United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
ENRIQUETA A. MOORE
STATE, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND CORRECTIONS, ET AL.
MAURICE HICKS, JR., CHIEF JUDGE
the Court is Defendants State of Louisiana, through the
Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, and
Jerry Goodwin's (collectively the
“Defendants”) “Motion to Dismiss”
(Record Document 16) the First Amending and Supplemental
Complaint (Record Document 15) of Chastity Guidry, on behalf
of Logan Guidry, her minor daughter, and Amy McDonald Nobre,
on behalf of Kenneth M. Cotton, III, her minor son, all of
whom were substituted as party plaintiffs for the original
plaintiff, Enriqueta A. Moore. For the reasons contained in
the instant Memorandum Ruling, the Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss is GRANTED.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
A. Moore (“Moore”) filed the original petition
(“Original Petition”) in this matter in the
Second Judicial District Court for the Parish of Claiborne on
September 14, 2016. See Record Document 1-2. The
case was timely removed to this Court on October 20, 2016, on
the basis of federal question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§1331. See Record Document 1.
Original Petition alleged that plaintiff, Moore, was the
biological mother of the deceased, Kenneth Cotton
(“Cotton”), an offender in the custody of the
State of Louisiana, and was the proper party to bring this
action for damages pursuant to an action for wrongful death
pursuant to La. Civ. Code art.2315, et seq, in that
she is the wrongful death beneficiary and survival action
beneficiary for Cotton. See Record Document 1-2 at
incident which lead to Cotton's death is alleged to have
occurred on February 11, 2016. See id. at 3. Cotton
is alleged to have died on February 20, 2016. See
id. at 4. The remainder of the Original Petition goes on
to state the alleged basis for liability of the defendants,
all arising from the death of Cotton, who died in the
hospital while still in the custody of the State of
Louisiana, after being beaten by fellow offender and
defendant, Anthony Tellis (“Tellis”). See
id. at 3-6. The relief requested is for monetary
damages, under Louisiana's wrongful death and survival
action statutes, as well as for recovery under 42 U.S.C.
§1983, for civil rights violations, including special,
general and punitive damages, attorney's fees and costs.
See id. at 6-7.
February 7, 2017, a scheduling conference was held, and a
deadline for filing any amendment to the pleadings was set
for March 9, 2017. See Record Document 12 at 3. On
March 8, 2016, Moore filed an Ex Parte Unopposed Motion for
Leave to Supplement and Amend the Original Complaint for the
Plaintiff, which was granted by the Court on March 9, 2017.
See Record Documents 13 and 14. The First Amending
and Supplemental Complaint (“Amended Complaint”)
was filed the same day. See Record Document 15.
Amended Complaint removes Moore as plaintiff and replaces her
with the natural tutors, or mothers, Chastity Guidry and Amy
McDonald Nobre (“Plaintiffs”), of two minor
children, Logan Guidry and Kenneth M. Cotton, III
(collectively the “Children”), alleged to be
Cotton's “biological children.” See
Record Document 15 at 3. Paragraph Six of the Amended
Complaint states that Plaintiffs, on behalf of the Children,
“are substituting the original [p]laintiff, [Moore], as
the proper parties to bring this suit.” See
id. at 4.
the key dates for the consideration as raised by the Original
Petition and Amended Complaint are as follows:
February 11, 2016
The date of the alleged incident
February 20, 2016
The date Cotton is alleged to have died
September 14, 2016
The filing of the Original Petition
March 9, 2017
The filing of the Amended Complaint
filed the instant Motion to Dismiss on March 21, 2017, and in
their memorandum in support, argue the filing of the action
by Moore, “who was never a proper party to bring this
action, did not interrupt the prescriptive period”;
thus, the Plaintiffs' action was filed too late.
See Record Document 16-1 at 1. Plaintiffs responded
on April 4, 2017, and contend the Amended Complaint should
relate back to the date of filing of Moore's Original
Petition. See Record Document 18 at 8. Defendants
filed a reply in which they asserted Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(c) did
not allow for such relation back. See Record
Document 19 at 8.
8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs the
requirements for pleadings that state a claim for relief,
requiring that a pleading contain "a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief." The standard for the adequacy of complaints
under Rule 8(a)(2) changed from the old, more
plaintiff-friendly "no set of facts" standard to a
"plausibility" standard found in Bell Atlantic
v. Twombly and its progeny. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007). Under this standard,
"factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to
relief above the speculative level . . . on the assumption
that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if
doubtful in fact)." Id. at 555-556, 127 S.Ct.
at 1965. If a pleading only contains "labels and
conclusions" and "a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action, " the pleading does not
meet the standards of Rule 8(a)(2). Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009).
deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a court generally
"may not go outside the pleadings."Colle v. Brazos
County, Texas, 981 F.2d 237, 243 (5th Cir. 1993). Courts
must also accept all allegations in a complaint as true.
See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949.
However, courts do not have to accept legal conclusions as
facts. See Id. Courts considering a motion to
dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) are only obligated to allow those
complaints that are facially plausible under the
Iqbal and Twombly standard to survive such
a motion. See id. at 678-679, 129 S.Ct. at
1949-1950. If the complaint does not meet this standard, it
can be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be ...