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Howard v. Goodwin

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

December 17, 2018

JACKIE DORAIL HOWARD PLAINTIFF
v.
LISA GOODWIN, Manager, Whataburger; CHARLES BLACK, District Attorney, Miller County, Arkansas; DETECTIVE BRIAN TRIBBLE, Texarkana Arkansas Police Department; and SERGEANT ZACHERY WHITE, Texarkana Arkansas Police Department DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          SUSAN O. HICKEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Defendant Lisa Goodwin's Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 10). Plaintiff has filed a response. (ECF No. 21). The Court finds this matter ripe for consideration.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is currently an inmate in the Miller County Detention Center (“MCDC”) in Texarkana, Arkansas. On September 12, 2018, Plaintiff filed his Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1). His application to proceed in forma pauperis was granted the same day. (ECF No. 3). In addition to Goodwin, Plaintiff names Charles Black, Brian Tribble, and Zachery White as Defendants in this lawsuit.

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Goodwin is the manager at the Whataburger restaurant in Texarkana. He claims she violated his constitutional rights when she “accused me of stealing out of a business . . . I didn't do it.” Plaintiff states that because of Defendant's actions, he was arrested and incarcerated based on charges that were eventually nolle prossed. (ECF No. 1, pp. 4-7).

         Attached to Plaintiff's Complaint is the Affidavit of Defendant Brian Tribble, dated June 7, 2018.[1] Defendant Tribble is a Texarkana police officer. The Affidavit states in part:

That on Tuesday, 5th day of June 2018, the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department, received a call at Whataburger, located at 4110 North State Line Avenue, of a theft already occurred.
That Officer Cobin Brown and Officer Landon Loe, made contact with the complainant, Lisa Goodwin. Goodwin advised that an unknown black male and an unknown white female entered the building and split up. She states the white female entered the restroom where she stayed for approximately 10, minutes, meanwhile, the black male went to the counter and asked an employee for a water cup. Goodwin advised the employee asked her to keep an eye on the suspect as he thought the male was attempting to steal a fountain drink because of his suspicious behavior. Goodwin stated she watched the suspect while trying to count the money in the manager's office and watched him go to the fountain get a beverage. The employee then made the suspect pay for the drink, due to it not being water. Goodwin said after that she turned her head for a few seconds to enter numbers on the computer. She said when she turned back to look at the suspect, he was gone.
. . .
That Goodwin advised a short time later, the white female exited the bathroom and also approached the counter to ask for a water cup. Goodwin stated at this time, she observed the laptop missing from the table and asked the employees where it was. She was able to pull up security footage that showed the male suspect walking over towards the booth table that the laptop was sitting on and place his drink on the table next to it. He then walks over to the outlet and unplugs the laptop charger, collects the laptop and charger, and exits the store using the West side entrance and walking in an unknown direction.
. . .
I made contact with the complainant, Lisa Goodwin[, on the same date]. I explained to her that we attempted to get a photo of the suspects today from the store and were not able to. She advised she could email me a photo of the suspects. A short time later I received a photo of suspects.

(ECF No. 1, pp. 21-34). Defendant Goodwin later identified Plaintiff as the individual she saw in the video taking the laptop from her place of employment from a separate photograph shown to her by Defendant Tribble. Plaintiff was then charged and arrested for theft of property.

         In the instant Motion to Dismiss, Defendant Goodwin argues that Plaintiff failed to state any claim that entitles him to relief because she was not acting under color of law when she provided information to the Texarkana police concerning the theft of the laptop from Whataburger. (ECF No. 10). Plaintiff filed a Response stating “the Fraud[u]lent Accusations of Lisa Goodwin in The Police Report generated by Detectives Brian Tribble and Sergeant Zachary White Insinuated felonious Activities Perpetrated by Another Indivi[d]ual that Legally and Publicly Impugh [sic] my chara[c]ter, and stole my freedom.” (ECF No. 21). Plaintiff is ...


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