Rossy v. Lupkin

Decision Date17 May 2017
Docket NumberCase No. 3:14-cv-396-J-34PDB
PartiesFRANCIS O. ROSSY, Plaintiff, v. SGT. LUPKIN, et al., Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Middle District of Florida
I. Status

Plaintiff Francis O. Rossy, a former inmate of the Florida penal system, initiated this action on April 7, 2014, by filing a Civil Rights Complaint (Doc. 1) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He filed an Amended Complaint (Doc. 11) on November 28, 2014, and a Second Amended Complaint (SAC; Doc. 38) on January 9, 2017. In the SAC, Rossy names the following individuals as Defendants: (1) Clinch County, Georgia, Deputy Sheriff Gary Allen, (2) Hamilton County, Florida, Sheriff J. Harrell Reid, (3) Hamilton County Deputy Sergeant Lupkin, (4) Hamilton County Deputy Matthew Cribbs, (5) Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) Detainer and Release Coordinator Helen Arrington, and (6) FDOC Senior Counselor Matthew Herring. He asserts that the Defendants violated his Fourteenth Amendment right to procedural due process of law when they unlawfully arrested, detained, and extradited him to Georgia. He sues the Defendants in their individual and official capacities. As relief, Rossy seeks compensatory and punitive damages and declaratory and injunctive relief.

This matter is before the Court on the following motions to dismiss: Defendants Reid, Lupkin, and Cribbs' Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint (Motion; Doc. 42) with exhibits (Def. Ex.); Defendant Clinch County Deputy Sheriff Gary Allen's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (Allen Motion; Doc. 43); and Motion to Dismiss of Defendant Helen Arrington (Arrington Motion; Doc. 44). The Court advised Rossy that granting a motion to dismiss would be an adjudication of the case that could foreclose subsequent litigation on the matter, see Order (Doc. 17), and gave him an opportunity to respond, see Orders (Docs. 46, 49). Plaintiff filed responses in opposition to the motions to dismiss. See Plaintiff's Answer to Defendants Reid, Lupkin and Cribbs Motion to Dismiss (Response; Doc. 52); Brief in Support of His Answer to Defendant Allen's Motion to Dismiss (Brief; Doc. 54) with exhibits (P. Ex.); Brief in Support of His Answer to Defendant Arrington's Motion to Dismiss (Brief II; Doc. 58). The motions to dismiss are ripe for judicial review.

II. Motion to Dismiss Standard

In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept the factual allegations set forth in the complaint as true. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 508 n.1 (2002); see also Lotierzo v. Woman's World Med. Ctr., Inc., 278 F.3d 1180, 1182 (11th Cir. 2002). In addition, all reasonable inferences should be drawn in favor of the plaintiff. See Omar ex. rel. Cannon v. Lindsey, 334 F.3d 1246, 1247 (11th Cir. 2003) (per curiam). Nonetheless, the plaintiff must still meet some minimal pleading requirements. Jackson v. BellSouth Telecomm., 372 F.3d 1250, 1262-63 (11th Cir. 2004) (citations omitted). Indeed, while "[s]pecific facts are not necessary[,]" the complaint should "'give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'" Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Further, the plaintiff must allege "enough facts to state a claim that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570. "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." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556); see Miljkovic v. Shafritz & Dinkin, P.A., 791 F.3d 1291, 1297 (11th Cir. 2015) (citation and footnote omitted). A "plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more thanlabels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do[.]" Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal quotations omitted); see also Jackson, 372 F.3d at 1262 (explaining that "conclusory allegations, unwarranted deductions of facts or legal conclusions masquerading as facts will not prevent dismissal") (internal citation and quotations omitted). Indeed, "the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions[,]" which simply "are not entitled to [an] assumption of truth." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 680. Thus, in ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must determine whether the complaint contains "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face[.]'" Id. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).

