United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
H.L. Perez-Montes United States Magistrate Judge.
the Court is a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim
Upon Which Relief can be Granted under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6),
filed by Defendant City of Winnfield ("the City").
(Doc. 8). Plaintiff Roderick Sanders ("Sanders")
opposed the motion (Doc. ll). The City replied (Doc. 14). For
the reasons below, it is recommended that the City's
motion to dismiss (Doc. 8) be GRANTED IN PART, and that the
remaining state law claims be REMANDED to state court.
filed state and federal claims under Louisiana Code of Civil
Procedure Article 591 against the City in the Eighth Judicial
District Court for the Parish of Winn, State of Louisiana.
Sanders seeks relief for damages allegedly sustained as a
result of flooding in the City of Winnfield, Winn Parish,
Louisiana on April 30, 2017. (Doc. l). Sanders claims to
represent a class of similarly-situated individuals in his
neighborhood who sustained damages as a result of the
City's actions. (Doc. l). Sanders states the legal
elements of a class action under Louisiana law. (Doc. l).
alleges the City, a Louisiana municipality, maintains custody
and control of the drainage facilities within its
jurisdictional limits. (Doc. l). Sanders owns and lives in
property located at 107 Boon Street within the city limits of
Winnfield. (Doc. l). Sanders alleges his property was damaged
by flooding on or about April 30, 2017. (Doc. l). Sanders
further alleges the damage was caused by the City's
failure to properly design, construct, and maintain the
drainage facility in and for Sanders's neighborhood.
claims that the City's drainage decisions and practices
resulted in Sanders and others in his neighborhood receiving
different and lower levels of municipal services and
facilities. (Doc. l). Sanders also alleges his neighborhood
is predominantly African American. According to Sanders,
similarly-situated, predominantly white neighborhoods within
the City's municipal limits received adequate flood and
drainage protection to the detriment of Sanders's
neighborhood. (Doc. l). Sanders argues the City
systematically and intentionally discriminated against him
and other property owners in his neighborhood. (Doc. l).
seeks recovery for "property damage, loss of use,
inconvenience, aggravation and distress, and health
hazard." (Doc. l). Additionally, Sanders claims he is
entitled to damages under the Equal Protection clauses of the
federal and state constitutions, the Fourteenth Amendment, 42
U.S.C. § 1981, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1)
City removed the case to federal court on the sole basis of
federal question jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1331. (Doc.
l). The City now seeks dismissal under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)
for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. (Doc. 8). The City claims Sanders: (1) fails to meet
the basic pleading requirements of Rule 8 by providing only a
threadbare recitation of legal elements; (2) asserts an Equal
Protection Claim alleging differential treatment arising from
race-based animus without pleading facts sufficient to
establish discriminatory intent or identifying a like
comparator; (3) fails to identify any allegedly
discriminatory action taken by a person acting under color of
law; (4) asserts a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 without
alleging any impairment of contractual rights; and (5) fails
to identify a policy or custom sufficient to bring a
Monell claim against a municipality. (Doc. 8).
Law and Analysis
Standards governing the 12(b)(6) Motion to
may grant a motion to dismiss for "failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted" under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A pleading states a claim for relief
when, inter alia, it contains a "short and
plain statement...showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
withstand 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) (citing
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twomblv. 550 U.S. 544 (2007). A
claim is facially plausible when it contains sufficient
factual content for the court "to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged." IcL Plausibility does not equate to
possibility or probability; it lies somewhere in between. IcL
Plausibility simply calls for enough factual allegations to
raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal
evidence to support the elements of the claim. See
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556. The court must view all
well-pleaded facts in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. Yumilicious Francise, L.L.C. v. Barrie,
819 F.3d 170, 174 (5th Cir. 2016).
the court must accept as true all factual allegations set
forth in the complaint, the same presumption does not extend
to legal conclusions. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A
pleading comprised of labels and conclusions, a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action, or naked
assertions devoid of further factual enhancement will not
stand. IcL Similarly, where the well-pleaded facts do not
permit the Court to infer more than the mere possibility ...