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Bradley v. Tucker

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division

January 5, 2015

OFFICER CHRISTOPHER TUCKER and JOHN & JANE DOES 1-20 in their personal capacities as law enforcement officers of the state and federal governments, Defendants.


B. AVANT EDENFIELD, District Judge.


Before the Court are Officer Christopher Tucker's ("Defendant") Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 6, and the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation ("R & R") recommending dismissal of Albert Bradley's ("Plaintiff') Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) and Local Rule 41.1(b), ECF No. 21. Plaintiff has filed a Response to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 10, and an objection to the R & R, ECF No. 24.

For the reasons set forth below, the Court declines to adopt the Magistrate Judge's R & R, ECF No. 21, but GRANTS Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 6.


Plaintiff works in the parts department at Tico, Inc. ("Tico"), which is located at the Georgia Ports Authority in Garden City, Georgia. ECF No. 1 at 2. On August 20, 2013, Plaintiff was returning to Tico after running an errand to pick up an auto part. Id. While en route, Plaintiffs dispatcher radioed him to return. Id.

Upon Plaintiffs arrival at Tico an unidentified, armed police officer asked Plaintiff for identification. Id. at 2-3. Plaintiff provided the officer a photo ID and the officer asked if Plaintiff owned a particular vehicle parked in the Tico lot. Id. at 3. Plaintiff stated that he did. Id., The unidentified officer then asked if he could search Plaintiff's vehicle. id Plaintiff, denied permission. Id.

The unidentified officer then, told Plaintiff to accompany him to Plaintiff car, which was parked about al quarter mile away. Id. When the officer and Plaintiff arrived at Plaintiffs cat, Defendant approached Plaintiff and told him that his dog had alerted on Plaintiffs car. Id. Plaintiff denied that there were drugs in his car. Id. Another unidentified officer then told Plaintiff to "spread them" and frisked Plaintiff. Id. During the frisk, the unidentified officer removed Plaintiffs hat, ran his fingers through Plaintiffs hair, thoroughly patted down Plaintiffs person, and had Plaintiff remove his boots so that they could be searched. Id.

Finding no contraband on Plaintiff s person, Defendant and other unidentified officers searched Plaintiffs car. Id. at 4. The search included the engine compartment, passenger compartment, and the trunk. Id. This search, however, produced no drugs or contraband. Id. Plaintiff alleges that law enforcement made no police report of the incident, but the officer in charge of the Savannah/Chatham Metro K-9 unit confirmed that the unit sent Defendant to the Georgia Ports Authority on August 20, 2013, pursuant to a Customs and Border request for a drug dog. Id. at 4-5.

On August 1, 2014, Plaintiff filed his Complaint seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. ยงยง 1983, 1985(1)-(2), the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, Georgia state law, and the Federal Torts Claims Act. ECF No. 1 at 1. On that same date, the Court issued a General Order detailing the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(f). ECF No. 3. Plaintiff did not serve Defendant until September 12, 2014, see ECF No. 4, and on October 30, 2014, Defendant moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint, ECF No. 6.

On November 10, 2014, Defendant filed "his portion of the required Rule 26(f) Conference Report. ECF No. 9. But Plaintiff's Counsel failed to cooperate in the preparation of the Report. Id. Therefore, on November 13, 2014, the Magistrate Judge ordered Plaintiff "to show cause... why his case should not be dismissed for failure to participate in the Rule 26(f) conference and assist in the preparation of a proposed discovery plan." ECF No. 11.

Plaintiff's Counsel responded to the Magistrate Judge's Order, citing a lack of experience in federal court and an insufficient understanding of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and this Court's Local Rules as the cause for his failure to cooperate in the preparation of the Rule 26(f) report. ECF No. 16. The Magistrate Judge found that Plaintiff failed to show cause and recommended dismissal of Plaintiff's case pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b) and Local Rule 41.1(b). ECF No. 21 at 2-3.


The matters before the Court are subject to different standards of review. The Magistrate Judge's R & R triggers scrutiny under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(b), while Defendant's Motion to Dismiss implicates Rule 12(b)(6) analysis.

A. Rule 41(b)

Dismissal of a complaint pursuant to Rule 41(b) "is an extreme sanction that may be properly imposed only when: (1) a party engages in a clear pattern of delay or willful contempt...; and (2) the district court specifically finds that lesser sanctions would not suffice.'" Betty K Agencies, Ltd. v. M/V Monada, 432 F.3d 1333, 1337-38 (11th Cir. 2005) (quoting World Thrust Films, Inc. v. Intl Family Entm't, Inc., 41 F.3d 1454, 1456 (11th Cir. 1995)). The Eleventh Circuit "rigidly require[s] the district courts to make these findings precisely [b]ecause the sanction of dismissal with prejudice is so unsparing' and [the Court of Appeals] strive[s] to afford a litigant his or her day in court, if possible." Id. at 1339 (first alteration in original) (quoting Mingo v. Sugar Cane Growers Co-op. of Fla, 864 F.2d 101, 103 (11th Cir. 1989)).

B. Rule 12(b)(6)

In considering a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motion, all facts in the plaintiff's complaint "are to be accepted as true and the court limits its consideration to the pleadings and exhibits attached thereto." GSW, Inc. v. Long Cnty., 999 F.2d 1508, 1510 (11th Cir. 1993). The Court, however, is not limited to the four corners of the pleadings, rather a proper review of a motion to dismiss "requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).

A complaint will not be dismissed so long as it contains factual allegations sufficient "to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); see Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (claim must have "facial plausibility"); Edwards v. Prime, Inc., 602 F.3d 1276, 1291 (11th Cir. 2010). Yet, "a plaintiff's obligation to provide grounds' of his entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a ...

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