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Carloni v. Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division

July 13, 2018

ADAM CARLONI, Plaintiff,
v.
BIRMINGHAM JEFFERSON COUNTY TRANSIT AUTHORITY and JUDY NOLAN, Defendants.

          ORDER

          ANNEMARIE CARNEY AXON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This case is before the court on Defendants Birmingham Jefferson County Transit Authority (“BJCTA”) and Judy Nolan's motion to dismiss Plaintiff Adam Carloni's pro se complaint and amended complaint. (Doc. 13).

         The court entered a briefing schedule on the motion and ordered Mr. Carloni to respond to the motion on or before June 1, 2018. In response, Mr. Carloni filed a number of notices. (Docs. 17, 21, 22, 25). None of the notices specifically address the Defendants' arguments for dismissal, but the court considers the motion to dismiss ripe for adjudication because Mr. Carloni has had adequate time to prepare a substantive response.

         For the reasons explained below, the Court GRANTS the Defendants' motion.

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Pursuant to Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule 12(b)(6) enables a defendant to move to dismiss a complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).

         To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “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). 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. A complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, but a complaint must contain “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         When resolving a motion to dismiss, the court must “accept[] the allegations in the complaint as true and constru[e] them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Miljkovic v. Shafritz & Dinkin, P.A., 791 F.3d 1291, 1297 (11th Cir. 2015) (quoting Hill v. White, 321 F.3d 1334, 1335 (11th Cir. 2003) (per curiam)). Although the court must accept well-pleaded facts as true, the court is “not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         When, as here, a plaintiff proceeds pro se, the court must liberally construe the complaint. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). “‘[A] pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'” Id. (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)). Cf. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(e) (“Pleadings must be construed so as to do justice.”). Still, the court may not “serve as de facto counsel for a party, or . . . rewrite an otherwise deficient pleading” to “sustain an action.” Campbell v. Air Jamaica Ltd., 760 F.3d 1165, 1168-69 (11th Cir. 2014) (internal quotations and citations omitted). In other words, “[o]nce a pro se litigant is in court, [s]he is subject to the relevant laws and rules of court, including the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.” Smith v. Fla. Dept. of Corr., 369 F. App'x. 36, 38 (11th Cir. 2010) (citing Moon v. Newsome, 863 F.2d 835, 837 (11th Cir. 1989)).

         II. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

         A. Original Complaint

         This case arises out of an incident that took place on June 30, 2017 at the central Max Transit station in Birmingham, Alabama. According to his original complaint, Mr. Carloni got off bus 280 at 12:24 p.m. and sat down inside the central station. Mr. Carloni had in his possession a bag from Walmart where he had purchased a pair of new shorts and a bag of potato chips. Mr. Carloni opened his phone and computer to make arrangements for where he would travel next. A lady sitting across from Mr. Carloni “triggered a fear of an erotic encounter.” Mr. Carloni “felt compelled to leave, ” without making sure that he had all of his belongings with him. (Doc. 1-1, p. 4).

         After he left the bus station, Mr. Carloni tried to buy a soda, but he realized that his wallet was missing. Mr. Carloni remembers having his wallet at Walmart. He believes that he left his wallet either on the bus or inside the bus station. (Doc. 1-1, p. 4). Mr. Carloni suspects that the woman he sat beside inside the bus station stole his wallet after he left the station. (Doc. 1-1, p. 5). Mr. Carloni paid $5.00 for the wallet, and it contained his driver's license; two debit cards; various photographs; and a Nevada EBT card. (Doc. 1-1, p. 5).

         Mr. Carloni reported the stolen wallet to a BJCTA employee who did not immediately call the bus that Mr. Carloni rode. The employee asked Mr. Carloni to wait until 2:30 p.m. for the bus to return to the station so that Mr. Carloni could ask the driver if he had seen the wallet and search the bus for the wallet. (Doc. 1-1, p. 5).

         BJCTA employees, including Judy Nolan, told Mr. Carloni that there are surveillance cameras inside the bus station. According to Mr. Carloni, Ms. Nolan explained that only IT employees can access the room where the surveillance video is stored, and the IT employees would not be back at work until after July 4, 2017. Even then, if video existed, only Ms. Nolan, BJCTA security, and police officers could watch the video. (Doc. 1-1, p. 4).

