United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division
UNASSIGNED DISTRICT JUDGE
KATHLEEN KAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the court is a Motion to Dismiss [doc. 5] filed by defendants
Trina Williams and John S. Craft, seeking to dismiss all of
the plaintiff's claims. Plaintiff Evelyn Murray Pierre
opposes the motion. Doc. 11.
matter has been referred to the undersigned for review,
report, and recommendation in accordance with the provisions
of 28 U.S.C. § 636. For reasons stated below, the Motion
to Dismiss is DENIED, without prejudice to
any party seeking relief on this basis through a Motion for
This action arises from the death of Roy Edward Marshall on
or about January 17, 2017, during his incarceration at Vernon
Correctional Facility. Doc. 1; see doc. 5, att. 2
(affidavit by Vernon Correctional Facility employee, attached
to defendants' motion). Evelyn Murray Pierre,
Marshal's mother, brought suit against the defendants
individually and as estate representative of Marshall,
raising civil rights claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and
state law wrongful death and survival claims. Doc. 1.
defendants now move to dismiss this matter for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction, alleging that the decedent was
survived by at least two children at the time of his death
and that Pierre therefore lacks standing to bring any of the
claims raised herein. Doc. 5.
A. Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6)
motion under Rule 12(b)(1) attacks the court's
jurisdiction to hear and decide the case. Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(1). “[U]nless a plaintiff has standing, a federal
district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to address
the merits of the case.” In re FEMA Trailer
Formaldehyde Prods. Liab. Litig., 570 F.Supp.2d 851, 853
(E.D. La. 2008). In order to have standing under § 1983
for claims based on the death of another, a plaintiff must
have standing under the state wrongful death and survival
statutes. Pluet v. Frasier, 355 F.3d 381, 383 (5th
Cir. 2004). In Louisiana, standing for wrongful death and
survival claims is determined based on the plaintiff's
beneficiary status under Articles 2315.1 and 2315.2 of the
Louisiana Civil Code. Turner v. Busby, 883 So.2d
412, 416 (La. 2004).
12(b)(1) motions, however, only deal with issues of
constitutional standing. Harold H. Huggins Realty, Inc.
v. FNC, Inc., 634 F.3d 787, 795 n. 2 (5th Cir. 2011)
(citing Blanchard 1986, Ltd. v. Park Plantation,
LLC, 553 F.3d 405, 409 (5th Cir. 2008). “Article
III standing is the ‘irreducible constitutional
minimum' while statutory standing refers to whether a
valid cause of action exists under the statute at
issue.” Starnet Ins. Co. v. Fed. Ins. Co.,
2016 WL 5957620, at *3 (W.D. Tex. Oct. 13, 2016) (quoting
Markle Interests, LLC v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, 827 F.3d 452, 462-64 (5th Cir. 2016)). The type
of standing challenged in this matter is statutory standing
because it is not a general test of injury and redressability
but instead “an issue requiring traditional tools of
statutory interpretation to determine if a legislatively
conferred cause of action encompasses that particular
plaintiff's claim.” Id.
a dismissal for lack of constitutional standing, which should
be granted under Rule 12(b)(1), a dismissal for lack of
prudential or statutory standing is properly granted under
Rule 12(b)(6).” Harold H. Huggins Realty,
Inc., 634 F.3d at 795 n. 2. Courts may excuse
mislabeling of a 12(b) motion to dismiss and resolve the
motion under the appropriate rule. See, e.g.,
United States ex rel. Ambrosecchia v. Paddock Labs.,
LLC, 855 F.3d 949, 954 (8th Cir. 2017) (construing Rule
12(b)(1) motion as one filed under Rule 12(b)(6)). This
conversion presents complications when the 12(b)(1) motion
relies on evidence outside of the pleadings. See
Gonalez, supra, 2017 WL 9324466 at *4. A Rule 12(b)(6)
motion may be converted into a motion for summary judgment
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 when it relies on
matters outside of the pleadings. See Fed. R. Civ.
P. 12(d). The Fifth Circuit holds, however, that a
“Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss for lack of subject
matter jurisdiction cannot be converted into a motion for
summary judgment.” Maria v. United States ex re.
Army Corps of Engineers, 2010 WL 2009968, at *2 (E.D.
La. May 17, 2010) (quoting Green v. Forney Eng'g
Co., 589 F.2d 243, 246 (5th Cir. 1979)).
matter both parties rely on evidence outside of the pleadings
in their arguments on Pierre's statutory standing.
Therefore the motion must be converted into a motion for
summary judgment. Because the motion was originally brought
under Rule 12(b)(1), we decline to convert it (even through
Rule 12(b)(6)) into a motion for summary judgment. The
defendants' motion to dismiss must be ...