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Smith v. Doe

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

June 7, 2017

ISSAC L. SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN DOE, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          ROY B, DALTON JR., United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a) for purposes of determining whether the complaint should be dismissed because it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. For the reasons set forth below, the complaint should be dismissed without prejudice.

         I. Allegations in Complaint

         Plaintiff Isaac Smith (“Smith”) commenced this civil rights action against two unidentified police officers employed by the Kissimmee Police Department. (Doc. 1 at 1, 3-4). Smith claims the officers violated his rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. (Doc. 1 at 10). The factual allegations supporting these claims can be summarized as follows:

On April 30, 2015, Smith was walking on Brack Street in Kissimmee, Florida when he saw a woman who owed him money. He approached and asked when she intended to pay. The woman screamed, took something out of her clothes and cut Smith, who began to bleed profusely. The woman panicked and ran away, but returned moments later, apologized and threw money at Smith before again running away. (Doc. 1 at 5-6).
Smith screamed for help and a police car stopped. Smith asked the two officers for assistance with respect to his injury and tried to explain what happened. The officers placed Smith in the back seat of their police car, turned off the engine and rolled up the windows. The officers had already spoken with the woman, who falsely claimed that Smith robbed her. (Doc. 1 at 6).
The ambient temperature was in the high 80s and, as a result, the interior of the police car became increasingly hotter. Smith attempted to alert the officers to the situation by screaming loudly and hitting the window, but they were speaking with the woman who claimed to have been robbed. Smith became dizzy and eventually passed out. (Doc. 1 at 6-7).
Smith was awakened by paramedics who used ammonia packets to revive him. The paramedics told the officers, “Don't you know better than to leave a person for that long in a hot car with all the windows closed?” They also told the officers, “We have to take him to the hospital, look at all this blood.” The officers responded, “He is faking, nothing is wrong with him.” The paramedics replied, “This man passed out in this hot police car, he didn't fake that, and this is not fake blood, he's going to the hospital.” Smith was in the police car for approximately 35-40 minutes. (Doc. 1 at 7-8).
After being awakened, Smith asked the officers to interview any witnesses to the underlying events who remained on Brack Street. The officers refused. Instead, they informed Smith that he was going to jail for robbery. Smith told the officers he planned to file a complaint against them. (Doc. 1 at 7-8).
Smith was taken to Osceola Regional Medical Center where he was bandaged and given fluids. Afterward, he was booked on robbery charges and released on bond. Smith was in jail for “a few hours.” (Doc. 1 at 1, 7-9).
The State did not prosecute Smith in connection with this mater. (Doc. 1 at 10).

         Smith contends he experienced physical distress, claustrophobia, and suffocation, as well as mental anguish, emotional distress and physical pain and suffering. Smith asks the Court to award him compensatory and punitive damages totaling $2.4 million. He also asks for nominal damages, a declaratory judgment, and attorneys' fees and costs. (Doc. 1 at 9-11).

         II. Legal Standard

         Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure establishes the standard for pleading in the federal system. It provides that a complaint must contain a short and plain statement of claim showing that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. Rule 12(b)(6), in turn, allows the defendant to challenge the plaintiff's statement of claim and obtain dismissal when the plaintiff would be unable to prevail at trial even if he proved everything ...


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