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Lewis v. Kennemore

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division

February 14, 2018

BRANDON KENNEMORE, Ashdown Police Officer; JULIE SMITH; CARL FARMER, Ashdown Police Officer; KIMBERLY GEISER STRUBE, Ashdown Police Officer; JOSEPH GOINGS, Little River Deputy; and DEPUTY TATUM, Little River Deputy DEFENDANTS


          Susan O. Hickey, United States District Judge

         Before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendants Brandon Kennemore, Carl Farmer, and Kimberly Geiser Strube. (ECF No. 27). Plaintiff has filed a response. (ECF No. 45). The Court finds this matter ripe for consideration.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint on July 6, 2017. (ECF No. 1). He filed a Supplement to the Complaint on August 11, 2017. (ECF No. 7). Plaintiff alleges that on October 5, 2014, he was:

at the residence of Julie Smith . . . when Officer Kennemore [and others] cam [sic] in and kidnaped me. They took me outside in beginning to search me and asking me were [sic] is the drugs and I said with drug. So Officer Kennemore said what ever I founds in the house, that I'm going charge you with it.[1]

(ECF No. 7, p. 1). Plaintiff states he was then transported to the Little River County Jail where he was “strip searched and violated” for three hours.[2] Id. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Kennemore, Farmer and Strube-all officers with the Ashdown Police Department-violated his fourth amendment rights when they conducted an unlawful search, wrongfully arrested him, and falsely imprisoned him in the Little River County Jail. Plaintiff is suing Defendants in both their individual and official capacities. He is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. His complaint does not seek injunctive relief or release from custody.

         Defendants Kennemore, Farmer and Strube have filed a Motion to Dismiss arguing that Plaintiff's claims are barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, Heck v. Humphrey, and the Younger abstention doctrine. (ECF No. 27). In response to the Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiff admits that he pled guilty to the possession charges which arose from the search on October 5, 2014, but claims he did so only after “Brandon Kennemore, Julie Smith, Carl Farmer, and Kimberly Geiser-Strube . . . [conspired] together secretly to commit an illegal and wrongful act to accomplish a legal purpose illegally.” (ECF No. 45, p. 1). Plaintiff also acknowledges in his Response that he is appealing his conviction for possession. Id. at 45.


         Rule 8(a) contains the general pleading rules and requires a complaint to present “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “In order to meet this standard, and survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 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.'” Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 594 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678. While the Court will liberally construe a pro se plaintiff's complaint, the plaintiff must allege sufficient facts to support his claims. See Stone v. Harry, 364 F.3d 912, 914 (8th Cir. 2004).


         A. Heck v. Humphrey

         Plaintiff claims Defendants Kennemore, Farmer, and Strube violated his rights on October 5, 2014, when they allegedly conducted an illegal search of his person, unlawfully arrested him for possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of methamphetamine, and then took him to the Little River County Jail. The United States Supreme Court's ruling in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), bars Plaintiff's § 1983 lawsuit. In Heck, the Court held:

We hold that, in order to recover damages for allegedly unconstitutional conviction or imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid a § 1983 plaintiff must prove that the conviction or sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal authorized to make such determination, or called into question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of habeas corpus, 28 U.S.C. § 2254.

512 U.S. at 486-87. The Heck bar has been applied to claims for injunctive or declaratory relief and damages. See Smith v. Norris, 40 Fed.Appx. 305 (8th Cir. 2002); Rosendahl ...

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