United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
SHANE M. POMPURA, Plaintiff,
DEVON ANDERSON, Defendant.
ORDER AND OPINION
MELINDA HARMON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Defendant Devon Anderson's Motion to Dismiss
(Document No. 9). Plaintiff, Shane M. Pompura, filed no
response to the Motion to Dismiss. After considering these
documents and the applicable law, the Court concludes that
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED.
filed a complaint against Defendant, the then District
Attorney of Harris County, on November 28, 2016. (Document
No. 1). Plaintiff alleges that there was no warrant for her
arrest at the time of her arrest. Her Complaint alleges a
claim to relief under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983, specifically
that her 5th and 14th amendment rights
were violated in her arrest. The Plaintiff's Complaint
does not allege any specific facts about Defendant's
involvement in the arrest, only that there was no warrant at
the time she was arrested. Defendant filed a Motion to
Dismiss the claims on January 3, 2017. (Document No. 9).
district court reviews a motion to dismiss pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), it must construe the complaint in
favor of the plaintiff and take all well-pleaded facts as
true. Wolcott v. Sebelius, 635 F.3d 757, 763 (5th
Cir. 2011) (citing Gonzalez v. Kay, 577 F.3d 600,
603 (5th Cir. 2009)). Dismissal is appropriate only if the
complaint fails to plead “enough facts to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.” Leal v.
McHugh, 731 F.3d 405, 410 (5th Cir. 2013) (citing
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
“A claim has facial plausibility when the pleaded
factual content allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Montoya v. FedEx Ground Package System,
Inc., 614 F.3d 145, 148 (5th Cir. 2010) (quoting
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). The
plausibility standard is not akin to a “probability
requirement, ” but asks for more than a
“possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.
“While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion
to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, . . .
a plaintiff's obligation to provide the
‘grounds' of his ‘entitle[ment] to
relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do. . . .” Id. at 544.
cases against government officials where immunity is likely
to arise as a defense, the plaintiff must plead, in addition
to facts that support the cause of action, facts that show
why the government official is not entitled to immunity in
the instant case. Burns-Toole v. Byrne, 11 F.3d
1270, 1273 (5th Cir. 1994).
argues that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted under Federal Rule 12(b)(6) and that
Plaintiff has failed to plead facts that tend to overcome
Defendant's government immunity, which is a defense
likely to arise in this litigation. Further, Defendant argues
that she is immune from suit for any conduct that is related
to the decision to prosecute or not prosecute.
Failure to State a Claim
U.S.C.A. § 1983 creates a cause of action where,
“under color of statute, ordinance, regulation, custom,
or usage, ” any person subjects any citizen to the
“deprivation of any rights privileges, or immunities
secured by the Constitution and laws.” To establish a
prima facie case under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983, the
plaintiff must prove that either (1) an individual
person's conduct caused the plaintiff's rights to be
violated, or (2) that an official policy or custom of a
governmental body caused a constitutional tort. Monell v.
Dep't of Social Servs. of City of New York, 436 U.S.
658, 691 (1978). Here, Plaintiff has not alleged any official
policy of Harris County or other governmental body; the claim
therefore must rest on Defendant's conduct. However, the
Complaint does not state any conduct or action taken by
Defendant, only the occurrence of an event (the arrest) with
the attendant circumstance (that there was no warrant for the
arrest). Thus there is no conduct alleged which could give
rise to liability under § 1983.
in cases against government officials where immunity is
likely to be raised as a defense, a plaintiff must plead
facts showing why immunity will not apply to the conduct
alleged. Burns-Toole at 1273. The Complaint contains
no facts as to why immunity would not apply in this case.
addition to Plaintiff's failure to state a claim,
Defendant claims that she is immune from federal civil suit,
and that her immunity encompasses all prosecutorial
activities associated with the judicial phase of the criminal
process. In Imbler v. Pachtman, the Supreme Court
held that prosecutors are absolutely immune from suit, even
though this leaves genuinely wronged defendants without civil
redress when they are maliciously deprived of their liberty.
424 U.S. 409, 427 (1976). The reasoning behind eliminating
otherwise valid claims is that a prosecutor cannot
effectively pursue the state's, and by extension the
people's, interest in the administration of criminal laws
if they are constantly under threat of retaliatory litigation
by defendants who receive unfavorable outcomes in their
cases. The decision to issue or not issue a warrant for
arrest is included among prosecutorial activities protected
by immunity. Id. at ...