United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
SECTION “L” (1)
ORDER AND REASONS
E. FALLON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendant City of New Orleans' motion
requesting (1) judgment on the pleadings and (2) dismissal
for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Rec. Doc. 45.
Plaintiffs have not filed an opposition, and the submission
date has passed. On May 23, 2018, the Court held a conference
regarding the status of the case, in which Plaintiffs
represented that they do not contest Defendant's motion
regarding jurisdiction. Having considered the City's
motion, the record, and the applicable laws, the Court now
issues this Order and Reasons.
action generally arises out of a dispute among private
Louisiana citizens over a boat slip. Plaintiffs,
nevertheless, have filed this action in federal court under
28 U.S.C. § 1331, arguing that the City of New Orleans
(“City”) and New Orleans Police Department
(“NOPD”) are liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
for its on-scene officers' conduct of allegedly depriving
Plaintiffs of their constitutional rights to “due
process, equal protection, and against illegal seizures,
illegal arrest, false imprisonment, and cruel and unusual
punishment.” Rec. Doc. 1, ¶ 26.
incident happened on July 2, 2014 at the marina in New
Orleans, Louisiana. Rec. Doc. 45-1 at 1. Plaintiffs Joseph
and Coquette Meyer claim that at the time of the incident,
they had entered into a valid lease with pro se
Defendant Troy Williams, who manages a store and restaurant
adjacent to the marina. Rec. Doc. 43 at 6. Plaintiffs aver
their lease granted them access to and possession of a boat
slip for docking their houseboat and other vessels, as well
as electrical utilities. Rec. Doc. 43 at 6. On July 2, 2014,
as the Meyers were preparing their vessels to depart from the
leased slip, Defendants Williams, Paul McIntyre, and others
allegedly approached the Meyers' vessels, ordered the
Meyers to remove their vessels and equipment from the leased
slip to clear the slip for Mr. McIntyre's vessels, and
physically pushed Meyers' vessels away from the shore,
causing the Meyers' vessels to drift into pilings. Rec.
Doc. 43 at 7.
thereafter, NOPD Officers Micheleen Scott and Terrance
Hilliard-who are not named as defendants in this
action-responded to a service call in response to the
altercation. According to Plaintiffs, Defendant Williams,
using his influence as a former NOPD officer, had several
armed, uniformed NOPD officers threaten and assault Mr.
Meyer. Rec. Doc. 43 at 7. The NOPD officers purportedly
threatened and intimidated the Meyers, warning Plaintiffs not
to interfere with the launching of Mr. McIntyre's vessel.
Rec. Doc. 43 at 7. Mr. Meyer was eventually released from
arrest and received a citation for disturbance of peace.
See Rec. Doc. 1 at 6; Rec. Doc. 43 at 8. Williams,
McIntyre, and the officers then allegedly instructed
Plaintiffs to vacate the premises, along with their vessels.
Rec. Doc. 43 at 8. Plaintiffs claim that they have sustained
property damages, damages to Mr. Meyer's business
enterprise, as well as violation of Plaintiffs' civil
rights. Rec. Doc. 43 at 8; Rec. Doc. 45-1 at 2.
the incident, Plaintiffs filed the instant litigation under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of New Orleans,
alleging the City deprived them of their civil rights and
claiming NOPD officers acted under color of state law; as
well as claiming other Defendants breached the lease
agreement with Plaintiffs for the boat slip and engaged in
certain tortious conducts. Rec. Doc. 45-1 at 2.
years after the commencement of this lawsuit, the City has
now filed the instant motion for judgment on the pleadings
and for lack of jurisdiction. This opinion addresses the
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c)
12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that
“[a]fter the pleadings are closed but within such time
as not to delay the trial, any party may move for judgment on
the pleadings.” When analyzing a Rule 12(c) motion, the
pleadings should be construed liberally, and a judgment on
the pleadings is appropriate only if there are no material
facts in dispute and questions of law are all that remain.
Brittan Commc'ns Int'l Corp. v. Southwestern Bell
Telephone Co., 313 F.3d 899, 904 (5th Cir. 2002);
Voest-Alpine Trading USA Corp. v. Bank of China, 142
F.3d 887, 891 (5th Cir. 1998); Hebert Abstract Co. v.
Touchstone Props., Ltd., 914 F.2d 74, 76 (5th Cir. 1990)
(citing 5A Wright & Miller, Federal Practice &
Procedure § 1367).
motion brought pursuant to Rule 12(c) is designed to dispose
of cases when a judgment on the merits can be rendered by
looking to the substance of the pleadings and any judicially
noticed facts. Great Plains Trust Co. v. Morgan Stanley
Dean Witter & Co., 313 F.3d 305, 313 (5th Cir.
2000). In determining whether to grant a Rule 12(c) motion, a
court “must look only to the pleadings and accept all
allegations in them as true.” St. Paul Fire &
Marine Ins. Co. v. Convalescent Servs., Inc., 193 F.3d
340, 342 (5th Cir. 1999). However, when no evidence outside
the pleadings is presented, the allegations in the answer are
accepted as true only to the extent that they are not denied
or do not conflict with the allegations in the complaint.
Stanton v. Larsh, 239 F.2d 104, 106 (5th Cir. 1957).
“[T]he central issue is whether, in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff, the complaint states a valid
claim for relief.” Brittan, 313 F.3d at 904
(internal quotations omitted). When a party moves for
judgment on the pleadings on the ground that the non-moving
party has failed to state a claim, the standard for analyzing
the pleadings is substantially the same as that which governs
a motion to dismiss brought pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6).
See Jones v. Greninger, 188 F.3d 322, 324 (5th Cir.
1999); Boswell v. Honorable Governor of Texas, 138
F.Supp.2d 782, 784-85 (N.D. Tex. 2000).
plaintiff must plead specific facts, not mere conclusory
allegations. . . .” Guidry v. Bank of LaPlace,
954 F.2d 278, 281 (5th Cir. 1992). Additionally,
“‘legal conclusions masquerading as factual
conclusions will not suffice to prevent a motion to
dismiss.'” Blackburn, 42 F.3d at 931
(quoting Fernandez-Montes v. Allied Pilots
Ass'n, 987 F.2d 278, 284 (5th Cir. 1993)).
“[T]he complaint must contain either direct allegations
on every material point necessary to sustain a recovery . . .
or contain allegations from which an inference fairly may be
drawn that evidence on ...