United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
PATRICK J. HANNA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
pending is the motion to dismiss, under Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6), which was filed by the defendant, Lutfe Hassan.
(Rec. Doc. 6). The motion is opposed. The motion was referred
to the undersigned for review, report, and recommendation in
accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636 and
the standing orders of the court. Considering the evidence,
the law, and the arguments of the parties, and for the
reasons fully explained below, it is recommended that the
motion be denied.
complaint, plaintiff Barbara Leleux alleged that her
constitutional rights were violated when the defendant, Lutfe
Hassan, failed to provide her with sufficient notice before
garnishing her wages. According to the complaint, Mrs. Leleux
is employed by the St. Mary Parish School Board as a teacher,
and is married to Calvin Leleux. Mr. Hassan allegedly secured
a money judgment against Mr. Leleux and others in a lawsuit
in which Mrs. Leleux was not a party. After registering the
judgment in this court, by means of an action separate from
this one, in which Mrs. Leleux again was not a party, Mr.
Hassan instituted a proceeding under Louisiana law, by which
Mrs. Leleux's wages are being garnished to satisfy the
judgment in favor of Mr. Hassan and against Mr. Leleux. Mrs.
Leleux alleged that she was not served with any notice of the
garnishment proceeding before her wages were seized. She
further alleged that this was a violation of the due process
rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United
States Constitution. Mrs. Leleux brought her lawsuit under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, and she seeks to recover her lost wages,
damages for her emotional pain, suffering, and distress
(including damages attributable to her allegedly injured
reputation); and punitive damages.
defendant responded to Mrs. Leleux's complaint with the
instant motion to dismiss. In support of the motion, the
defendant argued that Mrs. Leleux's salary constitutes
community property; that under Louisiana law community
property can be seized to satisfy the debts of either spouse;
that Louisiana's garnishment law requires notice only to
the judgment debtor; that due process does not require
service of notice of garnishment proceedings on both spouses;
and that Mrs. Leleux had actual notice of the garnishment.
The Standard for Evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is properly
granted when a defendant attacks the complaint because it
fails to state a legally cognizable claim. When considering
a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule
12(b)(6), a district court must limit itself to the contents
of the pleadings, including any attachments
thereto. The court must accept all well-pleaded
facts as true, and it must view them in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff. However, conclusory allegations
and unwarranted deductions of fact are not accepted as true,
courts “are not bound to accept as true a legal
conclusion couched as a factual
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the plaintiff must plead
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” The allegations must be
sufficient “to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level, ” and “the pleading must contain
something more . . . than . . . a statement of facts that
merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of
action.” “While a complaint . . . does not
need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's
obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to
relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” If the plaintiff fails to allege facts
sufficient to “nudge[ ][his] claims across the line
from conceivable to plausible, [his] complaint must be
meets the test for facial plausibility “when the
plaintiff pleads the factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” “[D]etermining
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.”Therefore, “[t]he complaint (1) on
its face (2) must contain enough factual matter (taken as
true) (3) to raise a reasonable hope or expectation (4) that
discovery will reveal relevant evidence of each element of a
The Standard for Evaluating a Section 1983
complaint, the plaintiff articulated a claim under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Section 1983 provides a cause of action against
anyone who “under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State” violates
another person's constitutional rights. Section 1983 is
not itself a source of substantive rights; it merely provides
a method for vindicating federal rights conferred
elsewhere. To state a Section 1983 claim, a
plaintiff must: (1) allege a violation of a right secured by
the Constitution or laws of the United States, and (2)
demonstrate that the alleged deprivation was committed by a
person acting under color of state law.
case, the plaintiff's complaint expressly stated that the
plaintiff's claims are premised on alleged violations of
her Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process rights.
Therefore, the first criterion is satisfied.
regard to the second criterion, “a private party's
participation with state officials in the seizure of disputed
property based on that party's ex parte
application is sufficient to characterize the party as a
‘state actor' for purposes of the ...