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Patterson v. Orlando-Orange County

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

April 29, 2019




         This cause came on for consideration without oral argument on the following motion:


         FILED: December 28, 2018

         THEREON it is RECOMMENDED that the motion be GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND.

         On June 18, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Complaint that, read liberally, alleges that he was the victim of an illegal arrest based on an invalid warrant. Doc. No. 1 at 3-12. The invalid arrest occurred in Orange County, Florida and was executed by U.S. Marshals and Orange County law enforcement. Doc. No. 1 at 3-12. Plaintiff alleges that his illegal detention continued through a bond hearing before Judge Jeanette Bigney in Orange County, his detention in Orange County Jail, his transfer to Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Facility (“TGK”) in Miami-Dade County, and an appearance before Judge Oscar Rodriguez-Fonts in Miami-Dade County, based on an “abandoned” criminal case in Miami-Dade County, F-17-16392. Doc. No. 1 at 3-12. Plaintiff alleges all the Defendants conspired with one another to effect this illegal arrest and detention because he is African-American and African-Americans have been subject to systemic violations of their rights through wrongful arrests. Doc. No. 1. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant Cornita Riley (“Riley”) violated his Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, violated 42 U.S.C. §§ 1985 and 1986, and engaged in an abuse of process. Doc. No. 1 at 20-24.

         On August 29, 2018, Riley filed a Motion to Dismiss the original Complaint in this case with prejudice. Doc. No. 60. On November 5, 2018, this Court issued a Report and Recommendation recommending that the Complaint be dismissed without prejudice as to Riley for failure to state a claim. Doc. No. 73. The Report and Recommendation found:

With respect to the allegations raised in the Complaint, i.e., that two state court judges, Plaintiff's own counsel, the parent company of a hotel through an employee, Miami-Dade County, and various law enforcement and corrections officers and agencies, both state and federal, conspired to arrest and detain Plaintiff in violation of his constitutional rights, the Complaint fails to state a claim for conspiracy, violation of Plaintiff's constitutional rights, and abuse of process, as the allegations fail to allege facts that demonstrate a meeting of the minds, fail to provide any factual basis to demonstrate discriminatory animus or motive, and fail to provide facts to support an abuse of process or violation of Plaintiff's constitutional rights. In fact, Plaintiff's allegations are in essence nothing more than a minimal recitation of the elements of various causes of action stated in a conclusory fashion which fail to satisfy the requirement that Plaintiff provide a short plain statement of the claim showing the pleader is entitled to relief. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
Plaintiff's only allegation related to discriminatory animus is a conclusory statement that his factual allegations show a “pattern of practice that systematically violates the Plaintiff's and African Americans' rights, who have historically been victims of excessive force and wrongful arrests by law enforcement officers . . . . Plaintiff then incorporates that statement into his counts against each defendant and states that “Because of the acts committed . . . the Defendant caused or permitted the violation of the Plaintiff's Constitutional Rights, thereby entitling the Plaintiff to recover damages pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1343, 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3).” Doc. No. 1 at ¶¶ 54, 70, 88, 96, 112, 128, 136, These de minimus conclusory statements in no way establish or suggest the type of invidious discriminatory animus contemplated by the courts. Bray, 506 U.S. at 270; Artubel v. Colonial Bank Group, Inc., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60781, at *54 (M.D. Fla. Aug. 8, 2008) (finding a vague assertion of racial motivation was insufficient to state a claim).
Further, Plaintiff offers no factual allegations regarding a conspiracy amongst these actors or otherwise suggests factually how they conferred and acted in concert to actively deprive him of his constitutional rights. Thus, this claim is subject to dismissal as to all defendants. Freyre, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66348, at *18.

Doc. No. 73 at 11, 13-14 (footnote omitted). The Court made similar findings related to Plaintiff's abuse of process claim. Doc. No. 73 at 14-15 (“Plaintiff has failed to provide any allegations that a defendant as actor misused this process initially or that there was an ulterior motive for doing so, other than stating an abuse of process occurred.”)

         On November 29, 2018, the District Court issued an Order adopting the Report and Recommendation, dismissing the Complaint with prejudice as to Judges Rodriguez-Fonts and Bigney, dismissing the Complaint without prejudice as to the remaining Defendants, and permitting Plaintiff to file an Amended Complaint. Doc. No. 82.

         On December 14, 2018, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint. Doc. No. 83. With respect to the factual allegations related to Riley, the Amended Complaint is identical to Plaintiff's original Complaint. Compare Doc. Nos. 1 at 8-10 and 83 at 9-11. Plaintiff alleges that on May 8, 2018, “following Judge Bigney's bond hearing, the Orlando-Orange County Jail refuses to release the Plaintiff and illegally detains him on a ‘no bond' hold without the legal chain of documentation.” Doc. No. 83 at 9. Plaintiff further alleged that “On May 8, 2018, . . . Ms. Thabet notifies Cornita Riley, Director of the Orange County, Florida Department of Corrections via email, making her aware of the Plaintiff being illegally detained. The Plaintiff's mother also emails Chief Cornita Riley . . . informing her of the Plaintiff being illegally received and detained.” Doc. No. 83 at 9. Finally, Plaintiff alleges that “On May 10, 2018, Deputy Chief Anthony Watts, on behalf of Chief Cornita Riley, responds via email to the Plaintiff's mother . . . stating that, “Based ...

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