Robinson v. Hueytown Police Department et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION - For the reasons discussed above, the Court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART the defendants motion to dismiss. Mr. Robinson is ORDERED to amend his first amended complaint within fourteen days to add factual allegations to suppor t his § 1983 training and supervision claim against the City of Hueytown and Officer Hagler in Count II. If he does not do so, the Court will deem the claim abandoned. Mr. Robinsons remaining claims may proceed forward. Signed by Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala on 9/30/2015. (KEK)
2015 Sep-30 PM 04:42
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
CALVIN LEE ROBINSON as }
Administrator of THE ESTATE OF }
CALVIN LEE ROBINSON, Jr.,
CITY OF HUEYTOWN, a municipal }
corporation; CHUCK HAGLER;
L.B. RANKIN; TODD
Case No.: 2:14-CV-1886-MHH
This case is before the Court on a motion to dismiss. Plaintiff Calvin Lee
Robinson lost his son, Calvin Lee Robinson, Jr., when two police officers opened
fire on a vehicle in which Calvin Jr. was riding. A bullet struck and killed Calvin
Jr. Mr. Robinson brings this lawsuit as administrator of his son’s estate. Mr.
Robinson has named as defendants the City of Hueytown, the city’s Chief of
Police, and the two police officers who fired their weapons. The defendants ask
the Court to dismiss the claims in Mr. Robinson’s amended complaint. (Docs. 8,
10). For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants part of the motion and
denies the balance of the motion.
Factual & Procedural Background
Police officers Rankin and Easterwood shot and killed Calvin Lee Robinson,
Jr. on August 22, 2012. (Doc. 8, pp. 1, 3). The officers were trying to arrest the
driver of the car in which Calvin Jr. was riding. The arrest was related to a drug
deal with an undercover officer. During the arrest, the driver “attempted to move
his car.” (Doc. 8, ¶¶ 13, 14). Officers “Rankin and Easterwood fired several shots
into the vehicle, at least one of which struck [Calvin] Jr. in his right side. . . .”
(Doc. 8, ¶ 15). The bullet travelled through Calvin Jr.’s lungs and ruptured his
arteries. (Doc. 8, ¶ 15). According to the plaintiff, at the time of the incident,
“Hueytown had a custom or policy that allowed police officers to use deadly force
when neither [they] nor others were under a threat of serious physical harm.”
(Doc. 8, ¶ 16).
The amended complaint contains three counts: (1) a § 1983 claim for
excessive force against Officers Rankin and Easterwood;1 (2) a § 1983 claim for
supervisory liability against the City of Hueytown and Chief of Police Hagler; and
(3) a wrongful death claim under Alabama Code § 6-5-410 against all defendants.
(Doc. 8, pp. 3, 4, 6). The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the amended
complaint. (Doc. 10). The parties have briefed the motion, and the Court has held
Initially, the plaintiff also asserted an excessive force claim against the City of Hueytown, but
the plaintiff has since conceded that this claim is not properly asserted against the City. (See
Doc. 14, p. 2) (“Count One asserts claims against Easterwood and Rankin.”). The Court will
dismiss the plaintiff’s § 1983 excessive force claim against the City.
a hearing on the motion. (Doc. 11). On this record, the Court considers the
defendants’ motion to dismiss.
Standard of Review
Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states that a complaint
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). Under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, a defendant may move to dismiss a complaint for
“failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed. R. Civ. P.
12(b)(6). To meet the requirements of Rule 8(a)(2) and survive a motion to
dismiss, “a complaint must allege ‘enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.’” Adinolfe v. United Tech. Corp., 768 F.3d 1161, 1169 (11th
Cir. 2014) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007)).
“Specific facts are not necessary; the statement needs only ‘give the defendant fair
notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.’” Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
“Thus, the pleading standard set forth in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8
evaluates the plausibility of the facts alleged, and the notice stemming from a
complaint’s allegations.” Keene v. Prine, 477 Fed. Appx. 575, 583 (11th Cir.
