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Boyce v. City of Baltimore

United States District Court, D. Maryland

August 9, 2018

AMANDA BOYCE, Plaintiff,
CITY OF BALTIMORE, et al., Defendants.



         This civil rights litigation arises from a traffic stop and arrest of plaintiff Amanda Boyce on December 7, 2013. See ECF 5 (“Amended Complaint”). On November 22, 2017, Boyce filed suit against Baltimore City Police Officer Steven Dorn, “John Doe Officers 1-5”, and “John Doe Supervisors 1-10”, [1] in their individual and official capacities. Id. Boyce alleges violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988. Id.

         Count I is not at issue.[2] In Count II, plaintiff alleges “supervisory violations” of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments by the unnamed supervisors. Id. Count III is lodged against the “Individual Defendant Officers.” There, Boyce alleges unlawful arrest, in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Id. Count IV, which is lodged against the Individual Defendant Officers, asserts use of excessive force. Count V, against the Individual Officers, asserts “failure to intervene.” Id. In Count VI, plaintiff asserts a claim of conspiracy against all defendants. Finally, Count VII, lodged against all defendants, alleges “abuse of process.” Id.

         Defendant Dorn, the only named defendant, has moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint (ECF 6), supported by a memorandum of law (ECF 6-1) (collectively, the “Motion”). He argues that plaintiff's suit is barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Boyce opposes the Motion (ECF 7), with a supporting memorandum of law. See ECF 7-1 (collectively, the “Opposition”). Dorn has replied. See ECF 10 (“Reply”).[3]

         No hearing is necessary to resolve the Motion. See Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons that follow, I shall grant the Motion.

         I. Factual Background[4]

         According to plaintiff, Dorn “was employed by the City of Baltimore as a safety officer.” ECF 5, ¶ 7. The “John Doe Supervisors” are “the individuals tasked with supervising” Dorn, and include the “Chief of Police and [other] related supervisors.” Id. Plaintiff fails to describe the “John Doe Officers” (see, e.g., id. at 2-4), but it would appear that they are Dorn's fellow officers.

         On December 7, 2013, Boyce, “a white woman”, was “driving her vehicle through a predominantly African-American neighborhood” when “Dorn stopped her for no legal reason.” Id. ¶ 11. Plaintiff avers that she was “obeying all traffic laws” and that she was “given no reason for the vehicle stop.” Id. ¶¶ 12-13. Yet, according to plaintiff, Dorn told plaintiff that her “driver's license was suspended and that she had a warrant for her arrest for an alleged ‘failure to comply.'” Id. ¶ 15.

         At some point during the traffic stop, Dorn handcuffed plaintiff. Id. ¶ 17. According to Boyce, the handcuffs were “secured . . . much too tightly.” Id. ¶ 18. And, when Boyce asked Dorn to loosen the handcuffs, Dorn refused to do so. ECF 5, ¶ 19.

         Additionally, Boyce contends that Dorn caused her “excruciating pain by . . . twisting [her] arm behind her back in a manner and direction it could not naturally be moved.” Id. ¶ 17. Plaintiff also avers that Dorn told her that “if she resisted . . . she would be ‘eating concrete.'” Id. ¶ 20. Boyce insists that “at no time” did she resist Dorn or display “any threatening behavior” to Dorn or “the individually named Defendant Officers.” Id. ¶¶ 25, 29. Further, Boyce contends that she “did not have any . . . weapon, or display an object that appeared to be a weapon.” Id. ¶ 28. And, she avers that she did not pose a “risk of flight.” Id. ¶ 31.

         On December 7, 2013, Boyce was transported to the “Police Department” (id. ¶ 21) and her vehicle was towed. Id. ¶ 23. After Dorn brought plaintiff to “the Police Department, it was revealed that there was no warrant for Plaintiffs arrest.” Id. ¶ 21. Nonetheless, plaintiff was “forced to spend the night at the Police Department.” Id. ¶ 22. “All charges against Plaintiff were subsequently dismissed.” Id. ¶ 24.

         Plaintiff contends that she “was racially profiled by Defendant Dorn”, and that “none of the individually named Defendant Officers observed Plaintiff commit any violent felony or crime.” Id. ¶¶ 14, 27. Further, Boyce asserts that defendants lacked a reason to “deny [her] medical care or to arrest her”, and lacked “probable cause to detain” her. Id. ¶ 32. Boyce also claims that her vehicle was unlawfully towed (id. ¶ 23), and that “the individually named Defendant Officers ignored [her] clear physical distress and denied her relief[.]” Id. ¶ 26.

         Although Boyce refers frequently to the Defendant Officers, the facts asserted seem to pertain only to Dorn. But, she alleges that the Defendant Supervisors failed to train, supervise, or discipline officers of the Baltimore City Police Department, despite receipt of ...

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