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Skillings v. Crowder

United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma

March 26, 2019

SHEMIKA N. SKILLINGS, Plaintiff,
v.
FLOYD CROWDER, et al. Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN E. DOWDELL, CHIEF JUDGE

         Before the Court is Defendant David Boggs' Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint (Doc. 51). Defendant Boggs argues that Plaintiff's claims against him should be dismissed for failure to state a claim against him in his individual and official capacities, for failure to provide proper service of process, and on the basis of qualified immunity. Plaintiff Shemika N. Skillings has submitted a Response in Opposition (Doc. 92), which included a Motion for Leave to Amend in Lieu of Dismissal (Doc. 93). Defendant Boggs has submitted a Reply (Doc. 99).

         I. Plaintiff's Allegations

         The following is a summary of Plaintiff's factual allegations, with an emphasis on her allegations against the movant, Defendant Boggs. These allegations are contained in her Amended Complaint (Doc. 22) and must be taken as true at the dismissal stage. See Broker's Choice of America, Inc. v. NBC Universal, Inc., 861 F.3d 1081, 1105 (10th Cir. 2017).

         On or about March 6, 2016, Plaintiff brought her four-year-old daughter from Virginia to Oklahoma. According to Plaintiff, she had an agreement with her ex-husband that allowed for this trip. Nevertheless, an arrest warrant was issued against her in Virginia for kidnapping. On March II, 2016, Broken Arrow police officers arrived at Plaintiff's home and arrested her. She spent approximately 36 hours detained in the Broken Arrow Municipal Jail before being transferred to the Wagoner County Jail. Ultimately, four days after her arrest in Broken Arrow, she was released on a $20, 000 bond. Plaintiff then appeared before a magistrate judge in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, and the kidnapping charges were dismissed.

         Defendant Boggs served as the Police Chief of the Broken Arrow Police Department at the time of Plaintiff's arrest. Plaintiff includes Boggs in three separate counts in her Amended Complaint, all brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and/or § 1985. The first, Count III, centers around her arrest and detention, which she claims were unlawful. She alleges that “[a]t no time throughout her detention or seizure was [she] presented a warrant or told of the charges against her.” (Doc. 22 at ¶ 72). She also alleges that the warrant for her arrest was invalid on its face. (Id. at ¶ 73). In Count IV, she alleges that all of the defendants, including Boggs, conspired together to violate her civil rights. (See id. at ¶¶ 79-83). Lastly, in Count V, Plaintiff claims that certain defendants, including Boggs, failed to provide her with a probable cause determination within 48 hours of her arrest. She alleges that Boggs “knew, should have known or had the opportunity to know that [she] was not taken before a magistrate as required by law to determine probable cause.” (Id. at ¶ 85).

         II. Dismissal Standards

         To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a plaintiff must plead sufficient factual allegations “to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Broker's Choice of Am., Inc., 861 F.3d at 1103 (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the pleaded factual content 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). A complaint that merely “tenders naked assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement'” does not satisfy the pleading standard. Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).

         In ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion made against a pro se plaintiff, the court must liberally construe the pleadings, take all well-pleaded facts as true, and make all reasonable inferences in factor of the non-moving party. See Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991); Broker's Choice of Am., Inc., 861 F.3d at 1105. The district court should hold a pro se litigant's pleadings to a “less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, ” but a court must not serve as the litigant's advocate. Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d at 1110.

         III. Analysis

         As stated above, Plaintiff brings her claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and § 1985. Pursuant to U.S.C. § 1983, “[e]very person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State of Territory of 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 1985, in turn, pertains to conspiracies that interfere with civil rights.

         The Court will first analyze Plaintiff's § 1983 and § 1985 claims against Defendant Boggs in his individual capacity before discussing her claims against him in his official capacity. The Court will then address the issue of proper service of process.

         1. Individual Capacity Claims

         a. ...


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