from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Texas
PRADO, HIGGINSON, and COSTA, Circuit Judges.
C. PRADO, CIRCUIT JUDGE:
Randy Childers brought suit against Defendants- Appellees Ed
Iglesias and Anne Hollis for unlawful arrest under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. The district court granted the Defendants'
motion to dismiss on the ground that Childers failed to
allege a constitutional violation. For the reasons stated
below, we AFFIRM.
owns a ranch in Parker County, Texas. On September 15, 2013,
Childers went to his ranch to evict an individual whom he was
allowing to stay there. After he arrived, he requested
assistance from the Parker County Sheriff's Office. When
Hollis and Iglesias, who are Parker County Deputy Sheriffs,
arrived, Childers's truck was parked in front of the gate
to the ranch. The Defendants parked their car in front of
Childers's truck. Childers alleges that he was intending
to leave the ranch at that point, but that the
Defendants' parked car prevented him from leaving.
then attempted to explain the situation to Hollis. While
Childers was speaking with Hollis, Iglesias asked Childers to
move his truck. Childers did not immediately comply; instead
he "attempted to complete his explanation."
Iglesias then placed Childers under arrest for interfering
with the officers' duties. Childers alleges that the
Defendants could have driven around his truck, and that
Hollis agreed; Iglesias, however, did not believe he could
drive around the truck.
the district attorney eventually dismissed the charge,
Childers was held in jail for over twenty-four hours and
incurred legal fees as a result of his arrest. Childers
subsequently brought suit in state court under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, claiming that the Defendants arrested him
without probable cause in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
After removing the case to federal court, the Defendants
moved to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). The Defendants asserted qualified immunity and
argued that Childers's allegations do not support a
constitutional violation. The district court agreed and
granted the Defendants' motion to dismiss. This appeal
Standard of Review and Applicable Law
review de novo a district court's dismissal under Rule
12(b)(6), "accepting all well-pleaded facts as true and
viewing those facts in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff." Hines v. Alldredge, 783 F.3d 197,
201 (5th Cir.) (quoting True v. Robles, 571 F.3d
412, 417 (5th Cir. 2009)), cert. denied, 136 S.Ct.
534 (2015). "If the complaint has not set forth
'enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face, ' it must be dismissed."
Id. (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
survive a motion to dismiss, Childers must allege facts that
show the Defendants lacked probable cause to arrest him.
Brown v. Lyford, 243 F.3d 185, 189 (5th Cir. 2001).
"Probable cause exists 'when the totality of the
facts and circumstances within a police officer's
knowledge at the moment of arrest are sufficient for a
reasonable person to conclude that the suspect had committed
or was committing an offense.'" Haggerty v. Tex.
S. Univ., 391 F.3d 653, 655-56 (5th Cir. 2004) (quoting
Glenn v. City of Tyler, 242 F.3d 307, 313 (5th Cir.
2001)). Moreover, the Defendants are "entitled to
qualified immunity if a reasonable officer in [their]
position could have believed that, in light of the totality
of the facts and circumstances of which [they were] aware,
there was a fair probability" that Childers committed an
offense-namely, interfering with a police officer's
official duties. Id. at 656; see also Tex.
Penal Code § 38.15 ("A person commits an offense if
the person with criminal negligence interrupts, disrupts,
impedes, or otherwise interferes with . . . a peace officer
while the peace officer is performing a duty or exercising
authority imposed or granted by law.").
principally argues that he did nothing to interfere with the
Defendants' official duties. Although Childers concedes that he did not
move his truck when Deputy Iglesias requested he do so, he
contends that the Defendants could have driven around his
truck or simply walked past it to enter the ranch. Childers
also argues that he merely attempted to explain the situation
to the Defendants, which he suggests was protected speech
under the First Amendment. See City of Hous. v.
Hill, 482 U.S. 451, 462-63 ...