United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
GREGORY K. FRIZZELL, JUDGE.
matter comes before the court on the Motion to Dismiss [Doc.
#10');">10');">10');">10] of defendants Kevin Lanham and Chris Leamon. For the
reasons discussed herein, the motion is granted.
Mike Denton was employed by the City of Owasso Police
Department as a police officer. On June 14, 2015, while on
duty, Denton participated in the pursuit, and eventual
arrest, of Cody Mathews, who was driving a stolen vehicle.
The pursuit ended in Nowata County, where Mathews was
October 2, 2015, the Nowata County District Attorney's
Office charged Denton with one count of assault and battery
with a deadly weapon and one count of reckless conduct with a
firearm related to Denton's conduct during the June 14
arrest of Mathews. On March 8, 2016, Denton was acquitted of
both charges.[1" name="FN1" id=
18, 2017, Denton initiated this lawsuit against Scott
Chambless, the Police Chief of the Owasso Police Department;
the City of Owasso; Chris Leamon, an agent of the Oklahoma
State Bureau of Investigation (“OSBI”); and Kevin
Lanham, an OSBI agent. [Doc. #1].
alleges that Leamon and Lanham conducted the OSBI's
investigation of Denton's conduct during the arrest of
Mathews, which included interviewing several witnesses. [Doc.
#1, p. 11 ¶ 70].
with respect to Leamon, Denton alleges that, during
Leamon's interview with Nowata County Police Officer
Cheyenne Lee, officer Lee stated as follows:
• “I told him [him being Denton], after the video,
good job with the shotgun, cause when he was poking him
[Mathews], he wasn't reaching for the knife.”
• “I told him. [sic] [him being Denton] I said
that I was worried that he [Mathews] was going to pick up
that knife and we were going to have to kill him in the
• That he feared that one of the police officers at the
scene would “reach in and get stuck.” (That is,
stuck with Mathews' knife).
#1, p. 11 ¶ 72]. However, Denton alleges that these
statements were not included in a written report entitled
“Interview of Cheyenne Lee, ” which became
“part of the larger report that was submitted to the
Nowata County District Attorney's Office” before
charges were filed against Denton. [Id., p. 12');">12
¶ 73]. Denton alleges that Leamon's report omitted
these statements to intentionally give the false impression
that Denton's conduct was criminal. [Id., p. 12');">12
with respect to Lanham, Denton alleges that Lanham
interviewed CLEET instructor Shannon Butler, but did not
inform Butler that Mathews was armed with a knife and had
been driving into oncoming lanes of highway traffic at speeds
exceeding ninety miles per hour. Denton asserts that Lanham
“withheld the totality of circumstances” from
Butler in order to secure from him an unfavorable opinion of
Denton. [Id., p. 12');">12 ¶¶ 76-77]. Denton also
alleges that Lanham signed the Probable Cause Affidavit filed
by the State of Oklahoma in the criminal case against Denton.
[Id., p. 12');">12 ¶ 79].
on these allegations, Denton asserts a section 1983 malicious
prosecution claim against the OSBI agents for violation of
his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. [Id., p.
13]. Leamon and Lanham have moved to dismiss Denton's
claim against them pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12');">12(b)(6).
considering a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12');">12(b)(6),
a court must determine whether the plaintiff has stated a
claim upon which relief can be granted. A complaint must
contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The plausibility
requirement “does not impose a probability requirement
at the pleading stage; it simply calls for enough fact to
raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal
evidence” of the conduct necessary to make out the
claim. Id. at 556. “[A] plaintiff's
obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to
relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Id. at 555 (quotations omitted).
The court “must determine whether the complaint
sufficiently alleges facts supporting all the elements
necessary to establish an entitlement to relief under the
legal theory proposed.” Lane v. Simon, 495
F.3d 1182, 1186 (10');">10');">10');">10th Cir. 2007) (quoting Forest
Guardians v. Forsgren, 1149');">478 F.3d 1149, 1160 (10');">10');">10');">10th Cir.
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the federal statute that authorizes
a civil action for deprivation of civil rights,
“[e]very person who, under color of any statute,
ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or
Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to
be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other
person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of
any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the
Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured
in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper
proceeding for redress . . . .” Section 1983
“‘is not itself a source of substantive rights,
but a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere
conferred.'” Margheim v. Buljko, 855 F.3d
10');">10');">10');">1077, 10');">10');">10');">1084 (10');">10');">10');">10th Cir. 2017) (quoting Baker v.
McCollan, 137');">443 U.S. 137, 144 n. 3 (1979)).
“Accordingly, ‘[t]he first inquiry in any §
1983 suit . . . is whether the plaintiff has been deprived of
a right secured by the Constitution and laws.'”
Id. (quoting Baker, 443 U.S. at 140).
alleges that Leamon and Lanham are liable under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 for violating his Fourteenth Amendment right to
be free from malicious prosecution. [Doc. #1, p. 2 ¶ 6].
Leamon and Lanham seek dismissal of Denton's Fourteenth
Amendment claim because Denton has an ...