United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division
GARY TYRE, individually; SAMANTHA JACOBS, as Administrator of the Estate of JERROD WEBSTER TYRE; and YVONNE GILDER, individually; Plaintiffs,
SHERIFF JOHN CARTER, in his individual capacity; ROBERT BRANTLEY, JR., in his individual capacity; and JOHN DOES 1-3, in their individual capacities; Defendants.
GODBEY WOOD, DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendants Sheriff John Carter
("Sheriff Carter") and Robert Brantley, Jr.'s
("Deputy Brantley") ("Defendants")
Partial Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. No. 13). For the reasons
stated below, Defendants' motion is GRANTED in
following facts are taken solely from Plaintiffs Gary Tyre,
Yvonne Gilder and Samantha Jacobs'
("Plaintiffs") Complaint. On July 21, 2015,
deputies with the Wayne County Sheriff's Department
reported to a domestic dispute at the home of Jerrod Webster
Tyre ("Jerrod") in Jesup, Georgia. Dkt. No. 12
¶ 8. At the time, Plaintiffs allege Jerrod was target
shooting in his backyard with a .22-caliber Ruger pistol.
Id. ¶ 9. When deputies arrived, they instructed
Jerrod to refrain from shooting. Id. ¶¶
10-11. Jerrod refused and said he would put down his weapon
only if police left his property. Id. ¶¶
11-12. The confrontation between Jerrod and the deputies
lasted for forty minutes. Id. ¶ 15. Ultimately,
Jerrod was shot and killed by Deputy Brantley. Id.
¶ 16. Plaintiffs allege that a subsequent coroner's
inquiry revealed that the killing was unjustified.
Id. ¶ 17. Plaintiffs now bring 42 U.S.C. §
1983 ("Section 1983") and wrongful death claims,
and associated claims for punitive damages and attorney's
fees. See generally id.
ruling on a motion to dismiss brought pursuant to Rule 12(b)
(6), a district court must accept as true the facts as set
forth in the complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in
the plaintiff's favor. Randall v. Scott, 610
F.3d 701, 705 (11th Cir. 2010). Although a complaint need not
contain detailed factual allegations, it must contain
sufficient factual material "to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level." Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). At a
minimum, a complaint should ''contain either direct
or inferential allegations respecting all the material
elements necessary to sustain a recovery under some viable
legal theory." Fin. Sec. Assurance, Inc. v.
Stephens, Inc., 500 F.3d 1276, 1282-83 (11th Cir. 2007)
(per curiam) (quoting Roe v. Aware Woman Ctr. for Choice,
Inc., 253 F.3d 678, 683 (11th Cir. 2001)).
move to partially dismiss Plaintiffs' Section 1983 and
state law claims on the basis of qualified and official
immunity. The Court addresses each claim in turn.
argue that Sheriff Carter is entitled to qualified immunity.
The qualified immunity defense exists to offer "complete
protection for government officials sued in their individual
capacities if their conduct Moes not violate clearly
established statutory or constitutional rights of which a
reasonable person would have known.'" Vinyard v.
Wilson, 311 F.3d 1340, 1346 (11th Cir. 2002) (quoting
Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982)).
When properly applied, the doctrine protects "all but
the plainly incompetent or one who is knowingly violating the
federal law." Id. (quoting Lee v.
Ferraro, 284 F.3d 1188, 1194 (11th Cir. 2002)). To
determine if qualified immunity applies, the Court considers
(1) whether the plaintiff alleged facts to establish that the
officers violated a constitutional right and (2) whether that
right was clearly established. Pearson v. Callahan,
555 U.S. 223, 232 (2009). Sheriff Carter was not at the scene
the night Jerrod was killed and therefore did not personally
violate Jerrod's constitutional rights. Further, it is
well established that Section 1983 claims may not be brought
against supervisory officials on the basis of vicarious
liability or respondeat superior. Belcher v. City of
Foley, 30 F.3d 1390, 1396 (11th Cir. 1994) (citing
Hardin v. Hayes, 957 F.2d 845, 849 (11th Cir.
as a supervisory official over Deputy Brantley, Sheriff
Carter may still be held liable under limited circumstances.
Specifically, Plaintiffs must plausibly allege a "causal
connection between actions of the supervising official and
the alleged constitutional deprivation." Brown v.
Crawford, 906 F.2d 667, 671 (11th Cir. 1990). A causal
connection can be established when a history of widespread
abuse puts the responsible supervisor on notice of the need
to correct the alleged deprivation, and he fails to do so.
][d. However, these deprivations must be "obvious,
flagrant, rampant and of continued duration."
Id. Here, Plaintiffs appear to base their
allegations of liability on a "failure to train"
theory. Dkt. No. 12 p. 5.
failure to train must amount to deliberate indifference to
the rights of persons with whom the subordinates come into
contact and the failure has to actually cause the injury of
which the plaintiff complains. Popham v. City of
Talladega, 908 F.2d 1561, 1564-65 (11th Cir. 1990);
Greason v. Kemp, 891 F.2d 829, 837 n.15 (11th Cir.
1990); cf. City of Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378,
388, 390 (1989) (addressing municipal liability under Section
1983). Only when the failure to train amounts to
"deliberate indifference" can it properly be
characterized as the "policy" or "custom"
that is necessary for Section 1983 liability to attach.
Harris, 489 U.S. at 389. Failure to train can amount
to deliberate indifference when the need for more or
different training is obvious, Id. at 390.
Plaintiff has alleged no facts which would indicate Sheriff
Carter's deliberate indifference to the use of excessive
force. Plaintiffs have not alleged that other instances of
excessive force have occurred, nor do they allege that
Sheriff Carter was on notice of any such instances.
Furthermore, Plaintiffs fail to point to any improper
policies, practices, or customs Sheriff Carter enacted which
resulted in the deprivation of constitutional rights. As
such, Plaintiffs have failed to plead sufficient facts to
pursue a cause of action against Sheriff Carter and all
claims against him in his individual capacity are hereby