2012). “Where those two requirements are met . . . the form of the complaint is not
significant if it alleges facts upon which relief can be granted, even if it fails to
categorize correctly the legal theory giving rise to the claim.” Id. When deciding a
motion to dismiss, the Court must assume the truth of the factual allegations in the
complaint. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
A. Fourteenth Amendment Claims in Counts I and II
In Counts I and II of Amended Complaint, Mr. Robinson asserts § 1983
claims against Officers Rankin and Easterwood, Chief Hagler, and the City based
in part on Mr. Robinson’s allegations that that the defendants deprived Calvin Jr.
of rights guaranteed by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments without due
process of law. (Doc. 8, ¶¶ 18, 24). Courts analyze pre-arrest excessive force
claims under the Fourth Amendment, which is applied to the states and local
governments through the Fourteenth Amendment. See, e.g., West v. Davis, 767
F.3d 1063, 1066 (11th Cir. 2014) (citations omitted). Thus, the Court must analyze
Mr. Robinson’s § 1983 claims under the Fourth’s Amendment’s reasonableness
standard, rather than under the Fourteenth Amendment’s substantive due process
approach. Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 395 (1989). Accordingly, to the
extent that Mr. Robinson asserts § 1983 claims under the Fourteenth Amendment’s
due process standard, those claims are due to be dismissed.
See McCall v.
Williams, 2010 WL 3324407, *2 (M.D. Ala. Aug. 20, 2010) (dismissing a
plaintiff’s Fourteenth Amendment claim because pre-arrest excessive force claims
are analyzed exclusively under the Fourth Amendment). To the extent that Mr.
Robinson asserts the §1983 claims under the Fourth Amendment, those claims are
not affected by this ruling.
B. § 1983 Excessive Force Claim Against Officers Rankin and
Officers Rankin and Easterwood claim that they are entitled to qualified
immunity from Mr. Robinson’s § 1983 claim. (Doc. 10-1, p. 6). “Qualified
immunity offers complete protection for government officials sued in their
individual capacities when acting within their discretionary authority if their
conduct ‘does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of
which a reasonable person would have known.’” Mann v. Taser Intern., Inc., 588
F.3d 1291, 1305 (11th Cir. 2009) (quoting Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818
(1982)). If an officer demonstrates that he was acting within his discretionary
authority at the time of the alleged violation, to overcome the officer’s qualified
immunity defense, the plaintiff must show that the officer violated a clearly
established constitutional right. Floyd v. Corder, 426 Fed. Appx. 790, 791 (11th
Cir. 2011) (citing Holloman ex rel. Holloman v. Harland, 370 F.3d 1252, 1264
(11th Cir. 2004)).
“[D]ecisions of the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of
Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and the highest court of the pertinent state . . .
can clearly establish the law.” McClish v. Nugent, 483 F.3d 1231, 1237 (11th Cir.
2007) (citing Marsh v. Butler Cnty., 268 F.3d 1014, 1032 n.10 (11th Cir. 2001) (en
banc)). Absent case law clearly establishing a constitutional violation, a plaintiff
must allege facts demonstrating that the defendant official’s conduct “lies so
obviously at the very core of what the Fourth Amendment prohibits that the
unlawfulness of the conduct was readily apparent to the official, notwithstanding
the lack of case law.” Lee v. Ferraro, 284 F.3d 1188, 1198 (11th Cir. 2002); see
also Trammell v. Thomason, 335 Fed. Appx. 835, 842 (11th Cir. 2009) (quoting
Priester v. City of Riviera Beach, Fla., 208 F.3d 919, 926 (11th Cir. 2000)).
“Fourth Amendment jurisprudence has long recognized that the right to
make an arrest or investigatory stop necessarily carries with it the right to use some
degree of physical coercion or threat thereof to [a]ffect it.” Lee, 284 F.3d at 1197
(quoting Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 396 (1989) (internal quotations
omitted)). To decide “whether the degree of force used to effect a particular
seizure is ‘reasonable’ under the Fourth Amendment,” the Court must consider
“the severity of the crime at issue, whether the suspect poses an immediate threat
to the safety of the officers or others, and whether the suspect is actively resisting
arrest or attempting to evade arrest by flight.” Graham, 490 U.S. at 396. The
Court also examines “‘(1) the need for the application of force, (2) the relationship
between the need and amount of force used, and (3) the extent of the injury
inflicted.’” Draper v. Reynolds, 369 F.3d 1270, 1277–78 (11th Cir. 2004) (quoting
Lee, 284 F.3d at 1197)). The excessive force inquiry is “necessarily fact specific.”
McCullough v. Antolini, 559 F.3d 1201, 1206 (11th Cir. 2009). An officer is
entitled to qualified immunity against an excessive force claim if “an objectively
reasonable officer in the same situation could have believed that the force used was
not excessive.” Brown v. City of Huntsville, Ala., 608 F.3d 724, 733 (11th Cir.
