Simmons v. Davis et al
ORDER dismissing without prejudice Simmons's individual capacity claims and his negligence claim agains Witt. Simmons's 37 Motion to Amend is granted as modified. Simmons must revise and file an amended complaint by 15 July 2014. Witt 39;s 31 Motion for Summary Judgment is granted in part and denied in part. Simmons's official capacity claims for damages against Witt is dismissed with prejudice. Simmons may seek injunctive relief against Witt in his official capacity as Director. His individual capacity claim against Witt for failure to train or supervise is dismissed without prejudice. His state law claims against Witt are also dismissed without prejudice. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 7/3/2014. (jak)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
PINE BLUFF DIVISION
JAMES W. SIMMONS
REX DAVIS; REUBEN MICHEL;
MARK GOBER, Sheriff; JERRY CLARKE;
ROBERT ROSEGRANT, Chief; DAVID OUTLAW;
STAN WITT, Colonel; HARPER, FNU; JOHN
KIDWELL, Director, all individually and in their
official capacities; DREW COUNTY; and
CITY OF MONTICELLO
James Simmons has sued Stan Witt, the current Director of the Arkansas
State Police, in his individual and official capacities for failure to train and
supervise Defendant David Outlaw, an Arkansas State Police trooper.
Simmons says that Outlaw used excessive force against him during an arrest
and failed to intervene when other officers used excessive force too. Witt
moves for summary judgment. He says Simmons's official-capacity claims
and state-law claims fail as a matter of law. He also argues Simmons's
individual-capacity claims fail because Witt was not responsible for training
and supervising Outlaw at the time of the arrest.
1. § 1983 claims. Sovereign immunity bars Simmons's official-capacity
claims for damages against Witt. Damages may not be recovered against the
State through its officers, absent waiver or abrogation of sovereign immunity;
and none has occurred here. Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159,165-66 (1985);
Florida Department of Health & Rehabilitative Services v. Florida Nursing Home
Ass'n.,450 U.S. 147, 149-50 (1981)(per curiam). Non-monetary injunctive relief
is possible. Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 663-69 (1974). In his proposed
amended complaint, Simmons seeks prospective injunctive relief against all
NQ 37-1 at 1-2. The Court liberally construes this request;
Simmons may proceed with a claim for an injunction requiring Witt, as the
current Director, to train or supervise Arkansas State Police troopers in some
particular way in the future.
Simmons also seeks to hold Witt liable for Outlaw's actions under a
theory of supervisory liability. But Simmons now acknowledges that Witt
was not Outlaw's supervisor at the time of the arrest. NQ 36 at 2; NQ 37-1 at 5,
18-19. Witt was a fleet operations manager then. He became Director of the
Arkansas State Police in August 2012. NQ 36 at 1. Simmons's individualcapacity claims against Witt must be dismissed without prejudice.
State-law claims. Simmons has not pleaded sufficient facts to
support a negligence claim against Witt. As fleet operations manager, Witt
was not responsible for training or supervising Outlaw; and nothing suggests
Witt caused Simmons's injuries. NQ 36 at 2. Even had Simmons pleaded
sufficient facts here, Witt is immune from liability unless his actions were
either malicious or covered by liability insurance. ARK. CODE. ANN.§ 19-10305(a). Simmons hasn't pleaded either exception. His negligence claims
against Witt must be dismissed without prejudice.
3. Motion to amend. Simmons's motion to amend, NQ 3 7, is granted as
modified. The proposed amended complaint does not conform to the Court's
earlier Order, NQ 29. Simmons must revise his pleading. He must:
remove Harper's name from the list of defendants in Count VII;
this Court dismissed Simmons's due process claim against Harper
in its earlier Order; and
replace Arkansas State Police with Stan Witt in Count VI; State
officials, but not State institutions, may be sued for prospective
injunctive relief under§ 1983. Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police,
491 U.S. 58, 71 n.10; Murphy v. State of Arkansas, 127 F.3d 750, 754
(8th Cir. 1997).
Revised amended complaint due by 15 July 2014.
* * *
Witt's motion for summary judgment, NQ 31, granted in part and denied
Simmons's official-capacity claim for damages against Witt is
dismissed with prejudice. Simmons may seek injunctive relief against Witt in
his official capacity as Director. His individual-capacity claim against Witt for
failure to train or supervise is dismissed without prejudice. His state-law
claims against Witt are dismissed without prejudice.
D.P. Marshall Jr.
United States District Judge
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