Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

JL v. Mitchell

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division

September 1, 2016

JL,
v.
INDIA WILEA MITCHELL, et al. Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          Gerald Bruce Lee United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendant County of Loudoun's ("the County") Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 11) and Defendants Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, India Wilea Mitchell, and Paul John Solo's Motion to Dismiss ("MWAA") (Doc. 14). A hearing on these motions was held on August 12, 2016. In the present action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Plaintiff J.L., pro se, alleges violations of his constitutional rights arising from the failure of Defendants to arrest or prosecute an assailant who allegedly committed a sexual battery against Plaintiff at Dulles Airport. The issue before the Court is whether Plaintiffs claims that Defendants violated his constitutional or other rights survive scrutiny under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. The Court GRANTS Defendant County of Loudoun's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 11) and GRANTS Defendants Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, India Wilea Mitchell, and Paul John Solo's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 14), because Plaintiff does not have a legally cognizable right to compel government officials to arrest or prosecute another person; thus, Defendants claim arising from the failure to arrest and prosecute the alleged assailant in the present case does not set forth a claim for which relief can be granted. In addition, the Court GRANTS the motion because Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity because there are no clearly established constitutional rights violated and because Plaintiff fails to plead the existence of an official custom or policy that deprives him of the rights claimed. Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motions to dismiss (Docs. 11, 14), and Plaintiffs claim is DISMISSED with prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case arises from an an incident in which Plaintiff was allegedly subjected to an "aggravated sexual battery" by a Transportation Security Administration ("TS A") employee during a pat down at a security checkpoint at Washington Dulles Internationa] Airport on March 10, 2016. As a result of Plaintiffs allegation, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police India Wilea Mitchell ("Mitchell") and Paul John Solo ("Solo") responded to the scene. After conducting an investigation, the Officers Mitchell and Solo concluded no crime had been committed and did not arrest the alleged assailant. At some point during the incident Plaintiff made a citizen's arrest on the TSA agent and either demanded or requested Defendants take the TS A agent into custody, a request they declined. Plaintiff pressed his complaint with MWAA officers and management, as well as the Loudoun County Magistrate office, and Loudoun County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, seeking the accused to be remanded to MWAA police custody and for a hearing to be conducted with a Magistrate for probable cause. Defendants refused PlainthTs request, and no criminal charges were brought against the individual accused by Plaintiff.

         On May 26, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Complaint (Doc. 1) in this Court against Defendants MWAA, the County of Loudoun, Mitchell, and Solo, alleging a violation of his rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges that the decisions of MWAA police not to arrest the individual, of a Magistrate for not issuing a summons, and of attorneys in the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney not prosecute the individual, violated his constitutional rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. The Complaint alleges that "officials" of the County of Loudoun committed acts under the color of state law, with deliberate indifference and recklessness, to deny his statutory rights of prosecution of criminal behavior and that all Defendants "poisoned the well" to make prosecution of the alleged perpetrator of the sexual battery difficult or impossible. Complaint, *I 4. Plaintiff alleges that "all defendants had a role in hindering or blocking petitioner from exercising his rights to request and pursue criminal prosecution under the law." Id., ¶ 6. Plaintiff further claims "deliberate actions attributable to the municipality" that led to violations of Plaintiffs "rights of prosecution." Id., ¶ 7. Plaintiff alleges "Loudon County act[ed] in their official capacities" and refers to Defendants' "affirmative actions, " but fails to specify any County official or what actions were taken by an official of the County. Id., ¶ 8. No officials or employees of the County are named in the Complaint. Plaintiff further complains of prosecutors refusal to "accept criminal complaints, or to investigate them, " as well as acts by MWAA officers and Magistrates in Loudoun County that violated his constitutional rights. Id., ¶ 9-10.

