United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
CHARLES A. BEISEL, IV, Plaintiff,
SVEN R. FINAN, et al., Defendants.
D. WHITTEMORE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
THE COURT are Defendants City of Tampa and Eric
Ward's Motion to Dismiss Complaint and Memorandum of Law
(Dkt. 16) and Plaintiffs motion to strike their motion to
dismiss (Dkt. 19). Upon consideration, Plaintiffs motion to
strike (Dkt. 19) is DENIED and
Defendants' motion to dismiss (Dkt. 16) is GRANTED.
Complaint includes seven counts asserting violations of his
constitutional rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendments against the City, Ward in his individual capacity
and in his official capacity as the City's Chief of
Police, and two police officers in their individual and
official capacities. (Complaint, Dkt. 1). Plaintiff alleges
that the police officers violated his constitutional rights
by stopping him without cause, illegally searching his car,
and falsely arresting him for possession of cocaine after
improperly conducting a field test. (Id. at
¶¶ 10, 13, 16, 22). His allegations against the
City and Ward are that their "failure to train properly
resulted in the illegal, unconstitutional acts perpetrated by
the [officers]." (Id. at ¶¶ 24, 25).
a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives
a motion to dismiss." Ashcroft v. IqbaU 556
U.S. 662, 679 (2009) (citing Bell All Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 556(2007)). All factual
allegations contained in the complaint must be accepted as
true for the purposes of a motion to dismiss, but this tenet
is "inapplicable to legal conclusions."
Id. at 678. "Threadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice." Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
Plaintiff brings suit against Ward in his official capacity
as the officer in charge of the Tampa Police Department, he
must establish that the TPD, through deliberate conduct, was
the moving force behind the injury alleged. Boardof Cnty
Comm 'rs v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 404 (1997).
Deliberateness may be shown with allegations that the
constitutional violation was caused by a "policy"
or "custom" of the TPD. Id. at 403 (citing
Monell v. New York City Dep 't of Social Servs.,
436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978)). Likewise, with respect to
Plaintiffs claims against the City, "[i]t is well
established that a municipality may be held liable under
§ 1983 only when the deprivation at issue was undertaken
pursuant to city 'custom' or 'policy, ' and
not simply on the basis of respondeat superior."
Brown v. City of Fort Lauderdale, 923 F.2d 1474, 1479
(11th Cir. 1991).
policy or custom need not be shown by an official decision,
but may be shown by a practice that "is so widespread as
to have the force of law." Board of County Comm
'rs, 520 U.S. at 404 (citing Monell, 436
U.S. at 690-91)."In limited circumstances, a, ..
decision not to train certain employees about their legal
duty to avoid violating citizens' rights may rise to the
level of an official government policy." Connick v.
Thompson, 563 U.S. 51, 61 (2011). The failure to train
"must amount to 'deliberate indifference to the
rights of persons with whom the [untrained employees] come
into contact.' " Id. (quoting Canton v.
Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 388 (1989)). "Without notice
that a course of training is deficient in a particular
respect, decisionmakers can hardly be said to have
deliberately chosen a training program that will cause
violations of constitutional rights." Id. at
fails to allege any facts supporting a claim against the City
and Ward based on a failure to train. He makes a single,
conclusory allegation that their "failure to properly
train" resulted in the alleged constitutional
violations. (Complaint, Dkt. 1 at ¶ 25). That general,
conclusory statement need not be accepted as true for
purposes of resolving their motion to dismiss.
Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678. There are no other
allegations showing that the City and Ward knew of a need to
train officers in particular area and that they made
a deliberate choice not to do so. See Gold v. City of
Miami, 151 F.3d 1346, 1350-51 (11th Cir. 1998). And
Plaintiffs motion to strike presents no basis for striking
their motion to dismiss. (Dkt. 19).
also purports to sue Ward in his individual capacity and his
supervisory capacity over the officers who committed alleged
constitutional rights violations. However, Plaintiff makes no
factual allegations indicating that Ward directly
participated in the violations or that a causal link exists
between his supervisory actions and the violations. See
Mann v. Taser Int'l, Inc., 588 F.3d 1291, 1308 (11th
Cir. 2009). The conclusory statementthat Ward failed to train
the officers, standing alone, is insufficient to establish
direct participation or the necessary causal link. See
Cottone v. Jenne, 326 F.3d 1352, 1360 (11th Cir. 2003).
Plaintiffs Motion to Strike (Dkt. 19) is
DENIED, and the City and Ward's Motion
to Dismiss Complaint (Dkt. 16) is GRANTED.
All claims against the City and Ward are DISMISSED
without prejudice. Plaintiff is granted
twenty-one (21) days from the date of this Order to file an
amended complaint against the City and Ward, should he choose
to do so. Failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted against the City and Ward in an amended complaint may
result in dismissal of all claims against them with
 Plaintiff s motion to strike is
founded on the grounds that "Plaintiffs complaint has
previously been screened pursuant to 28 USC 1915, "
"the fact that the complaint was served on defendants
effectively moots the motion to dismiss, " the motion to
dismiss "is a redundancy, " and the motion and
memorandum of law "do not comply with local rule
3.01(h)." (Dkt. 19). The motion to dismiss is not
subject to Rule 3.01(h) because it is not dispositive. The
motion to dismiss (Dkt. 16) is also not a redundancy because
the City and Ward filed the initial motion to dismiss (Dkt.
14) without an electronic signature. And the facts that the
complaint was screened pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and
was served on ...