ROSENBLOOM v. MORGAN et al
ORDER denying 140 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. Signed by JUDGE RICHARD SMOAK on 12/12/2014. (jcw)
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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
CASE NO. 3:13-cv-160-RS-CJK
DAVID MORGAN in his official capacity as
ESCAMBIA COUNTY SHERIFF; and
SHERIFF’S DEPUTIES, JEREMY CASSADY,
SAM PARKER, CHAD BROWN and MELONY
Before me are Defendants’ Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Doc.
140), and Plaintiff’s Response in Opposition to Defendants’ Motion for Judgment
on the Pleadings (Doc. 145).
Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c), a party may move for judgment on the pleadings
after the pleadings are closed but early enough not to delay trial. Judgment on the
pleadings is appropriate where there are no material facts in dispute and the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Douglas Asphalt Co. v.
Oore, Inc., 541 F.3d 1269 (11th Cir.2008) (citing Cannon v. City of West Palm
Beach, 250 F.3d 1299, 1301 (11th Cir.2001)). The facts as alleged in the complaint
are accepted as true and viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving
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party. Id. Judgment may be rendered by considering the substance of the pleadings
and any judicially noticed facts. Horsley v. Rivera, 292 F.3d 695,700 (11th
Cir.2002) (citing Hawthorne v. Mac Adjustment, Inc., 140 F.3d 1367, 1370 (11th
In Defendants’ motion (Doc. 140), Defendants argue that Defendant
Morgan, in his official capacity, is entitled to judgment on the pleadings pursuant
to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure because the Defendant
Deputies are entitled to qualified immunity. However, qualified immunity does not
shield an official sued in his or her official capacity. See Johnson v. City of Shelby,
Miss., 135 S. Ct. 346, 347 (Nov. 10, 2014); Brandon v. Holt, 469 U.S. 464, 472
(1985); Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 166-167 (1985); Mitchell v. Forsyth,
471 U.S. 511, 556 n.10 (1985); Owen v. City of Independence, 445 U.S. 622, 638
(1980); Lundgren v. McDaniel, 814 So. 2d 600, 604 (11th Cir. 1987).
In the August 13, 2013, Order dismissing the federal claims against the
Defendant Deputies, I found that although Plaintiff had sufficiently alleged facts
that she was unreasonably seized and that the Defendants’ actions shocked the
conscience, Defendant Deputies were entitled to qualified immunity. For a plaintiff
to successfully plead a § 1983 claim against an official or governmental entity
under a Monell claim, the plaintiff need only plead that the official or entity “under
color of some official policy, ‘causes’ an employee to violate another [person’s]
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constitutional rights.” Monell v. Dept. of Social Services of New York City, 436
U.S. 658, 692 (1978). Plaintiff has sufficiently pled that her constitutional rights
were violated. Therefore, judgment on the pleadings is inappropriate in this case.
Because the qualified immunity defense is not available to Morgan in his
official capacity, allegations of a constitutional rights violation, not clear
violations, are sufficient to proceed against him. Accordingly, the relief requested
in Defendants’ Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Doc. 140) is DENIED.
ORDERED on December 12, 2014.
/s/ Richard Smoak
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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