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Bah v. Little

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Lanta Division

August 26, 2014

MARIAM BAH and THIERNO SOW, Plaintiffs,
v.
MARK LITTLE, Deputy U.S. Marshal, et al., Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, Jr., District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendant Mark Little's ("Little") Motion to Dismiss [6] ("Motion") for failure to state a claim and Plaintiff Mariam Bah's ("Bah") and Thierno Sow's ("Sow") (collectively, "Plaintiffs") Motion to Extend Time to Serve John Doe Defendants [10] ("Motion to Extend").

I. BACKGROUND

On August 5, 2013, Plaintiffs filed a Complaint against Defendant Little, a Deputy Marshal in the Northern District of Georgia and against "John Does 1-7" (the "John Doe Defendants, " and, sometimes collectively with Little, "Defendants"), who are allegedly "US Deputy Marshals and/or Police Officers in their individual capacities." (Complaint at ¶ 1). Plaintiffs bring this Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics , 403 U.S. 388 (1971) action, alleging that Defendants violated their constitutional rights.

Plaintiffs allege in their Complaint that on or about October 17, 2012, Plaintiffs "heard pounding on the front door of their home." (Id. at ¶ 5). "When Plaintiff Bah opened the Door, Defendants pointed their weapons at Plaintiff Bah." (Id. at ¶¶ 2, 6). Defendant Little "demanded to know if [Plaintiff Bah] was Mariam Bah." (Id. at ¶ 2, 7).

After Plaintiff Bah confirmed her identity, "Defendants stormed into Plaintiffs[] home, guns drawn." (Id. at ¶ 2, 8). Plaintiffs assert that Defendant Little "refused to let Plaintiff Bah retrieve her 5 and 7 year old daughters and held Plaintiffs in their living room against their will." (Id. at ¶ 9). Plaintiffs allege that, as Defendants continued their search of Plaintiffs' home, Defendant Little asked Plaintiffs if they knew an Ado Bah, "who was wanted for attempted murder charges in New York. (Id. at ¶ 11). When Plaintiffs responded that they did not, Defendant Little asked Plaintiffs if "they knew an Ibrahim Bah, " Ado Bah's father. (Id.). "Defendant Little later explained that Plaintiff Bah dated a man almost ten years earlier who was the father of a man who was wanted for murder in New York. (Id. at ¶ 2). "Plaintiff Bah responded that the Ibrahim Bah she knew did not have a son. (Id. at ¶ 11).

Plaintiffs allege that the name "Ibrahim Bah" and the last name "Bah" are very common names in Guinea, and that Defendants' decision to enter Plaintiffs' home was based upon Plaintiffs' race and national origin. (Id. at ¶¶ 12-13). Plaintiffs assert that the Defendants did not apply for a search warrant for Plaintiffs' home, and that Defendant Little, as "supervisor on the scene" instructed the John Doe Defendants to enter Plaintiffs' home without a search warrant. (Id. at ¶¶ 17, 19). "Defendants' search [of Plaintiffs' home] yielded nothing." (Id. at ¶ 14).

Plaintiffs allege that: (1) Defendants violated Plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment right by entering their home "without a search warrant, without Plaintiff's [sic] consent, and absent exigent circumstances" (Count One); and (2) Defendants violated the Equal Protection Clause because "their decision to raid Plaintiffs' home was based solely upon Plaintiff's [sic] race and national origin" (Count Two).[1] (Id. ¶¶ 22-23). Plaintiffs seek compensatory and punitive damages and attorneys' fees.

On August 23, 2013, Plaintiffs attempted to serve the John Doe Defendants by waiver of service of process. On November 27, 2013, Plaintiffs filed their first "Motion to Extend Time to Serve Defendants" [5]. On November 27, 2013, the Court granted Plaintiffs an additional sixty (60) days to serve the John Doe Defendants.

On December 19, 2013, Defendant Little filed his Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.[2] Defendant Little contends that Counts One and Two of Plaintiffs' Complaint do not meet the pleading standards set forth in Twombly and Iqbal. Defendant Little also asserts that he was not the supervisor of the John Doe Defendants, and is thus entitled to qualified immunity. (Motion at pp. 10-19).[3] On January 14, 2014, Plaintiffs filed their Motion to Extend.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

The law governing motions to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is well-settled. "To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see also Marshall Cnty. Bd. of Educ. v. Marshall Cnty. Gas Dist. , 992 F.2d 1171, 1174 (11th Cir. 1993) (dismissal appropriate "when, on the basis of a dispositive issue of law, no construction of the factual allegations will support the cause of action").

In considering a motion to dismiss, the Court must "assume that the factual allegations in the complaint are true and give the plaintiff[] the benefit of reasonable factual inferences." Wooten v. Quicken Loans, Inc. , 626 F.3d 1187, 1196 (11th Cir. 2010), cert. denied, 132 S.Ct. 245 (2011). Although reasonable inferences are made in the plaintiff's favor, "unwarranted deductions of fact' are not admitted as true." Aldana v. Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A. , 416 F.3d 1242, 1248 (11th Cir. 2005) (quoting S. Fla. Water Mgmt. Dist. v. Montalvo , 84 F.3d 402, 408 n.10 (11th Cir. 1996)). Similarly, the Court ...


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