United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Timothy L. Brooks, Judge
pending before the Court is the Amended Report and
Recommendation ("R&R") (Doc. 36) filed on March
3, 2017, by United States Magistrate Judge Erin L.
Weidemann. Objections to the R&R were due by
March 20, 2017, and none were filed. The R&R recommended
that the Court deny without prejudice Defendants' Motion
to Dismiss (Doc. 12) and administratively terminate the case
during the pendency of a state criminal action involving
Plaintiff Sidney Aimes. By way of background, the civil
rights case that Mr. Aimes filed in this Court (Doc. 1)
alleges violations of his constitutional rights, pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983, due to Defendants' use of an
allegedly invalid warrant to search his apartment and van.
The search yielded certain evidence that implicated Mr. Aimes
in felony drug charges brought in Washington County Circuit
Court. While these criminal charges were still pending, Mr.
Aimes filed a Supplement to the Complaint (Doc. 33), in which
he charged Defendants with further violating his
constitutional rights by confiscating some of his personal
property during the search of his apartment and van, and
destroying other personal property of his during the course
of the search.
the pendency of the state criminal proceedings, the Court was
prepared to act on the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge
and order the case stayed or administratively terminated;
however, on March 31, 2017, Defendants filed a Notice (Doc.
40), advising the Court that Mr. Aimes' criminal case had
been fully resolved, and that he pleaded guilty to seven
separate drug charges and was sentenced to a term of
imprisonment. See Doc. 40-1. Also on March 31, Mr.
Aimes filed a Motion to Withdraw all of the claims he made in
his original Complaint (Doc. 1), without prejudice.
See Doc. 41. He also asked in the same Motion that
the claims stated in the Supplement to the Complaint (Doc.
33) remain for adjudication and not be withdrawn.
light of the above-mentioned developments in Mr. Aimes'
criminal case, the Court finds it no longer necessary to
administratively terminate and/or stay the instant matter.
The Court DECLINES TO ADOPT the R&R (Doc. 36) and also
DENIES Defendants' Motion to Stay (Doc. 9). Mr.
Aimes' Motion to Withdraw (Doc. 41) is GRANTED, which
means that all claims asserted in the original Complaint
(Doc. 1) are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. In addition,
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 12), which requested
dismissal of the claims in the original Complaint, is now
effect of the above rulings means that the only remaining
claims in this lawsuit are those that Mr. Aimes asserted in
his Supplement to the Complaint (Doc. 33). In the Supplement,
he alleges that his procedural due process rights were
violated as a result of the wrongful seizure of certain
personal property that was located in his apartment and van,
which was not related to any criminal activity. Mr. Aimes
also contends that some of his personal property was damaged
and/or destroyed by the police officers who conducted the
search. He asks that the confiscated personal property be
returned and that he receive money damages for the destroyed
threshold matter, "the Due Process Clause is simply not
implicated by a negligent act of an official causing
unintended loss of or injury to life, liberty, or
property." Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327,
328 (1986). See also Sellers by and through Sellers v.
Baer, 28 F.3d 895, 902-03 (8th Cir. 1994) (allegations
of inadvertence, negligence, or even gross negligence are
insufficient to state a claim under § 1983). The
Supplement to the Complaint is deficient in that it fails to
clearly state whether Defendants intentionally and recklessly
confiscated or destroyed property, or whether they did so in
a negligent way. Furthermore, although the initial
deprivation of Mr. Aimes' property-which occurred during
the execution of a valid search warrant-did not implicate his
due process rights, see Walters v. Wolf, 660 F.3d
307, 314 (8th Cir. 2011) (explaining that "[w]hen
seizing property for criminal investigatory purposes,
compliance with the Fourth Amendment satisfies
pre-deprivation procedural due process as well."
(internal quotation and citation omitted)), if his property
was confiscated in error, and the state refused to return it,
or if his property was destroyed in reckless or intentional
fashion, these situations could violate Mr. Aimes' due
process rights. Before the Court may determine this, though,
it is incumbent on Mr. Aimes to establish that he at least
attempted to exhaust the post-deprivation remedies available
to him by the state of Arkansas prior to pursuing federal
action. See Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 533
(1984) (intentional deprivation of property does not violate
due process when meaningful post-deprivation remedy is
available); Barnett v. Centoni, 31 F.3d 813 (9th
Cir. 1994) (negligent or intentional deprivation of
prisoner's property fails to state claim under §
1983 if state has adequate post-deprivation remedy).
not appear, from the face of the Supplement, that Mr. Aimes
made a written request to the police department for the
return of his property and/or a complaint to the department
concerning any intentional or reckless destruction of his
property. In addition, Rule 15.2 of the Arkansas Rules of
Criminal Procedure allows an individual from whose person,
property, or premises things have been seized to "move
the court to whom the warrant was returned, or the court
having jurisdiction of the offense in question, as the case
may be, to return things seized to the person or premises
from which they were seized." Ark. R. Crim. P.
15.2(a)(ii). It does not appear that Mr. Aimes filed a motion
for return of seized items in state court under Rule 15.2. It
also does not appear that he filed a complaint with the
Arkansas State Claims Commission for the unlawful taking of
property-which is yet another method of securing
post-deprivation relief. See Willis Smith & Co., Inc.
v. Ark., 548 F.3d 638, 640 (8th Cir. 2008) (noting that
Arkansas provides adequate post-deprivation remedy for the
state's alleged taking of property through the Arkansas
state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a plaintiffs
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 Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 570). Here, even construing Mr. Aimes' Supplement
broadly in his favor, he has failed to state sufficient facts
to show that he exhausted the administrative remedies
available to him through the state of Arkansas for the return
of erroneously confiscated property or for the reimbursement
of recklessly or intentionally destroyed property; and he has
failed to plead that the state's post-deprivation
remedies are inadequate and cannot provide him meaningful
relief. His lawsuit is therefore premature and will be
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE, sua sponte, for failure to state
a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). See Smith v.
Boyd, 945 F.2d 1041, 1042-43 (8th Cir. 1991) (holding
that a district court may dismiss a complaint under Rule
12(b)(6), sua sponte, at any time after service of process).
 Judge Erin L. Setser at the time of
the filing of the R&R.