United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
the Court is a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 2) filed by the State
of Louisiana through the Department of Public Safety and
Corrections (“Defendant”). Defendant alleges that
the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, and on that
basis seeks to dismiss Roger Price's
(“Plaintiff”) claims against it pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”)
12(b)(1). Plaintiff has filed a response. (Doc. 4). For the
reasons stated herein, Defendant's motion is GRANTED.
filed the instant lawsuit in the Nineteenth Judicial District
Court, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, asserting several
state-law causes of action and a claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 (“Section 1983”) on behalf of himself
and persons similarly situated. (Doc. 7). Plaintiff's
claims arise from his allegation that Defendant wrongfully
revoked all good-time credit owed to Plaintiff because of his
violation of a condition of release for parole. (Doc. 7).
Plaintiff claims that this unlawful revocation stemmed from
an unconstitutional application of Louisiana Revised Statutes
Section 15:571.4(B)(2), in violation of the Ex Post Facto
Clause of the U.S. Constitution. (Id.)Because of this
unlawful revocation, Plaintiff seeks monetary relief from
Defendant. (Doc. 7). Defendant removed this action from state
to federal court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441, invoking
the jurisdiction of the Court under 28 U.S.C. §
1331. (Doc. 5). Defendant now seeks dismissal of
Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim, contending that because
it is not a “person” within the meaning of the
statute, the Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction. (Doc.
complaint must be dismissed for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1) when a court lacks the
statutory or constitutional power to hear the case. Home
Builders Ass'n of Miss., Inc. v. City of Madison,
143 F.3d 1006, 1010 (5th Cir. 1998). The burden of proof on a
Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss is on the party asserting
jurisdiction. Strain v. Harrelson Rubber Co., 742
F.2d 888, 889 (5th Cir. 1984). “A motion to dismiss
under Rule 12(b)(1) is analyzed under the same standard as a
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).” Benton v.
U.S., 960 F.2d 19, 21 (5th Cir. 1992). In reviewing a
Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court must accept all well-pleaded
facts in the complaint as true and view them in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff. Sonnier v. State Farm
Mutual Auto Ins. Co., 509 F.3d 673, 675 (5th Cir. 2007);
Baker v. Putnal, 75 F.3d 190, 196 (5th Cir. 1996).
support of its Rule 12(b)(1) motion, Defendant asserts that
it is not a “person” for purposes of Section
1983. (Doc. 2-1 at p. 4). Because of this, Defendant
maintains that it is immune from suit in federal court under
the Eleventh Amendment. (Id.) In his Motion to Amend
and Restate Complaint (Doc. 3-1), Plaintiff argues that
jurisdiction is proper because Defendant removed the instant
lawsuit to federal court, thereby waiving its Eleventh
Amendment immunity and clearing a path for Plaintiff to
proceed with his Section 1983 claim. (Doc. 3-1). In any
event, Plaintiff filed an Amended and Restated Complaint
wherein he claims to have remediated any potential issues
asserted in Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and argues that
Defendant's motion should be dismissed as moot.
(See Doc. 7).
preliminary matter, the Court disagrees with Plaintiff's
assertion that Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is now moot.
Plaintiff's Motion to Amend and Restate Complaint asserts
that the jurisdictional defects asserted with respect to his
Original Complaint were extinguished by virtue of the filing
of the amended pleading, thus automatically rendering
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss moot. (See Doc.
3-1). A review of Plaintiff's Original Complaint (Doc.
1), his First Amended and Restated Complaint (Doc. 7), and
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 2) demonstrates that
any potential jurisdictional defects were not cured as
Plaintiff, through the amended pleading, merely added the
names of additional defendants. Plaintiff did not omit the
State as a defendant, nor did he abandon his Section 1983
claim against the State. As such, the Court is not required
to dismiss Defendant's Motion to Dismiss as moot. See
Melson v. Vista World Inc. and Associates, 2012 WL
6002680 at *12 (E.D.La. Nov. 30, 2012) (not reported)
(observing that courts vary in how they proceed when a
plaintiff files an amended complaint while a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion is still pending, with some courts finding that the
filing of an amended complaint does not automatically moot a
pending Rule 12(b)(6) motion). Because the objection raised
in Defendant's Motion to Dismiss remains unresolved even
after the filing of Plaintiff's Amended and Restated
Complaint, the Court will consider the substance of
cites Lapides v. Board of Regents of University System of
Georgia for the proposition that removal of his lawsuit
constituted a waiver of Eleventh Amendment immunity. After a
careful reading of Lapides, the Court disagrees. It
is an established principle of law that generally a state
defendant waives sovereign immunity under the Eleventh
Amendment when it removes a case from state to federal court.
See Meyers ex rel. Benzing v. Texas, 410 F.3d 236,
241 (5th Cir. 2005), citing Lapides v. Board
of Regents of University System of Georgia, 535 U.S. 613
(2002). However, in Lapides, the United States
Supreme Court reaffirmed that the waiver-by-removal rule is
inapplicable to lawsuits raising Section 1983 claims, as a
state is not a “person” under Section 1983.
See Lapides, 535 U.S. at 617 (where, despite removal
of the plaintiff's lawsuit, the Court held that “.
. . Lapides' only federal claim against the State arises
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, that claim seeks only monetary
damages, and we have held that a State is not a
‘person' against whom a § 1983 claim for money
damages may be asserted”); see also Will v. Mich.
Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989)). As such,
Plaintiff cannot maintain his sole federal claim against
Defendant, as Defendant is entitled to sovereign immunity
under the Eleventh Amendment.
the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over
Plaintiff's Section 1983 claims, the Court declines to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over any of the remaining
state-law claims Plaintiff may pursue against Defendant.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3) (stating that
district courts “may decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over a claim under subsection (a) if . . . the
district court has dismissed all claims over which it has
original jurisdiction . . .”); Rhyne v. Henderson
County, 973 F.2d 386, 395 (5th Cir. 1992) (finding that
dismissal of state-law claims was proper after all federal
claims were dismissed).
IT IS ORDERED that Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 2)
is GRANTED and Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim against the
State is hereby DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiffs state-law claims against