United States District Court, S.D. Florida
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
L. ROSENBERG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the City of Vero Beach, filed a Motion to Dismiss on June 26,
2019 after removing this action from state court to this
Court. See Mot., DE 3; Notice of Removal, DE 1. The
motion has been fully briefed. See Pl. Resp., DE 13;
Def. Reply, DE 15. In addition, on August 7, 2019, the
parties contacted chambers with a proposed order, in which
the Motion would be granted, and Plaintiff would be given
time to amend his Complaint. Upon receiving the proposed
order, the Court ordered that a previously set hearing on the
Motion would instead be conducted as a status conference.
See DE 18. At the status conference, all parties and
the Court reached agreement that the Motion should be
granted, and the Complaint should be dismissed with leave to
amend. The Court informed the parties that a written order
would follow, to document the Court's analysis of the
class action complaint, filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983, Plaintiff “John Doe” claims that the
Defendant City violated his Fourth Amendment rights by
installing video equipment in a massage parlor and recording
the activities within that massage parlor “on a 24/7
basis for a period of approximately 60 days.” Compl.,
DE 1-5, 5. Plaintiff claims that he “had a reasonable
expectation of privacy while receiving massages from licensed
therapists in private rooms.” Id. ¶ 17.
Presumably as a result of the video recordings, Plaintiff was
“actually charged with a crime of solicitation of
prostitution…[and] subject to public
humiliation.” See Id. ¶¶ 20-21.
addition to seeking dismissal of the Complaint on Rule
12(b)(6) grounds, Defendant argues that Plaintiff should not
be permitted to proceed under a pseudonym and that
Plaintiff's class allegations should be dismissed.
Motion to Dismiss
Standard of Review “To survive a motion to
dismiss, 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 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2) (requiring “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief”). Although this pleading
standard “does not require ‘detailed factual
allegations,' . . . it demands more than an unadorned,
Id. (alteration added) (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555). Pleadings must contain “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 (citation omitted), and
must provide sufficient facts to “give the defendant
fair notice of what the … claim is and the grounds
upon which it rests, ” id. Indeed, “only
a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives
a motion to dismiss.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679
(citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). To meet this
“plausibility standard, ” a plaintiff must
“plead factual content that allows the court to draw
the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. at 678 (alteration
added) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
motion to dismiss stage, the “plaintiff's factual
allegations are accepted as true. . . . However, conclusory
allegations, unwarranted factual deductions or legal
conclusions masquerading as facts will not prevent
dismissal.” Davila v. Delta Air Lines, Inc.,
326 F.3d 1183, 1185 (11th Cir. 2003). Furthermore, under
Florida law, “[i]f [a] contract covers plaintiff's
claims in clear and unambiguous language, then
plaintiff's ability to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted, thus surviving this motion to dismiss,
depends on the specific terms of the contract, which the
court analyzes as a matter of law.” Sarria
Holdings, Inc. v. Walgreen Co., No. 02-23169-CIV, 2003
WL 1528711, at *2 (S.D. Fla. Jan. 31, 2003).
argues that the Complaint does not properly connect
Plaintiff's general allegations against various law
enforcement agencies to the named Defendant, the City of Vero
Beach. In addition, the Defendant asserts that the Complaint
does not satisfy the requirements of a Monell claim.
The Court agrees with both arguments.
Complaint alleges a Section 1983 action against a
municipality, also known as a Monell claim. See
Monell v. Dept of Soc. Servs. of City of New York, 436
U.S. 658 (1978). Pursuant to Monell:
[A] local government may not be sued under § 1983 for an
injury inflicted solely by its employees or agents. Instead,
it is when execution of a government's policy or custom,
whether made by its lawmakers or by those whose edicts or
acts may fairly be said to represent official policy,
inflicts the injury that the government as an entity is
responsible under § 1983.
Id. at 694. “[T]o demonstrate a
Monell claim, the plaintiff must show: (1) the
violation of a federal right occurred; (2) the existence of a
municipal policy or custom; and (3) a causal connection
between the violation and the municipal policy or custom. The
plaintiff must also show that the constitutional violation
occurred “under color of State law.” C.F.C.
v. Miami-Dade Cty., 349 F.Supp.3d 1236, 1255 (S.D. Fla.
2018) (citations omitted).
the “touchstone of [a] § 1983 action against a
government body is an allegation that official policy is
responsible for a deprivation of civil rights protected by
the Constitution.” Hoefling v. City of Miami,
811 F.3d 1271, 1280 (11th Cir. 2016) (quoting
Monell, 436 U.S. at 690)). “There must be a
direct link between the alleged constitutional violation and
the municipal policy or custom.” Marcel v.
Metro-Dade Police Dep't, No. 10-CV-20028, 2010 WL
5865816, at *3 (S.D. Fla. June 28, 2010), report and
recommendation adopted, 2011 WL 705709 (S.D. Fla. Feb. 22,
2011) (citing Snow v. City of Citronelle, 420 F.3d
1262, 1271 (11th Cir. 2005)). Moreover, to state a
Monell claim, the plaintiff must demonstrate that
the official policy or custom was ...