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Beck v. Bay County Government

United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Panama City Division

May 1, 2018

BAY COUNTY GOVERNMENT, et al., Defendants.



         This case, filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, is now before the court on Plaintiff's second amended complaint (ECF No. 19). Leave to proceed in forma pauperis has been granted (ECF No. 5).

         Because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, the court may dismiss this case if satisfied that the action “(i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The language in this subsection “tracks the language of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), ” and thus dismissals for failure to state a claim are governed by the same standard as Rule 12(b)(6). Mitchell v. Farcass, 112 F.3d 1483, 1490 (11th Cir. 1997). The allegations of the complaint are taken as true and are construed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. Davis v. Monroe County Bd. of Educ., 120 F.3d 1390, 1393 (11th Cir. 1997). To survive § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quotation and citation omitted). A claim is plausible on its face where “the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citation omitted). Plausibility means “more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. “Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.” Id. (quotation and citation omitted). In civil rights cases, more than “mere conclusory notice pleading” is required, and a complaint is subject to dismissal “as insufficient where the allegations it contains are vague and conclusory.” Gonzalez v. Reno, 325 F.3d 1228, 1235 (11th Cir. 2003) (quotation and citation omitted).

         Plaintiff names as Defendants the “Bay County Government, ” one of its commissioners, several county judges, the mayor of Panama City, Bay County Code Enforcement, the director of the Gulf Consortium, and the Florida State Hospital. His complaint amounts to a litany of allegations stemming from an alleged search and seizure of his property, criminal charges being raised against him, his civil commitment, and the “BP oil spill” catastrophe.

         Plaintiff's allegations include the following. He states that Defendants ignored his repeated pleas for help during the BP oil spill and that they took from him all his personal property including millions of dollars in intellectual property stemming from inventions related to the oil spill. He alleges that Defendants ruled unfavorably against him in court, violated his rights by telling him he had to put his words in writing, and that they prevented him from speaking about his inventions in the courtroom. He claims Defendants violated his rights by illegally entering on his posted property, destroying a wall in the process, and taking pictures of signs from inside his property. He provides that his public defender refused to accept evidence in his defense, refused to file a motion for reduction of bond, and ordered his psychiatric evaluation. He indicates he was committed to the Florida State Hospital, where he was not allowed to contact his attorney, was placed under constant threat of forced medication, was forced to use the bathroom on the floor, and was constantly threatened and attacked by other inmates without staff intervention.

         Additionally, Plaintiff states the following:

Increased pain and suffering due to medical conditions by loss of wages by putting me on a repeating paper factory from computer to paper computer to paper, knowing I have a handicap.
Violated my constitutional rights by finding in favor of the county that return to my property took my signs and my last inventions which consisted of the oil spill inventions, nine in total, and all of my tools and properties, allowing them to get on top of my house, which resulted in holes in my roof that is the result of the condition I'm in right now.
Code enforcement damaged my home by putting their foot through my roof in five different places. When they were on my house painting over signs of protest sign painted over was May 7, 2013 Bay County commission homepage items L public participation.
Florida state hospital would not allow me to contact abuse line when I witnessed a man that had his eye [put or poked] out by another patient and it was a game to the select group to walk by this individual and slap him as hard as they could on the side of his face.
I lost my job because of the oil spill and they falsified records at the GCCF and then again at the deep water horizon [writing] stuff on the papers that I did not say, allowing them to seize my BP money.

(ECF No. 19 at 8, ¶11; at 9, ¶15; at 12, ¶29; at 14, ¶19; and at 15, ¶2).

         Because Plaintiff leaves blank the “Statement of Claims” section of the complaint, he fails to claim what constitutional or other rights were allegedly violated, although in the body of the complaint he indicates violations of the First, Fourth, and Eighth Amendments. Plaintiff also leaves blank the “Relief Requested” section of the complaint, thus failing to indicate what form of relief he seeks from the court.

         Though Plaintiff is now on his second amended complaint, his claims remain a haphazard arrangement of facts and wide-ranging events. As such, the complaint constitutes a “shotgun pleading” with claims and allegations that are vague, conclusory and improperly commingled. See Weiland v. Palm Beach City Sherriff's Office, 792 F.3d 1313, 1320 (11th Cir. 2015) (identifying, among other types of shotgun pleadings, those which are “replete with conclusory, vague, and immaterial facts not obviously connected to any particular cause of action”). A complaint does not “suffice if it tenders naked assertion[s] devoid of further factual enhancement.” Allaben v. Howanitz, 579 Fed.Appx. 716, 718 (11th Cir. 2014) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Plaintiff's allegations suggest a conspiracy involving county commissioners, law enforcement officials, and judges, but such a far-reaching conspiracy is completely without factual support in the complaint. A complaint containing conclusory, vague, and general allegations of conspiracy will be dismissed as insufficient. Bendiburg v. Dempsey, 909 F.2d 463, 468 (11th Cir. 1990); Arnold v. Board of Education of Escambia County, Alabama, 880 F.2d 305, 309 n.2 (11th Cir. 1989); Kearson v. Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph Co., 763 F.2d 405, 407 (11th Cir. 1985). The complaint must demonstrate that the ...

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