Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Angelle v. Town of Duson

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division

January 17, 2019

Angelle et al
v.
Town of Duson et al

          Michael J. Juneau Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          CAROL B. WHITEHURST UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the Court on assignment by the district judge is a Motion To Dismiss For Failure to State a Claim Upon Which Relief Can Be Granted Regarding Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint filed by Defendants, Town of Duson (“Duson”); Chief Kip Anthony Judice (“Chief Judice”), Individually; Officer Timothy Clyde Cannon, Individually; Officer Calvin Joseph Francis, Jr., Individually; and Officer Brian Thomas Poirot, Individually (collectively known as the “Duson Defendants”) [Rec. Doc. 56], Plaintiffs, Lionello Paul Angelle and Carla Anne Siner's, Memorandum in Opposition [Rec. Doc. 60] and the Duson Defendants' Reply [Rec. Doc. 63]. For the reasons that follow, the Court recommends that the Motion filed by the Duson Defendants be denied.

         Also before the Court is a Motion To Dismiss For Failure to State a Claim Upon Which Relief Can Be Granted Regarding Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint filed by Defendant, Thomas Blake Soileau a Deputy with the Lafayette Parish Sheriffs Office, Individually (“Deputy Soileau”) [Rec. Doc. 64], and Plaintiffs' Memorandum in Opposition [Rec. Doc. 70].[1] For the reasons that follow, the Court recommends that the Motion filed by Defendant Soileau be granted in part and denied in part.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case arises out of the May 9, 2017 arrest of Plaintiffs and the subsequent search of their property by the Duson Police Department and the Lafayette Parish Sheriffs Office. Plaintiffs were originally arrested by officers of the Duson Police Department on a charge of armed robbery of Roady's Lucky Deuces Casino (“the Casino”) in Duson, Louisiana. After viewing the Casino's security camera video of the armed robbery, Officer Cannon prepared affidavits and search warrants for the search of Angelle's automobile and Siner's residence which were signed by Commissioner Frederick to allow for a search of items believed to be owned, used and/or obtained in the armed robbery. Plaintiffs alleged that both search warrants were executed by officers of the Duson Police Department and “deputies of the Lafayette Parish Sheriffs Office” including Detective Soileau. R. 54, ¶ 8. Plaintiffs further alleged that the search warrant and affidavit “were shown to Detective Soileau before the search of the residence.” Id. at 9. Upon conducting the search, instead of finding items related to the armed robbery the officers located illegal drugs, a handgun, and a counterfeit $100 bill. In light of the items found during the search of the vehicle and residence pursuant to the search warrants, on May 9, 2017, Plaintiffs were arrested a second time on drug and weapons charges.

         Shortly after Plaintiffs' second arrest, another casino in St. Landry Parish was robbed on May 10, 2017 under very similar circumstances. Leads developed quickly and the robbers for the St. Landry Parish robbery were identified. The armed robbery charges against Plaintiffs were dismissed on May 11, 2017. R. 1-5.

         In October 2017, a hearing and probable cause determination was conducted on Plaintiffs' motion to suppress related to the search of their vehicle and residence. The probable cause determination was held first, and Louisiana State District Judge Jules Edwards determined that there was probable cause for plaintiffs' arrests. In the hearing on the motion to suppress, upon viewing the video used by the defendant officers in applying for the warrants, Judge Edwards reached a different conclusion than the officers, ruling that he did not perceive similarities in the gait of the female suspect walking on the date of the robbery, and that the male suspect did not have the distinct potbelly as that of Mr. Angelle. R. 31-3, October 18, 2017 hearing transcript. Because Judge Edwards did not view the various characteristics described in the search warrants as described by Officer Cannon, he ruled to suppress the evidence, finding that the search warrants were flawed. Since the drugs, gun and counterfeit $100 bill were the only physical evidence against Plaintiffs, the District Attorney's office dismissed the charges against them.

         II. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit on March 5, 2018, asserting claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Louisiana state law against the Defendants for their arrest and subsequent prosecution. R. 1. Plaintiffs asserted a claim for Plaintiffs' “racially motivated” arrests under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, Id., a claim for “unreasonable search and seizure” under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and various state law claims. On May 9, 2018, Plaintiffs amended their complaint in response to Defendants' first Motion to Dismiss, R. 18, adding a claim for excessive force as to Plaintiff Siner, a malicious prosecution claim in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and a Monell claim against Duson and Chief Judice. R. 26.

         On August 7, 2018, this Court issued a Report and Recommendation, R.40, regarding the Duson Defendants' first motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. R. 31. In the Report and Recommendation the Court recommended that Plaintiffs' Monell claim for failure to train, Fourteenth Amendment claims for excessive force, malicious prosecution, and right to investigation, and § 1983 “freestanding” malicious prosecution claim be dismissed. The Court also recommended that Plaintiffs' be required to amend their Complaint as to the constitutional violations under § 1983 and state law. Plaintiffs filed a motion for leave to file a second amended petition which this Court dismissed without prejudice until the district judge issued a ruling on the pending Report and Recommendation. On September 26, 2018, a Judgment was issued adopting the Report and Recommendation. R. 51. On October 10, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a motion for leave to file their second amended complaint. R. 52. Thereafter, Plaintiffs filed the instant motion to dismiss.

         In their motion, the Duson Defendants initially complain that, despite Plaintiffs' representations that they had removed their claims of excessive force for physical injuries stemming from their arrest, those claims remain in their Second Amended Complaint. R. 56. They further complain that Plaintiffs' amended complaint fails to state a claim for malicious prosecution, for “failure to investigate, an Eighth Amendment claim, and fails to provide specific facts regarding qualified immunity for each named defendant. Id. Soileau's motion contains similar assertions as to Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint. R. 64.

         In their opposition to the Duson Defendants' motion, Plaintiffs represent that they no longer assert any of the claims listed by Defendants with the exception of their claim that the second arrests violated their Fourth Amendment rights and their malicious prosecution claim founded on Fourth Amendment grounds. R. 60. The Court will address these remaining claims in both motions under consideration as well as the defense of qualified immunity as to Officer Cannon asserted by the Duson Defendants and as to Deputy Soileau.

         III. LEGAL STANDARD RULE 12(b)(6) MOTION TO DISMISS

         A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is properly granted when a defendant attacks the complaint because it fails to state a legally cognizable claim. Ramming v. U.S., 281 F.3d 158, 161 (5th Cir. 2001). When considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), a district court must limit itself to the contents of the pleadings, including any attachments thereto. Collins v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, 224 F.3d 496, 498 (5th Cir. 2000). The court must accept all well-pleaded facts as true, and it must view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litigation, 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir. 2007). However, conclusory allegations and unwarranted deductions of fact are not accepted as true, Collins at 498, and courts “are not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).

         To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. The allegations must be sufficient “to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, ” Id. at 555. and “the pleading must contain something more ... than ... a statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action.” Id. (quoting 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1216, pp. 235-36 (3d ed. 2004)). “While a complaint ... does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.