Idlebird v. Dean et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION regarding plaintiff's complaint. Signed by Judge Thad Heartfield on 8/16/2011. (bjc)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
HAROLD DAVID IDLEBIRD
BEAUMONT POLICE DEPARTMENT
CIVIL ACTION NO. 1:08cv353
Plaintiff Harold David Idlebird, proceeding pro se, brings
this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Beaumont
Plaintiff alleges that in February, 2007, four police
officers came to his residence.
He states that as he approached
the house, they tackled him and took him to the ground.
then used pepper spray.
Standard of Review
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, a district court must dismiss
a complaint if it determines the complaint is frivolous,
malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
A complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a
claim if the plaintiff fails to plead “enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atlantic v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007).
Plaintiff has named the Beaumont Police Department as the
defendant in this lawsuit.
The Beaumont Police Department is not
a legal entity amenable to suit.
See Alcala v. Dallas County
Sheriff's Department, No. 92-1853 (5th Cir. March 12, 1993)
(unpublished); Darby v. Pasadena Police Department, 939 F.2d 311
(5th Cir. 1991).
However, given that plaintiff is proceeding pro
se and that his pleadings are to be construed liberally, plaintiff's claim against the Beaumont Police Department will be
construed as a claim against the City of Beaumont. See Alcala,
supra; Darby, supra.
A governmental unit cannot be held liable for the acts of
its employees solely on a theory of respondeat superior.
v. City of Cincinnati, 475 U.S. 469 (1986); City of Oklahoma City
v. Tuttle, 471 U.S. 808 (1985); Monell v. Department of Social
Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1986).
A municipality can be found
liable under Section 1983 only for a deprivation of a federally
protected constitutional or statutory right that is inflicted
pursuant to "official policy or custom."
Monell, 436 U.S. at
An official custom or policy is defined as:
policy statement, ordinance, regulation or decision that is
officially adopted and promulgated by the municipality's lawmaking officers or by an official to whom the lawmakers has delegated policy making authority or (2) a persistent widespread
practice of city officials or employees which, although not
authorized by officially adopted and promulgated policy, is so
common and well settled as to constitute a custom that fairly
represents municipal policy. Palmer v. City of San Antonio,
Texas, 810 F.2d 514 (5th Cir. 1987).
Actual or constructive knowledge of such custom must be
attributable to the governing body of the municipality or to an
individual to whom that body has delegated policy-making authority.
Actions of officers or employees of a municipality do not
render the municipality liable under Section 1983 unless they
execute official policy as defined above.
Plaintiff does not allege that when the police officers came
to his house and used force against him, they were acting pursuant to a municipal custom, policy or practice.
the Beaumont Police Department and the City of Beaumont cannot be
held liable for the alleged actions of its police officers.
Plaintiff’s complaint therefore fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted.
For the reasons set forth above, this lawsuit will be
dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be
An appropriate final judgment shall be entered.
SIGNED this the 16 day of August, 2011.
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?