United States District Court, S.D. Florida
DASYL J. RIOS, Plaintiff,
SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, et al., Defendants.
BLOOM DISTRICT JUDGE
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.  (“Motion”), which
seeks the dismissal of Plaintiff Dasyl J. Rios's
(“Plaintiff” or “Rios”) Amended
Complaint, ECF No.  (“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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).
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.
Defendant seeks dismissal of the claims asserted against him
or her; therefore, the Court will consider each
Defendant's arguments in turn.