United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
K. KALLON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Crews brings this action asserting a claim under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 and state law torts claims against Mayor Loxcil
Tuck; Chief Dennis Reno, Lieutenant Larry Rice, and Detective
George Phillip (collectively “the Officers”); and
Hatcher Heavy Duty Services, Inc., Terry Hatcher, and Jessica
Beech (collectively “the Hatcher
Defendants”). Doc. 1. Before the court are Mayor
Tuck's motion to dismiss, doc. 2, and the Officers'
motion to dismiss, doc. 3. Both motions are fully briefed,
docs. 2-1, 3-1, 6, 11, 12, and ripe for review. For the
reasons explained more fully below, both motions are due to
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.
March 14, 2014, the Officers and the Hatcher Defendants
searched a trailer on Crews' residence pursuant to an
“alleged search warrant.” Doc. 1 at 4.
Subsequently, Lieutenant Rice and Detective George obtained
additional “alleged search warrants” for
Crews' entire residence, which the Officers and the
Hatcher Defendants searched over the course of four days.
Id. The Officers and the Hatcher Defendants seized
various property belonging to Crews, most of which the
Defendants have not returned. Id. The property which
the Defendants have returned to Crews is damaged.
Id. Crews filed this lawsuit on September 28, 2017.
Id. at 1-6.
asserts a § 1983 claim for violation of the Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendments (Count I), a state law conversion claim
(Count II), and a state law theft claim (Count III) against
all Defendants. Id. at 4-7. Mayor Tuck moves for
dismissal on the grounds that Crews' § 1983 claim is
barred by the statute of limitations, that he fails to allege
any factual allegations concerning Mayor Tuck, and that his
claims are barred by his settlement in a previous civil
forfeiture action. Doc. 2-1. The Officers join in Mayor
Tuck's motion, and additionally move for dismissal of the
§ 1983 claim against them on the basis of qualified
immunity, and dismissal of the state law claims against them
on the grounds of state agent and peace officer immunity.
Doc. 3-1. The materials before the court support a finding
that Crews' claims are barred by his settlement, which
states that “[a]ll other claims to and/or related to
said property made by the Claimant or the parties arising out
of this action or that could have been asserted within this
action, if any, are forever barred.” Doc. 2-5 at 6.
Alternatively, the statute of limitations, failure to allege
facts, and immunity issues raised by the movants are
sufficient to resolve the motions.
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).
Tuck contends that the statute of limitations on Crews'
§ 1983 claim began to run on March 17, 2014, the date
the Officers completed the search in question. Doc. 2-1 at
10. Crews contends that the statute began to run on September
26, 2016, the date of the final order in the civil forfeiture
action, arguing that he could not have known his property was
damaged or missing until after this date. Doc. 6 at 4 (citing
doc. 2-5). However, his § 1983 claim is premised on the
alleged violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments
related to the search. Doc. 1 at 4-5. To state a claim, he
must show that the search at issue violated his Fourth
Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and
seizures. Skop v. City of Atlanta, GA, 485 F.3d
1130, 1137 (11th Cir. 2007). Alleged damage to his property
sustained during the search is not an issue covered by the
Constitution, and one he can seek relief for on other
grounds. Moreover, Crews' Complaint makes no reference to
the civil forfeiture action, instead premising the §
1983 claim solely on the March 2014 search. See doc.
1. Thus, by his own pleadings, Crews knew or should have
known of his injury no later than March 17, 2014, the date
the search was completed. Accordingly, the § 1983 claim
is barred by the statute of limitations and due to be
dismissed against Mayor Tuck and the Officers.
The Lack of Factual Allegations against Mayor Tuck
complaint contains no factual allegations regarding Mayor
Tuck. See doc. 1. Nevertheless, he contends that the
court should not dismiss his claims against her because she
“is the Commander in Chief, and is responsible for the
actions of the Police Department, ” and because he
“needs discovery to determine what role the Mayor
played in formulating the actions against [him].” Doc.
6 at 4. However, “[t]o 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). Where, as here, a
plaintiff makes ...