United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Western Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
Scott Coogler United States District Judge
this Court is Defendant, Casey Edmonds
(“Edmonds's”), Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 8.)
Plaintiff, Jimmy Hinton (“Hinton”), was given an
opportunity to file a response to Edmonds's Motion. (Doc.
10.) Hinton has not filed a response, and the briefing period
has expired. The motion is now ripe for review. For the
reasons stated below, Edmonds's motion (doc. 8) is due to
be granted, and Hinton's remaining claims against the
Pickensville Police Department, Carrollton Police Department,
and Carrollton Sheriff's Department are due to be
dismissed for failure to prosecute.
alleges he was arrested by Edmonds and six or more other
officers from the Carrolton Police Department and the Pickens
County Sheriff's Department at his home. These officers
are alleged to have broken down Hinton's door and
handcuffed him without presenting a warrant or reading him
his rights. After Hinton was handcuffed, he was taken out of
his home and held in his front yard naked because the
arresting officers did not allow him to get dressed. The
Officers then took Hinton from his front yard and into
custody. Hinton alleges that Defendants “lock me up,
then use fake warrant for me to be released. tell a lie on my
son he's been held for 8 months on that lie to hurt me.
tell me all he heard about me is how I like to fight
cops.” (Doc. 1 at 5.)
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)).
Edmonds's Motion to Dismiss
initial matter, the Court notes that Hinton's complaint
does not indicate what legal cause of action he seeks to
bring. Instead, Hinton's complaint merely lists factual
allegations regarding his arrest. It appears to this Court
that Hinton is attempting to bring constitutional claims
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in regard to his arrest. See
Rushing v. Parker, 599 F.3d 1263, 1265 (11th Cir. 2010).
It is not clear whether Hinton seeks to bring a claim for
unlawful arrest, excessive force, or both.
allegations regarding Edmonds's actions are vague.
Hinton's complaint alleges that Edmonds was among the six
or more other officers that participated in his arrest.
Hinton's complaint does not indicate what Edmonds's
role was in the arrest. This lack of specificity is fatal as
the Court cannot determine the merits of Hinton's claims
against Edmonds if it is not clear what actions Edmonds
actually took, if any, or whether Edmonds's possible
inaction created a cause of action. Therefore, the Court
cannot determine whether Edmonds's actions, or lack
thereof, could plausibly constitute a constitutional
violation. Thus, Hinton's claims against Edmonds are due
to be dismissed for failure to state a claim.
also seeks dismissal of Hinton's claims against him with
prejudice on the grounds of qualified immunity, Peace Officer
Immunity, and State Agent Immunity. To be entitled to a
defense of qualified immunity, an official must be engaged in
a “discretionary function” when he performed the
acts of which the plaintiff complained. Holloman ex rel.
Holloman v. Harland, 370 F.3d 1252, 1264 (11th Cir.
2004) (citing Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800,
818 (1982)). “Under qualified immunity analysis, the
public official must first prove that he was acting within
the scope of his discretionary authority when the allegedly
unconstitutional acts took place.” Storck v. City
of Coral Springs, 354 F.3d 1307, 1314 (11th Cir. 2003).
Here, Edmonds has demonstrated that he was acting within the
discretionary scope of his authority when he was at the scene
of Hinton's arrest pursuant to a warrant.
a defendant establishes that he was acting within his
discretionary authority, the burden shifts to the plaintiff
to show that the defendant is not entitled to qualified
immunity.” Cottone v. Jenne, 326 F.3d 1352,
1358 (11th Cir. 2003). “To overcome qualified immunity,
the plaintiff must satisfy a two prong test; he must show
that: (1) the defendant violated a constitutional right, and
(2) this right was clearly established at the time of the
alleged violation.” Holloman, 370 F.3d at 1264
(citing Wilson v. Layne, 526 U.S. 603, 609 (1999)).
Hinton has not responded to Edmonds's motion to dismiss.
Moreover, as stated above, Hinton's complaint does not
sufficiently allege that Edmonds violated his constitutional
right. Accordingly, Hinton has not met his burden to show
that Edmonds is not entitled to qualified immunity, and
Hinton's claims against Edmonds are due to be dismissed
with prejudice because Edmonds is entitled to qualified
Alabama Supreme Court has established a burden-shifting
process governing the assertion of state-agent immunity.
First, the state agent bears the burden of showing that he
was engaged in a function that gives rise to state-agent
immunity. Giambrone v. Douglas, 874 So.2d 1046, 1052
(Ala. 2003). Once he has done so, the burden shifts to the
plaintiff to show that one of the two exceptions to
state-agent immunity recognized in Ex parte Cranman,792 So.2d 392, 405 (Ala. 2000), applies. See Ex parte
Kennedy, 992 So.2d 1276, 1282-83 (Ala. 2008). The facts
indicate that Edmonds was performing a discretionary function
as a law enforcement officer at the time he interacted with
Hinton. See Ex parte City of Tuskegee, 932 So.2d
895, 905 (Ala. 2005). Accordingly, the burden shifts to
Hinton to show that an exception applies. As discussed above,
Hinton has not responded to Edmonds's motion nor has he
pled facts indicating the exact role Edmonds had in the
arrest. Accordingly, Hinton has not alleged sufficient facts
to indicate that Edmonds acted willfully, ...