United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Charlottesville Division
STEVEN E. CLEM, Plaintiff,
SCOTT H. JENKINS, individually and in his official capacity as Sheriff of Culpeper County, Virginia, et al, Defendant.
Glen E. Conrad, Senior United States District Judge
instant action, which was removed from the Circuit Court of
Culpeper County, Steven Clem asserts claims under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 and Virginia law against Scott Jenkins, Mason
Mays, Brent Coffey, Charles Burgoon, James Fox, the
Commonwealth of Virginia, and four unknown
defendants. The case is presently before the court on
motions to dismiss filed by Jenkins, Mays, Coffey, Fox, and
the Commonwealth. For the reasons that follow, the
plaintiffs claims under § 1983 will be dismissed without
prejudice pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). The court will decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over the state law claims at this time, dismiss
those claims without prejudice, and permit the plaintiff to
file an amended complaint.
following factual allegations, taken from the plaintiffs
complaint, are accepted as true for purposes of the pending
motions. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007) ("[W]hen ruling on a defendant's motion to
dismiss, a judge must accept as true all of the factual
allegations contained in the complaint.").
employed by the Sheriff of Spottsylvania County. On June 23,
2016, he and Timothy Chilton, a police officer for the Town
of Culpeper, visited two vineyards with their respective
girlfriends. Over the course of the afternoon, Clem
"consumed two small glasses of wine." Compl. ¶
13, Dkt. No. 1-1.
group left the vineyards in separate vehicles driven by Clem
and Chilton. At approximately 5:43 p.m., while driving
westbound on Virginia Route 3 in Culpeper County, Chilton
pulled over onto the shoulder of the road, and Clem followed
behind him. Chilton's girlfriend got into the back of
Clem's vehicle, so that Chilton could drive straight to
work. "Soon thereafter, Clem drove his car onto the
roadway in front of [a] sheriffs car driven by [Charles]
Burgoon." Id. ¶ 16.
alleges that Burgoon, who was then employed as a Culpeper
County Sheriffs deputy, mistakenly believed that Clem had
driven off the roadway when, in fact, he had reentered the
traffic lane from a parked position. Perceiving Clem's
driving to be erratic, Burgoon initiated a traffic stop. Clem
pulled over immediately in a nearby parking lot.
approaching Clem's vehicle, Burgoon "detected an
odor of alcohol in [the] vehicle," and indicated that he
"suspected that Clem was driving while under the
influence of alcohol." Id. ¶ 18. During
his interactions with Clem, Burgoon discovered that
Chilton's girlfriend was in the vehicle. Burgoon then
called for assistance from the Virginia State Police,
purportedly because he was aware of the "political
rivalry" between Chilton and Scott Jenkins, the Sheriff
of Culpeper County. Id. ¶ 20. While Burgoon was
waiting for assistance, James Fox and four other unknown
deputies appeared on the scene. Id. ¶ 21.
Mays, a Virginia State Police trooper, subsequently arrived
at approximately 5:55 p.m. and "conferred with
Burgoon." Id. ¶ 24. Unlike Burgoon, Mays
"claimed to detect a strong odor of alcohol [emitting]
from Clem's person," rather than the vehicle itself.
Id. ¶ 27. Mays directed Clem to "blow into
a portable breath test machine." Id. ¶ 28.
Prior to doing so, "Mays did not read the implied
consent law" to the plaintiff. Id. Clem, who
was using smokeless tobacco at the time, "asked Mays to
wait ten minutes to allow the residual mouth alcohol to
dissipate, but Mays refused." Id. After the
portable breath test "purportedly registered a breath
alcohol content of 0.111 percent," Mays placed Clem
under arrest for driving under the influence. Id.
¶¶ 29, 33.
then transported Clem to the Culpeper Police Department for
the performance of an "evidentiary breath test."
Id. ¶ 37. Clem alleges that his smokeless
tobacco rendered the results of the portable breath test
invalid, and that he "repeatedly stated his desire to
take the [evidentiary] breath test in order to prove that he
was sober." Id. ¶¶ 36, 39. Mays began
administering the evidentiary breath test at approximately
7:25 p.m. Although Clem was "cooperative," Mays
"abruptly aborted the breath test before completing
it" and advised dispatch that he was going to transport
Clem to the hospital for a blood test. Id.
¶¶ 40, 43.
en route to the hospital, "Mays received a telephone
call and then abruptly changed course and drove to the
magistrate's office instead of the hospital."
Id. ¶ 47. Burgoon was waiting at the
magistrate's office when Mays arrived with Clem.
"Mays and Burgoon sought and obtained a misdemeanor DUI
warrant against Clem." Id. ¶ 49. Mays also
"sought and obtained a civil refusal summons against
Clem on the basis of the false claim that Clem had given an
insufficient breath sample" during the administration of
the evidentiary breath test. Id. ¶ 50. Both the
DUI charge and the civil refusal summons were ultimately
dismissed on October 4, 2016. Id. ¶ 53.
4, 2018, Clem filed the instant action in state court against
Jenkins, Mays, Burgoon, Coffey, Fox, Culpeper County, the
Commonwealth of Virginia, and four unknown defendants. The
complaint includes the following claims: false arrest (Count
One); battery (Count Two); false imprisonment (Count Three);
civil conspiracy (Count Four); violation of Fourth Amendment
rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count Five); malicious
prosecution (Count Six); and gross negligence (Count
27, 2018, the state court granted Culpeper County's
demurrer. The action was then removed to this court on the
basis of federal question jurisdiction. Jenkins, Mays,
Coffey, Fox, and the Commonwealth of Virginia have since
moved to dismiss the complaint under Rule 12(b)(6). In his
written response to the defendants' motions, Clem
acknowledged that the complaint presently contains
insufficient factual allegations to state a claim against
Fox, Coffey, or the Commonwealth, and he requested that the
claims against these defendants be dismissed without
prejudice. Clem likewise acknowledged that his current