United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunsmick Division
LISA GODBEY WOOD, JUDGE
move to partially dismiss Plaintiff Tyler Clifton's civil
rights complaint. Dkt. No. 20. The motion is GRANTED in part and
DENIED in part for the reasons below.
must at this stage of the case, the Court assumes the truth
of the facts alleged in Clifton's currently operative
complaint, dkt. no. 18. Clifton looked into Defendant Jeff
Davis County, Georgia's finances. Dkt. No. 18
¶¶ 13-14, 16. That upset several of the Defendants
who are Jeff Davis County officials. Id.
Clifton started building a trailer park. Id. ¶
23. His next-door-neighbor, Defendant Commissioner Wayne
Hall, was not happy about that. Id. ¶ 24.
Clifton approached the Commissioners about putting in a water
line underneath a road that the county did not own, even
though he did not need their permission to do so.
Id. ¶¶ 25-27, 29. They Mid not
specifically tell [Clifton] that he could not." IcL
¶ 27. So, on June 1, 2013, he did. Id. ¶
days later, Hall told Clifton that he was angry about the
water line and the installation of a trailer. Id.
¶ 31. The next day, June 5, 2013, Defendant County
Attorney Carla Powell and Defendant Jeff Davis Board of
County Commissioners filed an incident report regarding the
water line with the local sheriff's office. Id.
¶ 32. The county had not previously prosecuted or fined
anyone for putting in water lines under roads, even
though-unlike Clifton-some people actually damaged the roads
in doing so. Id. ¶ 33.
incident report was not the end of Defendants'
involvement. Powell "personally researched the law and
instigated [Clifton's] arrest and prosecution together
with the other Defendants." Id. ¶ 34. They
did so even though they "had evidence that the road was
not damaged and that the County did not own the land"
beside or under the road. Id.
Sheriff Preston Bohannon approved the incident report on
March 18, 2014. Id. ¶ 37. Clifton was indicted
by grand jury for criminal trespass and interfering with
government property on April 1, 2014. Id.
¶¶ 38-39. These charges were more serious than one
for damage to county roads. Id. ¶¶ 41-43.
They were chosen due to Defendants' intervention.
Id. ¶ 43.
was arrested on April 4, 2014. Id. ¶ 40. He
"was told that he needed to be taught a lesson, "
and his attorney "was informed that the County was just
trying to prove a point." Id. ¶ 44.
Clifton "was also told that the felony charges might be
dropped if he agreed to apologize to Defendants."
Id. He spent several thousand dollars on his case.
Id. ¶ 47. Then, the prosecution nol prossed the
charges. Id. ¶ 49.
filed this lawsuit on July 8, 2016. Dkt. No. 1. He alleges
malicious prosecution under federal and state law,
conspiracy, defamation, and intentional infliction of
emotional distress. Dkt. No. 18. Defendants moved to
partially dismiss the case, and their motion is now ripe for
disposition. Dkt. Nos. 20, 27.
whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will
. . . be a context-specific task that requires the . . .
court to draw on its judicial experience and common
sense." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679
(2009). A complaint must be "a short and plain statement
of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Its "[f]actual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level." Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); see also
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. It has to "contain
inferential allegations from which [the court] can identify
each of the material elements necessary to sustain a recovery
under some viable legal theory." Roe v. Aware Woman
Ctr. for Choice, Inc., 253 F.3d 678, 684 (11th Cir.
2001). Although a court must assume the truthfulness of the
complaint's factual allegations, it is "not bound to
accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation." Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265,
defamation claim is time-barred. His infliction of emotional
distress one is not. Some of his ...