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Roath v. Lee

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

July 12, 2019

QUINTON ROATH, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIAM B. LEE, DAVID RAUSCH, JEFF LONG, ANDREA CLARK, JACK MORGAN, CITY OF FRANKLIN, DAVID ELLIOTT, JARRAD RIKAL, and METROPOLITAN GOVERNMNET OF NASHVILLE-DAVIDSON COUNTY, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ELI RICHARDSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         TABLE OF CONTENTS

         BACKGROUND ............................................................................................................................ 5

         I. The Parties ........................................................................................................................... 5

         II. The Allegations .................................................................................................................... 7

         LEGAL STANDARD ................................................................................................................... 12

         I. Rule 12(b)(1) ...................................................................................................................... 12

         II. Rule 12(b)(6) ...................................................................................................................... 13

         DISCUSSION ............................................................................................................................... 14

         I. Constitutional Claims in Counts I-VIII Against All Defendants ....................................... 14

         II. Defendants Clark and Morgan's Motion to Dismiss ......................................................... 20

         A. Counts II, III, and VII ..................................................................................................... 20

         B. Count IX ......................................................................................................................... 21

         1. Standing ...................................................................................................................... 21

         2. Qualified Immunity .................................................................................................... 23

         a. Fourth Amendment ................................................................................................. 24

         b. Fifth Amendment .................................................................................................... 28

         i. Self-Incrimination ............................................................................................... 29

         ii. Right to Counsel .................................................................................................. 30

         III. Defendant Franklin's Motion to Dismiss ....................................................................... 31

         A. Counts II, III, and VII ..................................................................................................... 31

         B. Count X .......................................................................................................................... 31

         1. Standing ...................................................................................................................... 31

         2. Plausibility .................................................................................................................. 32

         a. Defendant Franklin's Alleged Illegal Policies ........................................................ 33

         b. Defendant Franklin's Alleged Inadequate Supervision and Failure to Train ......... 34

         i. Defendant Franklin's Alleged Failure to Train, and Inadequate Supervision of, Employees Regarding the TSOR's Alleged Violation of the Ex Post Facto Clause of the U.S. Constitution .................................................................................................. 35

         ii. Defendant Franklin's Alleged Failure to Train, and Inadequate Supervision, of Employees Regarding Interrogation and Detention of Those Seeking to Update their TSOR Information ...................................................................................................... 36

         IV. Defendants Elliott and Rikal's Motion to Dismiss ......................................................... 36

         A. Counts II, III, and VII ..................................................................................................... 36

         B. Count XI ......................................................................................................................... 37

         1. Fourth Amendment ..................................................................................................... 37

         2. Fifth Amendment ........................................................................................................ 42

         3. Due Process ................................................................................................................ 44

         V. Defendant Metro's Motion to Dismiss ................................................................................. 46

         A. Counts II, III, and VII ..................................................................................................... 46

         B. Count XII ........................................................................................................................ 46

         1. Defendant Metro's Alleged Illegal Policies ............................................................... 47

         2. Defendant Metro's Alleged Failure to Train and Inadequate Supervision ................. 48

         a. Defendant Metro's Alleged Failure to Train and Inadequate Supervision of Employees Regarding the TSOR's Alleged Violation of the Ex Post Facto Clause of the U.S. Constitution ............................................................................................................ 48

         b. Defendant Metro's Alleged Failure to Train, and Inadequate Supervision of, Employees Regarding Interrogation and Detention of Those Seeking to Update their TSOR Information .......................................................................................................... 49

         IV. The State Defendants' Motion to Dismiss .......................................................................... 49

         A. Whether Defendants Lee, Rausch, and Long are Proper Parties ................................... 49

         1. Defendant Lee ............................................................................................................. 49

         2. Defendant Rausch ....................................................................................................... 50

         3. Defendant Long .......................................................................................................... 50

         B. Count II .......................................................................................................................... 51

         C. Count III .......................................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.

         D. Count VII ........................................................................................................................ 52

         CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................................. 53