         On June 13, 2016, the County of Loudoun filed a Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) (Doc. 11), and on June 22, 2016, Defendants Mitchell, Solo, and MWAA also filed a Motion to Dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). (Doc. 14). Plaintiff subsequently filed an Amended Complaint on July 14, 2016. (Doc. 53). On July 26, 2016, the Court issued an Order (Doc. 79) granting Plaintiffs Motion to Amend (Doc. 51) and stated that Defendants' Motions to Dismiss that were previously filed are deemed responsive pleadings for the Amended Complaint. Defendants' Motions to Dismiss are now properly before the Court.

         II. discussion

         A. Standard of Review

         A motion to dismiss a complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) should be granted unless the complaint "states a plausible claim for relief under Rule 8(a). Walters v. McMahen, 684 F.3d 435, 439 (4th Cir. 2012) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009)). In considering a rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court "must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint, " drawing "all reasonable inferences" in the plaintiffs favor. E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. v. Kolon Indus., Inc., 637 F.3d 435, 440 (4th Cir. 2011) (citations omitted). No such assumption of truth is afforded to those "naked assertions" and "unadorned conclusory allegations" devoid of "factual enhancement." Vitol, S.A. v. Primerose Shipping Co., 708 F.3d 527, 543 (4th Cir. 2013) (citations omitted). Nor is the court obligated to assume the veracity of the legal conclusions drawn from the facts alleged. Adcock v. Freightliner LLC, 550 F.3d 369, 374 (4th Cir. 2008) (citing Dist. 28, United Mine Workers of Am., Inc. v. Wellmore Coal Corp., 609 F.2d 1083, 1085-86 (4th Cir. 1979)). Thus, the court's review involves the separation of factual allegations from legal conclusions. Burnette v. Fahey, 698 F.3d 171, 180 (4th Cir. 2012).

         The complaint must contain sufficient factual allegations, taken as true, "to raise a right to relief above the speculative level" and "nudge [the] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible." Vitol, 708 F.3d at 543 (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007)). The facial plausibility standard requires pleading of "factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Clatterbuck v. City of Charlottesville, 708 F.3d 549, 554 (4th Cir. 2013) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). The plausibility requirement imposes not a probability requirement but rather a mandate that a plaintiff "demonstrate more than 'a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.'" Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir. 2009) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Accordingly, a complaint is insufficient if it relies upon "naked assertions" and "unadorned conclusory allegations" devoid of "factual enhancement." Id. (citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 and Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). The complaint must present '"enough fact to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence' of the alleged activity." US Airline Pilots Ass'n v. Awappa, LLC, 615 F.3d 312, 317 (4th Cir. 2010) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Thus, in order to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the complaint must present sufficient non-conclusory factual allegations to support reasonable inferences of the plaintiffs entitlement to relief and the defendant's liability for the unlawful act or omission alleged. See Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 196-97 (4th Cir. 2009) (citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79 and Gooden v. Howard Cnty., Md, 954 F.2d 960, 969-70 (4th Cir. 1992) (en banc)).

         "A pleading that offers Mabels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action[, ]'" or '"naked assertions' devoid of' further factual enhancement'" will not suffice. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557) (internal quotation marks omitted). Thus, the court "need not assume the veracity of 'bare legal conclusions.'" Burnette, 687 F.3d at 180 (citing Aziz v. Alcolac, Inc., 658 F.3d 388, 391 (4th Cir. 2011)). Thus, in order to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the complaint must present sufficient non-conclusory factual allegations to support reasonable inferences of the plaintiffs entitlement to relief and the defendant's liability for the unlawful act or omission alleged. See Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 196-97 (4th Cir. 2009) (citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; Gooden v. Howard Cnty., Md, 954 F.2d 960, 969-70 (4th Cir. 1992) (en banc)).

         A court must construe a pro se pleading liberally. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976).

         B. Analysis

         The Court GRANTS Defendant County of Loudoun's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 11) and GRANTS Defendants Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, India Wilea Mitchell, and Paul John Solo's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 14), because Plaintiff does not have a legally cognizable right to compel government officials to arrest or prosecute another person; thus, Plaintiffs claim arising from the failure to arrest and prosecute the alleged assailant in the present case does not set forth a claim for which relief can be granted. Additionally, the Court GRANTS the motions because Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity as there are no ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.