United States District Court, S.D. Florida
ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS
BLOOM UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
CAUSE is before the Court upon Defendant Ric D.
Bradshaw's (“Sheriff Bradshaw”) Motion to
Dismiss Count II and Count III of the Third Amended
Complaint, ECF No.  (the “Motion”). The Court
has carefully reviewed the Motion, all opposing and
supporting briefs, the record in this case, the applicable
law, and is otherwise fully advised. For the reasons set
forth below, the Motion is granted and the case is sua
Larry Novak (“Novak”), filed this action on
October 28, 2015, against Stacy Scott or Stacy Hellow
(“Hellow”) for malicious prosecution in the
Fifteenth Judicial Circuit in and for Palm Beach County, No.
2015-CA-012028. Novak then filed a First Amended Complaint on
March 1, 2016, against Hellow and Sheriff Bradshaw for false
imprisonment and malicious prosecution. Subsequently, Novak
filed a Second Amended Complaint on April 17, 2018, against
Hellow and Sheriff Bradshaw for municipal liability pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Shortly thereafter, Novak filed a
Third Amended Complaint on May 10, 2018, against Sheriff
Bradshaw in his individual and official capacity for
municipal liability pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Sheriff Bradshaw timely removed this action to Federal Court
on May 14, 2018. See ECF No. .
Third Amended Complaint contains three counts for liability:
(1) false imprisonment under Fla. Stat. § 768.28; (2)
fraudulent or negligent misrepresentation to the court under
Fla. Stat. § 768.28; and (3) false imprisonment under 42
U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1988. See ECF No. [1-1].
According to the Third Amended Complaint, Sheriff
Bradshaw's employee, law enforcement officer Hellow,
improperly seized, detained, and imprisoned Novak by falsely
procuring a court order for Novak's involuntary
commitment under the Baker Act. Id. at ¶ 8-10.
In particular, Novak claims that the petition submitted for
the Baker Act was “unsigned, unsworn, and
misrepresented [Novak's] character, mental condition and
actions.” Id. at ¶ 24. Sheriff Bradshaw
purportedly violated Novak's “right to be free from
unlawful seizure of his person and deprivation of his liberty
as guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment and to substantive and
procedural due process as guaranteed by the Fourteenth
Amendment.” Id. at ¶ 34.
on the foregoing, Novak alleges that, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, Sheriff Bradshaw is liable for Novak's
damages in his individual and official capacity because
Hellow was an employee of Palm Beach County Sheriff's
Department (“PBCSD”). Id. at ¶
36-39. In response to the Third Amended Complaint, Sheriff
Bradshaw moved to dismiss Novak's claims in Counts II and
III for failure to state a claim. See ECF No. .
Novak and Sheriff Bradshaw thereafter filed a timely Response
and Reply respectively. See ECF Nos.  and .
The Motion is now ripe for review.
pleading in a civil action must contain “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Although a
complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations,
” it must provide “more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); see Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (explaining that Rule
8(a)(2)'s pleading standard “demands more than an
accusation”). Nor can a complaint rest on
“‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of
‘further factual enhancement.'”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 557 (alteration in original)).
reviewing a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), a court, as a general
rule, must accept the plaintiff's allegations as true and
evaluate all plausible inferences derived from those facts in
favor of the plaintiff. See Miccosukee Tribe of Indians
of Fla. v. S. Everglades Restoration Alliance, 304 F.3d
1076, 1084 (11th Cir. 2002); AXA Equitable Life Ins. Co.
v. Infinity Fin. Grp., LLC, 608 F.Supp.2d 1349, 1353
(S.D. Fla. 2009). However, this tenet does not apply to legal
conclusions, and courts “are not bound to accept as
true a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; see
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Thaeter v. Palm Beach Cty.
Sheriff's Office, 449 F.3d 1342, 1352 (11th Cir.
2006). Moreover, “courts may infer from the factual
allegations in the complaint ‘obvious alternative
explanations,' which suggest lawful conduct rather than
the unlawful conduct the plaintiff would ask the court to
infer.” Am. Dental Ass'n v. Cigna Corp.,
605 F.3d 1283, 1290 (11th Cir. 2010) (quoting Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 682). A court considering a Rule 12(b) motion is
generally limited to the facts contained in the complaint and
attached exhibits, including documents referred to in the
complaint that are central to the claim. See Wilchombe v.
TeeVee Toons, Inc., 555 F.3d 949, 959 (11th Cir. 2009);
Maxcess, Inc. v. Lucent Techs., Inc., 433 F.3d 1337,
1340 (11th Cir. 2005) (“[A] document outside the four
corners of the complaint may still be considered if it is
central to the plaintiff's claims and is undisputed in
terms of authenticity.”) (citing Horsley v.
Feldt, 304 F.3d 1125, 1135 (11th Cir. 2002)).
Count III: False Imprisonment Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
Court first addresses the federal law claim, Count III.
Sheriff Bradshaw seeks to dismiss Count III of the Third
Amended Complaint because it “fails to state a claim
for individual or supervisory liability against Sheriff
Bradshaw, nor for Monell liability for [Novak's]
alleged confinement under the Baker Act.” See
ECF No. . In support of this argument, Sheriff Bradshaw
argues that Novak's allegations in the Third Amended
Complaint are conclusory and devoid of any factual support.
Id. Accordingly, this Court must determine whether
Novak has plead facts sufficient to state a claim against
Sheriff Bradshaw under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to sustain a
claim against Sheriff Bradshaw individually and in his
is well established in this Circuit that supervisory
officials are not liable under § 1983 for the
unconstitutional acts of their subordinates on the basis of
respondeat superior or vicarious liability.”
Cottone v. Jenne, 326 F.3d 1352, 1360 (11th Cir.
2003) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
“Instead, supervisory liability under § 1983
occurs either when the supervisor personally participates in
the alleged unconstitutional conduct or when there is a
causal connection between ...