United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
H.L. PEREZ-MONTES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 8),
filed by Defendants the City of Alexandria (the
“City”), Corporal Terrance Howard
(“Howard”), in his official capacity, and the
“Unknown Officers, ” in their official capacities
(collectively referred to as “Defendants”).
Defendants seek dismissal of the following claims asserted by
Plaintiff Nisheka Hayes (“Hayes”), individually
and on behalf of her minor child Dewanna Hayes
(“Dewanna”) (collectively referred to as
“Plaintiffs”): (1) punitive damages against the
City under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (2) punitive damages
against Howard and the Unknown Officers, in their official
capacities, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; and (3) punitive
damages against Defendants under Louisiana state law. (Doc.
8, p. 1).
response, Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint (Doc. 10),
alleging “[p]unitive damages are sought against the
police officers, in their personal capacities, for violation
of federally protected rights.” (Doc. 10, p. 1).
Additionally, Plaintiffs assert “[p]unitive damages are
sought and demanded against the officers included in this
suit only to the extent which they are allowed under state
and/or federal law for the reckless or callous indifference
to federally-protected rights of the police officers in their
personal capacities.” (Doc. 10, p. 5).
Plaintiffs seek punitive damages against Howard and the
Unknown Officers in their personal capacities only, and
because Plaintiffs fail to allege specific statutory
provisions that would allow punitive damages under state law,
Defendants' Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 8)
should be DENIED IN PART AS MOOT and GRANTED IN PART.
assert civil rights claims against Defendants under the
Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States
Constitution, and under the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42
U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988. (Doc. 10, p. 1).
Plaintiffs' Original Complaint names as Defendants the
City, Howard, and the Unknown Officers, police officers
employed by the City and acting in the course and scope of
their employment and under the color of state law. (Doc. 1,
p. 2). While not clearly alleged in their Original Complaint
(Doc. 1, pp. 1-6), Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint (Doc.
10) asserts Howard and the Unknown Officers are being sued in
both their individual and official capacities as officers.
(Doc. 10, p. 2).
claim that on December 8, 2017, Plaintiffs were in
Hayes's residence and Hayes was taking a bath in the
bathroom at the rear of her home. (Doc. 10). Plaintiffs
allege Dewanna knocked on the bathroom door and indicated the
Alexandria City Police officers were inside the home.
Id., p. 3). Hayes tried to exit the bathroom to get
dressed to address the officers. Id. Plaintiffs
allege the officers refused to relocate to the front of the
home, causing multiple officers to see Hayes in the nude for
several minutes. Id.
claim the officers indicated they were investigating Dewanna
for a home invasion and did not have a warrant. Id.,
p. 4. Plaintiffs asked the officers to leave, but Howard
refused. Id. Plaintiffs allege Dewanna, Hayes's
juvenile daughter, is not a resident of the same home, and
has no authority to consent to a search of the home.
Id. Plaintiffs claim Howard and the Unknown Officers
entered the home without valid consent. Id.
Plaintiffs further contend Howard and the Unknown Officers
placed Dewanna in handcuffs and effectuated an illegal arrest
on all parties in the home. Id.
seek damages for “pain, fear, anxiety, mental distress,
loss of enjoyment of life, past and future lost wages as well
as other damages to be proved at trial.” Id.,
p. 5. Plaintiffs' Original Complaint alleged
“[p]unitive damages are demanded.” (Doc. 1, p.
5). Plaintiffs amended to assert that “[p]unitive
damages are sought and demanded against the officers included
in this suit only to the extent which they are allowed under
state and/or federal law for the reckless or callous
indifference to federally-protected rights of the police
officers in their personal capacities.” (Doc. 10, p.
5). Plaintiffs seek compensatory and special damages against
Defendants. Id., p. 7. Plaintiffs also claim damages
for Howard's tortious acts under Louisiana Civil Code
article 2315, and vicarious liability under Louisiana Civil
Code article 2320 against the City for the delictual acts of
its employees. Id., p. 6.
Law and Analysis
A. 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 . . . showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
withstand 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.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544 (2007)). A claim is facially plausible when it contains
sufficient factual content for the court “to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. Plausibility does not
equate to possibility or probability; it lies somewhere in
between. Id. Plausibility simply calls for enough
factual allegations to raise a reasonable expectation that
discovery will reveal evidence to support the elements of the
claim. See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556. The court must
view all well-pleaded facts in the light most favorable to
the plaintiff. Yumilicious Francise, L.L.C. v.
Barrie, 819 F.3d 170, 174 (5th Cir. 2016).
the court must accept as true all factual allegations set
forth in the complaint, the same presumption does not extend
to legal conclusions. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A
pleading comprised of labels and conclusions, a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action, or naked
assertions devoid of further factual enhancement, will not
stand. Id. Similarly, where the well-pleaded facts
do not permit the Court to infer more than the mere