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Parkins v. Guthrie Police Department

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

March 26, 2018

MICHAEL JUSTIN PARKINS, Plaintiff,
v.
GUTHRIE POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          CHARLES B. GOODWIN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Michael Justin Parkins, a pro se prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis, filed a Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 challenging his arrest by Defendant Guthrie Police Department. See Compl. (Doc. No. 1) at 2, 6-7.[1] United States District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange then referred this matter to the undersigned Magistrate Judge for initial proceedings in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636.

         I. Standard of Review

         The Court is obligated to conduct an initial review of Plaintiff's Complaint and dismiss the pleading, or any portion thereof, if it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), 1915A(b)(1). A district court may sua sponte dismiss a pro se complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted when it is “patently obvious” that the plaintiff cannot prevail on the facts alleged and amendment of the pleading would be futile. McKinney v. Okla., Dep't of Human Servs., 925 F.2d 363, 365 (10th Cir. 1991); see Kay v. Bemis, 500 F.3d 1214, 1217 (10th Cir. 2007) (“We apply the same standard of review for dismissals under § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) that we employ for Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim.”).

         A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted when it lacks factual allegations sufficient “to raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (footnote and citation omitted). Bare legal conclusions in a complaint are not entitled to the assumption of truth; “they must be supported by factual allegations” to state a claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). Whether a complaint contains sufficient facts to avoid dismissal is context-specific and is determined through a court's application of “judicial experience and common sense.” Id. “[A] pro se plaintiff requires no special legal training to recount the facts surrounding his alleged injury, and he must provide such facts if the court is to determine whether he makes out a claim on which relief can be granted.” Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991); see also Whitney v. New Mexico, 113 F.3d 1170, 1173-74 (10th Cir. 1997) (noting that although courts construe pro se pleadings liberally they “will not supply additional factual allegations to round out a plaintiff's complaint”).

         II. Plaintiff's Factual Allegations

         Plaintiff's Complaint identifies the Guthrie Police Department as the sole Defendant in this action. Liberally construed, Plaintiff alleges that on or about May 8, 2011, he was arrested by Defendant on suspicion of having committed lewd or indecent acts or proposals to a minor. See Compl. at 7. After being held for eleven months in jail, Plaintiff was acquitted by a jury on this lewd-molestation criminal charge. See Id. Plaintiff seeks appointment of counsel, psychological evaluation, compensatory damages, expungement of his arrest record, and monetary damages “for pain suffering humiliation, defamation, slander for destroying my life and my family[']s name/continued verbal abuse ridicule hate and mistreatment based off of false judg[]ment.” Id.

         III. Discussion

         A. Plaintiff's Constitutional Claims

         Although Plaintiff invokes the First and Fourteenth Amendments, his pleading sets forth no facts plausibly implicating the First Amendment's guarantees of speech, religious exercise, and other rights.

         Plaintiff conceivably attempts to invoke the Fourteenth Amendment's protection “against deprivations of liberty without due process of law.” Myers v. Koopman, 738 F.3d 1190, 1193 (10th Cir. 2013). But even assuming Plaintiff had alleged adequate facts to show Defendant had improperly obtained an arrest warrant or that Defendant's legal process was otherwise “unauthorized and thus could not be anticipated pre-deprivation, ” the Tenth Circuit has explained that “an adequate post-deprivation remedy-such as a state tort claim-will satisfy due process requirements.” Id. “Oklahoma provides an adequate post-deprivation remedy through a state tort claim for malicious prosecution.” Parks v. Watts, No. CIV-14-359-M, 2015 WL 12915678, at *8 (W.D. Okla. Mar. 6, 2015) (R. & R.), adopted, 2015 WL 12915679 (W.D. Okla. Sept. 1, 2015), and aff'd, 641 Fed.Appx. 841 (10th Cir. 2016); accord Alfred v. Alfred, No. CIV-17-273-C, 2017 WL 4563889, at *3 (W.D. Okla. Sept. 5, 2017) (R. & R.), adopted, 2017 WL 4563062 (W.D. Okla. Oct. 12, 2017); see also Gutierrez v. Gray, No. 12-CV-263-JED-TLW, 2014 WL 4924446, at *3 (N.D. Okla. Sept. 30, 2014) (“Because Oklahoma recognizes a tort action for malicious prosecution, plaintiff's claims under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment fail.” (citing Greenberg v. Wolfburg, 890 P.2d 895 (Okla. 1994))).

         Liberally construed, the Complaint also may be attempting to raise a malicious-prosecution claim under the Fourth Amendment. See Margheim v. Buljko, 855 F.3d 1077, 1082 (10th Cir. 2017). To establish such a claim, a plaintiff must show:

(1) the defendant caused the plaintiff's continued confinement ...

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