United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS CASE AS TO DEFENDANT
JENNIFER RAMOS (DKT. NO. 5), EFFECTIVE MARCH 17,
PAMELA PEPPER United States District Judge.
to the plaintiff's complaint, the plaintiff is an
“actress, model and a reality-television star”
living in Atlanta, Georgia. Dkt. No. 1 at 2. In September
2015, a friend of the plaintiff's invited her to a
restaurant in downtown Milwaukee called Elsa's on the
Park. Id. The plaintiff and her friend arrived at
the restaurant together, but she asserts that “because
[she] is famous, ” other restaurant customers
“began sitting next to and around [her] to converse
with her.” Id.
point, a person named “Nate” called 911, and told
the dispatcher that he was a bartender at Elsa's, and
that there was a “rowdy crowd” that was
“causing a disturbance, ” and that “almost
a fight broke out.” Id.at 3. Then Brittany
Wuerl, the manager of Elsa's, called 911 a second time,
indicating that she was “still waiting for police
assistance, ” and that she was “trying to contain
the people.” Id. Wuerl told the dispatcher
that “there is only one person left from that group,
” and that Wuerl wanted the police to come before that
person left. Id. Wuerl indicated to the dispatcher
that the plaintiff was “on the reality television show
Love and Hip Hop and that ‘people know'
who she is.” Id.
Officer Jennifer Ramos went to Elsa's, and spoke with
Wuerl. Id. Wuerl told the defendant that the
plaintiff “refused to pay ‘the group's'
bill.” Id. The defendant also spoke with Nina
Dismukes, a server at Elsa's. Id. at 4. It is
not clear what, if anything, Dismukes told the defendant, but
the plaintiff asserts that she “did not tell [the
defendant] that [the plaintiff] refused to pay for the food
and beverages that she ordered.” Id. Finally,
the defendant spoke with the plaintiff herself. The plaintiff
“told [the defendant] that [the plaintiff] did not
agree to pay for food and beverages ordered by other
patrons.” She also told the defendant that
“Elsa's was trying to make [the plaintiff] pay for
‘the group's bill' because she is
defendant arrested the plaintiff, and “sought the
prosecution” of the plaintiff “for absconding
without paying.” Id. The complaint alleges
that at the time the defendant arrested the plaintiff, the
defendant “knew that [the plaintiff] was a famous
person.” Id. at 6. It alleges that the
plaintiff did not abscond from Elsa's without paying;
rather, she “offered to pay for the food and beverages
that she actually ordered.” Id. at 4. The
plaintiff maintains that Wuerl was not happy with this offer,
and “tried to intimidate [the plaintiff] into paying
for ‘the group's' bill by telling [the
plaintiff] the police were coming.” She argues that
“[w]hen that did not work, Wuerl convinced [the
defendant] [sic] join in the intimidation of [the
plaintiff].” Finally, she argues that when the
plaintiff refused to be intimidated, the defendant arrested
her, “jailed her, and made a criminal referral for
absconding without paying.” Id. at 5. The
prosecutor declined to issue charges. Id.
plaintiff alleged that the defendant violated her Fourth
Amendment rights under 42 U.S.C. §1983 by detaining her
without reasonable suspicion. Id. She also alleged
that the defendant violated her Fourth Amendment rights by
unlawfully arresting her. Id. at 6. Finally, she
alleges that the defendant violated her Fourteenth Amendment
equal protection rights by treating her differently from
others on the basis that she is famous. Id. at 7-8.
Motion to Dismiss The defendant has asked
the court to dismiss the case against the defendant under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), for failure to state a claim. Dkt. No.
5. The plaintiff-at the time, represented by counsel-opposed
the motion. Dkt. No. 11.
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) challenges the sufficiency of the complaint, not its
merits. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6); Gibson v. City of
Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990) (citation
omitted). In considering a motion to dismiss brought under
Rule 12(b)(6), the court accepts as true all well-pleaded
facts in the plaintiff's complaint and draws all
reasonable inferences from those facts in the plaintiff's
favor. AnchorBank, FSB v. Hofer, 649 F.3d 610, 614
(7th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted). To survive a Rule
12(b)(6) motion, the complaint must not only provide the
defendant with fair notice of a claim's basis but must
also be facially plausible. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009), citing Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Id., citing Twombley, 550 U.S. at 566. In
this context, “plausible, ” as opposed to
“merely conceivable or speculative, ” means that
the plaintiff must include “enough details about the
subject-matter of the case to present a story that holds
together.” Carlson v. CSX Transp., Inc., 758
F.3d 819, 826-27 (7th Cir. 2014) (quoting Swanson v.
Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 404-05 (7th Cir. 2010)).
state a claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. §1983, a
plaintiff must allege that the defendants: 1) deprived her of
a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United
States; and 2) acted under color of state law.
Buchanan-Moore v. Cnty. of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824,
827 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Kramer v. Vill. of N. Fond du
Lac, 384 F.3d 856, 861 (7th Cir. 2004)); see also
Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980).
Unlawful Detention Claim
plaintiff's complaint framed her first cause of action as
“unlawful detention.” The facts alleged in the
complaint are thin, but it appears that the defendant arrived
at Elsa's and spoke with two people-the manager and a
server-before speaking with the plaintiff. The complaint
describes the exchange between the two as being brief: the
plaintiff told the defendant that she did not agree to pay
for food other people had ordered, and accused the restaurant
of trying to make her pay because of her status as a
celebrity. It appears that the defendant arrested the
plaintiff immediately after this conversation occurred.
on these sparse facts, it does not appear that there was any
pre-arrest “detention” of the plaintiff. The
defendant walked up to the plaintiff, talked to her for a few
minutes, then arrested her. In order to survive a ...