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Koury v. Walgreen Co.

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

February 26, 2019

JONATHAN KOURY
v.
WALGREEN CO., ETAL

          HORNSBY MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          MEMORANDUM RULING

          ELIZABETH ERNY FOOTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         In this case, Jonathan Koury ("Plaintiff") filed suit against Walgreen Louisiana Co., Inc. ("Walgreens"), the City of Bossier, Shane McWilliams, and Kevin Wooten (" Detective Wooten") for violations of Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and malicious prosecution. Now pending before the Court are two Motions to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim upon Which Relief can be Granted, filed by Walgreens pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). [Record Documents 11 & 23]. Plaintiff opposes both motions. [Record Documents 20 & 27]. For the reasons discussed below, Walgreens' first motion to dismiss [Record Document 11] is hereby GRANTED. Walgreens' second motion to dismiss [Record Document 23] is hereby DENIED AS MOOT. Plaintiff's claims against Walgreens are hereby DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         In a previous ruling, this Court dismissed with prejudice Plaintiff's § 1983 claims against Walgreens. Record Document 22, pp. 1-2. The Court also found that neither Walgreens' first motion to dismiss nor Plaintiff's opposition addressed the merits of the malicious prosecution claim. Id. at 1. The Court stated that it was inclined to dismiss this claim but allowed Plaintiff an opportunity to provide the Court with reasons why his malicious prosecution claims against Walgreens should not be dismissed sua sponte. Id. at 10; See Century Sur. Co. v. Blevins, 799 F.3d 366, 372 (5th Cir. 2015) (holding that a district court may dismiss a claim sua sponte \f the procedure used is fair, and that fairness requires notice of the court's intention to dismiss and an opportunity to respond). Plaintiff responded to the Court's ruling with a supplemental memorandum containing reasons why his malicious prosecution claim should not be dismissed. Record Document 25. Walgreens filed a second motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) that focused on Plaintiff's malicious prosecution claim, presumably also in response to the Court's ruling. Record Document 23. Plaintiff opposes this motion. Record Document 27.

         BACKGROUND

         On January 11, 2017, Plaintiff entered a Walgreens store located in Bossier City, Louisiana. Record Document 1, ¶ 5. Once inside, Plaintiff picked up a twelve-pack of Bud Light, proceeded to the pharmacy area, and placed the beer on the pharmacy counter. Id. at ¶ 6. Plaintiff claims that he told the pharmacist he needed to "get this," in reference to the beer and his prescription, and handed over his driver's license and his credit/debit card. Id. at ¶ 7. Plaintiff also alleges that the price of his medication normally fluctuated between forty and sixty dollars a month and that he believed he had purchased the beer at the same time he purchased the medication. Id. at ¶s 7-8. However, Plaintiff purchased only his medication and then exited the store with the beer. Id. at ¶ 9. Walgreens contacted law enforcement and on or about January 13, 2017, Detective Wooten of the Bossier City Police Department came to Walgreens, viewed surveillance footage of the incident, and spoke with Walgreens employees. Id. at ¶ 10.

         After visiting the store, Detective Wooten attempted to locate Plaintiff at Plaintiff's grandmother's residence and left his contact information there. Id. at ¶ 12. On January 17, 2017, Plaintiff contacted Detective Wooten and went voluntarily to the Bossier City Police Department. Id. at ¶ 13. Plaintiff claims that he was then arrested, despite explaining that he thought he had purchased the beer and offering to pay for it, because Walgreens wanted him to be arrested. Id. at ¶ 15.

         Plaintiff claims that he suffered emotional distress over this incident due to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and that the incident damaged his marriage and other aspects of his life. Id. at ¶s 15 & 19. Eight months after his arrest, Plaintiff was found not guilty of shoplifting. Id. at ¶ 20. On January 17, 2018, Plaintiff filed the present action against Walgreens, the City of Bossier, Shane McWilliams in his official capacity as Chief of Police for the City of Bossier, and Detective Wooten, individually and in his official capacity as a detective for the City of Bossier Police Department. Record Document 1.

         Plaintiff alleges that all Defendants violated his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, false arrests, and excessive force by police officers, as well as his right not to be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, under the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Id. at ¶s 24 & 32. Plaintiff also alleges that all Defendants are liable to him for the Louisiana state law tort of malicious prosecution. Id. at ¶ 44. At issue in this ruling is Plaintiff's only remaining claim against Walgreens, that of malicious prosecution.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Standard of Review

         In order to survive a motion to dismiss brought under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a plaintiff must "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. at 663. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. at 678. The court must accept as true all of the factual allegations in the complaint in determining whether plaintiff has stated a plausible claim. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litig., 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir. 2007). However, a court is "not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation." Papasan v. Main, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986).

         II. Law ...


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