         Before the Court are the following motions: (1) Defendants Andrea Clark and Jack Morgan's Motion to Dismiss the Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) (Doc. No. 101); (2) Defendant City of Franklin's (“Franklin”) Motion to Dismiss SAC (Doc. No. 103); (3) Defendants David Elliott and Jarrad Rikal's Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim (Doc. No. 113); (4) Defendant Metropolitan Government of Nashville-Davidson County (“Metro”)'s Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim (Doc. No. 111); and (5) Defendants David Rausch, William B. Lee, and Jeff Long's (the “State Defendants”) Motion to Dismiss SAC (Doc. No. 108). For the reasons discussed below, the Court will rule as follows.

         Defendant Clark and Morgan's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 101) will be GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. As to Counts I-VIII, Defendants Clark and Morgan's Motion to Dismiss will be GRANTED and those claims will be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. As to Count IX, Defendant Clark and Morgan's Motion to Dismiss will be DENIED. The Court further notes that while Plaintiff can maintain his Section 1983 claim based on the Fourth Amendment, Plaintiff cannot maintain his Section 1983 claim based on the Fifth Amendment, because Defendants Clark and Morgan are entitled to qualified immunity.

         Defendant Franklin's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 103) will be GRANTED. All counts alleged against Defendant Franklin (Counts I-VIII and X) will be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

         Defendants Elliott and Rikal's Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim (Doc. No. 113) will be GRANTED. All counts alleged against Defendants Elliott and Rikal (Counts I-VIII and XI) will be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

         Defendant Metro's Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim (Doc. No. 111) will be GRANTED. All counts alleged against Defendant Metro (Counts I-VIII, XII) will be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

         The State Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 108) will be GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. The Court will GRANT the State Defendants' Motion to Dismiss as to Counts I, IV, V, VI, and VIII. These counts will be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. All counts against Defendants Lee and Long will be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. The Court will DENY the State Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Counts II, III, and VII and Defendant Rausch's Motion to Dismiss all remaining claims against him.

         Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 132) will also be DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment asks the Court to enter judgment in his favor on Count I and Count VII. (See Doc. No. 134 at 21.) In light of the Court's ruling on the motions to dismiss and the passage of time between now and the date the motion was originally filed (more than one year ago), Plaintiff can update his motion and refile it by August 15, 2019. The parties shall respond in accordance with the time and manner discussed in the Local Rules.

         BACKGROUND

         I. The Parties

         Plaintiff Quinton Roath is a Nashville resident who was purportedly required to register in the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry (“TSOR”) pursuant to 34 U.S.C. § 20901, et seq. after a conviction in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee under 18 U.S.C. § 1591(d), obstructing enforcement, which was committed around August 5, 2009. (Doc. No. 97 (“SAC”) ¶ 5.) Plaintiff was not convicted of any actual unlawful or inappropriate sexual conduct with anyone. (Id.) Previously, Plaintiff was a resident of Franklin in Williamson County, Tennessee. (Id.) Since the original filing of this case, Plaintiff moved to Nashville, but regularly travels in Franklin, and Plaintiff intends to and desires to move back there. (Id.)

         Defendant William B. Lee is the Governor of the State of Tennessee, who Plaintiff sues in his official capacity as the executive head of the State of Tennessee which maintains the Sex Offender Registry. (Id. ¶ 6.)[1] Defendant David Rausch is the Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (“TBI”), who oversees the TSOR. (Id. ¶ 7.)[2] Plaintiff sues Defendant Rausch in his official capacity. (Id.)

         Defendant Jeff Long is the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, who Plaintiff sues in his official capacity. (Id. ¶ 8.)[3] The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security includes the Driver Services Division, which issues driver's licenses and state identification cards with codes denoting the holder as a sex offender. (Id.)

