United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
TIMOTHY D. DeGIUSTI CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Comanche County Detention Center (the “CCDC”),
William Hobbs, the Board of County Commissioners of Comanche
County (“Defendant Board”), and Kenny Stradley
(collectively the “Defendants”) bring before the
Court a Renewed Motion to Dismiss [Doc. No. 24] and brief in
support. Plaintiff has filed a Response in opposition [Doc.
No. 30], to which Defendants have replied [Doc. No. 33]. This
matter is fully briefed and at issue.
Medicine Park Police Officer effected a legal traffic stop on
Plaintiff Cassie Arndt, pulling her over for a speeding
violation, on August 13, 2017. Complaint [Doc. No. 1], at 5.
The officer processed Plaintiff's information, and
dispatch advised him of an outstanding Stephens County arrest
warrant for “Cassie Arndt.” Id. at 6.
Relying on this information and pursuant to that warrant, the
officer arrested Plaintiff and transported her to CCDC.
Id. At CCDC, Plaintiff was processed and booked.
Id. at 7. Ruth Art, a CCDC employee, showed
Plaintiff a copy of the arrest warrant and allegedly realized
Plaintiff was not the same person named by the arrest
warrant. Id. Art immediately informed her
lieutenant-herein referenced as John Doe 2. Id. John
Doe 2 took no steps to investigate Art's conclusions and
told Art to move forward with the booking process.
Id. Another lieutenant, John Doe 3, was also made
aware of the discrepancy. Plaintiff was nonetheless booked,
forced to strip naked, and searched. Id. at 8. She
was then confined in a cell for approximately eighteen hours.
Id. Eventually, Plaintiff was released, CCDC
personnel acknowledged there was no warrant out for her
arrest, and Plaintiff was told her traffic ticket would be
dismissed. Id. At all relevant times, Defendant
Hobbs served as Jail Administrator and Defendant Stradley as
Comanche County Sheriff.
instant lawsuit was filed on March 7, 2018. Plaintiff alleges
violations of her constitutional rights under the federal and
state constitutions, along with violations of state law.
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint
must contain enough facts that, when accepted as true,
“state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009); see Robbins v. Oklahoma, 519 F.3d 1242, 1247
(10th Cir. 2008). A claim has facial plausibility when the
court can draw “the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. In § 1983 cases, it is
particularly important “that the complaint make clear
exactly who is alleged to have done what to whom, to
provide each individual with fair notice as to the basis of
the claims against him or her.” See Robbins,
519 F.3d at 1249-50 (emphasis in original); see also
Smith v. United States, 561 F.3d 1090, 1104 (10th Cir.
CCDC is not a legal entity subject to suit, and therefore all
claims against it are dismissed as a matter of law.
motion first asserts that, under Oklahoma law, CCDC is not a
legal entity subject to suit, and therefore, all claims
asserted against it should be dismissed. Plaintiff does not
dispute the proposition.
noncorporate entity's capacity to be sued is determined
by the law of the state in which the district court is
located. Fed.R.Civ.P. 17(b)(3). In Oklahoma, each organized
county can sue and be sued. Okla. Stat. tit. 19, § 1(1)
(2018). The authority of each county is exercised by its
board of county commissioners, and a lawsuit brought against
a county must be filed against the relevant board of county
commissioners. Id. §§ 3, 4.
the Oklahoma courts have apparently not addressed the issue
of whether a detention center has the capacity to be sued,
other jurisdictions have concluded that detention centers and
county jails are not legal entities capable of suit. See
Bolden v. Gwinnett Cty. Det. Ctr. Medical Admin. Med. Doctors
and Staff, 2009 WL 2496655 (N.D.Ga. 2009) (“Jails
. . . are not legal entities subject to suit under §
1983 at all.”); Rackley v. Poinsett Cty. Det.
Ctr., 2011 WL 1480316 (E.D. Ark. 2011) (holding a
“detention center is not an entity subject to suit
under § 1983”).
Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has unequivocally stated that
a county detention facility “is not a person or legally
created entity capable of being sued.” Aston v.
Cunningham, 2000 WL 796086 at *4 n.3 (10th Cir. 2000);
see also Dutton v. City of Midwest City, 630
Fed.Appx. 742, 744 (10th Cir. 2015);Ketchum v.
Albuquerque Police Dep't, 1992 WL 51481, at *2 (10th
Cir. 1992) (holding that a municipal police department is not
an entity that could be sued because it lacks a legal
identity apart from the municipality).
the Court finds Plaintiff's claims against the CCDC
should be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted. As dismissing the claims against CCDC
with leave to amend would be futile, given the CCDC is not a
legal entity capable ...