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Magee v. Reed

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

January 8, 2019

ROGER D. MAGEE, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
WALTER P. REED, in his official capacity as District Attorney for Washington Parish; WALTER P. REED, in his personal capacity; JERRY WAYNE COX, Defendants-Appellees.

          Opinion Filed Date -January 9, 2019

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

          Before STEWART, Chief Judge, DENNIS, and WILLETT, Circuit Judges.

          PER CURIAM.

         Roger D. Magee appeals the dismissal of his wrongful imprisonment, free speech retaliation, and procedural due process claims against Walter P. Reed (District Attorney for Washington Parish, Louisiana) and Jerry Wayne Cox (a minister in Franklinton, Louisiana). We conclude that the district court erred by (1) relying on Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), to dismiss Magee's wrongful imprisonment and free speech retaliation claims, and (2) resolving a genuine dispute of material fact at the summary judgment stage to dismiss Magee's due process claim. Accordingly, we REVERSE the district court's dismissal and REMAND for further proceedings.

         I. Background

         A. Factual

         Between 2010 and 2012, Magee informed the FBI about Cox and Reed's unlawful business dealings, including tax fraud. After learning of Magee's conversations with the FBI, Cox threatened Magee, claiming that Reed was "ex-FBI" and had "t[aken] care of it." Cox also told Magee that if he ever came to Louisiana, Reed would "handle" him. Two years later, in 2014, Magee traveled to Louisiana and was soon arrested for failure to pay child support. During his 101-day incarceration, Magee made many requests for bail through both his family and criminal defense counsel but was refused due to a "DA Hold," a type of hold both parties agree is not recognized by law. Magee's eventual release was conditioned on his agreement to plead guilty to failure to pay child support and to resisting an officer.

         Shortly after his release, Magee received a phone call from Cox's daughter asking if he intended to "pursue this any further." Taking the question as a reference to his cooperation with the FBI, Magee told her he was "done."

         B. Procedural

         Magee's First Amended Complaint alleged various violations of his rights-both under the U.S. Constitution and under Louisiana tort law- against assorted defendants. Some claims went to trial while others were dismissed. Reed and Cox each filed motions to dismiss all claims against them under Rule 12(b)(6), or, in the alternative, under Rule 12(c) or Rule 56. The district court granted both motions, dismissing all claims.

         The only claims before us are Magee's § 1983 claims against Reed (in both his official and personal capacities) for false imprisonment, free speech retaliation, and procedural due process violations, and against Cox for free speech retaliation.

         II. Standard of Review

         We review dismissals under Rule 12(b)(6) and 12(c) de novo. Lampton v. Diaz, 639 F.3d 223, 225 (5th Cir. 2011); Johnson v. Johnson, 385 F.3d 503, 529 (5th Cir. 2004). And the standard for dismissal under Rule 12(c) is the same as under Rule 12(b)(6): "To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Edi ...


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