United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
PATRICK J. HANNA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is the Motion to Dismiss pursuant to F.R.C.P. Rule
12(b)(6) filed on behalf of Mayor-President Joel Robideaux,
individually and in his official capacity as Mayor-President
of Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government, and Chief
Toby Aguillard, Individually and in his official capacity as
Chief of Police for Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated
Government. (Rec. Doc. 31). Plaintiffs, Jasper Robinson,
individually and together with Andrea Williams on behalf of
their minor children, oppose the Motion (Rec. Doc. 34), and
Robideaux and Aguillard have replied (Rec. Doc. 35). The
Motion was referred to the undersigned magistrate judge for
review, report, and recommendation in accordance with the
provisions of 28 U.S.C. §636 and the standing orders of
this Court. Considering the evidence, the law, and the
arguments of the parties, and for the reasons fully explained
below, it is recommended that Robideaux and Aguillard's
Motion be GRANTED.
filed this suit following Jasper Robinson's arrest by
Lafayette Police Officer Lipps on July 15, 2017. Plaintiffs
initially filed suit in Louisiana state court on July 10,
2018 against Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government
(“LCG”) (mis-named as the City of Lafayette) and
Officer Lipps asserting various §1983 claims and state
law claims. (Rec. Doc. 1-1). LCG and Officer Lipps removed
the case in August 2018. (Rec. Doc. 1). Plaintiffs filed a
First Supplemental and Amending Complaint on September 21,
2018, in which they re-named LCG (properly named) and Officer
Lipps and added Robideaux and Aguillard as new defendants.
(Rec. Doc. 11). Plaintiffs re-alleged details regarding the
arrest incident involving Jasper Robinson and Officer Lipps.
None of Plaintiffs' factual allegations mentioned
Robideaux or Aguillard. (Rec. Doc. 11, ¶4-12).
March 18, 2019, the Court issued a Notice of Intent to
Dismiss Robideaux and Aguillard for failure to serve. (Rec.
Doc. 24). Plaintiffs moved for, and the Court granted on
March 21, 2019, an extension of time for service. (Rec. Doc.
26). Robideaux and Aguillard subsequently executed a waiver
of service. (Rec. Doc. 27; 28).
meantime, original Defendants, LCG and Officer Lipps, moved
to dismiss the First Amended Complaint, which the Court
granted in part and denied in part. Specifically, the Court
dismissed Plaintiffs' claims for unlawful arrest and due
process violations. (Rec. Doc. 21, at 6-8; 14; 15). The Court
maintained Plaintiffs' §1983 claims for excessive
use of force and state law claims for assault, battery,
inadequate medical attention, negligent and intentional
infliction of emotional distress, loss of consortium, and
bystander claims. (Rec. Doc. 21, at 8-13; 15-17).
the Court's ruling on LCG and Officer Lipps's Motion
to Dismiss and Robideaux and Aguillard's waiver of
service, Robideaux and Aguillard filed their own Motion to
Dismiss pursuant to F.R.C.P. Rule 12(b)(6), which is the
Motion currently before the Court. (Rec. Doc. 31). Robideaux
and Aguillard seek dismissal of Plaintiffs' §1983
claims against them in their individual capacities (claims
for failure to supervise and train) and in their official
capacities (as claims duplicative of those against LCG), as
well as Plaintiffs' state law claims against them as
Law applicable to Rule 12(b)(6)
considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim
under F.R.C.P. Rule 12(b)(6), the district court must limit
itself to the contents of the pleadings, including any
attachments and exhibits thereto. Collins v. Morgan
Stanley Dean Witter, 224 F.3d 496, 498 (5th
Cir.2000); U.S. ex rel. Riley v. St. Luke's Episcopal
Hosp., 355 F.3d 370, 375 (5th Cir.2004). The court must
accept all well- pleaded facts as true and view them in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff. In re Katrina
Canal Breaches Litigation, 495 F.3d 191, 205
(5th Cir.2007) (internal quotations omitted)
(quoting Martin K. Eby Constr. Co. v. Dallas Area Rapid
Transit, 369 F.3d 464, 467 (5th Cir.2004));
Baker v. Putnal, 75 F.3d 190, 196
(5thCir.1996). However, conclusory allegations and
unwarranted deductions of fact are not accepted as true,
Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Sales v. Avondale
Shipyards, 677 F.2d 1045, 1050 (5th Cir.
1982) (citing Associated Builders, Inc. v. Alabama Power
Company, 505 F.2d 97, 100 (5th Cir. 1974));
Collins v. Morgan Stanley, 224 F.3d at 498. Courts
“are not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion
couched as a factual allegation.” Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting
Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)).
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the plaintiff must plead
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic, 127
U.S. at 570. The allegations must be sufficient “to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level, ”
and “the pleading must contain something more . . .
than . . . a statement of facts that merely creates a
suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action.”
Id. at 555 (quoting 5 C. Wright & A. Miller,
Federal Practice and Procedure § 1216, pp. 235-36 (3d
ed. 2004)). “While a complaint . . . does not need
detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's
obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to
relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Id. (citations, quotation marks,
and brackets omitted; emphasis added). See also Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). If the plaintiff
fails to allege facts sufficient to “nudge[ ][his]
claims across the line from conceivable to plausible, [his]
complaint must be dismissed.” Bell Atlantic v.
