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Craig v. Fisher

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

August 15, 2017

TAJI CRAIG, Plaintiff,
DARIUS FISHER, Defendants.


          BRIAN J. DAVIS United States District Judge.

         I. Status

         This matter is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss of Defendant, Darius Fisher (Motion) (Doc. 18). Plaintiff filed a Response (Response) (Doc. 22). He is proceeding on an Amended Complaint (Complaint)[1] (Doc. 7).

         II. Standard of Review

         In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept the factual allegations set forth in the complaint as true. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). In addition, all reasonable inferences should be drawn in favor of the plaintiff. See Omar ex. rel. Cannon v. Lindsey, 334 F.3d 1246, 1247 (11th Cir. 2003) (per curiam). Nonetheless, the plaintiff must still meet some minimal pleading requirements. Jackson v. BellSouth Telecomm., 372 F.3d 1250, 1262-63 (11th Cir. 2004) (citations omitted). While "[s]pecific facts are not necessary[, ]" the complaint should "'give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Further, the plaintiff must allege "enough facts to state a claim that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. "A claim has facial plausibility when the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556); see Miljkovic v. Shafritz & Dinkin, P.A., 791 F.3d 1291, 1297 (11th Cir. 2015) (citation and footnote omitted).

         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[.]" Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal quotations omitted); see also Jackson, 372 F.3d at 1262 (explaining that "conclusory allegations, unwarranted deductions of facts or legal conclusions masquerading as facts will not prevent dismissal") (internal citation and quotations omitted). Indeed, "the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions[, ]" which simply "are not entitled to [an] assumption of truth." See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 680. Thus, in ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must determine whether the complaint contains "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face[.]'" Id. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).

         III. Amended Complaint[2]

         Plaintiff, in his Statement of Claim, raises the following claims against Defendant Fisher: (1) unnecessary use of force with chemical agents; (2) sexual harassment; and (3) assault and battery. Complaint at 5. As relief, he seeks monetary compensation, court-ordered mental health treatment, a transfer from Hamilton Correctional Institution (HCI), and removal of Defendant Fisher from his duties as an employee of the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC). Id. at 6-7.

         In his Statement of Facts, Plaintiff alleges that on July 1, 2016, he was imprisoned at HCI and was being escorted by Defendant Fisher to confinement. Id. at 5. Plaintiff was in hand restraints. Id. Defendant Fisher made a sexually suggestive remark, licked Plaintiff's ear and smacked him on the buttocks. Id. In response, Plaintiff yelled rape and sexual harassment. Id. Defendant Fisher slammed Plaintiff to the ground head first; kneed Plaintiff in the back; punched him four times in the head, face and neck area; and then chemically sprayed Plaintiff. Id. at 6. Thereafter, Defendant Fisher pulled down Plaintiff's pants and chemically sprayed him in his "private parts." Id. Plaintiff maintains that he has scars on his neck and a rash from the incident. Id.

         Defendant Fisher wrote Plaintiff a disciplinary report for battery on a correctional officer. Id. Staff rejected the disciplinary report due to false statements. Id. Plaintiff asserts there was no penological justification for the use of chemical agents on a restrained inmate, the use of physical force, or the sexual harassment. Id. Plaintiff states he has injuries on his body and he has suffered mentally. Id.

         IV. Summary of the Arguments

         Defendant Fisher seeks dismissal of the Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Motion at 1. In doing so, he contends: (1) he is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity to the extent he is sued in his official capacity for monetary damages, see Motion at 4-5; (2) Plaintiff fails to state a claim for which relief can be granted because he seeks some relief that the Court cannot grant, id. at 5-6; and (3) the claim concerning the state torts of assault and battery is barred by statutory and Eleventh Amendment immunity, id. at 6-8.

         In response to Defendant's Motion, Plaintiff states he is still suffering from mental disturbance as a result of the incident alleged in the Complaint. Response at 1. As relief, Plaintiff seeks the removal of Defendant Fisher from his job to prevent additional assaults and sexual abuse of inmates; mental health treatment; and $300, 000.00. Id.

         V. Law ...

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