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Robinson v. Mecham

United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division

August 20, 2018

TAD MECHAM, ET AL., Defendants.

          Dee Benson District Judge


          Dustin B. Pead Magistrate Judge


         This case was referred to the court under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). (ECF No. 5.) On June 2, 2016, the court granted pro se Plaintiff Harold Robinson (“Plaintiff”) leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 2.) Plaintiff filed the original Complaint (“Complaint”) on June 2, 2016. (ECF No. 3.) Then on March 3, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Verified First Amended Complaint (“Amended Complaint”)[1]. The Amended Complaint contains over 140 purported facts and 14 causes of action for alleged violations of Plaintiff's civil rights, and seeks declaratory relief, injunctive relief, punitive and compensatory damages, and attorney fees. (ECF No. 21.) Further, named in this action as defendants are Tad Mecham (“Mecham”), Jared Hammon (“Hammon”), Chad Sheppick, Carlos Braceras, Nick Berrie, Rodney Willis, Brent Smith, and John/Jane Does 1-100 (referred to collectively as “Defendants”). Mr. Sheppick and Mr. Berrie were timely served with a copy of the Complaint. (ECF Nos. 11 and 9.)[2]

         Of interest is a companion matter, Robinson v. Mecham, et al., 2:15-CV-738, 2017 WL 353992 (D. Utah 2017) (“Companion Matter”), wherein the Plaintiff's wife, Denise Robinson, set forth approximately 15 purported facts and alleged four (4) causes of actions claiming Defendants Mecham and Hammon violated her civil rights. Plaintiff was not a named party in the Companion Matter. Mecham and Hammom moved to have the Companion Matter dismissed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Magistrate Judge Wells issued a Report and Recommendation on July 29, 2016 recommending that matter be dismissed because the claims were not plausible based upon the surveillance video that captured the events in question. (See 2:15-CV-738 at ECF No. 32.) Soon thereafter, Judge Waddoups converted the motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment and issued a Memorandum Decision and Order (“Memorandum Decision”) affirming Magistrate Judge Wells' recommendations. (See 2:15-CV-738 at ECF No. 44.)

         This case is before the court on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (“Motion”). (ECF No. 27.) For the reasons set forth below, this court RECOMMENDS the District Court DENY Defendants' Motion.


         On or about July 1, 2015, Plaintiff and his wife were traveling through Kanab, Utah in a tractor trailer combination. Plaintiff was transporting watermelons from Arizona to a retailer in Salt Lake City. As they approached the Kanab Port of Entry, a flashing light and sign ordered Plaintiff to exit the highway and enter the weigh station. After driving across the scale, a Port of Entry agent ordered the truck to stop and for Plaintiff to enter the building with paperwork.

         Once inside the building, Plaintiff engaged in a conversation, which at times became heated, with Port of Entry agents Mecham and Hammon about how his truck was 1000 pounds overweight and how Utah did not grant fuel variances. At some point during the encounter, Hammon and Plaintiff's wife each request law enforcement respond to the Port of Entry office to address their respective complaints about the other. The office at the Kanab Port of Entry is under video surveillance and therefore some of the events in question were recorded.


         “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “[M]ere labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not suffice; a plaintiff must offer specific factual allegations to support each claim.” Kan. Penn Gaming, LLC v. Collins, 656 F.3d 1210, 1214 (10th Cir. 2011) (internal punctuation omitted).

         When evaluating a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the court may consider the complaint itself along with any attached exhibits and documents incorporated into it by reference. Smith v. United States, 561 F.3d 1090, 1098 (10th Cir. 2009) (citing Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007)). Where a document is not incorporated by reference, the court may consider it where the complaint “relies heavily upon its terms and effect, ” thereby rendering the document “integral” to the complaint. Mangiafico v. Blumenthal, 471 F.3d 391, 398 (2d Cir. 2006) (quoting Chambers v. Time Warner, Inc., 282 F.3d 147, 152-153 (2d Cir. 2002)). However, even when an exhibit or a document is incorporated or is integral to the complaint, it must be clear on the record that no dispute exists regarding the authenticity or accuracy. See Faulkner v. Beer, 463 F.3d 130, 134 (2d Cir. 2006).


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