United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northwestern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
K. KALLON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Fuqua brings this action against the Defendants asserting
claims under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985 and state
law claims of unlawful entry and search, false arrest, and
false imprisonment. Doc. 1. Before the court is Sheriff Frank
Williamson's motion to dismiss, doc. 7, which is fully
briefed, docs. 9, 15, 17, and ripe for review. For the
reasons stated more fully below, the motion to dismiss is due
to be granted.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a pleading must
contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
“[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not
require ‘detailed factual allegations, ' but it
demands more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). Mere “labels and conclusions” or
“a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action” are insufficient. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).
“Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders
‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further
factual enhancement.'” Id. (citing
Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 557).
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits dismissal when a
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citations and internal
quotation marks omitted). A complaint states a facially
plausible claim for relief “when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Id. (citation omitted). The
complaint must establish “more than a sheer possibility
that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id.;
see also Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 555
(“Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right
to relief above the speculative level.”). Ultimately,
this inquiry is a “context-specific task that requires
the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and
common sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
is the owner of an establishment known as “the
Pig.” Doc. 1 at 4. Sheriff Williamson asked deputy fire
marshal Jimmy Collier to conduct a safety inspection of the
Pig on the basis of false complaints of overcrowding and
noise, which Collier did on September 16, 2015. Id.
at 3-4. Sheriff Williamson was seeking a way to close down
the Pig due to allegations of overcrowding, loud noise,
disturbances, illegal sales of alcohol, illegal drug use, and
fights with law enforcement. Id. at 5. During his
search, Collier noticed several firearms on the premises.
November 3, 2015, Sheriff Williamson met with Collier,
deputies, and ATF agents to formulate a plan whereby Collier
would conduct a second visit, and alert the ATF agents to the
presence of any firearms he saw so that the agents could
obtain a search warrant. Id. Collier carried out the
second inspection thereafter, during which he demanded that
Fuqua unlock the door to the residential section of the Pig.
Based on the firearms he witnessed in the residential
section, Collier notified the ATF agents, who obtained a
search warrant. Id. Fuqua was subsequently arrested
on federal charges of being a felon in possession of a
brings § 1983 claims for conspiracy to violate the
Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments (Count I) and unreasonable
search in violation of the Fourth Amendment (Count II), a
§ 1985 claim for conspiracy to deprive Fuqua of his
equal protection rights (Count III), and state law claims of
unlawful entry and search, false arrest, and false
imprisonment (Count IV) against all defendants. Id.
at 6-10. Presently before the court is Sheriff
Williamson's motion to dismiss the claims against him on
various grounds, including a statute of limitations defense
to the first search and Eleventh Amendment and qualified
immunity defenses. Doc. 9 at 5-22. Because the statute of
limitations and immunity issues are sufficient to resolve the
claims against Sheriff Williamson, the court does not reach
the other issues Sheriff Williamson pleads.
Statute of Limitations
section 1983 does not contain a statute of limitations,
reference must be made to the limitation periods prescribed
by the state in which the litigation arose.”
Majette v. O'Connor, 811 F.2d 1416, 1419 (11th
Cir. 1987). “[T]he most appropriate statute of
limitations for all section 1983 actions is the personal
injury statute of limitations of the state whose law is to be
applied.” Id.; see Wilson v. Garcia,
471 U.S. 261 (1985); Burnett v. Grattan, 468 U.S. 42
(1984). Federal courts in Alabama apply the state's
two-year statute of limitations. See Lufkin v.
McCallum, 956 F.2d 1104, 1105 (11th Cir. 1992); ALA.
CODE § 6-2-38(1). “Under the discovery accrual
rule, the discovery of the injury, not discovery of the other
elements of a claim, is what starts the clock.”
Rotella v. Wood, 528 U.S. 549, 555 (2000); see
Rasheed v. McNamara, 2008 WL 594763, at *3 (N.D.Ga.
2008) (applying discovery accrual rule to § 1983 claim).
Williamson contends that the statute of limitations bars
Fuqua from bringing §§ 1983 and 1985 claims arising
from the September 2015 search of the Pig. Doc. 9 at 5-6. The
court agrees because, according to Fuqua, he was present when
this allegedly warrantless search occurred. See doc.
1 at 4, 7. Thus, by his own factual allegations, Fuqua knew
or should have known of any injury resulting from the
September 2015 search when it occurred. Therefore, to the
extent that any of Fuqua's claims are premised on the
September 2015 search, those claims are barred by the statute
of limitations. However, because it is unclear from the
Complaint which, if any, of Fuqua's claims arise from the
September 2015 search, and because this issue is not
dispositive, the court will address next Sheriff
Williamson's immunity arguments.