         Defendant Andrea Clark is a detective with the CID Special Victims Unit of the FPD, and is sued in her individual capacity. (Id. ¶ 9.) As part of her duties she personally receives annual reports by those required to register in the TSOR who reside or work within Franklin city limits. (Id.) She also regularly conducts spot inspections of registrants' homes, instructs registrants of their obligations under the TSOR laws, and threatens to have registrants arrested should they fail to comply with what she believes is required. (Id.) Defendant Jack Morgan is a sergeant with the Franklin Police Department, Franklin, Tennessee (“FPD”), and is sued in his individual capacity. (Id. ¶ 10.)

         Defendant City of Franklin (“Franklin”) is the employer of Defendants Clark and Morgan and is the local agency designated to maintain the records of those registered in the TSOR who work or reside in the city of Franklin. (Id. ¶ 11.)

         Defendant David Elliott is a detective with the Metro Nashville Police Department (“MNPD”), and is sued in his individual capacity. (Id. ¶ 12.) Defendant Jarrad Rikal is also a detective with the MNPD, and is sued in his individual capacity. (Id. ¶ 13.) Defendant Metro is the employer of Defendants Elliott and Rikal and is the local agency designated to maintain the records of those registered in the TSOR who work or reside in Davidson County. (Id. ¶ 14.)

         II. Plaintiff's Allegations[4]

         Around May 2017, Plaintiff mailed a TBI form to Defendant Clark with updated information regarding his employment and vehicle registration. (Id. ¶ 71.) On May 19, 2017, Defendant Clark emailed Plaintiff's counsel stating that Plaintiff will need to schedule a time to update his information in person. (Id. ¶ 72.) When Plaintiff's counsel challenged Defendant Clark on why an in-person report was required, Defendant Clark emailed a reply that cut and pasted Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-39-203(a)(1) and stated, “Any additional questions can be answered at the TBI hotline. The phone number is 888-837-4170 or email is TBISORMGR@tn.gov.” (Id.)

         On May 30, 2017, Defendant Clark and Plaintiff set an appointment for an in-person update to take place at the FPD on May 31, 2017. (Id. ¶ 75.) On May 31, 2017, Plaintiff appeared with his counsel at the FPD. (Id. ¶ 76.) At the police department, Defendant Morgan declared that the only way the update would take place was if Plaintiff, without counsel, would go into a side room that had a door closed and update his information. (Id. ¶ 77.) When Plaintiff's counsel insisted that Plaintiff was not going to subject himself to interrogation without counsel, Defendant Morgan declared that they would leave the door to the room open and counsel could stand outside at the threshold but not go in. (Id. ¶ 78.) When asked whether the procedure of not allowing counsel to accompany his client was a department policy, Defendant Morgan said yes. (Id. ¶ 79.) Plaintiff then entered the room with Defendant Clark to update his information, while Plaintiff's counsel stood outside and was not allowed to enter the room. (Id. ¶ 83.) Defendant Morgan, armed with a firearm, stood over Plaintiff to ensure compliance. (Id.) Defendant Clark posed questions to Plaintiff in a deliberately whispered tone so that counsel could not hear. (Id. ¶ 84.)

         Around June 7, 2017, Plaintiff told Defendant Clark that he was considering getting a job where a daycare was located across the street. (Id. ¶ 89.) Defendant Clark told Plaintiff that if he took the job she would submit an affidavit for an arrest warrant. (Id.) As a result of Defendant Clark's intent to seek a warrant for Plaintiff's arrest, he has not sought or accepted employment and has quit employment, even though Defendant Clark's interpretation of the statute is incorrect. (Id.)

         Around September 30, 2017, Plaintiff was evicted from his apartment in Franklin solely because of his inclusion in the TSOR. (Id. ¶ 100.) He was able to find a new residence in Davidson County and registered in the TSOR in Davidson County, even though he maintains that the provisions of the TSOR do not apply to him. (Id. ¶¶ 101-02.) Plaintiff is currently registered in the TSOR through Metro. (Id. ¶ 36.)

