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Foster v. Jeter

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

July 10, 2019

JENNIFER FOSTER, ET AL.
v.
MATTHEW JETER, ET AL.

          HORNSBY MAGISTRATE Judge

          MEMORANDUM RULING

          S. MAURICE HICKS, JR., CHIEF JUDGE.

         Defendants City of Bossier City (“Bossier”) and Matthew Jeter (“Jeter”) (collectively “Defendants”) are before the Court on a Motion to Dismiss (Record Document 4) pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons stated below, Defendants' motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs allege the following facts in their Complaint (Record Document 2):

         Carl Michael Foster (“Foster”) was arrested and taken to the Bossier City Police station on or about July 13, 2017. On arrival, Foster was taken to an interrogation room where he was questioned by Jeter, a narcotics agent with the Bossier City Police Department. During the questioning, Jeter offered Foster leniency in exchange for his cooperation as a confidential informant (“CI”). During their conversation, Foster spoke “very loudly, ” and the conversation regarding Foster's cooperation was overheard by an unnamed third party who was being held in an adjacent room.

         Foster was eventually released and allowed to return to his home. A few days later, Foster was approached by the unnamed third party who overheard Foster and Jeter at the police station. He warned Foster that he was in danger for being a “snitch.” Foster reported this to Jeter, who advised Foster that he would only receive leniency if he continued with his agreement to cooperate as a CI. Foster also reported this to his brother, who, likewise, reported to Jeter.

         Despite his concerns, Foster was officially registered as a CI and began communicating with several individuals to “set up buys, ” which could be monitored and recorded by Jeter and other Bossier City Police officers. As a result of his cooperation with Defendants, Foster was murdered on or about September 8, 2017. Plaintiffs, who are survivors of Foster, filed the current lawsuit on September 7, 2018, asserting claims against Defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Louisiana tort law.

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         I) Rule 12(b)(6) Standard

         Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs the requirements for pleadings that state a claim for relief, requiring that a pleading contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” The standard for the adequacy of complaints under Rule 8(a)(2) is now a “plausibility” standard found in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly and its progeny. 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007). Under this standard, “factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . . on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Id. at 555-56, 127 S.Ct. at 1965. If a pleading only contains “labels and conclusions” and “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action, ” the pleading does not meet the standards of Rule 8(a)(2). Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (citation omitted).

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows parties to seek dismissal of a party's pleading for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a court generally may not “go outside the pleadings.” Colle v. Brazos Cty., Tex., 981 F.2d 237, 243 (5th Cir. 1993). However, a court may rely upon “documents incorporated into the complaint by reference and matters of which a court may take judicial notice” in deciding a motion to dismiss. Dorsey v. Portfolio Equities, Inc., 540 F.3d 333, 338 (5th Cir. 2008). Additionally, courts must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. However, courts do not have to accept legal conclusions as facts. See id. A court does not evaluate a plaintiff's likelihood for success, but instead determines whether a plaintiff has pleaded a legally cognizable claim. See U.S. ex rel. Riley v. St. Luke's Episcopal Hosp., 355 F.3d 370, 376 (5th Cir. 2004). Courts considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) are only obligated to allow those complaints that are facially plausible under the Iqbal and Twombly standard to survive such a motion. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678- 79, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. If the complaint does not meet this standard, it can be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See id. Such a dismissal ends the case “at the point of minimum expenditure of time and money by the parties and the court.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 558, 127 S.Ct. at 1966.

         II) Analysis

         a. ...


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