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Forbes v. Donnellon

United States District Court, D. Colorado

November 9, 2015

MICHELLE CLAUDINE FORBES, ANGUS JOHN FORBES, PHOEBE FORBES, IAN FORBES, Plaintiffs,
v.
MICHAEL DONNELLON, A. SANDOVAL, TOWN OF BENNETT, COLORADO, ADAMS COUNTY SHERIFF DEPARTMENT, ADAMS COUNTY, COLORADO, and OTHER AS YET UNNAMED OFFICERS, Defendants.

ORDER ON DEFENDANT TOWN OF BENNETT, COLORADO’S MOTION TO DISMISS PURSUANT TO F.R.C.P. 12(B)(6) (DOCKET NO. 37)

Michael J. Watanabe United States Magistrate Judge

Plaintiffs sue two officers, an undetermined number of John Doe officers, and the officers’ employers for excessive force and unlawful arrest. (Docket No. 2.) The Complaint lists three “employers” as Defendants: the Adams County Sheriff’s Office; Adams County itself; and the Town of Bennett, Colorado, for which the Adams County Sherriff’s Office provides police services under contract. (Id. ¶ 12.) The named officers, Adams County, and the Adams County Sheriff’s Office have filed an Answer. (Docket No. 39.) The Town of Bennett, Colorado has moved to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Docket No. 37.)

The Court has reviewed the parties’ filings (Docket Nos. 37 & 44), taken judicial notice of the Court’s entire file in this case, and considered the applicable Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, statutes, and case law. Now being fully informed, the Court grants the Town of Bennett’s motion and dismisses all claims against it with prejudice.

Legal Standards

The Tenth Circuit has recently explained the standards under Rule 12(b)(6):

. . . To withstand a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain enough allegations of fact, taken as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. Disregarding conclusory statements, the remaining factual allegations must plausibly suggest the defendant is liable. A claim for relief is plausible when the plaintiff pleads facts adequate to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct. Such facts must raise a right to relief above the speculative level.

McDonald v. Wise, 769 F.3d 1202, 1210 (10th Cir. 2014) (internal citations, quotation marks, and alterations omitted).

Facts As Alleged in the Complaint

“On or about April 1, 2014, Plaintiff Phoebe Forbes was physically assaulted by another individual. [Defendant] Deputy Donnellon was assigned to investigate the incident.” (Docket No. 2, ¶ 15.) “Between April 4, 2014 and June 4, 2014, Plaintiff Angus Forbes made numerous complaints to both the Adams County Sheriff and Adams County District Attorney regarding Donnellon’s failure to contact the family and failure to properly investigate the incident.” (Id. ¶ 16.) Following a court appearance in the matter:

As Plaintiffs were leaving the courthouse in their vehicle, they were flagged down by another deputy, later identified as [Defendant] A. Sandoval, who directed Angus Forbes to exit the vehicle to talk to Sandoval.
As Angus Forbes approached the Sandoval vehicle, Donnellon appeared from behind the vehicle.
Donellon and Sandoval then proceeded to assault Angus Forbes twisting his arms behind his back such that bruises and extreme pain were inflicted, while at the same time, slamming his face and head against the patrol car. Donnellon shouted at Angus Forbes that Forbes was under arrest.
As Angus Forbes was being assaulted by the deputies, Plaintiff Michelle Forbes screamed at them to stop assaulting her husband to no avail. As a result thereof she was wrongfully cited for disturbing the peace. Angus was wrongfully cited for resisting arrest.

(Id. ¶¶ 18-21.) “The town of Bennett contracts with Adams County Sheriff Department for law enforcement services.” (Id. ΒΆ 12.) No ...


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