United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
DARRYLE D. CHATMAN, Plaintiff,
JEREMY GARVIN, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
A. White, United States District Judge
action is before the Court on Defendant Charles Pearson's
motion to dismiss. The Court has before it for consideration
Plaintiff's complaint (Dkt. 1), Defendant Pearson's
motion (Dkt. 24), Plaintiff's response (Dkt. 25), and
Pearson's reply (Dkt. 26).
an inmate in the custody of the Oklahoma Department of
Corrections who is incarcerated at Davis Correctional
Facility in Holdenville, Oklahoma, brings this action under
the authority of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking relief for
alleged constitutional violations during his incarceration at
the Muskogee County Jail. The defendants are Muskogee County
Jail Administrator Jeremy Garvin, Muskogee County Jail
Commissary Supervisor Lacy Rosson, and former Muskogee County
Sheriff Charles Pearson. Plaintiff contends the three
defendants are liable, because they all were “working
at the time.” (Dkt. 1 at 1-2).
alleges that when he was booked into the jail on August 14,
2015, he had a “1500 necklace” and two cell
phones. Upon his release, the necklace and one of the phones
were missing. A couple of days later, Defendant Jeremy Garvin
contacted Plaintiff and said he had the phone but not the
necklace, so Plaintiff went to get the phone. A couple of
months later, someone not identified by Plaintiff was charged
with the theft of the necklace. Plaintiff contends that
because Garvin was employed as the jail administrator, he
should have trained his staff better. (Dkt. 1 at 3).
Plaintiff returned to the jail on a writ, he had $1, 38543 on
the books, which he did not receive when he left the jail
facility on September 2, 2016. Plaintiff contacted Garvin and
Defendant Lacy Rosson, and Rosson said she had mailed the
money to Davis Correctional Facility. When Plaintiff again
was returned to the jail on a writ about six weeks later, he
contacted Garvin and Rosson who advised that the check for
the money had been mailed by mistake to a federal prisoner in
Cleveland, Ohio. The check was cashed at a Chase Bank, and
the Ohio prisoner had spent about $600. Rosson and Garvin
told Plaintiff that he would have to wait on his money. (Dkt.
1 at 3-4).
Pearson has filed a motion to dismiss, alleging Plaintiff has
failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted,
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In assessing a motion to
dismiss, the Court must accept the factual allegations as
true and consider them in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. Tomlinson v. El Paso Corp., 653 F.3d
1281, 1285-86 (10th Cir. 2011) (citing Smith v. United
States, 561 F.3d 1090, 1098 (10th Cir. 2009)), cert.
denied, 565 U.S. 1201 (2012). A request for dismissal
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) requires the Court to determine
whether the complaint contains “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). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Although the Court is
required to exercise a liberal interpretation of
Plaintiff's pro se pleadings, Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519 (1972), the Court need not assume the role of
advocate for Plaintiff, and he must present more than
conclusory allegations to survive a motion to dismiss for
failure to state a claim, Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d
1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991). With these standards in mind,
the Court turns to the merits of Defendant Pearson's
alleges that to the extent Plaintiff may be attempting to
bring claims against him in his official capacity, those
claims must be dismissed, because Pearson was not the Sheriff
of Muskogee County when the complaint was filed. Official
capacity suits “generally represent only another way of
pleading an action against an entity of which an officer is
an agent.” Monell v. New York City Dept. of Soc.
Serv., 436 U.S. 658, 690 n.55 (1978). Because Defendant
Pearson had no official capacity when this lawsuit was filed,
Plaintiff's claims against him in that capacity must be
that Defendant Pearson committed a constitutional violation
in his individual capacity under §1983, Plaintiff must
demonstrate that Pearson “acted under color of state
law and caused or contributed to the alleged
violation.” Jenkins v. Wood, 81 F.3d 988, 994
(10th Cir. 1996) (citations omitted) (10th Cir. 1991).
Plaintiff must demonstrate Pearson's personal
participation in the alleged constitutional violation.
“Personal participation is an essential allegation in a
§ 1983 claim.” Bennett v. Passic, 545
F.2d 1260, 1262-63 (10th Cir. 1976) (citations omitted).
See also Mee v. Ortega, 967 F.2d 423, 430-31 (10th
Cir. 1992). Supervisory status is not sufficient to support
liability under § 1983. Id. See also Polk
County v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 325 (1981).
response to Pearson's motion to dismiss on lack of
personal participation, Plaintiff alleges that on August 14,
2015, after Plaintiff had been released from the jail on
bond, he received a call from Defendant Garvin. Garvin told
Plaintiff to go to the jail and pick up his phone. When
Plaintiff mentioned his necklace, Garvin advised him to
contact Defendant Pearson. Pearson told Plaintiff that he had
reviewed the camera at the Sheriff's Office and Plaintiff
was instructed to come to the office. When Plaintiff arrived,
Pearson and three deputies were reviewing the camera. Pearson
was about to cut a check for Plaintiff when Plaintiff
mentioned his lawyer. Pearson then said that because
Plaintiff was threatening him with a lawyer, he would not cut
the check. Pearson told Plaintiff to get out of the office
before he went to jail. Plaintiff left and had no further
discussions with Pearson.
careful review of the record, the Court finds Plaintiff has
failed to state a claim against Defendant Pearson. Plaintiff
has not explained what constitutional rights Pearson
violated. “Constitutional rights allegedly invaded,
warranting an award of damages, must be specifically
identified. Conclusory allegations will not suffice.”
Wise v. Bravo, 666 F.2d 1328, 1333 (10th Cir. 1981)
(citing Brice v. Day, 604 F.2d 664 (10th Cir. 1979),
cert. denied, 444 U.S. 1086 (1980)).
Defendant Charles Pearson's motion to dismiss pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) (Dkt. 24) is GRANTED.