United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
STEVEN F. COX, KELLY FREEMAN, RUFUS IRVIN, KEITH FASON, ERNIE KIRK, and DAVID NAGY, Individually and on behalf of all similarly situated persons, Plaintiffs,
CITY OF JACKSON, TENNESSEE, Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON
DANIEL BREEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
action was initiated on February 11, 2019, by Plaintiffs
Steven F. Cox and Kelly Freeman against the City of Jackson,
Tennessee (the “City”); Chief of Police Julien
Wiser; and City Court Clerk Daryl Hubbard pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. (Docket Entry (“D.E.”) 1.) An
amended complaint filed May 31, 2019, added Plaintiffs Rufus
Irvin, Keith Fason, Ernie Kirk, and David Nagy and named the
City as the sole Defendant. (D.E. 33.) The Plaintiffs sued
individually and on behalf of all persons similarly
situated. Pending before the Court is the City's
motion for judgment on the pleadings. (D.E. 44.) Plaintiffs
have responded (D.E. 45), the Defendant has replied (D.E.
46), the Plaintiffs have sur-replied (D.E. 50), and the
Defendant has responded to the sur-reply (D.E. 53).
instant motion is governed by Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure, which permits a party to move for
judgment on the pleadings after the pleadings are closed.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). The same review standard is applied to
motions brought under Rule 12(c) as to those filed under Rule
12(b)(6). Hindel v. Husted, 875 F.3d 344, 346 (6th
Cir. 2017). That is, in analyzing a Rule 12(c) motion, courts
are to “construe the complaint in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff and accept all allegations as true
to determine whether the complaint contains sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face." Jackson v. City of
Cleveland, 925 F.3d 793, 806 (6th Cir. 2019) (internal
alterations & quotation marks omitted), reh'g en
banc denied (June 27, 2019). “A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Bullington v. Bedford Cty., Tenn., 905 F.3d 467, 469
(6th Cir. 2018) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009)).
amended complaint alleges the following. Plaintiff Cox was
arrested by Jackson Police Department officers on March 1,
2018, and charged in Jackson City Court with aggravated
assault and kidnapping. He was detained until the next day.
On January 8, 2017, Freeman was arrested and charged with
driving under the influence. She was also released the
following day. Irvin was arrested on January 11, 2017, and
charged with public intoxication. He remained in custody
until January 23, 2017. Fason was taken into custody on March
8, 2016, and charged with driving on a revoked driver license
and evading arrest. His detention ended on March 24, 2016.
Kirk's arrest occurred on April 8, 2017, leading to a
charge of driving on a revoked or suspended license. He was
held in custody until April 17, 2017. Nagy was arrested on
January 11, 2017, for driving on a revoked or suspended
license and released on February 17, 2017.
allege that the City violated their constitutional rights
under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments by failing to
obtain properly sworn arrest warrants and/or affidavits of
complaint based upon a finding of probable cause prior to
arresting and detaining them, and that the municipality had
an ongoing practice, policy, or custom of doing so.
Plaintiffs further aver that the Defendant failed to properly
train its employees in the appropriate procedures to be
utilized in obtaining arrest warrants and/or affidavits of
complaint. In addition, the Plaintiffs allege conspiracy
among City employees to deprive them of their constitutional
rights. The Plaintiffs seek compensatory and punitive
damages, as well as declaratory and injunctive relief.
1983 provides that
[e]very person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or
the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action
at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for
redress . . . .
42 U.S.C. § 1983. To state a claim under the statute, a
plaintiff must allege two elements: (1) “the defendant
acted under color of state law” and (2) “the
defendant's conduct deprived the plaintiff of rights
secured under federal law.” King v. United
States, 917 F.3d 409, 432 (6th Cir. 2019), reh'g
en banc denied (May 28, 2019).
may be held liable under § 1983 for constitutional
violations committed by their employees if the violations
result from municipal practices or policies.” Baker
v. City of Trenton, 936 F.3d 523, 535 (6th Cir. 2019)
(citing Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S.
658, 690 (1978)). “Along with identifying the conduct
properly attributable to the municipality, a plaintiff must
also demonstrate that, through its deliberate conduct, the
municipality was the moving force behind the injury
alleged.” Rayfield v. City of Grand Rapids,