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Davis v. Wright

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

October 21, 2014

JENNIFER DAVIS, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIAM WRIGHT, individually and in his official capacity as a law enforcement officer for and as an agent of The Town of Pineville, THE TOWN OF PINEVILLE, a municipal corporation, WILLIAM C. ROPER, individually and in his official capacity as a law enforcement officer for and as an agent of The Town of Cornelius, THE TOWN OF CORNELIUS, a municipal corporation, Defendants.

ORDER

GRAHAM C. MULLEN, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court upon Defendants' Motion to Dismiss First Amended Complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. This matter is fully briefed and ripe for disposition.

Factual Background

This lawsuit arises out of Plaintiff's arrest in June of 2011 by Defendant Officer William Wright after she failed a field sobriety test at a driver checkpoint in the Town of Cornelius. The checkpoint was being operated by officers from several departments, including the Cornelius Police Department and the Pineville Police Department. The Officer in charge of the checkpoint was Cornelius Sgt. William Roper.

After failing the field sobriety tests, Plaintiff was taken to a Breath Alcohol Testing Mobile Unit ("BAT Mobile") for breath testing of her blood alcohol content ("BAC"). Before entering the BAT Mobile, Plaintiff told Wright she suffered from chronic urinary tract infections, a condition called Cystitis, and said she needed to urinate. Wright allegedly told her the lavatory inside the BAT Mobile was reserved for staff only, as per a pre-shift briefing given by Sgt. Roper. Plaintiff alleges she made "approximately six requests to use the BAT Mobile bathroom, " all of which Wright denied. (FAC, ¶ 49). After telling Wright she could not hold her urine any longer, and after he allegedly replied that she should "pee on herself" if she had to, Plaintiff "urinated on herself" while seated on the bench waiting for her turn on the breathalyzer. (FAC, ¶¶ 49-50). Plaintiff then sat in her urine soaked clothing until her BAC was tested. She blew a.17 and.16 BAC, following which Wright gave her a roll of paper towels and told her to wipe her urine off the floor. (FAC, ¶¶ 51-55).

In preparation for driving Plaintiff to the Mecklenburg County jail for booking, Officer Wright secured a "black plastic leaf bag" around her waist to prevent her wet clothing from contaminating the back seat of his patrol car. (FAC, ¶¶ 56-59). She alleges that while en route to the jail she asked Wright "to stop at a public restroom" because she had to urinate again, but he refused. (FAC, ¶ 61). Upon arrival at the jail, and facing a line of arrestees ahead of her, she twice again asked Wright to use a bathroom, whereupon he allegedly told her to "pee in the bag." (FAC, ¶¶ 62-65). Plaintiff did so, and after her urine pooled onto the floor, Wright directed her to a "jail custodian" who cleaned it up. (FAC, ¶¶ 66-69). The experience caused Plaintiff to cry, and she felt "humiliated and embarrassed." (FAC, ¶ 67).

The Amended Complaint sets forth the following five claims for relief:

1. Claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights.

2. Claim for violation of Plaintiff's "due process" rights under federal and state law.

3. Claim for "municipal liability" under federal and state law.

4. Claim for deprivation of liberty under Article I, Sections 1 and 19 of the North Carolina Constitution.

5. Claim for negligence against Officer Wright in his official capacity only.

Defendants have moved to dismiss each of these claims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a ...


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