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Floyd v. City of Miami Beach et al (16-CV-24214-DLG)

Pro se prisoner Plaintiff filed this action against the City of Miami Beach and two officers.  The Complaint was filed on October 4, 2016 and alleged claims under 42 U.S.C. §1983 for violating Plaintiff’s constitutional rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and for failure to train.  Plaintiff contends that he was not violating any traffic laws when he was pursued and stopped by two City of Miami Beach officers for “driving while black.” The incident gave rise to two traffic tickets, one for a missing tag light and another for driving without a license. According to Plaintiff, his tag light was operable, yet one of the officers admitted to falsifying the ticket in order make the stop “look good on paper.”  As a result of the traffic tickets, Plaintiff was later arrested and jailed for violating the conditions of his state probation. While in jail, he lost his two jobs, his apartment, and various personal property. He became depressed and suffered physical injury. Upon his release, Plaintiff challenged the two tickets and both were ultimately dismissed.  Thereafter, while incarcerated for reasons unrelated to the circumstances giving rise to this case, Plaintiff filed his Complaint.

   
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii), the Magistrate Judge screened the Complaint before service to the Defendants.  Upon the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, this Court dismissed the Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.  Plaintiff filed a timely appeal to the Eleventh Circuit. The Eleventh Circuit held that Plaintiff successfully stated a plausible claim against the officers for violating Plaintiff’s rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments however, Plaintiff failed to state a claim as it relates to the City of Miami Beach.  Nevertheless, the Eleventh Circuit concluded that Plaintiff should be allowed to amend the Complaint against the City because he may be able to identify facts supporting his claim that the City has known for years that its officers were violating the constitutional rights of African-Americans and has taken no action to address the issue. On August 2, 2018, Plaintiff filed his Amended Complaint re-alleging his Section 1983 and failure to train claim, as well as an additional claim for malicious prosecution.

 
On October 25, 2018, the Magistrate Judge issued a Modified Report and Recommendation recommending that (1) the Fourth Amendment claims against the officers in their individual capacities procced; (2) the Fourth Amendment claims against the officers in their official capacity be dismissed because there is no allegation against a municipal policymaker or any indication that the officer Defendants have final policymaking authority; (3) the malicious prosecution claim against the officers and the City be dismissed because the issuance of a ticket does not amount to a seizure for purposes of the Fourth Amendment and Plaintiff’s admission of driving without a license established that probable cause existed for the underlying traffic violation; and (4) the failure-to-train claim against the City be dismissed without prejudice because Plaintiff has still not identified specific facts to make a plausible showing that the alleged custom or policy of discrimination existed.  Lastly, because Plaintiff is incarcerated and will not face unreasonable searches by the City or its officers anymore, the Magistrate Judge recommends dismissing Plaintiff’s claim for declaratory relief. Defendants have not been served with the operative Complaint.  If interested, please email FLSD_ProBono@flsd.uscourts.gov

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