2010) (quoting Vinyard v. Wilson, 311 F.3d 1340, 1346 (11th Cir. 2002)).
The Court denies the officers’ motion to dismiss on the basis of qualified
immunity because, at this stage of the litigation, the officers cannot demonstrate on
the record before the Court that they used only a level of force that was reasonable
under the circumstances. Assuming the truth of the allegations in the amended
complaint and viewing the factual allegations in the light most favorable to Mr.
Robinson, during an arrest, the officers shot into a car after the driver “attempted to
move [the] car,” killing Mr. Robinson’s son who was a passenger in the car. (Doc.
8, ¶14). This is not a case in which the facts in the amended complaint suggest that
Mr. Robinson’s son or the driver of the car were attempting to flee the scene in a
manner that might endanger the public or the officers. See, e.g., Long v. Slaton,
508 F.3d 576, 584 (11th Cir. 2007) (holding officer was entitled to qualified
immunity when he shot into his own police cruiser, killing a mentally unstable man
attempting to flee in the police cruiser); Cooper v. Rutherford, 503 Fed. Appx. 672,
676 (11th Cir. 2012) (holding that no clearly established law would put an officer
on notice that firing shots into a car driven by an armed, fleeing bank robber was
unconstitutional). Therefore, the allegations of the complaint, if proven, describe a
relationship between the need for the use of force and the actual force used—
overwhelming and, ultimately, lethal—that appears disproportionate. See Draper,
369 F.3d at 1277–78.
“The border between permissible and excessive force is marked by a factintensive test conducted case-by-case.” Vinyard, 311 F.3d at 1349 n.14. After
discovery, there may be additional facts that the Court may consider when
evaluating the officers’ qualified immunity defense, but for now, the Court is
limited to the four corners of the amended complaint.
The defendants also urge the Court to dismiss Mr. Robinson’s claims
because Mr. Robinson cannot identify which officer fired the fatal shot that killed
Mr. Robinson’s son. (Doc. 10-1, p. 6). This argument is unpersuasive at this
stage. Discovery may reveal which officer’s shot ultimately killed Mr. Robinson’s
son, but Mr. Robinson need not answer that question now to properly state an
excessive force claim against the officers.
C. § 1983 Supervisory Liability Claim Against the City of Hueytown
and Chief of Police Hagler
Neither a municipality nor its officers may incur § 1983 liability under a
theory of respondeat superior. Monell v. Dep’t of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691
(1978); Barr v. Gee, 437 Fed. Appx. 865, 874 (11th Cir. 2011) (citing McDowell v.
Brown, 392 F.3d 1283, 1289 (11th Cir. 2004)). The City is not responsible for
isolated incidents of constitutional violations by subordinates. McDowell, 392
F.3d at 1290–91. “It is only when the execution of the government’s policy or
custom infl[i]cts the injury that the municipality may be held liable.” Barr, 437
Fed. Appx. at 874 (internal quotations and citations omitted). A single, isolated
incident is generally not sufficient to show the existent of a government’s policy or
custom. See City of Oklahoma City v. Tuttle, 471 U.S. 808, 823-24 (1985).
“Municipal policy or custom may include a failure to provide adequate
training if the deficiency evidences a deliberate indifference to the rights of its
inhabitants.” Lewis v. City of W. Palm Beach, Fla., 561 F.3d 1288, 1293 (11th Cir.
2009) (internal quotation omitted).
To establish deliberate indifference, the
“plaintiff must present some evidence that the municipality knew of a need to train
and/or supervise in a particular area and the municipality made a deliberate choice
not to take any action.” Barr, 437 Fed. Appx. at 874 (quoting Lewis, 561 F.3d at
1293). The municipality is on notice if either “(1) the municipality is aware that a
pattern of constitutional violations exists, and nevertheless fails to provide
adequate training, or (2) the likelihood for a constitutional violation is so high that
the need for training would be obvious.” Barr, 437 Fed. Appx. at 874 (citing
Lewis, 561 F.3d at 1293).
Mr. Robinson pled in his amended complaint that the defendants were
“deliberately indifferent to [his son’s] rights and needs in that: (I) [the defendants]
failed to adequately train and supervise [Officers] Rankin and Easterwood . . . .”
