United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
SHEMIKA N. SKILLINGS, Plaintiff,
FLOYD CROWDER, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
E. DOWDELL, CHIEF JUDGE
the Court is Defendants Floyd Crowder and D.T.
“Duck” Adams' Motion to Dismiss the Amended
Complaint (Doc. 50). In their Motion, Defendants Crowder and
Adams argue that Plaintiff's Amended Complaint should be
dismissed as to them pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(2) and
(6) for lack of personal jurisdiction and failure to state a
claim, respectively. Plaintiff Shemika N. Skillings submitted
a Response in Opposition, which included a Motion to Strike
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss under Rule 12(f) and to
Admonish Defendants' Counsel to Comply with the Oklahoma
Bar's Standard of Professional Conduct and a Motion to
Grant Leave to Amend in Lieu of Dismissal (Doc. 72, 73).
Defendants Crowder and Adams subsequently filed a Reply (Doc.
following is a summary of Plaintiff's factual
allegations, with an emphasis on her allegations against the
movants, Defendants Crowder and Adams. These allegations are
contained in her Amended Complaint (Doc. 22) and must be
taken as true at the dismissal stage.
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. On March 7, Defendant Floyd Crowder, an
investigator and Sheriff's Deputy for Dinwiddie County,
Virginia, called Plaintiff several times demanding that she
bring the child back to Virginia. Plaintiff told Crowder of
her agreement with her ex-husband and also informed him
“that all matters pertaining to the custody of [the]
child would be discussed amongst their civil
attorney[s].” (Doc. 22 at ¶ 18). Plaintiff also
sent an email to Defendant Linda Johnson, a lawyer
representing Plaintiff's ex-husband, telling her that she
would bring the child back to Virginia on March 11, 2016.
to Plaintiff, Defendant Crowder and Defendant D.T.
“Duck” Adams, the Sheriff of Dinwiddie County,
“fraudulently investigated and maliciously issued a
warrant for kidnapping against the plaintiff.”
(Id. at ¶ 42). Subsequently, Broken Arrow
police officers arrived at Plaintiff's home on March 11,
2016, and arrested her. She spent approximately 36 hours
detained in the Broken Arrow municipal jail. She was then
transferred to Wagoner County jail and was booked on a
“Fugitive from Justice” charge. Soon thereafter,
a copy of the Virginia felony warrant for kidnapping was
faxed to the Wagoner facility. Ultimately, four days after
her arrest in Broken Arrow, Plaintiff was released on a $20,
000 bond. Plaintiff then appeared before a magistrate judge
in Dinwiddie County, and the kidnapping charges were
brings several claims against Defendants Crowder and Adams:
claims of “fraudulent investigation, malicious
prosecution, abuse of process, and unlawful seizure and by
Defendants in violation of procedural and substantitive
[sic] due process rights guaranteed to Plaintiff by
the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S.
Constitution, ” brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(Count II); claims of “unlawful seizure by arrest,
detention and incarceration under void process by Defendants
in violation of the procedural and substantitive
[sic] rights guaranteed to Plaintiff by the Fourth
and Fourteenth Amendments to the United Constitutions,
” also brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count III);
and a claim of conspiracy to violate Plaintiff's civil
rights, brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1985 (Count IV). (Doc.
22 at 7-10). Count I of the Amended Complaint,
“deprivation of rights under the United States
Constitution, ” is also brought against Defendant
Adams. (Id. at 6-7).
undisputed that both Defendant Crowder and Defendant Adams
are residents of the State of Virginia. (See Doc.
50-12 at ¶ 2; Doc. 50-13 at ¶ 2). For a court to
exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant, the
plaintiff must demonstrate the existence of facts satisfying
both the forum's long-arm statute and the Due Process
Clause of the United States Constitution. See Niemi v.
Lasshofer, 770 F.3d 1331, 1348 (10th Cir. 2014).
“Because Oklahoma's long-arm statute permits the
exercise of any jurisdiction that is consistent with the
United States Constitution, the personal jurisdiction inquiry
under Oklahoma law collapses into the single due process
inquiry.” Intercon, Inc. v. Bell Atl. Internet
Solutions, Inc., 205 F.3d 1244, 1247 (10th Cir. 2000)
(citing Rambo v. Am. S. Ins. Co., 839 F.2d 1415,
1416 (10th Cir. 1988)); see also Okla. Stat. tit.
12, § 2004(F).
order to evaluate whether the exercise of personal
jurisdiction comports with due process, ” the court
“must first assess whether ‘the defendant has
such minimum contacts with the forum state that he should
reasonably anticipate being haled into court
there.'” Niemi, 770 F.3d at 1348 (quoting
Emp'rs Mut. Cas. Co. v. Bartile Roofs, Inc., 618
F.3d 1153, 1159-60 (10th Cir. 2010)). The minimum-contacts
standard is satisfied by either general or specific
jurisdiction. Niemi, 770 F.3d at 1348.
“General jurisdiction is based on an out-of-state
defendant's ‘continuous and systematic'
contacts with the forum state . . . .” Dudnikov v.
Chalk & Vermilion Fine Arts, Inc., 514 F.3d 1063,
1072 (10th Cir. 2008) (citing Trujillo v. Williams,
465 F.3d 1210, 1218 n.7 (10th Cir. 2006)). The Court finds no
evidence that Defendant Crowder or Defendant Adams has
sufficient affiliations with Oklahoma to support general
jurisdiction, (see Doc. 50-12 at ¶ 4; Doc.
50-13 at ¶ 4), and Plaintiff does not appear to argue
that such jurisdiction exists here.
jurisdiction, on the other hand, exists “if the
defendant has purposefully directed his activities at
residents of the forum, and the litigation results from
alleged injuries that arise out of or relate to those
activities.” Intercon, 205 F.3d at 1247
(quoting Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S.
462, 472 (1985)). Under what is known as the Calder
“effects test, ” purposeful direction may be
established by showing that an out-of-state defendant
committed “(a) an intentional action . . . that was (b)
expressly aimed at the forum state . . . with (c) knowledge
that the brunt of the injury would be felt in the forum
state.” Dudnikov, 514 F.3d at 1072 (citing
Calder v. Jones, 465 U.S. 783 (1984)). The Tenth
Circuit, in interpreting Calder, has emphasized that
the forum state must be the “focal point” of the
alleged tortious conduct. Id. at 1074-75.
addition to determining the existence of minimum contacts
with the forum state, the district court must also analyze
whether the assertion of personal jurisdiction over
non-resident defendants would “comport with ‘fair
play and substantial justice.'” Equifax Servs.
Inc. v. Hitz, 905 F.2d 1355, 1359 (10th Cir. 1990)
(quoting Burger King, 417 U.S. at 476). The
following factors guide this analysis:
(1) the burden on the defendant, (2) the forum state's
interest in resolving the dispute, (3) the plaintiff's
interest in receiving convenient and effective relief, (4)
the interstate judicial system's interest in obtaining
the most efficient resolution of controversies, and (5) the
shared interest of the several states in furthering
fundamental social policies.
Trujillo, 465 F.3d at 1221 (quoting Pro Axess,
Inc. v. Orlux Distrib., Inc., 428 F.3d 1270, 1279-80
(10th Cir. 2005). “[T]he weaker the plaintiff's
showing on minimum contacts, the less a defendant need show
in terms of unreasonableness to defeat jurisdiction.”
Pro Axess, Inc., 428 F.3d at 1280 (quoting OMI
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