United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Northern Division, Knoxville
PAMELA L. REEVES, District Judge.
On June 20, 2013, deputies from the Knox County Sheriff's Department, with a warrant, attempted to arrest Jordan Camp. When they arrived at the home where he was staying, Mr. Camp, who was intoxicated and suffered from depression and bipolar disorder, barricaded himself inside the back bedroom and claimed he had a gun and was going to commit suicide. The deputies withdrew from the home and called for backup. The Sheriff's department dispatched a SWAT team and negotiator. The SWAT team entered the home and established a staging area in the kitchen. After a period of negotiations, for reasons unstated in the complaint, officers shot Mr. Camp through the bedroom door, killing him. His family and estate brought this lawsuit against Knox County, the Sheriff's Department, the Sheriff, and numerous officers. The defendants have moved to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. Because the complaint does not include factual allegations to support its conclusory and formulaic recitations of the elements of their causes of action, the plaintiffs' claims will be dismissed.
On June 20, 2013, Knox County Sheriff's deputies went to the home of John Casey with a warrant to arrest Jordan Camp. When Deputy Chris Allison located Mr. Camp, he barricaded himself inside the back bedroom of the mobile home. Mr. Camp claimed he had a gun and was going to commit suicide. Deputy Allison withdrew from the mobile home, secured the front door, and called for assistance from the other deputies. Sergeant Phil Dalton and Lieutenant Brian Williams arrived and positioned themselves at the back door. Sergeant Dalton began negotiating with Mr. Camp while they awaited the SWAT team's arrival.
When defendant Greg Faulkner arrived on the scene, he took over negotiations. The SWAT team entered the mobile home and established a staging area in the kitchen. According to the complaint, the SWAT team entered the mobile home after a security perimeter had been established around it, and due to the mobile home's location, Mr. Camp did not present any immediate danger to a third party at that time.
The defendants allegedly knew or had reason to believe Mr. Camp suffered from mental health issues, including bipolar disorder and depression,  and at some point during the negotiations, Mr. Camp informed the defendants that he had ingested numerous illegal drugs and was intoxicated. Later while Mr. Faulkner was negotiating with Mr. Camp, "one or more members of Defendant Knox County Sheriff's Department" furnished alcohol to Mr. Camp.
Eventually, without explaining what event or catalyst triggered it, the complaint states that deputies fired their weapons at the closed door behind which Jordan Camp was standing. The officers discharged a total of 47 rounds, striking Mr. Camp in the face, chest, abdomen, and back, killing him. Some of the defendants initially reported that Mr. Camp fired his weapon at them, but the complaint asserts that Mr. Jordon never fired his weapon.
Following these events, the Knox County Sheriff's Office of Professional Standards interviewed the SWAT team members, including Defendants Black, Dalton, Grimes, and Lubienski. At Black, Lubienski, and Grimes' interviews, each of which lasted less than ten minutes, the defendants claimed Jordan Camp fired first. On September 23, 2013, the Knox County Sheriff's Office determined that Mr. Camp did not discharge his weapon. None of the defendants were re-interviewed after the Sheriff's office made this determination. Finally, the Office of Professional Standards' Investigative Findings did not include any reference to the officers giving Mr. Camp alcohol.
On June 15, 2014, Rick and Cindy Camp filed a complaint as parents and next of kin. On July 27, 2014 they amended their complaint. The amended complaint asserts claims for wrongful death, constitutional deprivations, conspiracy, intentional inflection of emotional distress, assault and battery, and negligence.
II. Standard of Review
Rules 8(a) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require the complaint to articulate a plausible claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). This requirement is met when "the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007)). A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) requires the court to construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, accept all the complaint's factual allegations as true, and determine whether the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of the plaintiff's claims that would entitle the plaintiff to relief. Meador v. Cabinet for Human Resources, 902 F.2d 474, 475 (6th Cir. 1990), cert. denied, 498 U.S. 867 (1990).
The court may not grant a motion to dismiss based upon a disbelief of a complaint's factual allegations. Lawler v. Marshall, 898 F.2d 1196, 1198 (6th Cir. 1990); Miller v. Currie, 50 F.3d 373, 377 (6th Cir. 1995) (noting that courts should not weigh evidence or evaluate the credibility of witnesses). The court must liberally construe the complaint in favor of the party opposing the motion. Id. However, the complaint must articulate more than a bare assertion of legal conclusions. Scheid v. Fanny Farmer Candy Shops, Inc., 859 F.3d 434, 436 (6th Cir. 1988). "[The] complaint must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements to sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory." Id. (citations omitted).
A. Knox County Sheriff's Office and Official ...