(Doc. 8, ¶ 23). In the amended complaint, Mr. Robinson also asserts that Chief
Hagler and the City “had actual or constructive knowledge that [Officers] Rankin
and Easterwood were engaged in conduct that posed a pervasive and unreasonable
risk of constitutional injury” and that “there was a causal link between the
supervisors’ inaction and Robinson Jr.’s constitutional injury.” (Doc. 8, ¶ 23(b)).
Mr. Robinson has not alleged a pattern of excessive use of force by the
City’s police nor any other facts that would put the City and Chief Hagler on notice
of a need to intervene. Additionally, Mr. Robinson’s allegation that the City and
Chief Hagler had “actual or constructive knowledge that [Officers] Ranking and
Easterwood were engaged in conduct that posed a pervasive and unreasonable risk
of constitutional injury” is not sufficient to show deliberate indifference. See
Franklin v. Curry, 738 F.3d 1246, 1250 (11th Cir. 2013) (holding that deliberate
indifference requires that the defendants had subjective knowledge of a risk of
serious harm) (citation omitted).
Accordingly, Mr. Robinson has not alleged
sufficient facts to plead his § 1983 training and supervision claim against the City
and Officer Hagler.
The Court directs Mr. Robinson to either amend his
supervisory liability claim to allege more than conclusory statements to support his
§ 1983 training and supervision claim against the City and Officer Hagler or
abandon the claim.2
D. Damages for Counts I and II
The defendants argue that Mr. Robinson is not entitled to punitive damages
against the City of Hueytown for the supervisory liability claim (Doc. 10-1, p. 10)
and that Mr. Robinson is not entitled to compensatory damages for any of his
§ 1983 claims. (Doc. 20-1, p. 11). Mr. Robinson has abandoned his claims for
punitive damages against the City, and that claim is due to be dismissed. (Doc. 14,
p. 4, n.1). For the reasons discussed below, the Court rejects the defendants’
argument that Mr. Robinson cannot seek compensatory damages under his § 1983
Under 42 U.S.C. § 1988, the law of the state where a plaintiff brings a civil
rights action applies when federal law is deficient, if the state law is not
inconsistent with federal law.
42 U.S.C. § 1988(a).
“Section 1983 has no
provision for the survival of actions for constitutional violations that result in the
death of the victim,” and therefore state law on damages usually applies to § 1983
claims. See, e.g., Weeks v. Benton, 649 F. Supp. 1297, 1303 (S.D. Ala. 1986). The
Mr. Robinson does not include in his Amended Complaint allegations regarding the hiring of
Officers Rankin and Easterwood. (See Doc. 8). Accordingly, the Court will dismiss Mr.
Robinson’s § 1983 supervisory liability claim to the extent that the claim is based on the hiring
of Officers Rankin and Easterwood. This ruling does not affect the § 1983 supervisory liability
claim asserted in Count II to the extent the claim is based on the City’s and Chief Hagler’s
training and supervision of Officers Rankin and Easterwood.
Supreme Court of Alabama has held that Alabama’s law on damages and survival
actions prevents a decedent’s estate from recovering compensatory damages under
§ 1983 because it precludes survival claims for compensatory damages. Carter v.
City of Birmingham, 444 So. 2d 373, 375 (Ala. 1983). Some federal district courts
in Alabama have used the same reasoning to preclude survival actions for
compensatory damages under § 1983. See, e.g., Brown v. Morgan Cnty. Ala., 518
F. Supp. 661, 665 (N.D. Ala. 1981) (“[T]he court finds that federal law is deficient
with respect to survival, that the Alabama wrongful death act may be adopted by
reference through § 1983, that the policies of the federal civil rights statutes and
the Alabama wrongful death act are not inconsistent, and that the Alabama act
should be adopted in toto.”).
Other courts have held that the Alabama wrongful death statute is
inconsistent with the purposes of § 1983, and while the Eleventh Circuit has not
addressed the matter directly, it has cited favorably the decisions of the district
courts that have allowed survival actions under § 1983 seeking compensatory
damages. As Mr. Robinson correctly points out in his brief, Weeks v. Benton, 649
F. Supp. 1297 (S.D. Ala. 1986), explicitly disagreed with the Supreme Court of
Alabama’s rationale from Carter:
This Court therefore holds that, in actions under § 1983, where the
liability of a municipality, county, or other local governmental entity
is at issue, and where the alleged unconstitutional acts result in the
death of the victim, the Alabama wrongful death act should be applied
only to the extent that the decedent’s action is permitted to survive.