         On September 28, 2017, Plaintiff approached the window “at the appropriate location” to submit his updated TBI information form, Defendant Rikal greeted him and then interrogated him. (Id. ¶¶ 101-02.) Defendant Rikal asked Plaintiff what year his license plate expired and suggested that if he didn't know, he call back Defendant Rikal and provide this information over the phone. (Id. ¶ 108.) Plaintiff responded that he could have his “attorney do it.” (Id.) Defendant Rikal then closed the door on Plaintiff, claiming that he had to go look up some information. (Id. ¶ 109.) After another waiting period, Defendant Elliott entered the room. (Id.) Defendant Elliott said that Plaintiff had to provide the vehicle's expiration date himself but that he could have his attorney with him. (Id.) Plaintiff further alleges that on September 29, 2017, Defendant Elliott said that if Plaintiff did not call in with the vehicle registration expiration date, he would seek a warrant for Plaintiff's arrest. (Id. ¶ 112.)

         On December 18, 2017, Plaintiff appeared at the Davidson County Sex Offender Registry office to report for his annual report. (Id. ¶ 120.) There, Defendant Elliott and Plaintiff discussed whether Plaintiff would have to pay the $150 registration fee even though he was financially unable to pay. (Id. ¶¶ 122-23.) During this encounter, Plaintiff repeatedly asked Defendant Elliott if he was “free to leave.” (Id. ¶ 125.) Defendant Elliott responded that if Plaintiff did not sign the paperwork, he would be in violation of the TSOR Act, which is a Class E felony. (Id.)

         This pattern of conduct on the part of Defendant Elliott and other officers within Metro's Sex Offender Registry office is not new. (Id. ¶ 130.) For example, Douglas Aldridge, an individual on the TSOR, is currently incarcerated for failing to report a change of address within 48 hours- an admission he was forced to make on his registration form. (Id.) When Aldridge would report to the Davidson County Sex Offender Registry office, he felt that he was being interrogated and that he was not free to leave until he was told. (Id.) Jerry Eugene Brown, another individual on the TSOR, was told he had to register when he appeared in court on a misdemeanor charge unrelated to a sex offense about six years ago. (Id.) Mr. Brown is an unemployed veteran on Social Security retirement as his sole source of income, making less than the Federal Poverty Level as promulgated by the Internal Revenue Service. (Id.) Despite his poverty, he is still ordered to pay the $150 fee and has never been told by officers at the Davidson County Sex Offender Registry office that it is not a violation to not pay this fee unless he is financially able to pay. (Id.) Brown has never been told that he has the right to remain silent when asked questions by the officers. (Id.)

         Plaintiff asserts that the training Metro provides to its officers at the Sex Offender Registration office is inadequate. (Id. ¶ 132.) Defendant Rikal, according to his training jacket obtained through an open records request, has been provided with no training on sex offender registry laws. (Id.) Defendant Elliott's training records going back to 2005 contain only one entry for sex offender registry training. (Id.)

         Plaintiff is confused about what is expected of him, what laws (federal or state) apply to him, and what would subject him to arrest. (Id. ¶ 113.) When he, directly or through counsel, asks law enforcement officials for clarification, he is merely handed a standard form that does not address his concerns or questions, is given the run-around, or is given vague and nonspecific answers to his questions. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that at worst, he is given information that Plaintiff asserts is materially and legally inaccurate. (Id.)

         Plaintiff has declined employment because of its proximity to a prohibited zone and remains unemployed. (Id. ¶ 115.) He is constantly harassed by police because his license plate and his driver's license bring him up as a sexual offender, even though he never committed an actual sexual offense. (Id.) Plaintiff has, at times, been homeless because of what Plaintiff asserts are erroneous and inconsistent instructions with regards to the TSOR. (Id. ¶ 116.) Plaintiff is afraid to pick up or drop off any of his children at daycare for fear of being arrested and is also generally in constant fear of being arrested. (Id. ¶¶ 117, 119.) Plaintiff further had to decline or quit jobs that would require him to travel interstate. (Id. ¶ 118.)

         In the SAC, Plaintiff also asserts at great length a specific chronological history, and specific legal interpretation of, the TSOR Act and various of its provisions. He also asserts specific comparisons between the provisions of the TSOR Act and provisions of the Federal Sex Offender Registration ...


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