United States District Court, D. Maryland
THEODORE D. CHUANG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Emmanuel Edokobi has filed suit against 15 individual and
organizational defendants including the United States
Department of Justice, the United States General Services
Administration ("GSA"), the GSA Office of the
Inspector General, and ten federal officials (collectively,
"the Federal Defendants"); and the Maryland
Department of General Services and one Maryland state
official (collectively, "the State Defendants").
Edokobi alleges 11 causes of action against Defendants,
including violations of Edokobi's rights under the Fourth
and Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution;
violations of the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act
("CAFRA"), 18 U.S.C. § 983 (2012), and its
regulations; and a state claim of detinue.
before the Court are the State Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss and the Federal Defendants' Motion to Dismiss.
Having reviewed the submitted materials, the Court finds that
no hearing is necessary. See D. Md. Local R. 105.6.
For the reasons set forth below, the Motions to Dismiss are
the allegations in the Amended Complaint are limited, and
much of the factual background of this case is set forth in
this Court's September 27, 2018 Memorandum Opinion in
Edokobi v. United States General Services
Administration, Nos. TDC-17-2469, 17-2825, 18-0557, 2018
WL 4639102, at *l-3 (D. Md. Sept. 27, 2018)
("Edokobi I"), the Court incorporates by
reference that factual background and summarizes only those
portions of the history most relevant to the pending Motions
and those cases' filings.
October 14, 2008, Defendant Ronald Dawkins ("SA
Dawkins"), then a Special Agent with GSA Office of the
Inspector General, submitted an application and affidavit in
support of a search warrant in the United States District
Court for the District of Maryland. SA Dawkins sought
authorization to search Edokobi's residence in Potomac,
Maryland for evidence related to the crimes of conspiracy to
defraud the United States, theft of government property, tax
evasion, and fraud and false statements. In his affidavit, SA
Dawkins stated that the evidence was "subject to seizure
pursuant to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal
Procedure." Dawkins Aff. ¶ 35, Am. Compl. Ex. 6,
Edokobi I, TDC-17-2469 ECF No. 68-6.
States Magistrate Judge William G. Connelly issued the
warrant that same day, and the Court's electronic case
management system assigned the search warrant a Magistrate
Judge case number, 08-mj-3379-WGC, to consolidate and track
filings related to the application for and execution of the
search warrant. The case management system also assigned a
separate case number to the application for a search warrant
for Edokobi's office.
October 16, 2008, government agents executed the searches and
seized various computer equipment, paper records, and
identity documents. There is no evidence that following the
searches, SA Dawkins or any other law enforcement agent took
any action relating to the investigation. There were no
further searches conducted, and no criminal charges were
filed against Edokobi.
December 7, 2017, Edokobi filed his Complaint, alleging 28
violations of the Freedom of Information Act
("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552 (2012). With leave of
the Court, Edokobi amended his Complaint on November 20,
2018, abandoning his FOIA claims and instead alleging
violations of the Fourth Amendment to the United States
Constitution (Counts 5 and 6); violations of the Fifth
Amendment (Counts 7 and 9); violations of CAFRA and its
regulations (Counts 2, 3, 4, and 8) ("the CAFRA
Claims"); a claim for detinue (Count 1); and claims for
compensatory and punitive damages (Counts 10 and 11). The
claims relate to the failure of Defendants to return the
seized property to Edokobi. The State Defendants and Federal
Defendants then filed their Motions to Dismiss.
the overlap between the arguments in both Motions, the Court
will address the issues together. Defendants argue that the
Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, and detinue claims are
barred by the applicable statutes of limitations; the CAFRA
claims are beyond this Court's jurisdiction; and the
damages claims are not freestanding claims and are in any
event barred by the Eleventh Amendment as to the State
statute of limitations argument does not rely upon facts
outside the Amended Complaint, so it is properly considered
as the subject of a motion to dismiss for failure to state a
claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See
Goodman v. Praxair, Inc., 494 F.3d 458, 464 (4th Cir.
2007). To defeat a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the
complaint must allege enough facts to state a plausible claim
for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). A claim is plausible when the facts pleaded allow
"the Court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."
Id. Although courts should construe pleadings of
self-represented litigants liberally, Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007), legal conclusions or
conclusory statements do not suffice, Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678. The Court must examine the complaint as a whole,
consider the factual allegations in the complaint as true,
and construe the factual allegations in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff. Albright v. Oliver, 510
U.S. 266, 268 (1994); Lambeth v. Bd. of Comm'rs of
Davidson Cty., 407 F.3d 266, 268 (4th Cir. 2005).