United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
T. TRIMBLE, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court is a "Motion to Dismiss by Natchitoches Parish
Government" (R. #28) (appearing through Rick Nowlin in
his Official Capacity as President of the Parish of
Natchitoches, and the Natchitoches Parish Council,
hereinafter referred to as the "Parish
Government"), wherein the mover seeks to dismiss the
instant lawsuit because Plaintiff (1) has no standing and (2)
has failed to show any justiciable controversy between
Plaintiff and/or its members, and Defendant.
the Natchitoches Voters and Civic League (the
"League"), filed the instant declaratory action
seeking a declaration of rights under the Head Start Act (the
"Act"), in an attempt to outline the relationship
between the Natchitoches Parish Government and Head Start and
Early Head Start. Plaintiff seeks to have this court
interpret and apply 45 CFR 1301, etc. seq. In its complaint,
Plaintiff requests that this court answer the following
1. Does the right to hire, fire and discipline employees of
Head Start and Early Head Start commence before the
Natchitoches Parish Government?
2. Who has the right to hire, fire and discipline employees
of Head Start and Early Head Start?
3. Does the right to hire, fire and discipline the executive
director of Head Start and Early Head Start commence before
the Natchitoches Parish Government?
4. Who has the right to hire, fire and discipline the
executive director of Head Start and Early Head Start?
5. What are the rights and duties of the agency?
6. What are the rights and duties of the governing body?
7. What are the rights and duties of the policy council?
8. What role, if any, does the Natchitoches Parish Government
play in constituting the policy council?
9. Are the governing body and policy council co-equal bodies?
League requests that this court answer these questions, and
that the Defendant be enjoined from the following acts
regarding the Head Start Program:
(1) Inserting the Office of Community Service in the chain of
(2) Allowing the Office of Community Service from making
recommendations pertaining to the continued
employment/termination of the Head Start Director,
(3) Making employment decisions as they pertain to Head Start
and Early Head Start; and
(4) Playing a role in the constituting of the policy council.
motion to dismiss for lack of standing is properly brought
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). The Supreme Court
has held that there must be an actual controversy that is
justiciable under Article III for actions brought pursuant to
the Declaratory Judgment Act in order for a court to declare
the rights and other legal relations. To meet the standing
requirement under Article III, the party invoking federal
jurisdiction must show (1) it has suffered an "injury in
fact" that is (a) concrete and particularized and (b)
actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical; (2) the
injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action of the
defendant; and (3) it is likely, as opposed to merely
speculative, that the injury will be redressed by a favorable
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires that pleadings which
state one or more claims for relief must contain "...a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief..." This "notice
pleading" requirement is balanced against Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) which provides that a court may
dismiss one or more claims when the pleader fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted.
purpose of considering a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule
12(b)(6), the court must take all well-pled factual
allegations as true and view them in the light most favorable
to the plaintiff. The pleading must allege facts which, when
taken as true, raise the pleader's claim to the level of
a justiciable controversy. A motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim should be denied unless "it appears to a
certainty that the plaintiff would be entitled to no
relief under any state of facts" alleged in the
those facts which are well-pleaded and state a
"plausible claim for relief" must be
accepted. A claim is plausible when the court can
reasonably infer from the facts that the defendant is liable
to the plaintiff; a claim is not plausible when it only
states conclusions of a "formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action." However, even those facts
which are extremely doubtful are to be assumed
Parish Government seeks to dismiss the instant lawsuit
because The League has no standing; the Parish Government
maintains that The League has failed to allege a particular
injury as to the League or any of its members. Specifically,
the League has failed to show how it or any of its members
would be affected by employment decisions, including those
related to the Executive Director. The complaint does not
allege that a termination has occurred, will occur, and if
so, how it would affect The League and/or any of its members.
Moreover, the complaint fails to show any actual controversy
that would be resolved through a Declaratory Judgment.
attempt to establish "standing", The League alleges
that it is in the business of protecting the rights of
African-Americans, and its purpose is to improve the
political, educational, social and economic status of
minority and poor people in the Natchitoches Parish
communities. The League argues that several of its
members have standing to bring this matter.
amending petition, the League complains that the "Head
Start Agency" has never officially established a
governing body as mandated by 45 CFR 1301.1. It further
complains that the Parish Government prohibited the policy
council from doing the following:
a. Activities to support the active involvement of parents in
supporting program operations, including policies to ensure
that the Head State agency is ...