United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Delta Division
HUBERT W. MARTIN, KAREN FARMER, and MATTHEW WILLIAMS PLAINTIFFS
LISA JULIAN, individually; BLAKE HUDSON, individually; GILL BRAZEALE, individually; and KEITH WEAVER, individually DEFENDANTS
Kristine G. Baker United States District Judge.
the Court are separate defendant Blake Hudson's motion to
dismiss and separate defendants Lisa Julian, Keith Weaver,
and Gill Brazeale's motion to dismiss (Dkt. Nos. 8, 10).
Plaintiffs Hubert W. Martin, Karen Farmer, and Matthew
Williams have not responded, and the time to file a response
has passed. For the following reasons, the Court grants Mr.
Hudson's motion to dismiss as to plaintiffs' federal
claims and grants Ms. Julian, Mr. Weaver, and Mr.
Brazeale's motion to dismiss as to plaintiffs'
federal claims (Dkt. Nos. 8, 10). The Court declines to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiffs' state
December 11, 2018, plaintiffs filed a complaint in this
action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Dkt. No.
Plaintiffs allege that, in late October or early November
2011, Mr. Hudson, a member of the First Judicial Drug Task
Force, contacted Dustin Miller to set in motion a scheme to
set up separate plaintiff Mr. Martin for a drug bust
(Id., ¶ 13). Mr. Hudson allegedly told Mr.
Miller that if he would plant secret various drug
paraphernalia and precursors on Mr. Martin's property
that Mr. Hudson would aid Mr. Miller in getting custody of
his child (Id., ¶ 15). Mr. Hudson allegedly
gave Mr. Miller drug paraphernalia and instructed him to
plant it on Mr. Martin's property, and Mr. Miller did so
(Id., ¶¶ 16-17). Mr. Miller allegedly
reported back to Mr. Hudson; Mr. Hudson and Mr. Julian, the
Director of the First Judicial Drug Task Force, equipped Mr.
Miller with video and audio equipment and sent him back to
Mr. Martin's house to video the drug paraphernalia, and
Mr. Miller did so (Id., ¶¶ 11, 18-19).
Mr. Julian's review and approval, Mr. Hudson allegedly
presented a fraudulent affidavit to the St. Francis County
District Judge for issuing a search warrant of
plaintiffs' property on November 6, 2011 (Id.,
¶¶ 21-22). Plaintiffs attached to their complaint a
copy of that affidavit (Id., Ex. B). Plaintiffs
allege that Mr. Hudson failed to provide the issuing
magistrate judge with all of the relevant information, and
the magistrate judge issued the requested search warrant
(Id., ¶¶ 23-24). On November 7, 2011, Mr.
Hudson and other members of the First Judicial Drug Task
Force executed the warrant and seized drug paraphernalia and
other items from Mr. Martin's property (Id.,
¶¶ 25-27). Plaintiffs attached to their complaint a
confiscation report containing comprehensive list of 32
possessions they claim were seized (Id., Ex. A).
That same day, plaintiffs were arrested without warrants and
held in the St. Francis County Detention Facility
(Id., ¶ 28). On November 8, 2011, Mr. Weaver,
an undercover agent with the First Judicial Drug Task Force,
provided an affidavit to the issuing magistrate judge for
arrest warrants for plaintiffs (Id., ¶ 29).
result of the search, plaintiffs were charged with: (1)
manufacturing a controlled substance, methamphetamine; (2)
simultaneous possession of drugs and firearms; (3) possession
of ephedrine with intent to manufacture; and (4) possession
of drug paraphernalia (Id., ¶ 30). Plaintiffs
allege that a criminal information was filed against them on
December 22, 2011, and the State of Arkansas ultimately
nolle prossed all of the charges against plaintiffs
on January 7, 2016 (Id., ¶¶ 32, 34).
Plaintiffs' allege that the State of Arkansas continued
to hold onto their property and wrongfully refused to return
the property to plaintiffs, despite plaintiffs' demands
for the return of their property (Id., ¶¶
37-38). Prior to charges being dismissed, the State of
Arkansas, through Fletcher Long, prosecuting attorney, First
Judicial District, commenced a civil forfeiture action
concerning the items seized pursuant to the search warrant
(Dkt. No. 11, at 1-2). This action was filed on November 25,
2015, and it is still pending in St. Francis County Court
(Id., at 2). Plaintiffs commenced this action while
the state action was pending, and the state action remains
pending currently (Id.). In the state action,
plaintiffs filed an answer demanding the return of the seized
items (Dkt. No. 1, ¶ 39). Additionally, upon dismissal
of the criminal charges, plaintiffs filed Rule 15 motions for
return of their property pursuant to Arkansas Rule of
Criminal Procedure 15 (Id., ¶ 40).
on these allegations, plaintiffs bring this action against
defendants seeking redress for alleged violations of
plaintiffs' rights to be free of unreasonable searches,
unreasonable seizures to include false arrest, false
imprisonment, violation of their rights to be free of
malicious prosecution, abuse of legal process, wrongful
institution of legal process and/or wrongful use of judicial
process protected by the Fourth Amendment and the Arkansas
Civil Rights Act of 1993 (“ACRA”), Arkansas Code
Annotated § 16-23-101 et seq. (Id.,
¶ 52). Specifically, plaintiffs allege the following
counts against defendants: unreasonable search and seizure in
violation of plaintiffs' rights protected by the Fourth
Amendment; violations of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S.
83 (1963), amounting to violations of plaintiffs' rights
to a fair trial protected by the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment; violation of plaintiffs' rights
under Article 2 §§ 2, 6, 9, 15 of the Arkansas
State Constitution; state law tort claim of malicious
prosecution; and state law tort claim of false imprisonment
(Id., ¶¶ 2, 42, 44, 46, 48-66). Plaintiffs
seek damages to compensate for the purported mental anguish
and humiliation suffered in the past and to be experienced
for an indefinite time in the future, the loss of use of
their property continuously held by defendants, and the
needless expenditure of funds for attorneys' fees and
cost of attending hearings and trials to fight the charges
against them (Id., ¶¶ 68).
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits dismissal for
“failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). To 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.'” Braden v. Wal-Mart
Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 594 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 566 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). A
claim is plausible on its face “when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 588 F.3d at 678
(citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 556 (2007)). “When ruling on a motion to dismiss,
the district court must accept the allegations contained in
the complaint as true and all reasonable inferences from the
complaint must be drawn in favor of the nonmoving
party.” Young v. City of St. Charles, 244 F.3d
623, 627 (8th Cir. 2001) (citing Hafley v. Lohman,
90 F.3d 264, 266 (8th Cir. 1996)).
considering the dual motions to dismiss, the Court first
addresses the federal claims plaintiffs allege generally in
their complaint (Dkt. No. 1). Plaintiffs allege unreasonable
searches and seizures in violation of the Fourth Amendment
and violations of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Fourth Amendment Claims
Court takes each motion to dismiss in turn with regard to
plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment claims.
Mr. Hudson's ...