United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
E. DOWDELL, CHIEF JUDGE
the Court is the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Complaint
(Doc. 16). Defendants argue that Plaintiffs' claims
against them should be dismissed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted. Plaintiffs have submitted a Response (Doc. 17),
and Defendants have filed a Reply (Doc. 18).
following is a summary of Plaintiffs' factual
Roberta Dampf-Aguilar ("Dampf-Aguilar") is a
licensed professional bail bondsman, and she operates her
bail bond business through Affordable Bail Bonds, Inc.
("Affordable"), located in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Plaintiff Terry J. Horton ("Horton") was an
employee of Affordable during the relevant time. Horton had
previously been a licensed bail bondsman but was not licensed
at the time.
allege that Affordable and Dampf-Aguilar received disparate
treatment from the Tulsa County Sheriffs Office
("TCSO") for many years. They believe that this
treatment stems from animosity between Dampf-Aguilar and
another bail bondsman, Rusty Roberts ("Roberts").
Roberts, in turn, allegedly received preferential treatment
from the TCSO, which included being allowed to distribute
business cards at the Jail.
about February 14, 2014, members of the TCSO entered
Affordable's business and arrested employee Jack Scheving
("Scheving") on an outstanding warrant relating to
unpaid fines. Scheving was then interrogated by the TCSO and
pushed to cooperate with TCSO's investigation of
Dampf-Aguilar and Affordable. On February 19, 2014, the TCSO
obtained a search warrant to search Affordable's
business. According to the search warrant, law enforcement
officers were permitted to search for and collect the
following: computers, computer systems, data, and other
computer-related property; any locked compartment, file
cabinet, desk drawer, safe, or closet capable of storing
paper documents; employee records; employee work schedule
histories; policies and procedures that reflect
Affordable's day-to-day operations; and files relating to
business transactions on bonds generated by individuals
employed at Affordable.
search warrant was obtained based on an affidavit sworn by
Defendant Greg Brown ("Brown"), a detective with
the TCSO. The affidavit stated that there was probable cause
for the issuance of the warrant because Scheving was a
convicted felon who would construct and prepare bail bond
contracts without being given the power to do so by the State
of Oklahoma. The affidavit also stated that it was common
practice at Affordable to accept payments from individuals
despite having knowledge that those individuals had ICE holds
and would not be released. Lastly, the affiant asserted that
he "strongly believe[d] Mr. Scheving was within the
scope of his employment and signed bail bonds on behalf of
Mrs. Roberta Ann Dampf-Aguilar during his assigned shift as a
supervisor with Affordable Bail Bonds." (Doc. 3-2 at 3).
Major Thomas Huckeby ("Huckeby") led a group of
about ten members of the TCSO who executed the search warrant
on February 19, 2014. The group searched Affordable's
premises and confiscated numerous files and other property,
including computers and a server. The TCSO officers also
utilized a K-9 during the search. At the conclusion of the
search, Horton was arrested on allegations that he was
performing acts of a bail bondsman without a license, in
violation of Okla. Stat. tit. 59, § 1311.3(A).
Horton was booked in the Tulsa County Jail on a felony
complaint and was initially held without bond. Later, his
bail was set by a Tulsa County District Court Judge at $5,
next day, on February 20, 2014, the TSCO arrested
Dampf-Aguilar on a charge of permitting Horton to perform
acts of a bail bondsman without a license.
Dampf-Aguilar's license to act as a bail bondsman was
temporarily suspended until the Tulsa County District Court
held that the prosecution lacked probable cause to charge
either her or Horton with a crime.
ruling on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim,
"the court must liberally construe the pleadings and
make all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving
party." Broker's Choice of Am., Inc. v. NBC
Universal, Inc., 861 F.3d 1081, 1105 (10th Cir. 2017).
However, plaintiffs must plead sufficient factual allegations
"to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face." Id. at 1104 (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 assertions]' devoid of'
further factual enhancement'" does not satisfy the
pleading standard. Id. at 678 (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
first named defendant in Plaintiffs' Complaint is the
"Tulsa County Sheriffs Office." (See Doc.
1). As noted by Defendants, the Sheriffs Office is not a
legally suable entity. See Lindsey v. Thomson, 275
Fed.Appx. 744, 747 (10th Cir. Sept. 10, 2007) (unpublished);
Reid v. Hamby, No. 95-7142, 1997 WL 537909, at *6
(10th Cir. Sept. 2, 1997) (unpublished) ("We now hold
that an Oklahoma 'sheriffs department' is not a
proper entity for purposes of a § 1983 suit.");
Dean v. Barber, 951 F.2d 1210, 1214 (11th Cir. 1992)
("Sheriffs departments and police departments are not
usually considered legal entities subject to suit[.]").
In fact, under Okla. Stat. tit. 19, § 4, suits
against a county in Oklahoma must be brought against the
board of county commissioners.
have requested leave to amend, but the Court finds such
amendment unnecessary where Plaintiffs are already bringing
the same claims against the Tulsa County Sheriff in his
official capacity. See Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S.
159, 166 (1985) ("As long as the government entity
receives notice and an opportunity to respond, an
official-capacity suit is, in all respects other than name,
to be treated as a suit against the entity."). For this
reason, the Court denies Plaintiffs request and hereby
dismisses Plaintiffs' claims against the Tulsa County
Sheriff s Office.
Court will now proceed by examining the sufficiency of
Plaintiffs' factual allegations as to former Tulsa County
Sheriff Stanley Glanz in his individual capacity and current
Sheriff Vic Regalado in his official capacity. The Court will
then address Plaintiffs' claims as to the remaining
individual defendants: Thomas Huckeby, Eric Kitch, and Greg
Stanley Glanz-Individual Capacity
order to state a plausible claim against Glanz in his
individual capacity, Plaintiffs must allege facts showing
that Glanz was personally involved in the underlying
constitutional violation through his own participation or
supervisory control. Moya v. Garcia, 895 F.3d 1229,
1233 (10th Cir. 2018). The only allegations in the Complaint
specifically mentioning Glanz are the following:
- "Defendant Stanley Glanz is the elected Sheriff of
Tulsa County, State of Oklahoma." (Doc. 1 at ¶5).
- "Despite knowledge of the ongoing disparate treatment
of Affordable, Dampf-Aguilar and Horton, TCSO and Sheriff
Stanley Glanz have failed to sufficiently monitor and
supervise those empowered by the badge and rank bestowed upon
them by TCSO and Glanz." (Id. at ¶ 51).
- "Further, Affordable and Dampf-Aguilar's
constitutional rights were violated by the acts of the TCSO,
Glanz, Huckeby, Kitch and Brown as described here in above,
including but not limited to the seizure of computers,
electronics, documents and files unrelated and unnecessary
for the matters set forth in the Affidavit for Search
Warrant." (Id. at ¶ 57).
- "Affordable's and Dampf-Aguilar's
constitutional rights were violated by the acts of the TCSO,
Glanz, Huckeby, Kitch and Brown, including but not limited
[to] the seizure of computers, electronics, documents and
files based upon a false and ...