         Mr. Carloni returned to the bus station on July 5, 2017. He asked a BJCTA employee if he could see the video. The employee told Mr. Carloni that he would need a police report and that Ms. Nolan would be in at 7:30 a.m. the next morning. Mr. Carloni told another BJCTA employee that his wallet was stolen. That employee referred Mr. Carloni to Ms. Nolan. Mr. Carloni asked that employee if the employee would identify the cameras. The employee pointed to what Mr. Carloni believes is a smoke detector. The employee then told Mr. Carloni that BJCTA has cameras “pointed everywhere” and that there are cameras on all buses. Mr. Carloni asked a police officer at the bus station whether the police officer had access to the surveillance video. The police officer told Mr. Carloni that he (the police officer) did not have access to the video and that BJCTA hired its own private police officers. (Doc. 1-1, p. 4).

         On July 5, 2017, Mr. Carloni completed a portion of a Title VI complaint form against the BJCTA. (Doc. 1-1, pp. 10-11). Mr. Carloni provided his contact information, but he did not complete the section of the form that asked him to provide details about alleged discrimination. (See Doc. 1-1, pp. 10-11).

         B. Amended Complaint

         In his amended complaint, Mr. Carloni complains that he was subject to indecent exposure at the bus station. (Doc. 9, p. 3). He believes that the IT staff to whom Ms. Nolan referred may not be “actual persons.” (Doc. 9, p. 4). Mr. Carloni contends that before he lost his wallet on June 30, 2017, a police officer threatened to have him arrested for trespassing and asked him to leave the bus station. (Doc. 9, p. 4). The same police officer “was too loving to other people as if they were best friends.” (Doc. 9, p. 5).

         Mr. Carloni alleges that he “was having a hard time with the people at Walmart while [he] was in Alabama” because “they accused [him] of stealing and insist[ed] on searching [him] and they are not correct.” (Doc. 9, p. 4). According to Mr. Carloni, “[p]eople were hacking into [his] computer around that time.” (Doc. 9, p. 4). Now, Mr. Carloni is afraid to get on the internet because he believes that “people are going to hack in.” (Doc. 9, p. 4). Mr. Carloni alleges that “people were and still are spying on [him] on his computer” which Mr. Carloni calls a “serious crime.” (Doc. 9, p. 4). Mr. Carloni states that “[i]t seemed like people at the bus station knew the password for [his] computer.” (Doc. 9, p. 5). According to Mr. Carloni, his “wallet was stolen because someone targeted [him] because [he] has a computer.” (Doc. 9, p. 5).

         Mr. Carloni alleges that he “keep[s] running because it is a pattern now. People break into my things, I have to leave the city, I get picked up by another rescue mission, they break into my things, I have to leave. Eventually I am going to run out of places or tragedy is going to happen.” After Mr. Carloni left Alabama, he spent four months in North Carolina where he slept outside. When he was in Alabama, he slept outside every night except for two nights because “shelters insist on going into [his] things.” Mr. Carloni alleges that he has not been to a shelter that follows the Bill of Rights. (Doc. 9, p. 6).

         Mr. Carloni believes that “someone is broadcasting [his] private files which contain secrets without [his] consent.” Mr. Carloni suspects that “people have been passing along [his] password to other people behind [his] back exposing that which [he] wish[es] to keep private.” According to Mr. Carloni, “[s]pies are getting so bad they want to know about the people who [he] lived with growing up and called family.” (Doc. 9, p. 6).

         Mr. Carloni believes that BJCTA employees “should have let [him] see the video if someone stole [his] wallet for [his] safety” because “now everyone knows my identity and secrets.” (Doc. 9, p. 6).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Based on the Defendants' refusal to allow him to view video surveillance footage from the bus station, Mr. Carloni asserts claims against the BJCTA and Ms. Nolan under Article I Section 2, Article I Section 3, Article 1 Section 4, Article 2 Section 1, Article 3 Section 1, Article 3 Section 2, Article 4 Section 2, and Article 4 Section 4 of the Constitution of the United States; the Eighth, Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Nineteenth, Twenty-Third, and Twenty-Sixth ...


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