United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
T. Copenhaver, Jr. Senior United States District Judge
is defendant Fayette County Commission's motion to
dismiss the amended complaint, filed January 30, 2019.
around August 12, 2016, defendant Ethan A. Shrewsbury, a
Fayette County deputy sheriff, responded to a 911 call from
an individual at “Adventures on the Gorge.” Am.
Compl. ¶¶ 13-14. The individual reported to 911
dispatch that plaintiff Lane was intoxicated and had a
“perceived lack of ability to properly and safely
supervise his child.” Id. ¶ 14. Lane was
arrested for public intoxication and child neglect and
transported to the Fayette County Sheriff's Department
(“the Sheriff's Department”) by defendant
Shrewsbury for processing. Id. ¶ 12, 14.
later reported that “Plaintiff attempted to attack
him” while he was being processed at the Sheriff's
Department. Id. ¶ 15. According to the written
reports made by Shrewsbury and “other deputies, ”
Shrewsbury “delivered an open hand palm strike to the
right side of plaintiff's face in response to this
attack.” Id. Plaintiff, however, alleges that
Shrewsbury's report is devoid “of any information
that would explain the other injuries [that plaintiff]
suffered.” Id. Those injuries include
“multiple facial lacerations, bruises, ” and
“multiple facial fractures requiring surgical
intervention, ” as shown by the plaintiff's medical
records. Id. ¶ 16; Pl.'s Ex. A. Plaintiff
claims these injuries resulted from being “repeatedly
struck by Shrewsbury, “knocked to the ground” by
defendant Ryan Fox, and “tazed” by defendant
Brian Fernandez, ” all of whom were Fayette County
deputy sheriffs and “acted as . . . agents/employees of
the Fayette County Sheriff's Department.” Am.
Compl. ¶¶ 4, 16.
claims that medical records documenting his injuries
contradict Shrewsbury's report, which allegedly states
that he “administered one blow to the right side of
plaintiff's face.” Am. Compl. ¶ 16. He further
alleges that defendant Fernandez tazed him “numerous
times” while he was “restrained, ” and that
defendant Fox “failed to intervene on plaintiff's
behalf and was responsible for using excessive force and
knocking plaintiff to the ground.” Id.
result of the alleged events, plaintiff instituted this
action on August 10, 2018. He amended his five-count
complaint on December 11, 2018. The amended complaint charges
as follows: violations of Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to
United States Constitution/42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count I);
assault and battery (Count II); intentional infliction of
emotional distress (Count III); negligent
supervision/training (Count IV); and spoliation (Count V).
The Commission seeks dismissal of Counts I, II, III, and IV.
See Def.'s Mot. Dismiss.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires that a pleading
contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Rule
12(b)(6) correspondingly provides that a pleading may be
dismissed when there is a “failure to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted.”
survive a motion to dismiss, a pleading must recite
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007); see also Monroe v.
City of Charlottesville, 579 F.3d 380, 386 (4th Cir. 2009)
(quoting Giarratano v. Johnson, 521 F.3d 298, 302
(4th Cir. 2008)). In other words, the “[f]actual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
555 (citation omitted).
of the Rule 12(b)(6) standard requires that the court first
“‘accept as true all of the factual allegations
contained in the complaint . . . .'” Erickson
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 572). Such factual allegations
should be distinguished from “mere conclusory
statements, ” which are not to be regarded as true.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(“[T]he tenet that a court must accept as true all of
the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to
legal conclusions.”). Second, the court must also
“draw all reasonable . . . inferences from th[e]
facts in the plaintiff's favor . . . .” Edwards
v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 244 (4th Cir. 1999).
Section 1983 Claims - Count I
first alleges that the officers' “excessive force,
assault and battery” violated plaintiff's Fourth
Amendment right “to be free from unreasonable search
and seizures and unreasonable intrusions on his bodily
integrity” and was “egregious, outrageous, and an
abuse of power in violation of Plaintiff's right under
the Fourteenth Amendment to due process of law.” Am.
Compl. ¶¶ 20-21. Plaintiff further alleges that
“the violations of his constitutional rights were
caused by implementation of a custom, policy, or official act
of [the Commission], ...