United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Jasper Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
SCOTT COOGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
this Court are the Motions to Dismiss of Defendants Gerald
Walker (“Walker”), Sandor Csitar
(“Csitar”), and Tommy Moore
(“Moore”); and of Defendant Adam Whitehead
(“Whitehead”). (See Docs. 6 & 9-1.)
Plaintiff alleges violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and
malicious prosecution against the Defendants for their roles
in his arrest and detention in the Winston County jail in
early January 2016. The Defendants' Motions to Dismiss
have been fully briefed and are ripe for decision. For the
following reasons, Defendants Walker, Csitar, and Moore's
Motion to Dismiss (doc. 6) is due to be GRANTED in PART and
DENIED in PART; Defendant Whitehead's Motion to Dismiss
(doc. 9-1) is due to be DENIED.
is an attorney who practiced in Birmingham, Alabama for over
thirty years before returning to his hometown of Haleyville,
Alabama in 2013. Part of Plaintiff's practice in
Haleyville involved filing federal lawsuits against Defendant
Walker and other law enforcement officials for alleged
constitutional violations. On January 8, 2016, Plaintiff
traveled to Double Springs, Alabama to conduct personal
errands and to meet with a work-release inmate at the Winston
County jail. The inmate had requested that Plaintiff meet
with him to discuss obtaining his release on bond. Plaintiff
completed his errands and then entered the jail to meet with
entering the booking area of the jail, Plaintiff spoke with
Defendant Csitar, the jail administrator. Plaintiff could not
recall the name of the inmate, as he had never spoken with
him personally and only had some “telephone message
slips.” Plaintiff asked Csitar if he could look at the
list of current work-release inmates to help him remember the
client he was to meet with; Csitar refused to allow Plaintiff
to do so. Plaintiff argued with Csitar, and then demanded to
see the then-sheriff, Defendant Walker. Because Defendant
Walker was not in the jail at the time, Plaintiff waited in
the booking area for him to arrive. Csitar then told
Plaintiff that if he did not leave the jail he would be
arrested, so Plaintiff left.
later encountered Defendant Walker in the parking lot behind
the sheriff's office. Defendant Walker likewise refused
to allow Plaintiff to visit the inmates. Plaintiff argued
that such a refusal was a violation of the inmate's Sixth
Amendment rights and threatened to sue Defendant Walker. Both
sides continued their “loud discussion” with
“profanities . . . exchanged by both parties.”
(Doc. 1 ¶ 10.) A number of law enforcement and
corrections officers gathered in the parking lot to witness
the argument. At some point, an officer asked if Plaintiff
would take a test to determine if he was on drugs or
intoxicated. Plaintiff asked if he was under arrest; the
officer informed Plaintiff he was not. Plaintiff then left
was subsequently pulled over by Double Springs police
officers and sheriff's deputies “miles away”
from Double Springs, arrested, and taken back to the Winston
County jail. Plaintiff was searched at the prison, but no
contraband was found. After approximately seventy-two hours,
Plaintiff was told by officials that he was being charged
with possession of marijuana, promoting prison contraband,
escape, obstructing governmental operations, and two counts
of disorderly conduct. These charges were based on Defendant
Csitar's discovery of marijuana in the jail near the area
where Plaintiff was searched.
January 9, 2016, while Defendant Whitehead, a jail nurse, was
examining Plaintiff. Whitehead brought up Plaintiff's
involvement in a suit against law enforcement officers on
behalf of an inmate who had died in the Winston County jail.
Whitehead allegedly was upset with Plaintiff for this lawsuit
and told him that he needed to “respect the
badge.” (Doc. 1 ¶ 17.) Plaintiff told him that
“he did not know how he could ‘respect the
badge,' given how the jail staff had mistreated and
neglected [the inmate] to the point that it caused his
allegedly became upset with Plaintiff for this statement.
Whitehead who is much larger than Plaintiff picked up
Plaintiff and carried him to his cell where Whitehead threw
Plaintiff to the ground. Plaintiff landed on the metal grate,
and sustained numerous injuries including a broken rib.
Plaintiff subsequently demanded medical treatment; although
he was allowed to see a nurse, he never received pain
medication or an X-ray. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant
Whitehead “initiated another criminal charge [of
harassment] against [Plaintiff]” on January 10, 2016
for the statements Plaintiff made to Defendant Whitehead in
an effort to justify the injuries Plaintiff received.
(Id. ¶ 21.)
remained in the jail until January 15, 2016, when he was
involuntarily committed to the Walker Baptist Hospital
Behavioral Medicine Unit. Although Plaintiff does not state
when he was released from the Winston County jail, he does
allege that the amount of bail set for his seven criminal
offenses was $60, 000. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants
“set” his bail above the statutory maximum
allowed for the offenses he was charged with and that
Defendants set such bail as “cash only” in order
to increase the difficulty for Plaintiff to make bail.
(Id. ¶ 22.) After Plaintiff's criminal
charges were set for a hearing, the district attorney
dismissed all charges against him with prejudice.
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)).
Section 1983 Claims against Defendants ...