United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS
S. KRIEGER CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER comes before the Court on Defendants'
Motion to Dismiss (#27), Plaintiff's
Response (#39), and the Reply
Court exercises jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28
U.S.C. §§ 1331.
Summary of the Plaintiff's Allegations
the properly pled facts most favorably to Mr. Shortridge,
Amended Complaint alleges as follows.
Shortridge, an African American man, was waiting to have new
tires installed on a Cadillac Escalade at a Discount Tire
Store (the “Store”), when the Store manager,
Defendant Edward Masdin, began “harassing” him by
questioning either his intention or his ability to pay for
the tires. (#17 pp. 3, 8.) Mr. Masdin
continued to harass Mr. Shortridge by asking for payment in
advance during the entire time Mr. Shortridge was present in
the Store. (#17 p. 8.) Mr. Masdin did not
treat any other customers who were present in the Store in
the same manner. (#17 p. 8.)
Mr. Shortridge offered payment for the tires, Mr. Masdin
called the Arvada Police Department (the “APD”)
reporting that a customer seemed to be prepared to leave
without paying. (#17 p. 8.) Officers of the
APD responded to the call. (#17 p. 3.) While
the officers were present, Mr. Shortridge offered to pay $150
of the store's $192 invoice for tires and installation.
(#17 p. 7.) Mr. Masdin accepted Mr.
Shortridge's proffer of partial payment. (#17 p.
Mr. Masdin accepted Mr. Shortridge's proffered payment,
Mr. Shortridge was involved in an altercation with the APD
officers who had responded to Mr. Masdin's call; that
altercation underlies Mr. Shortridge's claims in a
companion lawsuit to the suit now before the Court.
(#17 p. 6.)
out of the foregoing, Mr. Shortridge asserts Mr. Masdin's
and the Store's liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 for
interfering with his right to make and enforce contracts on
the basis of race, and under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the
violation of his constitutionally protected rights to equal
protection of the laws and freedom from unreasonable
seizures. The Defendants move to dismiss Mr. Shortridge's
claims on the ground that Mr. Shortridge was not deprived of
the right to make or enforce contracts and on the additional
ground that, because they are not state actors, they are not
subject to liability under Section 1983.
Standard of Review
reviewing the Defendants' Federal Civil Procedure Rule
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court accepts all well-pled
allegations in the Amended Complaint as true and views those
allegations in the light most favorable to Mr. Shortridge.
Stidham v. Peace Officer Standards & Training,
265 F.3d 1144, 1149 (10th Cir. 2001), quoting Sutton v.
Utah State Sch. for the Deaf & Blind, 173 F.3d 1226,
1236 (10th Cir. 1999). The Court limits its consideration to
the four corners of the pleading, any documents attached
thereto, and any external documents that are referenced in
the pleading the accuracy of which is not in dispute.
Oxendine v. Kaplan, 241 F.3d 1272, 1275 (10th Cir.
2001); Jacobsen v. Deseret Book Co., 287 F.3d 936,
941 (10th Cir. 2002); Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc. v.
Howsam, 261 F.3d 956, 961 (10th Cir. 2001).
is subject to dismissal if it fails to state a claim for
relief that is “plausible on its face.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). To make
such an assessment, the Court first discards those averments
in the Complaint that are merely legal conclusions or
“threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements.”
Id. at 678-679. The Court then takes the remaining,
well-pled factual contentions, treats them as true, and
ascertains whether those facts (coupled, of course, with the
law establishing the requisite elements of the claim) support
a claim that is “plausible” or whether the claim
being asserted is merely “conceivable” or
“possible” under the facts alleged. Id.
What is required to reach the level of
“plausibility” varies from ...