United States District Court, D. Delaware
MARK J. SHOTWELL, Plaintiff,
CAPTAIN JASON SAPP, et al., Defendants.
J. Shotwell, Newark, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.
Michael F. McTaggart, Deputy Attorney General, Delaware
Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for
Defendants Captain Jason Sapp, Captain Pete Sawyer, Detective
Gatti, Sergeant Christopher Martin, and Sergeant Matthew
ANDREWS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Mark J. Shotwell filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. (D.I. 2). Plaintiff appears pro
se and has paid the filing fee. Before the Court is a
motion to dismiss filed by Defendants Captain Jason Sapp,
Captain Pete Sawyer, Detective Gatti, Sergeant Christopher
Martin, and Sergeant Matthew Taylor ("Defendants").
(D.I. 11). Plaintiff opposes the motion and has filed a
combined opposition and motion to amend. (D.I. 13). Briefing
was arrested at his home on July 3, 2016, and handcuffed
behind his back. (D.I. 2 at 7). He alleges that Martin, who
was involved in Plaintiff's transport, taunted and shoved
him. (Id. at 7-8). When he returned home, he
discovered his house and personal effects had been ransacked
and his electronics had been seized. (Id. at 8).
alleges his First Amendment rights were violated when he was
wrongfully arrested for posting "terroristic
threats" on the internet. (Id. at 8). Plaintiff
alleges that his post is protected by the First Amendment.
(Id. at 9). Plaintiff further alleges that Taylor
used the content displayed on Plaintiff's social media
account to "maliciously and unjustifiably compel a
judge/magistrate to believe that [Plaintiff] was unlawfully
in possession of various firearms, suppressors, swords, and
deadly weapons." (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that
Taylor laughed at him when Plaintiff complained about
Martin's conduct even though Plaintiff had clearly
visible ligature marks on his wrist several hours after the
handcuffs were removed. (Id. at 10-11).
alleges his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when
officers involved in the raid and search of his residence
"chose to disregard [Plaintiff's] rights to an
unreasonable search and seizure (sic) and relied on
'general warrants' which were overly broad in scope
and unjustly used to 'blanket' [Plaintiff's]
entire digital universe." (Id. at 11).
Plaintiff alleges the officers searched a locked gun safe
that was not included on any of the search warrants.
(Id.). Plaintiff alleges the officers performed
"overly-invasive searches of all [his] computers,
cellular phones, and media storage devices."
(Id.). He alleges the investigating officers lacked
the necessary probable cause required to obtain a valid
search warrant. (Id. at 12). Plaintiff alleges that
Taylor "chose to intentionally disillusion a
judge/magistrate with misleading information he swore to, and
was provided a 'general warrant' which was then used
without limitation." (/d. at13).
move to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) on the grounds
that: (1) the Complaint is legally defective as to Sapp,
Sawyer, and Gatti for lack of personal involvement; (2) the
wrongful arrest claim is conclusory, is barred by Heck v.
Humphrey, and is barred because Plaintiff was arrested
pursuant to a valid arrest warrant; (3) the search warrant at
issue was not a general warrant and the Fourth Amendment
claim fails as a matter of law; (4) to the extent Plaintiff
raises an excessive force claim, the allegations fail to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted; and (5)
Defendants have qualified immunity. (D.I. 12). Plaintiff opposes
the motion to dismiss and moves to amend. (D.I. 13).
reviewing a motion filed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the
Court must accept all factual allegations in a complaint as
true and take them in the light most favorable to plaintiff.
See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
Because Plaintiff proceeds pro se, his pleading is
liberally construed and his complaint, "however
inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers."
Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94. A court may consider the
pleadings, public record, orders, exhibits attached to the
complaint, and documents incorporated into the complaint by
reference. Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights,
Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion
maybe granted only if, accepting the well-pleaded allegations
in the complaint as true and viewing them in the light most
favorable to the complainant, a court concludes that those
allegations "could not raise a claim of entitlement to
relief." BellAtl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 558 (2007).
'detailed factual allegations' are not required, a
complaint must do more than simply provide 'labels and
conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action.'" Davis v.
Abington Mem'l Hosp., 765 F.3d 236, 241 (3d Cir.
2014) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). I am
"not required to credit bald assertions or legal
conclusions improperly alleged in the complaint." In
re Rockefeller Ctr. Props., Inc. Sec. Litig., 311 F.3d
198, 216 (3d Cir. 2002). A complaint may not be dismissed,
however, "for imperfect statement of the legal theory
supporting the claim asserted." Johnson v. City of
Shelby, 135 S.Ct. 346, 346 (2014).
complainant must plead facts sufficient to show that a claim
has "substantive plausibility." Id. at
347. That plausibility must be found on the face of the
complaint. Ashcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). "A claim has facial plausibility when the
[complainant] pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the [accused] is liable
for the misconduct alleged." Id. Deciding
whether a claim is plausible will be a "context-specific