United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON JUDGE.
the Court is the Motion (Doc. 55) of
Defendants Wanda Matthews, Sharetha Brown, and Carrie LeBlanc
Jones to dismiss pro se Plaintiff Kimberley
McQueary-Layne's complaint under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons that follow, the
Motion (Doc. 55) is
dispute arises from Louisiana State Board of Nursing
disciplinary proceedings culminating in the suspension of
McQueary-Layne's nursing license.
with those proceedings, McQueary-Layne sued all involved: the
Board of Nursing; its lawyer, Carrie LeBlanc Jones; its
compliance investigator, Sharetha Brown; and its hearing
officer, Wanda Matthews. (Doc. 8). McQueary-Layne alleges
that Defendants violated her constitutional rights by
"accus[ing] her of heinous allegations,"
"subjecting] [her] to humiliation and mockery by a
prejudiced jury," and "withhold[ing] exculpatory
evidence." (Id. at pp. 2-3). She also alleges
that Defendants defamed her and violated Louisiana's
Administrative Procedure Act. (Doc. 1 at p. 2; Doc. 8 at p.
2). She seeks damages and "judicial review" of the
Board of Nursing disciplinary proceedings. (Doc. 8 at pp.
moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. (Doc. 18). The
Court granted the motion, in part,  and dismissed
McQueary-Layne's claims. (Doc. 46 at pp. 18-19). The
Court granted her leave, however, to amend her complaint to
attempt to plead (1) a federal-law individual-capacity claim
against Sharetha Brown and (2) state-law individual-capacity
claims against Jones, Matthews, and Brown. (Doc. 46).
McQueary-Layne timely amended her complaint, and Defendants
again move to dismiss for failure to state a claim. (Doc.
overcome Defendants' motion, McQueary-Layne must plead
plausible claims for relief. See Romero v. City of
Grapevine, Tex., 888 F.3d 170, 176 (5th Cir. 2018)
(citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009)). A claim is plausible if it is pleaded with factual
content that allows the Court to reasonably infer that
Defendants are liable for the misconduct alleged. See
Edionwe v. Bailey, 860 F.3d 287, 291 (5th Cir. 2017)
(citing Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). The Court accepts
as true the well-pleaded facts of McQueary-Layne's
complaints and views those facts in the light most favorable
to her. See Midwest Feeders, Inc. v. Bank of
Franklin, 886 F.3d 507, 513 (5th Cir. 2018).
argue that they enjoy statutory immunity from
McQueary-Layne's state-law claims. (Doc. 55-1). Brown
argues, separately, that she enjoys qualified immunity.
(Id.). The Court turns first to qualified immunity.
immunity protects government officials from civil liability
so long as their conduct '"does not violate clearly
established statutory or constitutional rights of which a
reasonable person would have known."' Pearson v.
Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 231 (2009) (quoting Harlow
v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982)). Because Brown
asserts qualified immunity, McQueary-Layne "bears the
burden of pleading facts that demonstrate liability and
defeat immunity." Shaw v. Villanueva, 918 F.3d
414, 416 (5th Cir. 2019). To meet that burden, McQueary-Layne
must allege facts showing that (1) Brown violated a statutory
or constitutional right and (2) the right was clearly
established at the time of her conduct. See Id. at
points to the Fourteenth Amendment. (Doc. 54 at p. 1). She
appears to allege that Brown violated her rights under the
Due Process Clause by limiting her access to all of the
"evidence" she needed to "defend herself
during disciplinary proceedings. (Id. at p. 5). But
she fails to identify any opinion clearly establishing those
rights. (Id.). Specifically, she fails to show that
a hearing "investigator" violates the due-process
rights of a hearing participant when the investigator fails
to furnish the participant all of the "evidence"
the participant deems necessary to "defend herself
during the hearing. (Id.). Because she fails to
allege that Brown violated a clearly established right, she
fails to overcome Brown's qualified-immunity defense.
See Shaw, 918 F.3d at ...