Manson v. Turner
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION. Signed by Judge R David Proctor on 12/28/2015. (AVC)
2015 Dec-28 PM 02:41
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
DANNY TURNER, et al.,
) Case No: 1:14-cv-01473-RDP-TMP
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
The Magistrate Judge filed a Report and Recommendation on November 19,
2015, recommending the following claims be dismissed without prejudice pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1): (1) Plaintiff’s requests for injunctive and declaratory
relief against Defendants Turley, Hardeman, and Turner for allegedly violating
Plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and
seizure; and (2) Plaintiff’s defamation claims against Defendant Benefield. (Doc.
The Magistrate Judge further recommended that Plaintiff’s requests for
monetary damages against Defendants Turley, Hardeman, and Turner for allegedly
violating his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and
seizure be stayed pending the outcome of his state court criminal proceedings.
(Id.). Plaintiff filed objections to the Report and Recommendation on December 1,
2015. (Doc. 43).
In his objections, Plaintiff merely realleges his claims against Defendants
Turley, Hardeman, and Turner for violating his Fourth Amendment rights and
requests that the court reconsider his claims for injunctive and declaratory relief.
(Doc. 43 at 1-2). Plaintiff does not address the Magistrate Judge’s conclusion that
his Fourth Amendment claims for injunctive and declaratory relief are barred by
the well-established principle that a federal court will abstain from granting
injunctive or declaratory relief that would interfere with pending state or local
criminal proceedings except under very limited circumstances. See Younger v.
Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 43-45 (1971); Butler v. The Alabama Judicial Inquiry
Comm’n, et al., 245 F.3d 1257, 1261 (11th Cir. 2011). To the extent the Plaintiff
complains that he has been incarcerated for twenty (20) months without being
indicted or tried, (Doc. 43 at 1-2), a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, not a civil
rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, provides the general jurisdictional basis for
his claims, once state court remedies have been exhausted.
See Preiser v.
Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 475, 500 (1973); Richardson v. Fleming, 651 F.2d 366 (5th
Cir. 1981); Georgalis v. Dixon, 776 F.2d 261 (11th Cir. 1985).
Next, Plaintiff claims he intended to allege a Fourth Amendment illegal
search and seizure claim against Defendant Benefield. (Doc. 43 at 2-3). On April
1, 2015, Plaintiff responded to the Magistrate Judge’s Supplemental Order for
Special Report. (Doc. 34). In his response, Plaintiff claimed Defendant Benefield
had “knowledge [of] and acquiesce[d] [to] the situation and [had] blatant disregard
of official policy and practices . . . .” (Doc. 34 at 2). On the same day, Plaintiff
filed a third amended complaint, but failed to allege a Fourth Amendment illegal
search and seizure claim against Benefield in that amendment. (Doc. 36). Indeed,
Plaintiff now acknowledges that he “fail[ed] to also add those statements to his
amended complaint.” (Doc. 43 at 2). Plaintiff has had several opportunities to
amend his complaint to sufficiently allege his claims against Defendants.
Moreover, Plaintiff has not attempted to justify his delay or explain why he could
not have corrected any error in failing to allege a Fourth Amendment claim against
Benefield earlier. As such, the court will not consider a Fourth Amendment illegal
search and seizure claim against Defendant Benefield.
Additionally, allowing Plaintiff to allege a Fourth Amendment claim against
Benefield would be futile. Plaintiff does not allege that Defendant Benefield was
present during the incident made the basis of this action and personally subjected
Plaintiff to an unreasonable search and seizure in violation of the Fourth
Amendment. Rather, Plaintiff makes only general and conclusory claims that
Benefield had knowledge of and acquiesced to the search without any factual
support for the same. (Docs. 34 at 2; Doc. 43 at 2-3).
To the extent Plaintiff attempts to implicate Defendant Benefield through the
concept of respondeat superior, this doctrine is unavailable in actions brought
under section 1983. See Monell v. Dep’t of Soc. Serv., 436 U.S. 658, 690-92
(1978); see also Harris v. Ostrout, 65 F.3d 912, 917 (11th Cir. 1995). However, “a
§ 1983 plaintiff may maintain a theory of direct liability against a prison or other
official if that official fails to properly train, supervise, direct, or control the actions
of a subordinate who causes the injury.” Pearl v. Dobbs, 649 F.2d 608, 609 (8th
Cir. 1981). “Supervisory liability under section 1983 may be shown by either the
supervisor’s personal participation in the acts that comprise the constitutional
violation or the existence of a causal connection linking the supervisor’s actions
with the violation.” Lewis v. Smith, 855 F.2d 736, 738 (11th Cir. 1988).
A causal connection may be established when: 1) a
“history of widespread abuse” puts the responsible
supervisor on notice of the need to correct the alleged
deprivation, and he or she fails to do so; 2) a supervisor’s
custom or policy results in deliberate indifference to
constitutional rights; or 3) facts support an inference that
the supervisor directed subordinates to act unlawfully or
knew that subordinates would act unlawfully and failed
to stop them from doing so.
Valdes v. Crosby, 450 F.3d 1231, 1237 (11th Cir. 2006) (citing Cottone v. Jenne,
326 F.3d 1352, 1360 (11th Cir. 2003)). “A single incident, or isolated incidents,
do not ordinarily satisfy this burden.” Williams v. Willits, 853 F.2d 586, 588 (8th
Plaintiff has described only this single incident in which officers allegedly
subjected him to a wrongful search and seizure on April 23, 2014. The allegations
surrounding this one incident, by themselves, do not sufficiently plead that
Defendant Benefield knew the officers were likely to violate Plaintiff’s Fourth
Neither does Plaintiff allege that Defendant Benefield
maintained any custom or policy that resulted in deliberate indifference to
Plaintiff’s constitutional rights. Nor does Plaintiff assert that Benefield directed
his subordinates to act unlawfully or knew they would act unlawfully and failed to
stop them from doing so. Based on the foregoing, even if the court allowed
Plaintiff to amend his complaint to allege a Fourth Amendment claim against
Defendant Benefield, such claim would be subject to dismissal for failing to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted.
Having carefully reviewed and considered de novo all the materials in the
court file, including the Report and Recommendation and the objections thereto,
the court is of the opinion that the Magistrate Judge’s Report is due to be and is
hereby ADOPTED and the recommendation is ACCEPTED.
Plaintiff’s requests for injunctive and declaratory relief against Defendants Turley,
Hardeman, and Turner for allegedly violating Plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment right
to be free from unreasonable search and seizure and Plaintiff’s defamation claims
against Defendant Benefield are due to be dismissed without prejudice pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1). Additionally, Plaintiff’s requests for monetary damages
against Defendants Turley, Hardeman, and Turner for allegedly violating his
Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure are due
to be stayed pending the outcome of his state court criminal proceedings. An
appropriate order will be entered.
DONE and ORDERED this December 28, 2015.
R. DAVID PROCTOR
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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