United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER & REASONS
M. AFRICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is defendant St. Bernard Parish Government's
(“St. Bernard Parish”) motion to dismiss
plaintiff Ryan Fink's (“Fink”) 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). For the following reasons, the motion is denied.
was employed by St. Bernard Parish from 2008 until his
employment was terminated in 2017. He worked as the director of
the TV and film office. In May 2015, he was diagnosed with a
medical condition that restricted him from pushing, pulling,
lifting, or carrying over ten pounds. According to Fink, he was
adequately accommodated with a qualified assistant from May
2015 until his assistant was laid off in May
2016. Fink immediately requested additional
accommodation from the chief administrative officer, Ronnie
Alonzo (“Alonzo”), who allegedly failed to
respond to the request.
January 2017, a new assistant was hired to work in the TV and
film office, although Fink contends that the assistant was
unqualified and refused to assist him in handling heavy
equipment. Fink again requested accommodation from Alonzo,
who allegedly failed to provide such accommodation and
refused to meet with Fink to discuss his needs. Fink alleges
that, in addition to failing to properly accommodate him, St.
Bernard Parish failed to compensate him for overtime hours he
worked, despite the fact that he was eligible for such
March 8, 2017, Fink was written up for “job related
deficiencies, ” which he asserts were
“attributable to Alonzo's failure to accommodate
[his] disability.” Two days after he was written up, Fink
e-mailed Alonzo to again explain his need for
accommodation. In response, Alonzo stated that there
would be a meeting held to discuss Fink's
April 5, 2017, Fink was called into Tyrone Ben's
(“Ben”) office. Fink's complaint describes
Ben as “the St. Bernard Parish appointing
authority.”According to Fink, “Ben abruptly
notified [him] that he was being terminated
immediately.” Fink alleges that he “was not
given any opportunity at all to understand the specific
charges of misconduct which had been leveled against him, or
any opportunity at all to respond to charges of misconduct.
Specific charges were only briefly alluded to in a
pre-prepared letter which [he] received at the moment of his
termination.” This meeting was allegedly held in
accordance with St. Bernard Parish Council Ordinance No.
1847-01-17 (the “ordinance”), which sets forth
rules and procedures for adjudicating the employment rights
of employees designated as regular civil service employees
October 2017, the St. Bernard Parish Personnel Board held an
evidentiary hearing to determine whether Ben acted lawfully
when he terminated Fink. The hearing was also conducted in
accordance with the ordinance. Fink contends that, at the
conclusion of the hearing, “it was established as a
matter of fact that [Ben] had conducted no pre-deprivation
hearing[, ]” and the Personnel Board decided that
Ben's decision to terminate Fink was “sanctioned by
[the] ordinance.” Fink then filed this lawsuit against
St. Bernard Parish, alleging violations of the Americans with
Disabilities Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the
Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution via 42
U.S.C. § 1983.
to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a
district court may dismiss a complaint or part of a complaint
when a plaintiff fails to set forth well-pleaded factual
allegations that “raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” See Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); Cuvillier v.
Taylor, 503 F.3d 397, 401 (5th Cir. 2007). The complaint
“must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 547)).
facially plausible claim is one in which “the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. If the well-pleaded
factual allegations “do not permit the court to infer
more than the mere possibility of misconduct, ” then
“the complaint has alleged-but it has not
‘show[n]'-‘that the pleader is entitled to
relief.'” Id. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2)) (alteration in original).
Court will generally not look beyond the factual allegations
in the pleadings to determine whether relief should be
granted. See Hicks v. Lingle, 370 Fed.Appx. 497, 498
(5th Cir. 2010); Baker v. Putnal, 75 F.3d 190, 196
(5th Cir. 1996). In assessing the complaint, however, a court
must accept all well-pleaded facts as true and liberally
construe all factual allegations in the light most favorable
to the plaintiff. Spivey v. Robertson, 197 F.3d 772,
774 (5th Cir. 1999). “Dismissal is appropriate when the
complaint ‘on its face show[s] a bar to
relief.'” Cutrer v. McMillan, 308
Fed.Appx. 819, 820 (5th Cir. 2009) (quoting Clark v.
Amoco Prod. Co., 794 F.2d 967, 970 (5th Cir. 1986)).
alleges that St. Bernard Parish violated his Fourteenth
Amendment right to procedural due process “by failing
and refusing to provide [him] with any pre-deprivation
notice, any meaningful pre-deprivation hearing, or any
meaningful opportunity to respond” before he was
terminated. However, St. Bernard Parish moves to
dismiss Fink's procedural due process claim, brought
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, because he failed to
exhaust his administrative remedies.
to St. Bernard Parish, “the rules established by parish
ordinances require that any appeal for judicial review of the
. . . Personnel Board's decision to terminate an employee
must be filed in the 34th Judicial District for the Parish of
St. Bernard.” It is uncontested that Fink has not filed
an appeal of the personnel board's decision in the 34th
Judicial District for the Parish of St. Bernard. However, his
failure to do so is not a bar to relief.
United States Supreme Court has held that § 1983 claims
do not require the exhaustion of administrative remedies.
Patsy v. Bd. of Regents, 457 U.S. 496, 516 (1982);
see also Faulk v. Duplantis, No. 12-1714, 2013 WL
4431339, at *5 n.4 (E.D. La. Aug. 16, 2013) (Zainey, J.)
(rejecting the defendant's argument that the plaintiff
was required to exhaust administrative remedies in accordance
with Louisiana's civil service rules “because
“[a] plaintiff's ability to bring suit against a
state actor under § 1983 for vindication of federal
right is not subject to state law rules of ...