United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
TIMOTHY D. DeGIUSTI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are motions to dismiss filed by Defendants the
Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office [Doc. No. 10] and the
Board of County of Commissioners of Oklahoma County (BOCC or
the Board) [Doc. No. 11]. Plaintiff has filed his response in
opposition [Doc. No. 13]. The matter is fully briefed and at
November 2007, Plaintiff was ticketed for a traffic violation
of following too closely. He failed to appear for his
scheduled court date and a bench warrant was issued for his
arrest. Plaintiff subsequently moved to New Mexico in 2008,
where he remained for approximately seven years. In September
2015, Plaintiff returned to Oklahoma. On December 9, 2015,
police officers appeared at Plaintiff's house and
informed him there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest.
Plaintiff was arrested and transported to the Oklahoma County
Detention Center (OCDC).
to the Amended Complaint [Doc. No. 7],  Plaintiff was
booked the day of December 9, 2015 and not released from
custody until March 17, 2016. See Amend. Compl.
¶ 9. Plaintiff alleges that, on an almost daily basis,
he requested information about his case and informed the
jailers that he had not seen a judge. Id. ¶ 10.
Despite the jailers' assurances to check on the matter,
Plaintiff states he remained incarcerated for several months.
Id. Plaintiff was not given the opportunity to post
bail and his son's attempts in that regard were also
unsuccessful. Id. ¶ 11. On January 22, 2016,
Plaintiff's son paid all outstanding fees and costs
Plaintiff owed on the traffic violation and bench warrant,
yet Plaintiff remained in custody. Id. ¶ 12. On
March 7, 2016, Plaintiff was transported to Cleveland County
District Court to appear for alleged violations of several
Victim's Protective Orders. He was subsequently released
on own recognizance bonds and back into the custody of the
Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office; the charges were later
dismissed. Id. ¶ 13. On March 17, 2016,
Plaintiff appeared before an Oklahoma County judge on the
aforementioned bench warrant, who then ordered his release.
Id. ¶ 14.
alleges his confinement violated his due process rights under
the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Amend. Compl. ¶ 21.Specifically, Plaintiff alleges
Defendants were aware of overcrowding issues at the OCDC and
the County maintained a policy, practice or custom of
“overdetention, ” i.e., imprisoning someone for
longer than legally authorized. Id. ¶¶
23-24. Plaintiff alleges Defendant Whetsel either created,
implemented, or had responsibility for the alleged
overdetention policy, and he and the County participated in
overdetention with deliberate indifference to how such
unconstitutional practice would negatively affect Plaintiff
and others similarly situated. Id. ¶¶
25-27. Moreover, Plaintiff alleges the BOCC failed to correct
the overcrowding/overdetention issues, and the County and
Whetsel, pursuant to custom or policy, failed to adequately
instruct, supervise, control, and train police officers to
ensure citizens were not unlawfully detained. Id.
¶¶ 28-32. Plaintiff's claims arise under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 via the Fourteenth Amendment.
Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office moves to dismiss the
Complaint on the grounds it is neither a political
subdivision of the State nor a legal entity capable of being
sued. The BOCC moves to dismiss the Complaint on the grounds
that: (1) the BOCC has no express authority to act in areas
of detaining or releasing inmates, and Plaintiff therefore
lacks standing to bring claims against the BOCC, and (2)
Plaintiff's Complaint fails to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.
to the seminal decisions of Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) and Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), to survive a motion to
dismiss, a complaint must contain enough allegations of fact,
taken as true, “to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Khalik v. United Air
Lines, 671 F.3d 1188, 1190 (10th Cir. 2012) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). Under this standard,
“the mere metaphysical possibility that some
plaintiff could prove some set of facts in support
of the pleaded claims is insufficient; the complaint must
give the court reason to believe that this plaintiff
has a reasonable likelihood of mustering factual support for
these claims.” Robbins v. Oklahoma,
519 F.3d 1242, 1247 (10th Cir. 2008) (quoting Ridge at
Red Hawk, L.L.C. v. Schneider, 493 F.3d 1174, 1177 (10th
Cir. 2007) (emphasis in original)).
“plausibility” standard announced in
Twombly and Iqbal is not considered a
“heightened” standard of pleading, but rather a
“refined standard, ” which the court of appeals
has defined as “refer[ring] to the scope of the
allegations in a complaint: if they are so general that they
encompass a wide swath of conduct, much of it innocent, then
the plaintiffs have not nudged their claims across the line
from conceivable to plausible.” Khalik, 671
F.3d at 1191 (citing Kansas Penn Gaming, LLC v.
Collins, 656 F.3d 1210, 1214 (10th Cir. 2011)). The
Tenth Circuit has noted that the nature and specificity of
the allegations required to state a plausible claim will vary
based on context. Robbins, 519 F.3d at 1248.
“Thus, [it has] concluded the Twombly/Iqbal
standard is ‘a middle ground between heightened fact
pleading, which is expressly rejected, and allowing
complaints that are no more than labels and conclusions or a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action,
which the Court stated will not do.' ” See
id. at 1247.
in deciding Twombly and Iqbal, there
remains no indication the Supreme Court “intended a
return to the more stringent pre-Rule 8 pleading
requirements.” Khalik, 671 F.3d at 1191
(citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). It remains true
that “[s]pecific facts are not necessary; the statement
need only ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the
... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'
” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007)
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555); Khalik,
671 F.3d at 1192 (“Twombly and Iqbal
do not require that the complaint include all facts necessary
to carry the plaintiff's burden.”) (quoting
al-Kidd v. Ashcroft, 580 F.3d 949, 977 (9th Cir.
motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction
takes one of two forms: a facial attack or a factual attack.
Pueblo of Jemez v. United States, 790 F.3d 1143,
1148 n. 4 (10th Cir. 2015). A facial attack questions the
sufficiency of the complaint's allegations. Id.
In reviewing a facial attack, a district court must accept
the allegations in the complaint as true. Id. In a
factual attack, the moving party may go beyond allegations
contained in the complaint and challenge the facts upon which
subject matter jurisdiction depends. Id. When
reviewing a factual attack on subject matter jurisdiction, a
district court may not presume the truthfulness of the
complaint's factual allegations. Id. Instead,
the court has wide discretion to allow affidavits, other
documents, and a limited evidentiary hearing to resolve
disputed jurisdictional facts. Id.
Oklahoma County ...