Twombly, 127 U.S. at 570.
meets the test for facial plausibility “when the
plaintiff pleads the factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “[D]etermining whether a
complaint states a plausible claim for relief . . . [is] a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to
draw on its judicial experience and common sense.”
Id. at 679. Therefore, “[t]he complaint (1) on
its face (2) must contain enough factual matter (taken as
true) (3) to raise a reasonable hope or expectation (4) that
discovery will reveal relevant evidence of each element of a
claim.” Lormand v. U.S. Unwired, Inc., 565
F.3d 228, 257 (5th Cir.2009) (quoting Bell
Atlantic v. Twombly, 127 U.S. at 556). See also In
Re Southern Scrap, 541 F.3d 584, 587 (5th
Cir.2008). With these precepts in mind, the Court considers
the Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint.
Whether Plaintiffs have stated a §1983 claim against
Robideaux and Aguillard in their
U.S.C. §1983 is the procedural mechanism by which
substantive constitutional deprivations may be vindicated.
“To pursue a claim under § 1983, a
‘plaintiff[ ] must (1) allege a violation of
rights secured by the Constitution or laws of the
United States and (2) demonstrate that the alleged
deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of
state law.'” Sw. Bell Tel., LP v. City of
Houston, 529 F.3d 257, 260 (5th Cir.2008), quoting
Resident Council of Allen Parkway Vill. v. HUD, 980
F.2d 1043, 1050 (5th Cir.1993). “In other words,
‘[§] 1983 confers no substantive rights, but
merely provides a remedy for the violation [by a person
acting under color of state law, ] of rights secured
under the Constitution and laws of the United States.”
Id., citing Kirchberg v. Feenstra, 708 F.2d
991, 1000 (5th Cir.1983).
claims include those against state actors in their individual
and/or official capacities. In order to assert a valid claim
against an official in his individual capacity, “[a]
§ 1983 claimant must ‘establish that the defendant
was either personally involved in a constitutional
deprivation or that his wrongful actions were causally
connected to the constitutional deprivation.'
”Jones v. Lowndes Cty., Miss., 678 F.3d 344,
349 (5th Cir.2012), quoting James v. Texas Collin
County, 535 F.3d 365, 373 (5th Cir.2008). “Under
section 1983, supervisory officials are not liable for the
actions of subordinates on any theory of vicarious
liability.” Thompson v. Upshur County, 245
F.3d 447, 459 (5th Cir.2001). “A supervisory official
may be held liable ... only if (1) he affirmatively
participates in the acts that cause the constitutional
deprivation, or (2) he implements unconstitutional policies
that causally result in the constitutional injury.”
Porter v. Epps, 659 F.3d 440, 446 (5th Cir.2011),
quoting Gates v. Texas Department of Prot. & Reg.
Servs., 537 F.3d 404, 435 (5th Cir.2008). To establish
supervisor liability for constitutional violations committed
by subordinate employees, the plaintiff must show that the
supervisor acted or failed to act with deliberate
indifference to the violation of others' constitutional
rights committed by their subordinates. Porter, 659
F.3d at 446; Gates, 537 F.3d at 435. Deliberate
indifference requires “proof that a municipal actor
disregarded a known or obvious consequence of his
action.” Porter, 659 F.3d at 447, quoting
Connick v. Thompson, 563 U.S. 51, 61 (2011).
sole allegations against Robideaux and Aguillard are:
• Mayor Robideaux is responsible for the hiring,
training, discipline, supervision, and control of the
Lafayette Police officers who are defendants herein,
including Chief Aguillard. (Rec. Doc. 11, ¶1C).
• Toby Aguillard was and is responsible for the
supervision, administration, policies, practices, customs,
and procedures of the LAFAYETTE CITY-PARISH CONSOLIDATED
GOVERNMENT Police Department, as well as the hiring,
training, supervision, discipline, and control of police
personnel under his command, including Officer Gene Lipps.
(Rec. Doc. 11, ¶1D).
• Defendants Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated
Government, Mayor Joel Robideaux, and Chief Toby Aguillard,
are liable unto Mr. Robinson under the doctrine of
respondeat superior for the tortious act of their
employer, Defendant Lipps, committed against third parties,
such as Mr. Robinson, during the course and scope of
employment and while under its control, direction and
supervision pursuant to La. C.C. 2317 and 2320. (Rec. Doc.
United States Supreme Court established long ago that an
employer of a tort feasor alleged to have violated the
plaintiff's civil rights is not liable under a theory of
respondeat superior. Monell v. Dep't of Soc.
Servs. of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658 (1978).
Nonetheless, Plaintiff claim that Robideaux and Aguillard are
independently liable for failure to supervise and train
subordinate employees. In order to prevail on a failure to
train theory, Plaintiffs must prove that 1) the mayor or
chief failed to train or supervise the officers involved; 2)
there is a causal connection between the alleged failure to
supervise or train and the alleged violation of the