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Thomas v. Derryberry

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

May 24, 2017

DERREL LEONARD THOMAS, Plaintiff,
v.
SHANE DERRYBERRY, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          VIRGINIA M. HERNANDEZ COVINGTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court upon consideration of Defendant City of Brooksville's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. # 17), filed on May 8, 2017. Plaintiff Derrel Leonard Thomas, who is proceeding pro se, filed his “Objection to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss First Amended Complaint, ” which the Court construes as Thomas's response in opposition, on May 18, 2017. (Doc. # 30). For the reasons below, the Court dismisses the Amended Complaint with leave to amend.

         I. Background

         Thomas alleges that on August 4, 2016, he had a verbal argument with one of his neighbors, which resulted in that neighbor calling the police. (Doc. # 15 at ¶¶ 7, 8). When Defendant Officers Shane Derryberry, Josh Caldwell, and Jeff McDougal arrived at the scene, Thomas was sitting in his garage. (Id. at ¶ 8). After speaking with the neighbor, who is not identified in the Amended Complaint, McDougal and Derryberry walked up Thomas's driveway. (Id. at ¶ 9). Thomas exited his garage and met the officers on the driveway. (Id. at ¶ 10).

         As Thomas was attempting to explain what happened, “the Officers” (the Amended Complaint is not specific as to which of the three officers Thomas is referring, but presumably Thomas is referring to McDougal and Derryberry) threw Thomas to the ground and handcuffed him. (Id. at ¶ 10). Thomas asked why he was being arrested and McDougal responded that Thomas was being arrested for disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest without violence. (Id. at ¶ 11). Thomas alleges that “the officers” (again, the Amended Complaint is not specific as to which of the officers Thomas is referring) never saw Thomas drinking and did not administer a breathalyzer test. (Id. at ¶ 12).

         Thomas was transported to the Hernando County Detention Center (Id. at ¶¶ 3, 13). “When [he] arrived at the jail, [Thomas] was stating the [il]legality of his arrest and racial discrimination.” (Id. at ¶ 13). Eventually, Thomas was placed in a restraining chair, although he alleges he was not violent toward any detention deputy. (Id. at ¶ 14). Thomas was then held in confinement without access to a television or a phone for almost sixteen hours. (Id. at ¶ 15). As a result of the chair's restraints, Thomas alleges he lost feeling in his left hand for two months. (Id. at ¶ 16). After being released, Thomas spoke with a person identified by Thomas as “inspector Faulkingham.” (Id. at ¶ 17). According to the Amended Complaint, this inspector informed Thomas that, after reviewing the recordings, he “did not see [Thomas] do anything wrong to be put in the restraining chair.” (Id.).

         The disorderly intoxication charge and the resisting without violence charge were both dismissed. (Id. at ¶¶ 24, 25). Thomas now brings suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Derryberry, Caldwell, and McDougal for allegedly violating his First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. (Id. at ¶¶ 28, 29). Thomas also asserts a claim under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for racial discrimination against Derryberry, Caldwell, and McDougal. (Id. at ¶ 30). In addition, Thomas brings a § 1983 claim against Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis for alleged violations of the First and Eighth Amendments (Id. at ¶ 31), a § 1983 claim against Assistant State Attorney Charles Helm for an alleged violation of the Fourteenth Amendment (Id. at ¶ 32), and a § 1983 claim against the City of Brooksville for an alleged violation of the Fourteenth Amendment (Id. at ¶ 33).

         The City of Brooksville has moved to dismiss. (Doc. # 17). Thomas has responded in opposition. (Doc. # 30). For the reasons below, the Amended Complaint is dismissed without prejudice and Thomas is granted leave to amend.

         II. Legal Standard

         On a motion to dismiss, this Court accepts as true all the allegations in the complaint and construes them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Jackson v. Bellsouth Telecomms., 372 F.3d 1250, 1262 (11th Cir. 2004). Further, this Court favors the plaintiff with all reasonable inferences from the allegations in the complaint. Stephens v. Dep't of Health & Human Servs., 901 F.2d 1571, 1573 (11th Cir. 1990)(“On a motion to dismiss, the facts stated in [the] complaint and all reasonable inferences therefrom are taken as true.”). However,

[w]hile a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.

Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal citations omitted). Courts are not “bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). Furthermore, “[t]he scope of review must be limited to the four corners of the complaint.” St. George v. Pinellas Cty., 285 F.3d 1334, 1337 (11th Cir. 2002).

         III. Analysis

         A. Sho ...


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