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"To establish liability under § 1983, a plaintiff must show that the defendant acting under color of law, violated the plaintiff's federal constitutional or statutory rights, and thereby caused injury."
Plaintiff Andre L. Wiggins alleged that defendants violated his constitutional rights when Defendant Ramirez used excessive force in searching his person. Plaintiff alleges two main claims: first, a claim under Section 1983 alleging that Defendants' use of excessive force violated his right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment or alternatively his right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment, and second, a claim under Virginia law alleging that the Defendants' gross negligence caused his injuries. Defendant Ramirez moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment claim, arguing that, as a matter of law, Plaintiff's claim may only arise under the Fourth Amendment, not the Fourteenth Amendment. Defendant Quesenberry moved to dismiss Wiggins’ complaint, arguing that Wiggins has not alleged a plausible claim for excessive force because Defendant Ramirez's actions were objectively reasonable, and further arguing that Wiggins has not sufficiently stated a claim against Defendant Quesenberry for bystander or supervisory liability. Finally, Defendant Quesenberry argues that Wiggins has not pled sufficient facts to support a claim for gross negligence under Virginia law.
Did Wiggins sufficiently allege his claims against Ramirez and Quesenberry?
The court granted the motion to dismiss the Section 1983 claim against Defendant Ramirez based upon the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause because the Fourth Amendment provides the applicable constitutional right in this case-the right to be free from police using excessive force during an arrest or investigatory stop of a free citizen. The court found that Wiggins failed to sufficiently allege the element of knowledge required for bystander liability Therefore, Defendant Quesenberry's motion to dismiss the claim of excessive force on the basis of bystander liability was granted. The court also granted Quesenberry's motion to dismiss Wiggins’ gross negligence claim because Wiggins failed to allege sufficient facts to state a plausible claim