United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
REBECCA RUTHERFORD, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is a Rule 12(c) Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings (ECF No. 12) filed by Defendants the City of West
Lake Tawakoni (the “City”) and Brandon Kilpatrick
(“Kilpatrick”), individually and in his official
capacity as West Lake Tawakoni Police Department's Chief
of Police, asking the Court to dismiss Plaintiff Paul
Hansen's claims in this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action. For
the reasons stated, the District Court should GRANT
Defendants' Motion and DISMISS Plaintiff's claims
dispute began as a disagreement over the property line
between Plaintiff's property and his neighbors Wayne and
Carrie Anderson's property in West Lake Tawakoni, a Hunt
County, Texas municipality. Compl. 2, 4 (ECF No. 1).
Plaintiff complained to the City's Code Compliance
department several times before eventually reaching out to
Kilpatrick, the City's Police Chief. Id. 4.
Plaintiff alleges Kilpatrick informed him that he could not
assist Plaintiff in resolving the dispute with his neighbors
because it was not a criminal matter. Id.
particular point of contention between Plaintiff and the
Andersons involved removing a live oak tree, with
Plaintiff's privacy-fence panels bolted to it, on the
property line. Id. 5. But beyond the oak tree, the
neighbors' dispute involved several incidents of a
scatological nature, where “Plaintiff discovered
litterbox shavings and feces on his property, ” and
each time an incident occurred, Plaintiff maintains that he
contacted either Kilpatrick or the City to report it.
Id. Kilpatrick allegedly became actively involved in
the oak-tree dispute and authorized the Andersons to remove
the tree. Id. Defendants, however, deny that
Kilpatrick was personally involved in the dispute or
authorized removal of the tree. Answer 4 (ECF No. 9).
31, 2015, Plaintiff allegedly discovered an inoperable toilet
on his property that “contained fresh feces.”
Compl. 5. “Due to noxious odors emanating from the
toilet, ” Plaintiff removed it from his property.
Id. Defendants, however, maintain that they received
a report of a toilet being placed on the Andersons'
property and that their investigation revealed it was not
filled with feces-fresh or otherwise. Answer 4-5. Defendants
contend that Plaintiff moved and destroyed the toilet,
providing grounds for his arrest. Id. 5; Defs.'
Ex. 1 (ECF No. 9-1).
on March 7, 2016, Kilpatrick, together with two other
officers, arrested Plaintiff at his residence for criminal
mischief and trespass. Compl. 6. Plaintiff alleges that the
capias warrant issued for his arrest was based on the
February 29, 2016 criminal complaint that included
Kilpatrick's personal observations. Id. For
their part, Defendants assert that the warrant was properly
based on the officer's report. Answer 5.
at the Hunt County Detention Center, Plaintiff alleges Hunt
County jailers deprived him of his medication for diabetes
and other severe circulatory and arterial diseases; that he
was falsely imprisoned for two full days; and that he was
incarcerated for more than 24 hours before being permitted to
appear before a magistrate. Compl. 6-7. After Plaintiff
posted bond and hired an attorney, on August 8, 2016, the
Hunt County District Attorney dismissed all charges against
Plaintiff “due to insufficient evidence.”
Id. 7. Plaintiff alleges that he would not have been
arrested but for false assertions contained within the
criminal complaint. Id.
filed a Complaint in federal court on March 7, 2018, alleging
that Kilpatrick, the City, and other unnamed West Lake
Tawakoni police officers and Hunt County jailers violated his
civil rights by wrongfully arresting and incarcerating him,
negligently hiring officers, and conspiring to deprive him of
his constitutional rights. Compl. 1-2, 7-11. Specifically,
Plaintiff asserts claims against Kilpatrick and the unnamed
police officers under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for false
imprisonment and conspiracy in violation of his Fourth,
Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as claims
under state law for intentional infliction of emotional
distress. Id. 7-8, 10. He further asserts claims
under § 1983 against the City for negligently hiring
Kilpatrick and the unnamed police officers, and against the
unnamed Hunt County jailers for deliberate indifference to
his serious medical needs. Id. 7, 9-10. The City and
Kilpatrick timely filed an Answer, and later filed their Rule
12(c) Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. By their motion,
Defendants argue that Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment,
Fourth Amendment, § 1983 conspiracy, intentional
infliction of emotional distress, and municipal liability
claims should be dismissed because he has not alleged
sufficient facts to support any of his claims. Plaintiff
failed to respond to Defendants' Motion, and the time to
respond has expired. Accordingly, the Court considers the
motion without the benefit of a response.
motion for judgment on the pleadings under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c)
“is designed to dispose of cases where the material
facts are not in dispute and a judgment on the merits can be
rendered by looking to the substance of the pleadings and any
judicially noticed facts.” Hebert Abstract v.
Touchstone Props., Ltd., 914 F.2d 74, 76 (5th Cir. 1990)
(per curiam) (citations omitted). “The standard for
deciding a motion under Rule 12(c) is the same as the one for
deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).”
Johnson-Williams v. CitiMortgage, Inc., 2018 WL
1156100, at *6 (N.D. Tex. Jan. 31, 2018) (citing Guidry
v. Am. Pub. Life Ins. Co., 512 F.3d 177, 180 (5th Cir.
2007); Hoffman v. L & M Arts, 2011 WL 3567419,
at *4 (N.D. Tex. Aug. 15, 2011)), adopted by 2018 WL
1122230 (N.D. Tex. Feb. 28, 2018), aff'd, 2018
WL 4523159 (5th Cir. Sept. 20, 2018); see also Gentilello
v. Rege, 627 F.3d 540, 543-44 (5th Cir. 2010).
deciding a 12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim, the
court “accepts all well-pleaded facts as true, viewing
them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.”
In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litig., 495 F.3d 191,
205 (5th Cir. 2007) (quotation marks and citation omitted).
To survive Defendants' Rule 12(c) Motion for Judgment on
the Pleadings, therefore, Plaintiff's Complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter to state a claim for relief
that is plausible on its face. Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “To be
plausible, the complaint's ‘[f]actual allegations
must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.'” In re Great Lakes Dredge
& Dock Co. LLC, 624 F.3d 201, 210 (5th Cir. 2010)
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). This pleading
standard does not require “‘detailed factual
allegations, '” but it does demand more than an
unadorned accusation devoid of factual support. Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). “A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw a reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Id. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
556). “[A] formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555 (citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265,
286 (1986)). “While legal conclusions can provide the
framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual
allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Where
the facts do not permit the Court to infer more than the mere
possibility of misconduct, the Complaint has stopped short of
showing that Plaintiff is plausibly entitled to relief.
Id. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court may not look beyond
the pleadings. Spivey v. Robertson, 197 F.3d 772,
774 (5th Cir. 1999). However, the pleadings, for the purpose
of determining a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, include documents
attached to the pleadings and to the motion to dismiss so
long as they “are referred to in the plaintiff's
complaint and are central to [his] claim.” Causey
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