Allen v. Birmingham Department of Law, City of
MEMORANDUM OPINION re Complaint 1 & IFP Affidavit 2 . Signed by Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn on 9/8/14. (CTS, )
2014 Sep-08 AM 11:57
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
ROLAND P. ALLEN,
CITY OF BIRMINGHAM
DEPARTMENT OF LAW,
CASE NO. 2:13-CV-1235-SLB
Plaintiff Roland P. Allen has filed a General Complaint Form for Pro Se Litigants,
(doc. 1),1 and an In Forma Pauperis Affidavit, (doc. 2), in which he asks the court to appoint
him an attorney and to permit him to proceed without pre-payment of fees, costs, or security.
The court deems the In Forma Pauperis Affidavit to be a Motion for appointment of counsel
and to proceed without prepayment of fees. In his Complaint, Mr. Allen alleges that
Birmingham police officers caused him injury.
Specifically, he alleges that some
unidentified person called the Birmingham Police Department and reported that Mr. Allen
had a gun. (Doc. 1 at 2; doc. 1-1 at 1.) Although he alleges he told the police that he had a
pistol license and he had not caused a problem, the police officers handcuffed Mr. Allen.
(Doc. 1 at 2-3; doc. 1-1 at 1.) He contends that this caused him pain, suffering, and mental
anguish. (Doc. 1 at 3.) He alleges that the police officers violated his civil rights. (Id.)
Reference to a document number, [“Doc. ___”], refers to the number assigned to each
document as it is filed in the court’s record.
However, he does not allege that the officers were acting pursuant to an illegal policy or
practice, and he does not allege that he was arrested and charged with any crime.
Pursuant to § 1915(e)(2)(B), a court shall dismiss a case filed without prepayment of
the filing fee if the court finds the case is “(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.” The court finds that Mr. Allen’s Complaint fails to state a claim
for relief against the City of Birmingham; therefore, his Complaint is due to be dismissed
with prejudice and his request for appointed counsel and to proceed without prepayment of
fees will be denied.
The Eleventh Circuit has held:
Section 1983 creates a private cause of action for deprivations of
federal rights by persons acting under color of state law. 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Municipalities and other local-government units are included among the
“persons” to whom § 1983 applies. Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. of New
York, 436 U.S. 658, 690-91, 98 S. Ct. 2018 (1978). When a constitutional
injury is caused by the execution of a government entity’s official policy or
custom, the entity may be held liable under § 1983. See id. at 694, 98 S. Ct..
2018. But a municipal employer is not vicariously liable under § 1983 for
injuries caused solely by its employees. Id. at 691-94, 98 S. Ct. 2018;
McDowell v. Brown, 392 F.3d 1283, 1289 (11th Cir. 2004). . . .
Laster v. City of Tampa Police Dept., No. 14-11034, 2014 WL 4116474, *2 (11th Cir. Aug.
22, 2014)(unpublished);2 see also Lewis v. City of West Palm Beach, Fla., 561 F.3d 1288,
Eleventh Circuit Rule 36-2 provides, in pertinent part, “An opinion shall be
unpublished unless a majority of the panel decides to publish it. Unpublished opinions are
not considered binding precedent, but they may be cited as persuasive authority.” 11th Cir.
R. 36-2 (emphasis added).
1293 (11th Cir. 2009)(“A city may only be held liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 when the
injury caused was a result of municipal policy or custom.”).
Mr. Allen has not alleged any policy or custom of the City of Birmingham led to his
detention that he alleges violated his civil rights. “[I]n Monell and subsequent cases, [the
Supreme Court has] required a plaintiff seeking to impose liability on a municipality under
§ 1983 to identify a municipal ‘policy’ or ‘custom’ that caused the plaintiff’s injury.” Board
of County Commissioners of Bryan County v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 403 (1997)(citing City
of Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 389 (1989); Pembaur v. City of Cincinnati, 475 U.S. 469,
480-81 (1986); Monell v. New York City Dept. of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978)).
“Thus, [the court’s] first inquiry in any case alleging municipal liability under § 1983 is the
question whether there is a direct causal link between a municipal policy or custom and the
alleged constitutional deprivation.” City of Canton, 489 U.S. at 385. Clearly, Mr. Allen has
made no effort to establish this causal link exists between his injuries resulting from the
unidentified police officers actions and any municipal policy or custom.
Because Mr. Allen has not alleged a claim against the City of Birmingham for
violation of his civil rights, his request for appointed counsel and to proceed in forma
pauperis, (doc. 2), will be DENIED, and his claims will be DISMISSED pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
DONE this 8th day of September, 2014.
SHARON LOVELACE BLACKBURN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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