United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division
WILFRED T. ADDERLEY, Plaintiff
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants
N. JOHNSON, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
action proceeds before the court on the Motion to Dismiss
filed by Defendants United States of America; Elaine Duke, in
her former, official capacity as Acting Secretary of Homeland
Security; and the Transportation Security Administration.
(Doc. 19). Defendants seek dismissal of this action pursuant
to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. For the reasons set out herein, the court
GRANTS the Motion to Dismiss.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) motion challenges
the court's exercise of subject-matter jurisdiction over
a case. A court should grant a Rule 12(b)(1) motion
“only if it appears certain that the plaintiff cannot
prove any set of facts in support of his”
jurisdictional averment. Harris v. Bd. of Trustees Univ.
of Ala., 846 F.Supp.2d 1223, 1232 (N.D. Ala. 2012)
(quoting Ramming v. United States, 281 F.3d 158, 161
(5th Cir. 2001)). The burden of proof on a
subject-matter jurisdiction challenge rests upon the party
asserting jurisdiction. Id. “A federal court
must always dismiss a case upon determining that it lacks
subject matter jurisdiction . . . .” Goodman ex
rel. Goodman v. Sipos, 259 F.3d 1327, 1331 n. 6
(11th Cir. 2001).
12(b)(1) motion permits a facial or factual attack.
Willett v. United States, 24 F.Supp.3d 1167, 1173
(M.D. Ala. 2014) (citing McElmurray v. Consol. Gov't
of Augusta- Richmond Cnty., 501 F.3d 1244, 1251
(11th Cir. 2007)). “Facial attacks on the
complaint ‘require [ ] the court merely to look and see
if [the] plaintiff has sufficiently alleged a basis of
subject matter jurisdiction, and the allegations in his
complaint are taken as true for the purposes of the
motion.” Garcia v. Copenhaver, Bell & Assocs.,
M.D.'s, P.A., 104 F.3d 1256, 1261 (11th
Cir. 1997) (quoting Lawrence v. Dunbar, 919 F.2d
1525, 1528-29 (11th Cir. 1990)) (other citations
omitted). On the other hand, “factual attacks”
challenge “the existence of subject matter jurisdiction
in fact, irrespective of the pleading, and matters outside
the pleadings, such as testimony and affidavits, are
considered.” Id. Hence, the court need not
assume the veracity of a complaint's allegations when a
party raises a factual challenge to subject-matter
jurisdiction, and thus, the court may consider extrinsic
evidence such as affidavits. Odyssey Marine Exploration,
Inc. v. Unidentified Shipwrecked Vessel, 657 F.3d 1159,
1169 (11th Cir. 2011) (citations omitted).
“a Rule 12(b)(1) motion is filed in conjunction with
other Rule 12 motions, the court should consider the Rule
12(b)(1) jurisdictional attack before addressing any attack
on the merits.” Ramming, 281 F.3d at 161
(citing Hitt v. City of Pasadena, 561 F.2d 606, 608
(5th Cir. 1977)); Harris, 846 F.Supp.2d at
1230. The party commencing suit in federal court bears the
burden of establishing, by a preponderance of the evidence,
facts supporting the existence of federal jurisdiction.
Underwriters at Lloyd's, London v.
Osting-Schwinn, 613 F.3d 1079, 1085 (11th
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires that a pleading
contain a “short and plain statement of the
claim” demonstrating the pleader is entitled to relief.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). In conjunction therewith, Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits a court to dismiss a
complaint if it fails to state a claim for which relief may
be granted. In Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662
(2009), the Court revisited the applicable standard governing
Rule 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss. First, courts must take
note of the elements a plaintiff must plead to state the
applicable claims at issue. Id. at 675.
establishing the elements of the claim at issue, the court
identifies all well-pleaded, non-conclusory factual
allegations in the complaint and assumes their veracity.
Id. at 679. Well-pleaded factual allegations do not
encompass mere “labels and conclusions, ” legal
conclusions, conclusory statements, or formulaic recitations
and threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action.
Id. at 678 (citations omitted). In evaluating the
sufficiency of a plaintiff's pleadings, the court may
draw reasonable inferences in plaintiff's favor.
Aldana v. Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A., Inc., 416
F.3d 1242, 1248 (11th Cir. 2005).
a court assesses the complaint's well-pleaded allegations
to determine if they state a plausible cause of action based
upon the identified claim's elements. Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678. Plausibility ensues “when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged, ” and the analysis involves a
context-specific task requiring a court “to draw on its
judicial experience and common sense.” Id. at
678, 679 (citations omitted). The plausibility standard does
not equate to a “probability requirement, ” yet
it requires more than a “mere possibility of
misconduct” or factual statements that are
“merely consistent with a defendant's
liability.” Id. at 678, 679 (citations
Wilfred T. Adderley brought this action against the United
States of America, former Acting Secretary of Homeland
Security Elaine Duke in her official capacity, and the
Transportation Security Administration (TSA). He filed his
original complaint on August 22, 2017. (Doc. 1). Adderley
filed an amended complaint on September 26, 2017. As this
case proceeded, Adderley voluntarily dismissed with prejudice
his claims against Officer Young, the TSA officer who
performed the search at issue. (Docs. 48 & 49). Finally,
Adderley concedes the court should dismiss his FTCA claims
against the TSA and Duke. (Doc. 30 at 16).
is a black Bahamian and resident of Nassau, Bahamas. He avers
that on August 25, 2013, during travel from Huntsville,
Alabama, to Atlanta, Georgia, he traversed a TSA checkpoint
with an eight-ounce container of almond milk. A female
security officer obtained confirmation from Adderley that he
consumes almond milk for medical reasons. However, she
informed Adderley he must undergo a pat-down search because
the liquid exceeded 3.5 ounces. She directed Adderley to a
male security officer (Officer Young) for the search.
Young informed Adderley how he would conduct the search and
advised him that during the pat down of Adderley's legs,
he would come into contact with Adderley's private area.
Adderley objected and requested a private search to remove
his pants and dispel any suspicions. Young replied the search
constituted standard procedure when a passenger carries
liquid in carry-on luggage for medical purposes. Adderley
requested to drink the almond milk to avoid a search, yet
Young did not honor the request.
avers he informed Young prior to the search he had pain in
his abdomen, lower back, hips, and thighs because of a
previous spinal injury. Adderley alleges Young conducted the
search in an aggressive manner, touching his genitals and
delivering a “karate chop” thereto at the top of
each thigh search. Adderley expressed his objection and
discomfort; Young replied he performed the search in
adherence with procedure.
the search, Adderley asked for a supervisor, and TSA officer
Nicewonder overheard his complaint. Nicewonder stated Officer
Young should have granted Adderley's request for a
private search, and then advised Adderley about his right to
file a formal complaint.
several communications with TSA personnel regarding the
incident, Adderley filed a claim with TSA on August 25, 2015,
alleging sexual assault and discrimination against Officer
Young and seeking $569, 610.74 in ...