The wrongful death statute should not be held to foreclose the
recovery of compensatory damages against the governmental entity in
question, for such a result would be inconsistent with the policies
underlying § 1983.
Weeks, 649 F. Supp. at 1309. The Eleventh Circuit, though not directly confronted
with the issue of whether Alabama law was inconsistent with § 1983, cited the
Weeks holding favorably in Gilmere v. City of Atlanta, Ga., 864 F.2d 734 (11th
Cir. 1989), noting that:
[t]he Alabama wrongful death statute . . . provides only for assessment
of punitive damages. . . . Because the statute is inconsistent with the
rule that damages in § 1983 actions are to be compensatory, reliance
on the Alabama wrongful death statute would not be proper under
Gilmere, 864 F.2d at 740 n.7 (citing Weeks, 649 F. Supp. at 1297).
More recently, the district court for the Middle District of Alabama reached
the same conclusion, adhering to the Eleventh Circuit’s dicta in Gilmere. Lewis v.
City of Montgomery, N. 2:04-CV-858-WKW, 2006 WL 1761673, at *4 (M.D. Ala.
June 27, 2006) (“The Gilmere and Weeks decisions are persuasive and are due to
be followed. Therefore, [the plaintiff’s] § 1983 claims for compensatory damages
against the City are to remain.”) (internal citations omitted). The Court finds the
reasoning of Lewis persuasive. Therefore, Mr. Robinson’s claim for compensatory
damages will proceed.
E. Wrongful Death Under Alabama Code § 6-5-410 Against Officers
Easterwood and Rankin
In his amended complaint, Mr. Robinson asserts a wrongful death claim
under Alabama law against all defendants based in part on his allegations that the
defendants “wrongfully caused the death of [Calvin] Jr. by […] shooting [him]
when no one was threatened with serious physical harm, and could not have been
reasonably perceived to be in imminent danger; and/or  negligently [shooting]
and kill[ing] [Calvin] Jr.” (Doc. 8, ¶ 27(c) and (d)). In response to the defendants’
motion to dismiss, Mr. Robinson clarified his wrongful death claim, stating that it
is “based only upon the reckless and intentional acts of [Officers] Easterwood and
Rankin.” (Doc. 14, p. 5). Thus, Mr. Robinson concedes that he does not have a
wrongful death claim against the City, Chief Hagler, or the fictitious defendants,
and his wrongful death claim against those defendants is due to be dismissed.3 The
same is not true for Mr. Robinson’s wrongful death claim against Officers Rankin
Officers Rankin and Easterwood argue that Mr. Robinson’s wrongful death
claim against them fails because they are entitled to discretionary function
Mr. Robinson’s wrongful death claim against Fictitious Defendants A – E also fails because
“[a]s a general matter, fictitious-party pleading is not permitted in federal court.” Richardson v.
Johnson, 598 F.3d 734, 738 (11th Cir. 2010) (citing New v. Sports & Recreation, Inc., 114 F.3d
1092, 1094 n.1 (11th Cir. 1997). Defendants argue that the state law claims against the City
must be dismissed because Mr. Robinson failed to join potentially liable parties as defendants.
(Doc. 10-1, p. 15). The defendants’ argument is moot because Mr. Robinson has conceded that
he cannot maintain his wrongful death claim against the City. (Doc. 14, pp. 4-5).
immunity. (Doc. 10-1, pp. 14-15; Doc. 15, pp. 9-11). Alabama law provides
police officers with immunity “from civil liability for conduct performed in ‘any
discretionary function within the line and scope of his or her law enforcement
duties.’” Exford v. City of Montgomery, 887 F.Supp.2d 1210 (M.D. Ala. 2012)
(quoting Ala. Code § 6-5-338(a)). An officer’s discretionary functions include
arrests and attempted arrests. Id. (quoting Telfare v. City of Huntsville, 841 So.2d
1222, 1228 (Ala. 2002)). As a result, Officers Rankin and Easterwood are immune
from Mr. Robinson’s wrongful death claim to the extent the claim is based on
negligence.4 Fowler v. Meeks, 569 Fed. Appx. 705, 708 (11th Cir. 2014) (“[P]olice
officers . . . are generally immune from claims of negligence.”) (citing Ala. Code §
Discretionary function immunity does not apply, however, if the officers
acted willfully, maliciously, or in bad faith. City of Birmingham v. Sutherland, 834
So. 2d 755, 759 (Ala. 2002). Additionally, discretionary immunity does not apply
if the officers used an unreasonable amount of force in attempting to arrest Calvin
Mann v. Darden, 630 F.Supp.2d 1305, 1318 (M.D. Ala.) (“[U]sing an
unreasonable amount of force is not within the discretion of an officer.”) (citing
Franklin v. City of Huntsville, 670 So. 2d 848, 852 (Ala. 1995)).
