United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
HORNSBY MAGISTRATE JUDGE
ELIZABETH ERNY FOOTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter arises from the custodial death by apparent suicide of
Plaintiff's husband, Terrence Goudeau
(“Goudeau”). Before the Court is a motion to
dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction filed by the
State of Louisiana, the Louisiana Department of Public Safety
and Corrections (the “DOC”), and David Wade
Correctional Center (“DWCC”) (collectively, the
“State Defendants”). [Record Document 28]. Jerry
Goodwin (“Goodwin”), DWCC's warden, has filed
a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. [Record
Document 30]. Because this Court lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claims against the State
Defendants, it SEVERS those claims and
REMANDS them to the state court; the motion
to dismiss [Record Document 28] is DENIED AS
MOOT. Goodwin's motion [Record Document 30] is
GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN
PART. Goodwin's motion is
GRANTED on Plaintiff's claims against
Goodwin in his official capacity and her claims that he was
subjectively deliberately indifferent in light of actual
knowledge of Goudeau's condition, but
DENIED on her state-law tort claims and her
42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim that Goodwin created a
constitutionally insufficient suicide prevention policy.
was found dead in his cell at DWCC on June 12, 2016. [Record
Document 20 at 5]. Plaintiff has alleged that DWCC employees
knew that Goudeau “had attempted and/or threatened to
commit suicide on prior occasions” and that they
breached the standard of care for suicidal inmates by placing
him a cell containing “hanging hazards.”
[Id. at 5-6]. As Goudeau's surviving spouse,
Plaintiff brings a wrongful death action, a survival action,
and a § 1983 claim against the State Defendants,
Goodwin, unnamed DWCC employees, and an unnamed insurance
company. [Id. at 2, 7-8]. Plaintiff also alleges an
alternative theory that “foul play or criminal
violation” caused Goudeau's death because his body
was allegedly bruised when delivered to the undertaker.
[Id. at 10].
filed suit in Louisiana's Second Judicial District.
[Record Document 1-1 at 2]. One of the original defendants,
Dr. William Mark Haynes (“Haynes”), removed the
action. [Record Document 1]. The Court previously granted
Haynes's motion to dismiss. [Record Documents 24 and 38].
Claims Against the State Defendants
Standard of Review
12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits a
party to assert that a plaintiff's complaint should be
dismissed for a lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). If a court lacks either statutory or
constitutional authority to hear a case, dismissal is proper
under this rule. Home Builders Ass'n of Miss., Inc.
v. City of Madison, 143 F.3d 1006, 1010 (5th Cir. 1998)
(citing Nowak v. Ironworkers Local 6 Pension Fund,
81 F.3d 1182, 1187 (2d Cir. 1996)). When evaluating
subject-matter jurisdiction, courts are to accept the
veracity of the facts and accusations set forth in a
complaint. Menchaca v. Chrysler Credit Corp., 613
F.2d 507, 511 (5th Cir. 1980).
State Defendants argue that state sovereign immunity requires
their dismissal. [Record Document 28 at 1]. Plaintiff's
opposition fails to address sovereign immunity, which the
State Defendants re-urge in their reply memorandum. [Record
Documents 37 and 40].
Eleventh Amendment bars suits in federal court against a
state unless that state has consented or Congress has validly
abrogated state sovereign immunity. Pennhurst State Sch.
& Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 98-99 (1984).
Louisiana has not waived its sovereign immunity from suit in
federal court, and § 1983 does not abrogate state
sovereign immunity. See La. Stat. Ann. §
13:5106(A) (2012); Champagne v. Jefferson Par.
Sheriff's Off., 188 F.3d 312, 314 (5th Cir. 1999).
(citing Quern v. Jordan, 440 U.S. 332, 345 (1979)).
Therefore, the Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over
Plaintiff's claim against the state of Louisiana.
Amendment immunity extends to state agencies. Richardson
v. S. Univ., 118 F.3d 450, 452-53 (5th Cir. 1997)
(citing Delahoussaye v. City of New Iberia, 937 F.2d
144, 146 (5th Cir. 1991)). Although Plaintiff has named the
“Department of Public Safety and Corrections Wade
Correctional Center” as a defendant, the DOC operates
DWCC, but is not coextensive with it. As an arm of the state,
the DOC is immune from suit in federal court.
Champagne, 188 F.3d at 314. Because a “suit
against any state correctional center would be a suit against
the state, ” this Court also lacks jurisdiction over
claims against DWCC. Citrano v. Allen Corr. Ctr.,
891 F.Supp. 312, 320 (W.D. La. 1995) (citing Anderson v.
Phelps, 655 F.Supp. 560 (M.D. La. 1985); Building
Eng'g Servs. Co. v. Louisiana, 459 F.Supp. 180 (E.D.
district court discovers that it “lacks subject matter
jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 1447(c) (2012). This “language is mandatory, not
optional.” Powers v. Colgate-Palmolive Co.,
No. 16-31021, 2016 WL 10703735, at *2 (5th Cir. Dec. 19,
2016) (per curiam); see Arbaugh v. Y&H Corp.,
546 U.S. 500, 514 (2006) (“[W]hen a federal court
concludes that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the
court must dismiss the complaint in its entirety.”). To
comply with this statutory mandate, the Court exercises its