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Leleux v. Hassan

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division

January 8, 2018

BARBARA LELEUX
v.
LUTFE HASSAN

          PATRICK J. HANNA MAG. JUDGE

          RULING

          ROBERT G. JAMES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is a "Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) [Doc. No. 6] filed by Defendant Lutfe Hassan. On December 4, 2017, Magistrate Judge Patrick J. Hanna issued a Report and Recommendation [Doc. No. 10] in which he recommends denying Defendant's motion. Defendant objected to the Report and Recommendation on December 18, 2017. [Doc. No. 13].

         Finding that the Magistrate Judge's ultimate recommendation is correct under the applicable law and the record, the Court ADOPTS the Report and Recommendation. The Court issues this Ruling to address Defendant's objection that the Magistrate Judge erred in declining to consider documents attached to his motion.

         In reviewing Defendant's motion to dismiss, the Magistrate declined to consider any documents other than Plaintiffs Complaint, reasoning:

When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, such as the one before the court at this time, a court has complete discretion to consider documents other than the complaint[1]if those documents are attached to the motion, referenced in the complaint, and central to the plaintiffs claims.[2] If a court considers materials outside of the pleadings, however, the motion must be treated as a motion for summary judgment, [3]and the nonmovant must be afforded the procedural safeguards of Fed.R.Civ.P. 56.[4]

[Doc. No. 10, pp. 7-8 (footnotes in original)].

         As the Fifth Circuit opined in Isquith, 847 F.2d at 196, courts do have discretion to consider documents other than the complaint: "when non-pleading materials are filed with a motion to dismiss ... a district court has complete discretion under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to either accept the exhibits submitted or not...." However, if the documents in question are attached to a motion to dismiss, referenced in the complaint, and central to the plaintiffs claims, they are considered pleading materials. In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litig., 495 F.3d at 205. Courts may consider documents meeting these criteria without converting the motion to dismiss into one for summary judgment. See Causey v. Sewell Cadillac-Chevrolet, Inc., 394 F.3d 285, 288 (5th Cir. 2004).[5]

         Here, Plaintiffs Complaint tenuously references the documents that Defendant attaches to his motion, and the documents are central to Plaintiffs claims. [Compare Doc. Nos. 1, 6]. Therefore, the Court has considered the documents. Nevertheless, the Court finds no basis to depart from the Magistrate Judge's ultimate recommendation. The documents do not squarely conflict with Plaintiffs claims or otherwise render Plaintiffs claims implausible. See Simmons v. Peavy-Welsh Lumber Co., 113 F.2d 812, 813 (5th Cir. 1940) ("Where there is a conflict between allegations in a pleading and exhibits thereto, it is well settled that the exhibits control."); Sheppard v. Tex. Dep 't of Tramp., 158 F.R.D. 592, 597 (E.D. Tex. 1994) (contrasting earlier case that did not consider references to documents that "did not even completely refute the assertions made in the plaintiffs complaint" with case where document "directly refutes the complaint's assertions."). Accordingly, Defendant's "Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) [Doc. No. 6] is DENIED.

         MONROE, LOUISIANA, this 8th day of January, 2018.

---------

Notes:

[1] Isquithfor and on behalf of Is quith v. Middle South Utilities, Inc., 847 F.2d 186, 193 n.3 (5th Cir. 1988); Ware v. Associated Milk Producers, Inc., 614 F.2d 413, 414-15 (5th Cir. 1980).

[2] In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litigation, 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir. 2007); Collins v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter,224 F.3d 496, ...


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