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Infante v. City of Hastings

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

April 9, 2018

ALAMA ROSA INFANTE Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF HASTINGS, NEBRASKA; RICK SCHMIDT; RAILEE VAN WINKLE; JERRY ESCH; MICHAEL DOREMUS; KELLY SCARLETT; ALLEN DEDLAK; Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Laurie Smith Camp Chief United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 16, and the Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions, filed by the above named Defendants. For the reasons stated below, the Motion to Dismiss will be granted and the Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions will be denied.

         BACKGROUND

         The following facts are those alleged in the Complaint, ECF No. 1-1, Page ID 11, and assumed true for purposes of the pending Motion to Dismiss.

         On or about August 13, 2011, law enforcement officers Rick Schmidt, Railee Van Winkle, Jerry Esch, Michael Doremus, Kelly Scarlett, and Allen Dedlak responded to a call about a disturbance at a home in Hastings, Nebraska, involving many of Infante's family members and friends. Infante arrived at the house after her sister called and asked that she come help resolve an ongoing dispute. Infante's nephew, Juan Anthony Espino, was arrested and charged with two counts of domestic assault. Infante alleges she never interfered with law enforcement when they arrived.

         During the investigation and resolution of the disturbance, Infante allegedly overheard Officer Doremus say, “Maybe if we put pressure on them . . . they'll get the hell out of this neighborhood.” Comp. ¶ 19, ECF No. 1-1, Page ID 14. Infante also alleges that “[a]fter the day of the Distrubance, the investigating [ ] Officers continued their interviews and investigations, and expanded their investigations in an attempt to make out cases of criminal conspiracy and witness tampering against [her] and other of her family members” when there was no factual basis for doing so. Id. at ¶ 21, Page ID 21. Infante was arrested and charged with conspiracy and witness tampering in “late December, 2011[, ]” but the charges were “terminated in October 2012.” Id. at ¶ 24. She alleges the affidavit supporting the request for her arrest warrant also contained false information.

         On October 6, 2014, Infante sued the City of Hastings, Nebraska; Adams County, Nebraska; and the State of Nebraska in the District Court for Adams County, asserting four causes of action: (1) negligence, (2) deprivation of property for public use without just compensation in violation of the Nebraska Constitution, (3) deprivation of property without just compensation in violation of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 76-705; and (4) deprivation of her rights under the First, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution under color of state law, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The action was removed to this Court and Infante's claims against the State of Nebraska were dismissed with prejudice. Infante v. City of Hastings, No. 4:15CV3047, 2015 WL 5167267 (D. Neb. Sept. 3, 2015). The rest of her claims were dismissed, without prejudice, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).

         On September 27, 2016, another lawsuit was filed in the District Court for Adams County by different plaintiffs, but based on the same facts as those alleged in Infante, 2015 WL 5167267. Again, the action was removed to this Court. Perez v. City of Hastings, Neb., 4:16CV3158, 2017 WL 1066574 (D. Neb. March 21, 2017). The Court dismissed the plaintiffs' § 1983 claims under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and remanded the case to the District Court for Adams County. Id. at *6-7.

         On May 17, 2017, Infante initiated this action[1] in the District Court of Adams County, Nebraska, and asserted various state and federal law claims against the City of Hastings, Nebraska; Adams County, Nebraska; the State of Nebraska; John and Jane Does 1 through 10; Rick Schmidt; Raelee Van Winkle; Jerry Esch; Michael Doremus; Kelly Scarlett; Allen Dedlak; and Alyson Keiser Roudebush. The case was again removed to this Court and Infante voluntarily dismissed her claims against Adams County, the State of Nebraska, Alyson Keiser Roudebush, and John and Jane Does 1 through 10. ECF No. 18 & 22. None of the individual defendants has been sued in his or her individual capacity.[2] The remaining defendants have moved to dismiss Infante's Complaint in its entirety.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). To satisfy this requirement, a plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Corrado v. Life Inv'rs Ins. Co. of Am., 804 F.3d 915, 917 (8th Cir. 2015) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “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.” Barton v. Taber, 820 F.3d 958, 964 (8th Cir. 2016) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Zink v. Lombardi, 783 F.3d 1089, 1098 (8th Cir. 2015) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678), cert. denied, 135 S.Ct. 2941 (2015). The complaint's factual allegations must be “sufficient to ‘raise a right to relief above the speculative level.'” McDonough v. Anoka Cty., 799 F.3d 931, 946 (8th Cir. 2015) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). The Court must accept factual allegations as true, but it is not required to accept any “legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Brown v. Green Tree Servicing LLC, 820 F.3d 371, 373 (8th Cir. 2016) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Thus, “[a] pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'” Ash v. Anderson Merchandisers, LLC, 799 F.3d 957, 960 (8th Cir. 2015) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678), cert. denied, 136 S.Ct. 804 (2016).

         On a motion to dismiss, courts must rule “on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true, ” and “a well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of those facts is improbable, and ‘that a recovery is very remote and unlikely.'” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 & 556 (quoting Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974)). “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief . . . [is] a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Mickelson v. Cty. of Ramsey, 823 F.3d 918, 923 (8th Cir. 2016) (alternation in original) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679).

         DISCUSSION

         In addition to several state law claims, Infante asserts claims under 42 U.S.C § 1983 for violations of her rights under the First, Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. For the reasons discussed below, the Court concludes that Infante failed to state plausible § 1983 claims against the City of Hastings, and any such claims are barred by the applicable statute ...


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