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Crutchfield v. Nash

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Danville Division

March 19, 2015

THEODORE F. CRUTCHFIELD, Plaintiff,
v.
JOSH D. NASH, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

JACKSON L. KISER, Senior District Judge.

Plaintiff Theodore F. Crutchfield ("Plaintiff") filed a pro se Complaint in this Court on November 14, 2014. Before me now is Defendant Deputy Josh D. Nash's Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) ("Motion"). (See Mot. to Dismiss, Jan. 20, 2015 [ECF No. 6].) I have reviewed the pleadings, the arguments of the parties, and the applicable law; the matter is now ripe for disposition. For the reasons stated herein, I will grant Defendant's Motion and dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint.

I. STATEMENT OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND[1]

On June 1, 2014, at approximately 2:15 a.m., Plaintiff Theodore F. Crutchfield ("Plaintiff') was driving home through Martinsville, VA. (See Compl. pg. 1 [ECF No. 3].) Defendant Deputy Josh D. Nash of the Henry County Sheriff's Office ("Defendant") observed Plaintiff driving erratically and, after following him for a short time, initiated a traffic stop. (See Compl. Ex. A (dash-cam video of traffic stop).)[2] Plaintiff asserts that, while Defendant followed Plaintiff, Defendant "had blinding super white light on [D]efendants [sic] vehicle, " and the Defendant followed Plaintiff "for 8 miles" while "play[ing] cat and mouse games...." (Compl. pg. 1.) The video provided by Plaintiff, however, appears to contradict these claims. When the video begins, Defendant follows Plaintiff for approximately two minutes before he activates his lights. Plaintiff was driving erratically, stopped suddenly without warning, changed lanes without signaling, swerved onto the shoulder, and accelerated erratically. (See Compl. Ex. A.)

Once Defendant pulled Plaintiff over, he quickly ascertained that Plaintiff was not drunk. Plaintiff, however, was belligerent and combative, and accused Plaintiff of harassing him instead of finding the man who stabbed his son. Defendant inquired whether Plaintiff was diabetic; Plaintiff confirmed that he was. Defendant radioed his dispatcher and requested Emergency Medical Services ("EMS") respond to his location to test Plaintiff's blood sugar. Defendant stated to the dispatcher that he did not believe Plaintiff was drunk and he did not smell any alcohol, but he thought he smelled the "fruity smell" that occasionally accompanies a diabetic when his sugar levels are off.[3] Defendant then stated to Plaintiff:

You're not in any type of trouble, but just to make me feel better and make sure you're okay to drive, rescue is gonna.... they're gonna do a sugar check on you, okay? Cause I would feel absolutely horrible if you went up the road and had a crash, okay?

(Compl. Ex. A.) Plaintiff protested that his blood sugar was fine, he was simply tired, that his driving was a result of Defendant playing games and shining lights in his eyes, and that Defendant was harassing him.[4]

When EMS responded to the scene, Defendant stated that Plaintiff was not drunk but that something "was not right." (Id.) The Emergency Medical Technician ("EMT") asked Plaintiff if she could check his sugar, and Plaintiff refused. He stated that his glucose was fine. Defendant informed Plaintiff that he had two options. Either he could let the EMTs check his blood sugar level, or Defendant would take him to the hospital to have it checked. Plaintiff eventually consented to the blood glucose check on the condition that he perform the needle stick himself. In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges he "told Defendant and EMTs Don't put alcohol on me I'm allergic and it will make a knot on me.' It blistered." (Compl. pg. 2.) The dash-cam video attached to Plaintiff's Complaint completely contradicts Plaintiff's allegations. According to the dash-cam video, Plaintiff never protested the application of alcohol; in fact, he insisted on some form of antiseptic before his blood was drawn. (See Compl. Ex. A.) When provided with an alcohol swab, Plaintiff applied it to his own skin. (See id.) It was only after the EMT volunteered the alcohol to "clean [him] off" that Plaintiff cooperated. (Id.) Thereafter Plaintiff performed the needle stick and, with some assistance from the EMT, provided blood for the glucose check. (See id.)

After the glucose test was completed, Defendant asked Plaintiff what his blood sugar normally runs. Plaintiff responded, "100." (Id.) Defendant then informed him that the glucose meter read his blood sugar level as 225. (Id.) Plaintiff told Defendant he had been drinking coffee and eating doughnuts. Defendant inquired if there was anyone who could come pick him up; Plaintiff said no. Defendant offered to drive Plaintiff home if he would leave his car in a nearby parking lot; Plaintiff refused. After more discussion-during which Plaintiff continued to be uncooperative and accuse Defendant of shining lights in his car, harassing him, and "playing games"-Defendant eventually agreed to follow Plaintiff to his home to ensure that he arrived safely without hurting either himself or another driver. (See id.) Plaintiff drove off, Defendant followed him, and Plaintiff made it safely home. (See id.) The entire roadside encounter lasted approximately twenty (20) minutes.[5]

Following the stop, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant contacted the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles ("DMV") which "cause[d] the DMV to take action and punish the plaintiff suspending the plaintiff's driver [sic] license without Due Process of Law no tickets issued no judgment entered by court of law Henry County attorneys had no knowledge of the defendants [sic] actions." (Compl. pg. 3.) According to other exhibits attached to the Complaint, Defendant requested the DMV conduct a medical review of Plaintiff pursuant to Va. Code Ann. § 46.2-322. According to DMV, "Deputy Nash informed DMV that he was concerned that [Plaintiff's] high blood sugar level, which was taken at the scene of the traffic stop by EMS, may have been the cause of [his] erratic driving." (Compl. Ex. F.)

Plaintiff filed suit in this Court on November 14, 2014, alleging that Defendant violated his constitutional rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. After being served with a summons, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) on January 20, 2015. [ECF No. 6.] Plaintiff was served with a Roseboro notice. Instead of filing a brief in opposition, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Proceed on January 30, 2015 [ECF No. 16], which I construe as a brief in opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. The parties argued their positions in open court on March 2, 2015.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. In determining facial plausibility, the court must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true. Id . The Complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief" and sufficient "[f]actual allegations... to raise a right to relief above the speculative level...." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal quotation marks omitted). Therefore, the Complaint must "allege facts sufficient to state all the elements of [the] claim." Bass v. E.I. Dupont de Nemours & Co., 324 F.3d 761, 765 (4th Cir. 2003). ...


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