United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Columbus Division
D. LAND, CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
claims that a correctional officer at the Muscogee Youth
Detention Center (“MYDC”), Defendant Phoenicia
Hill, sexually assaulted him while he was in custody. In his
original complaint, Plaintiff asserted claims against Hill in
her individual and official capacities pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, alleging that she violated his constitutional
rights. He also alleged § 1983 claims against the
Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (the
“Department”) and its commissioner, Avery D.
Niles, and the MYDC and its Director, Marvin Menefee. The
claims against Niles and Menefee were brought against them
only in their official capacities.
Court previously dismissed Plaintiff’s claims against
everyone but Hill based on Eleventh Amendment immunity. Order
(Mar. 25, 2019), ECF No. 19. Plaintiff then, without leave of
court or consent of the parties and contrary to the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, filed his first amended complaint
that added § 1983 individual capacity claims against
Niles and Menefee and state tort claims against all
defendants. The Department, the MYDC, Niles, and Menefee
moved to dismiss all claims against them (ECF No. 26). Hill
also moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s state law claims and
§ 1983 official capacity claim against her (ECF No. 29).
No. motion was filed to dismiss Plaintiff’s § 1983
claim against Hill in her individual capacity. In response to
the motions to dismiss, Plaintiff moved to file a second
amended complaint that included the same claims as the first
amended complaint, but added certain factual allegations
pertaining primarily to his § 1983 individual capacity
claims against Niles and Menefee (ECF No. 38). Defendants
oppose Plaintiff’s motion for leave to amend arguing
that amendment would be futile.
Court finds that Plaintiff’s first amended complaint,
except for Plaintiff’s § 1983 claim against Hill
in her individual capacity, must be dismissed and that
Plaintiff’s proposed second amended complaint is futile
to the extent that it adds allegations related to these
claims. To simplify the Court’s discussion, the Court
addresses the failure of Plaintiff’s first amended
complaint to state a plausible claim and the futility of his
second amended complaint together. In doing so, the Court
essentially analyzes whether Plaintiff’s second amended
complaint would state a plausible claim for relief on any
basis other than a § 1983 claim against Hill in her
individual capacity. Finding that it would not, the Court
grants the Department, the MYDC, Niles, and Menefee’s
motion to dismiss (ECF No. 26) and finds that filing a second
amended complaint to add factual allegations pertaining to
these claims would be futile.
Court also grants Hill’s motion to dismiss (ECF No. 29)
Plaintiff’s official capacity claims and his state law
claims against Hill in her individual capacity.
Plaintiff’s § 1983 individual capacity claim
against Hill, which is not the subject of any motion to
dismiss, remains pending.
FOR DISMISSAL AND AMENDMENT
survive a motion to dismiss” under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), “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)). The complaint must include sufficient
factual allegations “to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
555. In other words, the factual allegations must
“raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will
reveal evidence of” the plaintiff’s claims.
Id. at 556. But “Rule 12(b)(6) does not permit
dismissal of a well-pleaded complaint simply because
‘it strikes a savvy judge that actual proof of those
facts is improbable.’” Watts v. Fla.
Int’l Univ., 495 F.3d 1289, 1295 (11th Cir. 2007)
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
asks the Court for leave to amend his first amended complaint
to add factual allegations supporting his claims,
particularly his § 1983 individual capacity claims
against Niles and Menefee. Although leave to amend should be
freely given when justice so requires, Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2),
“a district court need not . . . allow amendment . . .
where amendment would be futile.” Bryant v.
Dupree, 252 F.3d 1161, 1163 (11th Cir. 2001).
“Leave to amend a complaint is futile when the
complaint as amended would still be properly
dismissed.” Cockrell v. Sparks, 510 F.3d 1307,
1310 (11th Cir. 2007)(per curiam).
determine whether Plaintiff’s complaint as amended
would still be properly dismissed, the Court relies on the
factual allegations in Plaintiff’s proposed second
amended complaint for purposes of deciding these motions. The
Court accepts these allegations as true.
time of Plaintiff’s sexual assault, he was housed in
the MYDC, a Georgia juvenile detention center that detains
juveniles charged with committing delinquent acts. Mot. to
File Second Am. Compl. Ex. 1, Second Am. Compl. ¶¶
11-12, ECF No. 38- 1. The Department operates these types of
juvenile detention facilities in Georgia. Id. ¶
2. Niles is the Commissioner of the Department, and Menefee
is the Director of the MYDC. Id. ¶¶ 3, 5.
Niles and Menefee knew of certain sexual incidents that
occurred at the MYDC between 2014 and 2016. Those incidents
(a) Contractor/Volunteer-on Youth Voyeurism and/or Sexual
Contact on or around July 6, 2014. Investigation was opened
into said incident by DJJ/[MYDC] employee Lisa Thigpen.
(b) Youth on Staff/Contractor/Volunteer/Intern Sexual Contact
on or around January 30, 2015;
(c) Staff/Contractor/Volunteer-on Youth Sexual Penetration on
or around May 27, 2015. Investigation was opened into said
incident by DJJ/[MYDC] employee Wayne Thaxton;
(d) Youth on Staff/Contractor/Volunteer Sexual Contact on or
around October 28, 2015;
(e) Youth on Staff/Contractor/Volunteer Sexual Contact on or
around January 28, 2016. Investigation was opened into said
incident by DJJ/[MYDC] employee James Hilderbrand;
(f) Youth on Staff/Contractor/Volunteer Sexual Contact on or
around February 16, 2016. Investigation was opened into said
incident by ...