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Nelson v. Arkansas Crime Information Center

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

January 8, 2019

ALISA NELSON PLAINTIFF
v.
ARKANSAS CRIME INFORMATION CENTER DEFENDANT

          ORDER

          SUSAN O. HICKEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Defendant Arkansas Crime Information Center's (“ACIC”) Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 8). Plaintiff Alisa Nelson (“Nelson”) has not filed a reply and the time to do so has passed.[1] The Court finds this matter ripe for consideration.

         BACKGROUND

         On October 16, 2018, Nelson commenced this action alleging that ACIC violated her constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Specifically, Nelson alleges that ACIC reported a false conviction on her criminal record in an effort to defame her and otherwise adversely affect her. Nelson further alleges that the false criminal conviction was the reason she was denied two jobs.

         On December 18, 2018, ACIC filed its Motion to Dismiss, arguing that it is entitled to sovereign immunity and is not a person subject to suit under Section 1983. Nelson did not file a reply, but on December 26, 2018, Nelson filed a Motion to Proceed Without Dismissal, arguing that her case should not be dismissed.[2]

         LEGAL STANDARD

         To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a pleading must provide “a short and plain statement of the claim that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The Court must accept as true all factual allegations set forth in the complaint, drawing all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. See Ashley Cnty., Ark. v. Pfizer, Inc., 552 F.3d 659, 665 (8th Cir. 2009). However, the 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)). “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.” Id.

         “The plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are ‘merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it ‘stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). “Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will . . . be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. at 679. In considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), “the complaint should be read as a whole, not parsed piece by piece to determine whether each allegation, in isolation, is plausible.” Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 594 (8th Cir. 2009).

         “A pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.' Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders ‘naked assertions' devoid of ‘further factual enhancement.'” Id. (internal citations and alterations omitted) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557). In other words, “the pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require ‘detailed factual allegations,' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not ‘show[n]'-‘that the pleader is entitled to relief.'” Id. (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).

         “In evaluating whether a pro se plaintiff has asserted sufficient facts to state a claim, we hold ‘a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded . . . to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'” Jackson v. Nixon, 747 F.3d 537, 541 (8th Cir. 2014) (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007)). However, even a pro se plaintiff must allege specific facts sufficient to support a claim. Martin v. Sargent, 780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985).[3]

         DISCUSSION

         Nelson has sued ACIC in its official and individual capacity pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[4]ACIC argues that Nelson's claims should be dismissed because ACIC is not an entity amenable to suit under Section 1983. Specifically, ACIC argues that it cannot be sued in any capacity because ACIC is immune from suit under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Moreover, ACIC argues it cannot be sued because it is not a “person” within the meaning of Section 1983.

         I. Whether ACIC is Amenable to Suit Under Section 1983

          The Court will first address whether ACIC is immune from suit under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Then, the Court will take up whether ACIC is a ...


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