United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
H.L. PEREZ-MONTES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court are: (1) a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 7)
all claims for punitive damages (“statutory
penalties”) and the imposition of “solidary
liability;” (2) a Motion for More Definite Statement
(Doc. 7); and (3) a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 10)
all claims against “John Doe” and “others,
” filed by Defendant the City of Pineville (the
“City”). The motions are unopposed. The
City's motion to dismiss (Doc. 7) Plaintiffs' claims
for punitive damages, vicarious liability or respondeat
superior, and “solidary liability” against the
City should be granted for failure to state a plausible claim
for relief. The City's Motion for a More Definite
Statement (Doc. 7) should be GRANTED because Plaintiffs'
statutory and constitutional claims are vague and ambiguous.
The City's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 10) “John Doe
and others” should be DENIED for lack of procedural
17, 2018, Plaintiffs Bridget Jean Evans
(“Bridget”) and Charles Zachary Evans
(“Charles”) (“Plaintiffs”) filed this
lawsuit in the Ninth Judicial District Court, Rapides Parish,
Louisiana. (Doc. 1-1). Plaintiffs named Defendants Village of
Creola (the “Village”), Police Chief Health
Landry (“Landry”) (in his official and individual
capacities), Don Crooks (“Crooks”) (in his
official and individual capacities), the Grant Parish Police
Jury (the “Police Jury”), the City of Pineville,
and “John Doe and others, ” (collectively
referred to as “Defendants”). (Doc. 1-1).
assert civil rights claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and
“under express terms of the Louisiana Constitution and
Louisiana Revised Statutes and Civil Code.” (Doc. 1-1).
Plaintiffs' claims stem from a traffic stop on or about
July 17, 2017. (Doc. 1-1). Plaintiffs allege Bridget was
pregnant and high-risk at the time. (Doc. 1-1). Plaintiffs
allege Bridget was suffering from “placenta previa,
” a potentially fatal condition. (Doc. 1-1). Bridget
began profusely bleeding on July 17, 2017, and was instructed
by her obstetrician to go to the emergency room immediately.
(Doc. 1-1). Charles, although in a careful and prudent
manner, drove at a high rate of speed to the emergency room.
claim Crooks, a police officer for the Village, conducted a
traffic stop of Charles after observing him traveling at a
high rate of speed. (Doc. 1-1). Plaintiffs further claim an
unknown Pineville Police Officer intercepted Plaintiffs'
vehicle, and Charles eventually came to a stop. (Doc. 1-1).
Plaintiffs informed the officers of the events and that
Bridget and her unborn child were in distress. (Doc. 1-1).
Plaintiff claim Crooks drew his weapon and ordered Plaintiffs
to exit their vehicle and get on the ground. (Doc. 1-1).
Plaintiffs further claim Bridget explained she was unable to
comply because she was pregnant, which was ignored by Crooks.
(Doc. 1-1). Plaintiffs claim an officer with the Pineville
Police Department intervened, not allowing Crooks to order
Bridget to the ground. (Doc. 1-1).
claim that despite their obvious distress, the pool of blood
in their vehicle, the blood-soaked clothes, and blood
drenched towel wrapped around Bridget, neither Crooks nor the
Pineville Police Officer allowed Bridget to leave or obtain
medical treatment. (Doc. 1-1). Plaintiffs allege neither
Crooks nor the Pineville Police Officer had probable cause to
detain Bridget. (Doc. 1-1). Plaintiffs claim Bridget begged
Crooks and the Pineville Police Officers to allow her to seek
emergency medical treatment, which they refused. (Doc. 1-1).
Plaintiffs allege Bridget's mother arrived making the
same demands, which were also ignored. (Doc. 1-1). Plaintiffs
allege after approximately one hour of being on the side of
the road and bleeding, an ambulance was called and
transported Bridget to the emergency room. (Doc. 1-1).
Plaintiffs further claim Bridget was immediately taken to the
operating room. (Doc. 1-1). Plaintiffs claim Crooks delivered
Charles to the hospital parking lot after their child was
born. (Doc. 1-1).
claim Crooks and the Pineville Police Department, acting
under the color of the law, falsely and unjustly detained
Bridget. (Doc. 1-1). Plaintiffs allege Crooks and the
Pineville Police Department deprived Bridget of her liberty
without due process by taking her into custody and holding
her there against her will. (Doc. 1-1). Plaintiff further
argue Crooks and the Pineville Police Department violated
Bridget's civil rights by making an unreasonable search
and seizure of her person without due process. (Doc. 1-1).
Plaintiffs claim Crooks and the Pineville Police Department
committed battery and assault on “the person of the
Plaintiff.” Plaintiffs further allege the arrest
“of the Plaintiff” gives rise to a defamation
per se claim. (Doc. 1-1).
assert that Landry, the Chief of Police of the Village, the
Pineville Police Department, the Village, and the City
directly or indirectly approved or ratified the conduct of
Crooks and other officers at the scene. (Doc. 1-1).
Plaintiffs claim that by this inaction, they were subject to
unjust arrest, search and seizure, imprisonment, and severe
public humiliation. (Doc. 1-1). Plaintiffs claim Defendants
deprived “Plaintiff” of the right to be secure in
her person and effect against unreasonable search and seizure
under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, the right to be
informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against
her under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments, the right not
to be denied life, liberty, or property without due process,
and the right to equal protection of the laws under the
Fourteenth Amendment. (Doc. 1-1). Plaintiffs seek
compensatory damages for injury to “her”
reputation from each of the Defendants under the theory of
respondeat superior. (Doc. 1-1). Plaintiffs allege Defendants
are jointly and “solidary” liable. (Doc. 1-1).
Plaintiffs seek legal interest, statutory penalties, and
costs. (Doc. 1-1).
City removed based upon this Court's federal question
jurisdiction. (Doc. 1). According to the City, Plaintiffs
claim a violation of their civil rights under the
Constitution and/or laws of the United States, specifically
the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments through 42 U.S.C. §
1983. (Doc. 1). The City argues that Plaintiffs' state
law claims are supplemental. (Doc. 1).
City now seeks dismissal of the punitive damages claim. (Doc.
7). The City asserts that governmental entities and their
official-capacity agents are not subject to punitive damages
(i.e. “statutory penalties”) in § 1983
actions, or under state law. (Doc. 7). The City also seeks
dismissal of Plaintiffs' request for “solidary
liability, ” as there is no “solidary
liability” under federal or state law. (Doc. 7).
Additionally, the City alleges the Complaint is ambiguous and
mixes pronouns, making it unclear whether one or both
Plaintiffs are seeking relief under federal and/or state law.
(Doc. 7). The City seeks a more definite statement. (Doc. 7).
a separate Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the City also seeks
dismissal of all claims against “John Doe” and
“other” Pineville officers. (Doc. 10). The City
asserts any amendment to substitute a named party for
“John Doe” would not relate back to the original
claim, and all subsequent claims would be time-barred. (Doc.
10). All of the motions are unopposed.
Law and Analysis
Standards governing the 12(b)(6) Motion to
may grant a motion to dismiss for “failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted” under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A pleading states a claim for relief
when, inter alia, it contains a “short and
plain statement . . . ...