabama Department of Transportation to
revoke licenses for non-payment of fines. (Id. at
¶ 331). Defendants also furthered the purported
enterprise by threatening to jail probationers, illegally
imposing extra fees for warrants, illegally charging
probationers for jail time, and illegally “adding bogus
‘probation violation' charges that had not and were
not adjudicated.” (Id. at ¶ 338).
Plaintiff asserts that JCS and Harpersville engaged in a
pattern of racketeering acts from June 2005 to the summer of
2012. (Id. at ¶¶ 361-67).
further claims that JCS and Harpersville conducted,
participated in, and conspired to conduct a RICO enterprise
by engaging in acts of extortion that violated the Hobbs Act,
18 U.S.C. § 1951, the Travel Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1952,
and Alabama Code § 13A-8-13. (Id. at ¶
341). According to Plaintiff, JCS and Harpersville extorted
the proposed class members by threatening them with
incarceration, revocation of probation, and accusations of
violating probation unless they agreed to pay the set-up fees
and monthly fees charged by JCS. (Id. at ¶
344). Plaintiff asserts that JCS and Harpersville violated
the Hobbs Act because they extorted money from Plaintiff and
the class members “under color of official
right.” (Id. at ¶ 351). This extortion
affected interstate commerce because the proceeds were used
in commerce. (Id. at ¶ 352). Moreover,
Plaintiff claims that JCS and Harpersville violated the
Travel Act by using letters sent through the mail as a method
for demanding payment, including petitions to revoke
probation, failure to report letters, notices to show cause,
and violation of probation letters. (Id. at
¶¶ 356, 359). Also, Plaintiff claims that JCS
violated the Travel Act by conducting extortionate acts in
Alabama through a corporate entity based outside of Alabama.
(Id. at ¶¶ 358-59). Finally, Plaintiff
alleges that Harpersville received debt financing at
preferential rates due to the revenue it received from its
enterprise with JCS. (Id. at ¶ 360).
Standard of Review
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a complaint
provide “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). However, the complaint must include
enough facts “to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Pleadings that
contain nothing more than “a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action” do not meet Rule 8
standards, nor do pleadings suffice that are based merely
upon “labels and conclusions” or “naked
assertion[s]” without supporting factual allegations.
Id. at 555, 557. In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion
to dismiss, courts view the allegations in the complaint in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Watts
v. Fla. Int'l Univ., 495 F.3d 1289, 1295 (11th Cir.
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must “state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. “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).
Although “[t]he plausibility standard is not akin to a
‘probability requirement, '” the complaint
must demonstrate “more than a sheer possibility that a
defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. A
plausible claim for relief requires “enough fact[s] to
raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal
evidence” to support the claim. Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556.
considering a motion to dismiss, a court should “1)
eliminate any allegations in the complaint that are merely
legal conclusions; and 2) where there are well-pleaded
factual allegations, ‘assume their veracity and then
determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement
to relief.'” Kivisto v. Miller, Canfield,
Paddock & Stone, PLC, 413 F.App'x 136, 138 (11th
Cir. 2011) (quoting Am. Dental Ass'n v. Cigna
Corp., 605 F.3d 1283, 1290 (11th Cir. 2010)). That task
is context specific and, to survive the motion, the
allegations must permit the court based on its
“judicial experience and common sense . . . to infer
more than the mere possibility of misconduct.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. If the court determines that
all of the well-pleaded facts, accepted as true, do not state
a claim that is plausible, the claims are due to be
dismissed. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.
careful review, and for the following reasons, the court
concludes that (1) Plaintiff's RICO claims are due to be
dismissed, (2) Plaintiff's class allegations are due to
be struck as untimely, (3) Plaintiff's § 1983
claims, with the exception of her due process and equal
protection claims, are due to be dismissed for failure to
state a claim, and (4) all claims against Defendant CHC
Companies are due to be dismissed because the First Amended
Complaint presents no plausible basis for holding CHC
Companies liable for the conduct at issue.
JCS and Correctional Healthcare argue that Plaintiff's
RICO claims fail in several respects. First, they argue that
Plaintiff did not face most of the extortionate conduct
allegedly committed by JCS or Harpersville. (Doc. # 47 at
30-31). Second, they contend that JCS's warnings to
probationers were not wrongful threats because Defendants JCS
and Harpersville had a lawful claim to the money JCS sought
from probationers in the proposed class. (Id. at
31). Third, they argue that the damages alleged by Plaintiff
are not actionable damages under RICO because JCS had a
rightful claim to the fees paid by probationers.
(Id. at 32-33). Fourth, they contend that JCS could
not have committed extortion because it collected funds in a
quasi-judicial capacity for Harpersville's municipal
government. (Id. at 33-34).