Mr. Robinson has conceded that his wrongful death claim cannot be based on the negligent acts
of Officers Rankin and Easterwood. (See Doc. 14, p. 5).
Officers Rankin and Easterwood argue that Mr. Robinson’s wrongful death
claim against them must fail because “[t]he only type of conduct specifically
alleged in Count Three is that the Defendants acted ‘negligently’” and because
reckless and intentional acts are not sufficient to defeat the officers’ discretionary
function immunity. (Doc. 10-1, p. 15; Doc. 15, pp. 10-11). The argument is not
persuasive. Mr. Robinson alleges that the officers shot Calvin Jr. “when no one
was threatened with serious physical harm, and could not have been reasonably
perceived to be in imminent danger.” That allegation is sufficient to plausibly
show that the officers used an unreasonable amount of force and acted willfully or
maliciously. (See Doc. 8, ¶ 27(c)). Nothing more is required at this stage in this
case. Therefore, Mr. Robinson’s wrongful death claim against Officers Rankin
and Easterwood in their individual capacity may proceed.5
F. Official Capacity Claims Against Individual Defendants
Mr. Robinson asserts claims against Officers Rankin and Easterwood and
Chief Hagler both individually and in their official capacity. (Doc. 8, ¶¶ 3, 4, 5).
Claims asserted against these defendants in their official capacity are functionally
equivalent to claims asserted against the City, and they are just “another way of
pleading an action against the [City].” Brandon v. Holt, 469 U.S. 464, n. 21
Mr. Robinson’s § 1983 compensatory damages claim and his wrongful death claim under
Alabama law against Officers Easterwood and Rankin may prove to be inconsistent as a matter
of law, such that Mr. Robinson may have to opt to pursue one or the other. The parties have not
briefed the issue, so the Court leaves it for another day.
(1985); Busby v. City of Orlando, 931 F.2d 764, 776 (11th Cir. 1991) (citations
Because claims asserted against individual officers in their official
capacity impose liability on the city they represent, it is redundant to assert claims
against officers in their official capacity along with claims against the city they
represent. See Busby, at 776; Stallworth v. Bibb Cnty., Ala., 2014 WL 3540521, *2
(N.D. Ala. July 16, 2014) (citation omitted). As a result, the Court will dismiss the
claims asserted against Officers Rankin and Easterwood and Chief Hagler in the
officers’ official capacities. See Stallworth, at *2; Holley v. City of Roanoke, Ala.,
162 F.Supp.2d 1335, 1341 n.2, M.D. Ala. 2001) (dismissing §1983 claims against
individual defendants in their official capacity when the plaintiff also sued the city
the individuals represented).
For the reasons discussed above, the Court GRANTS IN PART and
DENIES IN PART the defendants’ motion to dismiss. The Court DISMISSES
WITH PREJUDICE the following claims:
The Fourteenth Amendment claims asserted in Counts I and II;
The § 1983 excessive force claim asserted against the City of
Hueytown in Count I;
The claim for punitive damages asserted against the City of Hueytown
in Count II;
The § 1983 supervisory liability claim asserted against the City of
Hueytown and Chief Hagler in Count II based on the hiring of Officers Rankin and
The wrongful death claims asserted against the City of Hueytown,
Chief Hagler, and Fictitious Defendants A – E in Count III; and
The claims asserted against Officers Rankin and Easterwood and
Chief Hagler in their official capacity.
Mr. Robinson is ORDERED to amend his first amended complaint within
fourteen days to add factual allegations to support his § 1983 training and
supervision claim against the City of Hueytown and Officer Hagler in Count II. If
he does not do so, the Court will deem the claim abandoned. Mr. Robinson’s
remaining claims may proceed forward.
The Court asks the Clerk to please
TERM Doc. 10.
DONE and ORDERED this September 30, 2015.
MADELINE HUGHES HAIKALA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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