III. Second Amended Complaint1

Rossy asserts that Defendants Reid, Lupkin, Cribbs, Allen, and Arrington violated his Fourteenth Amendment right to procedural due process of law when they unlawfully arrested, detained, and extradited him to Georgia. According to Rossy, the FDOC releasedhim from Hamilton Correctional Institution (HCI) in Hamilton County, Florida, on the morning of March 14, 2012, after Rossy had served a six-year term of incarceration, see SAC at 5; Defendant Herring "turned over" the custody of Rossy to Defendant Cribbs "without any papers, but under the oral view that an extradition warrant had been issued," id.; Cribbs frisked, shackled and handcuffed Rossy and transported him to the Hamilton County Jail (HCJ) "under the apparent properly processed Governor's warrant" that the Georgia Governor requested, id.; Rossy requested to see documents supporting his detention, see id.; the documents were memoranda from Clinch County District Attorney Cathy Helms to Hamilton County Captain Williams stating that procedures had been initiated to obtain a Governor's warrant, see id.; Defendant Arrington instructed the FDOC to transfer Rossy to the custody of the Hamilton County Sheriff while the Governor's warrant and requisition were processed, see id. at 6; Rossy challenged his detention, pending extradition, and "authenticity of the documents" by filing a habeas petition in state court on April 9, 2012, id.; Rossy also requested counsel to assist him in litigating his case in state court, see id.; Defendant Allen, in the presence of Defendant Lupkin and other deputies, unlawfully removed Rossy from the HCJ before he had an opportunity to litigate his case in state court, see id.; Defendants Lupkin and Cribbs knew Rossy's habeas petition was still pending in state court when Rossy was extraditedto Georgia, see id.; and Rossy objected to the extradition as a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and Florida law, see id.

IV. Defendants' Motions to Dismiss

Defendants Reid, Lupkin, and Cribbs seek dismissal of Rossy's claims against them because Rossy fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Motion at 1. They assert that: (1) Rossy's detention in the HCJ and subsequent extradition to Clinch County, Georgia, was lawful in accordance with Florida's Uniform Criminal Extradition law and did not violate a federal constitutional right, see id. at 5-7; (2) Rossy's SAC is the "functional equivalent" of a second habeas corpus petition, and therefore, the Court must dismiss it as a second or successive petition, id. at 7-8; (3) the defense of res judicata bars Rossy's action, see id. at 9-11; and (4) Rossy is neither entitled to monetary damages nor equitable relief, see id. at 11-13.

Defendant Allen seeks dismissal of Rossy's claim against him. He asserts that Rossy's claim: (1) fails because the asserted facts do not show that Allen violated a right protected by the United States Constitution or federal law, see Allen Motion at 5-6; (2) is barred by qualified immunity to the extent Rossy sues Allen in his individual capacity, see id. at 7-8; and (3) is barred by the Eleventh Amendment to the extent Rossy sues Allen in his official capacity for monetary damages, see id. at 8-10. Allen also states that, even if Rossy's claim against him was allowed to proceed,Rossy would not be entitled to the requested relief because: (a) the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) prevents Rossy from recovering compensatory or punitive damages, see id. at 11-12; (b) declaratory relief is not available because Rossy has not alleged the existence of a continuing controversy or that the threat of future injury is immediate and definite, see id. at 12-13; and (c) neither a preliminary nor a permanent injunction is available because Rossy has not pled that irreparable harm will ensue if the Court does not grant injunctive relief, see id. at 13-14.

Defendant Arrington seeks dismissal of Rossy's claims against her. She asserts that Rossy's claims for: (1) injunctive and declaratory relief should be dismissed as moot, see Arrington Motion at 4-5; (2) compensatory and punitive damages are barred by the PLRA, see id. at 5-6; and (3) monetary damages against her in her official capacity are barred by the Eleventh Amendment, see id. at 7-8. She also states that: Rossy's claim against her does not allege any action on her part which led to denial of his procedural due process rights, see id. 8-10; he was given the due process required under the circumstances, see id. at 10-11; and the action is barred by a one-year statute of limitations, see id. at 11-12. Rossy filed responses in opposition to the motions to dismiss. See Response; Brief; Brief II.

V. Extrinsic Evidence

At the outset, the Court notes that the parties submitted several exhibits in support of, and in opposition to, the motions to dismiss. See generally Motion; Allen Motion; Brief. In addition, Defendants request that the Court take judicial notice of public records, including records maintained by the Superior Court, Clinch County, Georgia and "information available on the database maintained by the Hamilton County Florida Clerk of Court," Motion at 2-3 n.1, as well as the state court's order denying Rossy's habeas petition, se...

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