United States District Court, D. Colorado
A. BRIMMER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Defendants “Adams County
Colorado, ” Sheriff Michael McIntosh, and Detective
Matthew Marquez' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's
Amended Complaint [Docket No. 32]. The Court has jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
suit arises from the alleged unreasonable use of force
against and malicious prosecution of plaintiff Alexander
Garcia by employees of the Adams County Sheriff's Office.
Docket No. 31.
on April 13, 2015, plaintiff was held on pre-trial matters at
the Adams County Detention Facility, which is operated by the
Adams County Sheriff's Office. Docket No. 31 at 2-3,
¶¶ 2, 13. Plaintiff alleges that he was twice
subjected to unreasonable use of force while held at the
detention facility. Id. at 3, ¶ 14.
first incident occurred on May 27, 2015. Docket No. 31 at 4,
¶ 15. W hile sitting in his wheelchair in the sally port
in the B Module of the detention facility, plaintiff asked to
see the facility's mental health staff. Id.,
¶ 17-18. Plaintiff spoke first with defendant Deputy
Scott Dow and second with Deputy Christopher Long.
Id., ¶ 18. While plaintiff had his hands in his
lap holding some papers, Deputy Long struck plaintiff in the
left side of his neck, grabbed plaintiff's left arm, and
pulled plaintiff out of his wheelchair. Id., ¶
19-20. Deputy Dow and Deputy Cooper Cramblet also grabbed
plaintiff and helped Deputy Long force him to the ground.
Id., ¶ 21. The assault dislocated
plaintiff's knee. Docket No. 31 at 5, ¶¶ 23-24.
Additional deputies arrived at the sally port. Id.
at 4, ¶ 22. Two of them threatened to Taser plaintiff.
Id. at 5, ¶ 23. Plaintiff's hands were
cuffed behind his back and he was carried away by his limbs
to a holding cell. Id., ¶ 24. The events to
this point were captured on surveillance video. Id.
at 4, ¶ 16.
holding cell, Sergeant Phil Waken ordered that
plaintiff's handcuffs remain on and that plaintiff be
left lying on the floor on his stomach. Docket No. 31 at 5,
¶ 25. Plaintiff was left in this position for
approximately two hours and forty minutes, during which time
he urinated on himself and suffered further injury due to the
tightness of the handcuffs. Id., ¶ 26.
28, 2015, in relation to the previous day's events,
defendant Detective Matthew Marquez completed an affidavit in
support of plaintiff's arrest on two counts of Second
Degree Assault on a Police Officer in violation of Colo. Rev.
Stat. §§ 18-3-203(1)(f) and 18-3-203(1)(c). Docket
No. 31 at 6-7, ¶¶ 36, 40. Detective Marquez stated
under oath that he reviewed the surveillance video and
supplemental reports available to him before submitting the
affidavit. Id. at 8, ¶ 43. The affidavit is
inconsistent with the video and incorrectly states that
Deputy Long was attempting to place handcuffs on plaintiff
and that plaintiff punched Deputy Long in the face three
times. Id. at 7-8, ¶ 41. For the most part,
Detective Marquez' affidavit consists of one paragraph
copied from the supplemental report of Deputy Dow.
Id. at 7, ¶ 40. The district attorney relied on
Detective Marquez' affidavit in charging plaintiff with
assault on the prison officials. Id. at 6-8,
¶¶ 34, 42. On February 23, 2016, the charges
against plaintiff were dismissed. Docket No. 31 at 8, ¶
second assault on plaintiff occurred on October 29, 2015 in
the B Module sally port. Docket No. 31 at 5, ¶ 29.
Deputy Cynthia Hill yelled for the inmates in the sally port
to “shut the fuck up” and, when plaintiff
admittedly failed to do so, she punched plaintiff in the arm.
Id. at 6, ¶¶ 30-31. Deputy Hill, with help
from Deputy Kyle Swing and Sergeant Robert Hannah, then
slammed plaintiff against the wall, which hurt
plaintiff's still-injured knee. Id., ¶ 32.
August 3, 2016, plaintiff filed his complaint. Docket No. 1.
Plaintiff brings claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
the deputies for unreasonable use of force and against
Detective Marquez for malicious prosecution. Docket No. 31 at
10-12. Plaintiff also brings § 1983 claims against
Sheriff Michael McIntosh and Adams County for municipal and
supervisory liability under the theory that the sheriff's
deputies were improperly hired, trained, and supervised.
Id. at 12-14. On February 7, 2017, defendants
Marquez, McIntosh, and Adams County filed their motion to
dismiss, requesting that the Court dismiss all of
plaintiff's malicious prosecution and supervisory
liability claims under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failing to
state a claim on which relief can be granted. Docket No. 32
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint
must allege enough factual matter that, taken as true, makes
the plaintiff's “claim to relief . . . plausible on
its face.” Bryson v. Gonzales, 534 F.3d 1282,
1286 (10th Cir. 2008) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “[W]here the
well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than
the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged
- but it has not shown - that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679
(2009) (internal quotation marks and alteration marks
omitted). Thus, even though modern rules of pleading are
somewhat forgiving, “a complaint still must contain
either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the
material elements necessary to sustain a recovery under some
viable legal theory.” Bryson, 534 F.3d at 1286
(alteration marks omitted).
Supervisory Liability and Municipal Liability
governments may not be sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on a
theory of respondeat superior. Monell v. Dep't of
Soc. Servs. of N.Y., 436 U.S. 658, 692 (1978). Instead,
local governing bodies can be sued directly only where
“the action that is alleged to be unconstitutional
implements or executes a policy statement, ordinance,
regulation, or decision officially adopted and promulgated by
that body's officers.” Id. at 690
(footnote omitted). “[I]t is when execution of a
government's policy or custom, whether made by its
lawmakers or by those whose edicts or acts may fairly be said
to represent official policy, inflicts the injury that the
government as an entity is responsible under §
1983.” Id. at 694.
order to state a claim for municipal liability under §
1983 for the actions of a municipal employee, a party must
allege sufficient facts to demonstrate that it is plausible
“(1) that a municipal employee committed a
constitutional violation; and (2) that a municipal policy or
custom was the moving force behind the constitutional
deprivation.” Jiron v. City of Lakewood, 392
F.3d 410, 419 (10th Cir. 2004). The plaintiff must further
show that “the policy was enacted or maintained with
deliberate indifference to an almost inevitable
constitutional injury.” Schneider v. City of Grand
Junction Police Dep't, 717 F.3d 760, 769 (10th Cir.
2013). “The deliberate indifference standard may be
satisfied when the municipality has actual or constructive
notice that its action or failure to act is substantially
certain to result in a constitutional violation, and it
consciously or deliberately chooses to disregard the risk of
harm.” Barney v. Pulsipher, 143 F.3d 1299,
1307 (10th ...