United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Fort Worth Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Mcbryde United States District Judge
for consideration the second motion of defendant, f City of
Arlington, to dismiss. The court, having considered the
motion, the response of plaintiffs, Michelle Skyy
("Skyy") and Sean Valdez ("Valdez"), the
record, and applicable authorities, finds that the motion
should be granted.
January 6, 2017, plaintiffs filed their original complaint,
1, and on January 24, 2017, their first amended complaint for
violations of civil rights, Doc. 12. Plaintiffs ] assert
claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of their
Fourth Amendment rights and plaintiff Skyy additionally
alleges that her Eighth Amendment rights were violated.
Plaintiffs seek monetary and punitive damages.
brief, plaintiffs allege; On April 29, 2015, they agreed to
divorce. They became involved in a scuffle when Skyy tried to
take some of Valdez's money and his AR-15 rifle. Skyy
called 911. She waited around the corner from their home for
police. Arlington police arrested Valdez. Officers asked if
they could go inside the house and both Skyy and Valdez
declined to give permission. Police used Valdez's keys to
enter the home and search it without a warrant or probable
cause. Skyy was detained 6 or 7 hours before she was
arrested. She told police that Valdez was
verbally/emotionally abusive. Valdez told police Skyy had two
guns, so officers asked her to retrieve them from her
vehicle. They then searched the vehicle and had it towed.
Skyy was arrested and notified jail personnel that she had a
severe wheat gluten allergy (Celiac Sprue Disease) and
endometriosis. Jailers never gave Skyy any food she could
eat. She starved for two days and lost 6 pounds. She was kept
in a small holding cell for over 6 hours without a restroom
or water, which caused severe abdomen pains. Skyy discovered
after being released from jail that police had ransacked her
Grounds of the Motion
urges two grounds in support of its motion. First, plaintiffs
cannot pursue their claims under § 1983 because they
have failed to identify any custom or policy of defendant
that caused them harm. Second, defendant is immune from the
claim for punitive damages.
Applicable Legal Standards
Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim
8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides, in
a general way, the applicable standard of pleading. It
requires that a complaint contain "a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief, " Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), "in order to
give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests, " Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal quotation
marks and ellipsis omitted). Although a complaint need not
contain detailed factual allegations, the "showing"
contemplated by Rule 8 requires the plaintiff to do more than
simply allege legal conclusions or recite the elements of a
cause of action. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 & n.3.
Thus, while a court must accept all of the factual
allegations in the complaint as true, it need not credit bare
legal conclusions that are unsupported by any factual
underpinnings. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
679 (2009) ("While legal conclusions can provide the
framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual
to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim,
the facts pleaded must allow the court to infer that the
plaintiff's right to relief is plausible. Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678. To allege a plausible right to relief, the
facts pleaded must suggest liability; allegations that are
merely consistent with unlawful conduct are insufficient.
Id. In other words, where the facts pleaded do no
more than permit the court to infer the possibility of
misconduct, the complaint has not shown that the pleader is
entitled to relief. Id., at 679. "Determining
whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief . . .
[is] a context-specific task that requires the reviewing
court to draw on its judicial experience and common
Municipal Liability Under § 1983
is clearly established that the doctrine of respondent
superior does not apply to § 1983 actions. Monell v.
New York City Pep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658,
691 (1978); Williams v. Luna, 909 F.2d 121, 123 (5th
Cir. 1990). Liability may be imposed against a municipality
only if the governmental body itself subjects a person to a
deprivation of rights or causes a person to be subjected to
such deprivation. Connick v. Thompson, 563 U.S. 51,
60 (2011) . Local governments are responsible only for their
own illegal acts. Id. (quoting Pembaur v.
Cincinnati, 475 U.S. 469, 479 (1986)). Thus, plaintiffs
who seek to impose liability on local governments under
§ 1983 must prove that action pursuant to official
municipal policy caused their injury. Mone ...