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Rios v. Israel

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

January 6, 2017

DASYL J. RIOS, Plaintiff,
v.
SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          BETH BLOOM DISTRICT JUDGE

         THIS CAUSE is before the Court upon Defendants Scott Israel, Christopher Johnson, and Latoshia Howard's (collectively, “Defendants”) Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint and Motion to Strike Certain Portions, ECF No. [41] (“Motion”), which seeks the dismissal of Plaintiff Dasyl J. Rios's (“Plaintiff” or “Rios”) Amended Complaint, ECF No. [33] (“Amended Complaint” or “Am. Compl.”), pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The Court has carefully reviewed the Motion, all supporting and opposing submissions, the record, and applicable law. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is granted in part.

         I. Background

         Defendants are the Sheriff of Broward County (Israel), and two deputy detention officers (Howard and Johnson). This controversy arises from events that occurred on February 23, 2015. Rios alleges that she was arrested on December 30, 2014, charged with misdemeanor offenses, and placed in the pretrial custody and control of the Broward Sheriff's Office. Am. Compl. ¶ 10. Rios has been diagnosed with mental illness, including extreme bipolar and emotional disorder. Id. ¶ 11. According to the Amended Complaint, Rios's mental condition causes her to act inappropriately, including exhibiting emotional distress and outbursts, and the inability to follow directions. Id.

         When Rios made her initial appearance for arraignment on January 28, 2015 at the Broward County Courthouse, her hands and feet were shackled. Id. ¶ 13. During the proceeding, Rios “acted out, ” screaming and yelling, and Defendant Howard was summoned to assist in escorting her back to the jail. Id. Howard used a wheelchair to transport Rios without incident. Id. Rios appeared in court again on February 10, 2015. Id. ¶ 14. Rios was again shackled on the hands and legs, and as she did at her previous court appearance, began to yell and scream. Id. However, Defendant Howard was again able to escort Rios back to the jail without incident.

         On February 23, 2015, Defendants Howard and Johnson escorted Rios to her preliminary hearing. Id. ¶ 15. According to the Amended Complaint, Defendant Howard informed Defendant Johnson of Rios's behavior during her previous court appearances so that he was aware of what had occurred. Id. Rios was again shackled on this occasion and again became upset during the hearing. Id. ¶¶15, 17. After speaking to the presiding judge about a potential transfer to a mental health facility, at the conclusion of the hearing, Rios was hoping to speak to her mother who was seated at the back of the courtroom. Id. ¶¶18-19. However, Defendant Johnson did not permit her to do so and forced Rios out of the courtroom. Rios, still shackled and handcuffed, sat down on a public bench and began to cry. Id. ¶¶ 19-20. Thereafter, Defendant Johnson told Rios to stand up and walk. When she refused, he pulled her off the bench by the shackles binding her legs and began to drag her on the floor along the hallway, telling her, “Now we'll do it my way, ” or “Now you're mine.” Id. ¶ 21. Defendant Howard walked next to Rios as Defendant Johnson dragged Rios down the courthouse hallways to the jail, and she did nothing to stop Defendant Johnson. Id. ¶ 22.

         Rios further alleges that her actions following the hearing were not a threat to safety and that Defendant Johnson's statements otherwise contradict statements by other witnesses, including Defendant Howard. Id. ¶¶ 23-24. According to Rios, security resources at the courthouse were inadequate as a result of Defendant Israel's failure to assign and train sufficient employees to provide security at the Broward County Courthouse. Id. ¶¶ 26, 33.

         As a result, Rios asserts the following ten counts for relief against Defendants: excessive use of force in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendant Johnson (Count I); violation of § 1983 against Defendant Israel in his official and personal capacities (Counts II, III, IV, V); violation of § 1983[1] against Defendant Howard (Count VI); battery and infliction of emotional distress against Defendant Johnson (Counts VII and VIII); respondeat superior liability against Defendant Israel in his official capacity (Count IX); and negligent training or supervision against Defendant Israel in his official and personal capacities (Count X). See generally Am. Compl. Defendants seek dismissal of the Amended Complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for failure to state a claim.

         II. Legal Standard

         A pleading in a civil action 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). Although a complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations, ” it must provide “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (explaining that Rule 8(a)(2)'s pleading standard “demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation”). Nor can a complaint rest on “‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557 (alteration in original)). “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.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).

         When reviewing a motion to dismiss, a court, as a general rule, must accept the plaintiff's allegations as true and evaluate all plausible inferences derived from those facts in favor of the plaintiff. See Chaparro v. Carnival Corp., 693 F.3d 1333, 1337 (11th Cir. 2012); Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Fla. v. S. Everglades Restoration Alliance, 304 F.3d 1076, 1084 (11th Cir. 2002). Although the Court is required to accept all of the allegations contained in the complaint and exhibits attached to the pleadings as true, this tenet is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Thaeter v. Palm Beach Cty. Sheriff's Office, 449 F.3d 1342, 1352 (11th Cir. 2006) (“When considering a motion to dismiss . . . the court limits its consideration to the pleadings and all exhibits attached thereto.”) (internal quotation marks omitted). In the Rule 12(b)(6) context, a plaintiff's pleadings should be read as a whole. See Speaker v. U.S. Dep't of Health & Human Servs. Ctrs. for Disease Control & Prevention, 623 F.3d 1371, 1383 (11th Cir. 2010) (interpreting specific language in complaint within the context of the entire complaint); Aldana v. Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A., Inc., 416 F.3d 1242, 1252 n.11 (11th Cir. 2005) (stating that, in a Rule 12(b)(6) context, “[w]e read the complaint as a whole”). But pleadings that “are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679; see also Sinaltrainal v. Coca-Cola Co., 578 F.3d 1252, 1260 (11th Cir. 2009) (“‘[U]nwarranted deductions of fact' in a complaint are not admitted as true for the purpose of testing the sufficiency of plaintiff's allegations.”). Through this lens, the Court addresses the instant Motion.

         III. Discussion

         Each Defendant seeks dismissal of the claims asserted against him or her; therefore, the Court will consider each Defendant's arguments in turn.

         A. ...


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