United States District Court, D. Colorado
Michael E. Hegarty, United States Magistrate Judge
the Court is Defendants Donovan and Castillo's Motion to
Dismiss First Amended Complaint. ECF No. 25. Defendants move
to dismiss the Plaintiff's first claim for relief under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of Plaintiff's Fourth
Amendment rights against “wrongful stop and detention,
false arrest, and false imprisonment.” For the reasons
that follow, the Court will grant the motion as to these
Statement of Facts
following are factual allegations (as opposed to legal
conclusions, bare assertions, or merely conclusory
allegations) made by Plaintiff in the First Amended Complaint
(“FAC”), which are taken as true for analysis
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) pursuant to Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Donovan and Castillo are officers in the Denver Police
Department. ECF No. 16 ¶¶ 4-5. On May 13, 2016, the
department received a report of a domestic violence incident
at the Star Motel, 3850 N. Peoria St., and dispatched Donovan
to the location. Id. ¶¶ 9-13. At the
motel, Donovan located the reported victim, G.R.,
had fled the room where the alleged incident occurred.
Id. ¶¶ 13, 18. She told Donovan that she
had been in a room with the perpetrator when she attempted to
call her fiancé. Id. ¶ 15. The
perpetrator became very angry and took the phone and hit her
in the face with it. Id. He also punched her in the
jaw four times and threw a table at her. Id.
¶¶ 15-17. G.R. was then able to flee the room.
Id. ¶ 18. She told Donovan the assailant was
African-American and had a teardrop tattoo near one of his
eyes. Id. ¶¶ 21-22.
proceeded to room 229, where G.R. said the incident occurred.
Id. ¶ 23. While standing outside the room, he
observed Plaintiff “in the distance” and
“ordered” unnamed “officers” to
“contact” Plaintiff. Id. ¶ 24. He
also “observed” a black male named Aaron Smith in
room 229 and asked Mr. Smith if he knew Plaintiff.
Id. ¶¶ 26-27.
Police Department officers” took Plaintiff into
custody, and Donovan took a photo of him. Id.
¶¶ 28-29. The photo showed Plaintiff in the rear of
a vehicle with his hands behind his back, suggesting he was
handcuffed. Id. ¶¶ 29, 38. Donovan did not
photograph anyone else at that time. Id.
¶¶ 30-31. He then went to Denver Health Medical
Center and showed the photo to G.R. Id. ¶¶
32, 40. Donovan had observed G.R. to be intoxicated at the
motel and did not ask if she had been medicated at the
hospital. Id. ¶¶ 34-35. He also knew that
G.R. had attempted to escape from the health center.
Id. ¶¶ 35-36. While she was being carried
into the hospital by medical personnel, Donovan showed her
the photo of Plaintiff. Id. ¶ 37. G.R. nodded
in the affirmative. Id. ¶ 40. Donovan asked her
if the man in the photo was the one who hit her with the
table, and G.R. said “yes.” Id. ¶
next day, Castillo was assigned to continue the
investigation. Id. ¶ 48. Castillo “was
provided” the “other officers' investigation
reports” and reviewed a video statement in which G.R.
said the attacker had a teardrop tattoo near his eye.
Id. ¶¶ 49, 51, 53. Additionally, Donovan
told Castillo that G.R. was intoxicated and stumbling when
she arrived at the hospital. Id. ¶ 50.
voluntarily spoke with Castillo and told him that Plaintiff
first encountered G.R. that night at an AutoZone, and she was
already injured at that time. Id. ¶¶
57-60. He also said G.R. was with an unidentified black male.
Id. ¶ 58. The unknown male told Plaintiff that
G.R. “was trouble” and had just been
“beaten up by her boyfriend.” Id. ¶
61. Plaintiff told Castillo that he was not responsible for
any of G.R.'s injuries. Id. ¶ 62. Castillo
was also aware that Plaintiff did not have a teardrop tattoo
on his face. Id. ¶ 65.
received several extensions from the Denver District Attorney
to continue his investigation. Id. ¶ 66. He
eventually submitted the case to the District Attorney, who
declined to file charges. Id. ¶ 70. During the
investigation, Plaintiff was incarcerated for “several
days.” Id. ¶¶ 71-72. While in
custody, Plaintiff suffered emotional damages and was
assaulted by a cellmate. Id. ¶¶ 73-74.
initiated this suit on May 12, 2018, ECF NO. 1, and filed the
operative FAC on October 10, 2018, ECF No. 16. The FAC
asserts two claims for relief, both under 42 U.S.C. §
1983: (1) violation of Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment
rights against “wrongful stop and detention, false
arrest, and false imprisonment, ” and (2) a violation
of his Fourth Amendment rights against malicious prosecution.
Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the second claim for relief
on January 11, 2019. See ECF Nos. 43, 44. Here,
Defendants seek to dismiss the remaining claim arguing that
Plaintiff fails to allege his constitutional rights were
clearly established at the time of the incident, to plausibly
state Donovan and Castillo personally participated in the
alleged violations, and to demonstrate reasonable suspicion
for the stop and probable cause for the unlawful seizure.
Because Defendants fail to persuade this Court by binding or
persuasive legal authority that it is proper in a Rule
12(b)(6) analysis to make determinations of reasonable
suspicion and/or probable cause, the Court will not engage in
such analysis, but will consider the Defendants' other