Harpersville has advanced arguments specific to itself. The
Town argues that Plaintiff's RICO claims fail for three
reasons. First, it insists that a governmental entity cannot
form the mens rea necessary for the underlying
criminal act necessary to support a civil RICO claim. (Doc. #
49 at 30). Second, it argues that it is immune from punitive
damages. (Id. at 31). Third, it asserts that the
RICO claim under 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c) fails because
Harpersville has been named as the RICO enterprise and a RICO
responds that the RICO claims are not due to be dismissed
because “the evaluation of the threats [alleged in the
Amended Complaint] is a factual issue.” (Doc. # 54 at
24). She insists that the fees charged by JCS cannot be
considered “lawful” charges at this stage of the
proceedings because she has alleged that the fees violated
state law and federal constitutional law. (Id. at
25). And, she contends that JCS charged fees that were
collected for its own benefit and not remitted to the state.
(Id.). She claims that the Amended Complaint alleges
Defendants' knowing participating in the scheme.
(Id. at 26-27).
careful review, the court concludes that Plaintiff's RICO
claims fail to plausibly plead predicate acts of racketeering
activity or any violation of § 1962. Therefore, the RICO
claims are due to be dismissed in their
Applicable Law to RICO Claims
provides a private cause of action for treble damages to
persons injured in their business or property by reason of a
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962. 18 U.S.C. § 1964(c).
Section 1962 of Title 18 provides four types of criminal RICO
violations. Section 1962(c) prohibits an individual from
“participating in the conduct of the affairs of an
enterprise engaged in interstate commerce, through a pattern
of racketeering activity.” Almanza v. United
Airlines, Inc., 851 F.3d 1060, 1066 (11th Cir. 2017).
Section 1962(a) “prohibits investing income gained from
a pattern of racketeering activity into such an
enterprise.” Id. Section 1962(b) “makes
it unlawful to invest income derived from a pattern of
racketeering activity in an enterprise.” RJR
Nabisco, Inc. v. European Cmty., 136 S.Ct. 2090, 2097
(2016). “Finally, § 1962(d) makes it unlawful to
conspire to violate any of the other three
enterprise “includes any individual, partnership,
corporation, association, or other legal entity, and any
union or group of individuals associated in fact although not
a legal entity.” 18 U.S.C. § 1961(5). Under RICO,
“racketeering activity” includes such predicate
acts as extortion under state law and the Hobbs Act.
See 18 U.S.C. § 1961(1). “A pattern is
established by at least two acts of racketeering activity the
last which occurred within ten years . . . after the
commission of a prior act of racketeering activity.”
Lehman v. Lucom, 727 F.3d 1326, 1330 (11th Cir.
2013) (quoting McCaleb v. A.O. Smith Corp., 200 F.3d
747, 750 (11th Cir. 2000) (ellipsis in original)). These
predicate acts must be related to one another and demonstrate
criminal conduct of a continuing nature. Jackson v.
BellSouth Telecomms., 372 F.3d 1250, 1264 (11th Cir.
plaintiff must also show an injury to her business or
property that occurred “by reason of” a
substantive RICO violation. Id. (quoting
Williams v. Mohawk Indus., Inc., 465 F.3d 1277,
1282-83 (11th Cir. 2006)). That is, a RICO plaintiff must
demonstrate injuries that were proximately caused by a
violation of that statute. Bivens Gardens Office
Building, Inc. v. Barnett Banks of Fla., Inc.,
140 F.3d 898, 906 (11th Cir. 1998). To prove proximate
causation between a RICO violation and a subsequent injury, a
plaintiff must present “some direct relation”
between the alleged injurious conduct and the alleged injury.
Williams, 465 F.3d at 1288.
Supreme Court has made it crystal clear that the racketeering
enterprise and the defendant must be two separate
entities.” Ray, 836 F.3d at 1355. For example,
a corporation and its officers, employees, or agents cannot
constitute a RICO enterprise when the agents and employees
are alleged to have acted within the scope of their
responsibilities for the corporation. Id. at
As a Matter of Law, Plaintiff Has Not Sufficiently Pled
Predicate Acts of Hobbs Act or Travel Act
civil RICO claims against Defendants are based on predicate
acts of extortion. (See Doc. # 6 at ¶¶
341-60). Although Plaintiff alleges that Defendants committed
extortion under Alabama state law, she offers no more than a
conclusory allegation of state-law extortion in her First
Amended Complaint. (See Id. at ¶ 354). To
survive the motions to dismiss directed at her RICO claims,
Plaintiff must adequately plead (i.e., in accordance
with Twombly and Iqbal) a violation of the
federal anti-extortion laws. Her attempts to do so fall
order to make out a civil RICO claim under the Hobbs Act, the
plaintiff must allege that a defendant obstructed, delayed,
or affected commerce (or attempted to do so), by robbery or
extortion.” Frank v. Lake Worth Utilities, 464
F.App'x 802, 804 (11th Cir. 2012). Extortion is defined
in the Hobbs Act as “the obtaining of property from
another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of actual
or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of
official right.” 18 U.S.C. § 1951(b)(2). A
defendant's action is “wrongful” if the
defendant uses “a wrongful means to ...