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Valentine v. Brown

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

July 14, 2016

VERONICA VALENTINE, Plaintiff,
v.
CHRIS BROWN, #1873, 8 UNKNOWN JANE - JOHN DOE OMAHA POLICE OFFICERS, and THE CITY OF OMAHA, Defendants. VERONICA VALENTINE, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF OMAHA, CHIEF OF OMAHA POLICE SCHMADER, and UNKNOWN JOHN JANE DOE POLICE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Richard G. Kopf Senior United States District Judge

         This matter is before the court on its own motion. For the reasons set forth below, the court will order that the above-captioned actions be consolidated.

         BACKGROUND

         1. Case No. 8:16CV131

         On March 25, 2016, Plaintiff Veronica Valentine filed suit, naming the City of Omaha, "8 Unknown Jane-John Omaha Police Officers, " and Omaha Police Officer Chris Brown as Defendants. Plaintiff alleged that she was the subject of a search warrant dated July 16, 2015. A state court authorized the search warrant in response to an application and affidavit submitted by Officer Chris Brown. The face of the warrant authorized law enforcement to search Plaintiff's residence and also her "person." (Filing No. 4 at CM/ECF p. 7.)

         Plaintiff alleged that upon executing the search warrant, two female police officers (identified as "Jane Does") instructed her to remove her clothing and "spread [her] legs apart bend over and cough." (Filing No. 4 at CM/ECF p. 2.) Over Plaintiff's objection, the Jane Doe officers searched Plaintiff's vagina and anus. (Filing No. 4 at CM/ECF p. 2.)

         On May 25, 2016, the court conducted an initial review of Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). The court concluded Plaintiff had not sufficiently plead that the City of Omaha had a policy or custom that violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights. Therefore, the court dismissed Plaintiff's claims against the City of Omaha, as well as Plaintiff's official capacity claims against the officers. The court also found that Plaintiff's conclusory allegation that the search warrant was "bogus" was insufficient to state a claim against Officer Chris Brown.

         The court determined, however, that Plaintiff stated a plausible Fourth Amendment individual-capacity claim against the two Jane Doe Defendants who performed the body cavity search. The court gave Plaintiff 30 days in which to take reasonable steps to identify the two Jane Doe Defendants and to notify the court of their names. To date, Plaintiff has not taken further action in this case.

         2. Case No. 8:16CV174

         On April 19, 2016, Plaintiff filed suit against the City of Omaha, Chief of Omaha Police Schmader, and Unknown John and Jane Doe Police. The Complaint did not indicate whether the officers were sued in their individual or official capacities.

         Plaintiff alleged that in July, 2015, Omaha Police Officers (identified as "John and Jane Doe") broke into her house with a "bogus" search warrant. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF p. 1.) She claimed that the unknown police officers searched her vagina and anus. Plaintiff alleged that as a result of the illegal search, she was charged and indicted for possession of a controlled substance. Also, she claimed that the police officers used excessive force when they arrested her. Plaintiff requested that the court enjoin Defendants from issuing "bogus" warrants and "enjoin any prosecution of Plaintiff arising as a result of any search perpetrated" on her. (Filing No. 1 at CM/ECF pp. 2-3.)

         On initial review, the court concluded that Plaintiff had failed to state a claim against the City of Omaha because she had not sufficiently alleged a custom or policy that violated her constitutional rights. Also, because Plaintiff's Complaint did not specify whether she was suing the officers in their official or individual capacities, the court presumed they were sued in their official capacities only, and found Plaintiff had failed to state cognizable claims against the officers. Nevertheless, the court provided Plaintiff with an opportunity to file an amended complaint. Plaintiff was advised that failure to file an amended complaint within the time specified by the court would result in the court dismissing this case without further notice.

         Plaintiff did not file an amended complaint as directed by the court. Instead, Plaintiff filed a "Motion, " stating that she has been unable to discover the identities of the "Jane Doe" Defendants. She requested that the court direct the City of Omaha to provide the names of the two officers involved in the body ...


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