United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON, CHIEF JUDGE.
the Court is the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 9)
filed by Sheriff Sid Gautreaux III and the
Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 23) filed Deputy
Sheriff James Jamison ("Defendants"). Shaun Lee
("Plaintiff') filed oppositions, (Docs. 7 and 25),
and replies, (Docs. 26 and 38). For the following reasons,
the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 9) filed by
Sheriff Gautreaux is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN
PART, and the Motion to Dismiss
(Doc. 23) filed by Deputy Jamison
is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.
alleges that on December 5, 2015, he had an argument with
another patron while at a poker table at the L'Auberge
Casino & Hotel Baton Rouge. (Doc. 13 at ¶ 4). Casino
employees then chased him from the premises, and when
Plaintiff arrived at the casino parking lot, Deputy Jamison
ordered him to stop. Id. at ¶ 4-5. Plaintiff
alleges that he immediately stopped and put his hands in the
air, but Deputy Jamison slammed him to the ground, fracturing
his wrist. Id. at ¶ 6-7.
brought claims under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1343,
the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States
Constitution, and Louisiana law. Id. at ¶ 2.
Plaintiff claims that Defendants are liable for: assault,
battery (excessive force), failure to provide medical
attention, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional
distress, cruel treatment, false arrest/imprisonment,
malicious prosecution, deliberate indifference, and failure
to train, screen and supervise. Id. at ¶ 8.
Plaintiff also claims that Sheriff Gautreaux is liable under
a theory of respondeat superior. Id. at ¶ 9.
Plaintiff also seeks punitive damages under § 1983.
Id. at ¶ 12.
filed a Petition for Damages in the 19th Judicial
District Court for the Parish of East Baton Rouge on November
10, 2016, naming Sheriff Gautreaux and L'Auberge Casino
& Hotel Baton Rouge as defendants. (Doc. 1-1). On
December 13, 2016, L'Auberge Casino & Hotel removed
the case to this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1441, (Doc. 1),
and Sheriff Gautreaux later consented to removal. (Doc. 2).
On January 10, 2017, L'Auberge Casino & Hotel filed a
Motion to Dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). (Doc. 4).
Three days later, Sheriff Gautreaux filed a Motion to
Dismiss. (Doc. 5). Plaintiff then filed an Amended Complaint
and substituted Pinnacle Entertainment Inc.
("Pinnacle") for L'Auberge Casino & Hotel
as a defendant. (Doc. 8). Sheriff Gautreaux filed a Motion to
Dismiss the Amended Complaint. (Doc. 9). The Magistrate Judge
then ordered Plaintiff to file a Motion to Substitute his
Amended Complaint with a Comprehensive Amended Complaint.
(Doc. 14). Plaintiff thereafter filed a Comprehensive Amended
Complaint, naming East Baton Rouge Sheriffs Deputy James
Jamison, as an additional defendant. (Doc. 16). Deputy
Jamison then filed a Motion to Dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).
(Doc. 23). The Magistrate ordered Pinnacle and Sheriff
Gautreaux to file a supplemental memorandum in support of
their pending motions to dismiss, or to withdraw the motions
if Plaintiffs Comprehensive Amended Complaint resolved the
issues raised in the motions. (Doc. 27). Pinnacle withdrew
its Motion to Dismiss, (Doc. 35), and Sheriff Gautreaux filed
a supplemental memorandum in support of its previously filed
Motion to Dismiss, (Doc. 36).
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency
of the complaint against the legal standard set forth in Rule
8, which requires "a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."
Rule 8(a)(2). "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)). "Determining whether a
complaint states a plausible claim for relief [is] . . . a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to
draw on its judicial experience and common sense."
Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 679.
plausibility" exists "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. at 678 (citing Twombly,
550 U.S. at 556). Hence, the complaint need not set out
"detailed factual allegations, " but something
"more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action" is
required. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. When conducting
its inquiry, the Court "accepts all well-pleaded facts
as true and views those facts in the light most favorable to
the plaintiff." Bustos v. Martini Club Inc.,
599 F.3d 458, 461 (5th Cir. 2010) (quotation marks omitted).
Plaintiffs § 1983 Official Capacity Claims
§ 1983 suit against a government official, like a police
officer, in his official capacity cannot be based on a theory
of vicarious liability. Alton v. Texas A & M
University, 168 F.3d 196, 200 (5th Cir. 1999). Rather,
under § 1983, liability for a government official sued
in his official capacity requires proof of: "(1) an
official policy (or custom), of which (2) a policymaker can
be charged with actual or constructive knowledge, and (3) a
constitutional violation whose moving force is that policy or
custom." Quinn v. Guerrero, 863 F.3d 353, 364
(5th Cir. 2017) (internal citation omitted). Further,
"each and any policy which allegedly caused
constitutional violations must be specifically identified by
a plaintiff[, ]" in order for the necessary
determination to be made on the policy's relative
constitutionality." Piotrowski v. Houston, 237
F.3d 567, 579-80 (5th Cir. 2001).
alleges that Sheriff Gautreaux is liable under § 1983
because Deputy Jamison was acting under the direction of the
Sheriff at the time of the alleged incident. (Doc. 13 at
¶ 10). It is well-established that official capacity
suits cannot be based on vicarious liability. Alton,
168 F.3d at 200. Plaintiff also alleges that Sheriff
Gautreaux is liable because he failed to properly train,
supervise, and screen his employees, and failed to enforce
the laws of the United States and Louisiana. (Doc. 13 at
¶ 13). Beyond conclusory allegations Plaintiff, however,
has not adequately plead facts that evince a failure to train
or supervise claim. See Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678
("Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice."). Plaintiffs official capacity claims against
Sheriff Gautreaux are dismissed.
it is unclear whether Plaintiff has brought an official
capacity claim against Deputy Jamison, to the extent he has,
these claims will be dismissed. Plaintiff has not alleged
that Deputy Jamison is a policymaker. And moreover, he has
not identified a specific policy or custom that led to any