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Rios v. City of Corpus Christi

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Division

July 13, 2017

FRANCES RIOS, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          HAYDEN HEAD, SENIOR U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This Court dismissed Frances Rios' claims against the City of Corpus Christi and individual Defendants on the Defendants' Rule 12(b)(6) motions and dismissed one of Rios' claims sua sponte. D.E. 67, 68. Rios filed a motion for new trial. D.E. 69, 70. She challenges this Court's sua sponte dismissal of her Fourteenth Amendment claim. Rios argues that this Court misapplied the standards for dismissal and that there are fact issues that cannot be resolved on a motion to dismiss. The Defendants filed a joint response opposing the motion. The facts are well known to the parties.

         ANALYSIS

         A. Rule 59(e)

         "Rule 59(e) 'serve[s] the narrow purpose of allowing a party to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence.'" Templet v. HydroChem, Inc., 367 F.3d 473, 479 (5th Cir. 2004); In re Benjamin Moore & Co., 318 F.3d 626, 629 (5th Cir. 2002). A Rule 59(e) motion should not be used "to raise arguments which could, and should, have been made before the judgment issued." Simon v. United States, 891 F.2d 1154, 1159 (5th Cir. 1990); accord United Nat'l Ins. Co. v. Mundell Term. Svcs, Inc., 740 F.3d 1022, 1031 (5th Cir. 2014).

         B. Elements of Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Claim

         Rios alleged the defendants violated her Fourteenth Amendment right to due process. "[A] state's manufacturing of evidence and knowing use of that evidence along with perjured testimony to obtain a wrongful conviction deprives a defendant of his long recognized right to a fair trial secured by the Due Process Clause." Castellano v. Fragozo, 352 F.3d 939, 955 (5th Cir. 2003)(en banc); see also Good v. Curtis, 601 F.3d 393, 401 (5th Cir. 2010) ("[K]nowing efforts to secure a false identification by fabricating evidence or otherwise unlawfully influencing witnesses constitutes a violation of the due process rights secured by the Fourteenth Amendment."). In habeas cases, the elements have been stated more simply: 1) a witness for the State testified falsely; 2) the State knew the testimony was false; and 3) such testimony was material. Knox v. Johnson, 224 F.3d 470, 477 (5th Cir. 2000) (citing Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150, 153 (1972)).

         C. Fourteenth Amendment Claim Requires Knowingly False Evidence

         Rios argues that her Fourth Amended Complaint and exhibits plausibly state a claim that she was prosecuted using knowingly false testimony by the defendants.[1] Yet, her Fourth Amended Complaint alleges only false testimony by witnesses. Importantly, Rios does not claim the prosecuting authority, the State, through Nueces County, knowingly presented false evidence, a critical element of her claim. Fragozo, 352 F.3d at 955 ("a state's manufacturing of evidence and knowing use of that evidence along with perjured testimony ... .").

         A plaintiffs failure to allege sufficient facts to support every element of her cause of action requires dismissal. See Hale v. King, 642 F.3d 492, 501 (5th Cir. 2011) (dismissing plaintiffs ADA claim because he failed to allege he suffered from a qualifying disability in his); see also Bohannon v. Griffin, 2017 WL 2230250 at *1 (5th Cir. May 19, 2017) (per curiam) (unpublished) (dismissing § 1983 claim against individual defendants for failure to allege their personal involvement in the events alleged); HansaWorld USA v. Carpenter, 662 Fed.App'x. 259, 262 (5th Cir. 2016) (per curiam) (unpublished) (dismissed claim for malicious interference for failure to plead facts to support element of damages).

         CONCLUSION

         The Court DENIES Rios' motion (D.E. 70) for new trial.

         ORDERED.

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