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Parsons v. Horace Mann Educators Corp.

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

May 3, 2019

Kenneth R. Parsons, Jr., Plaintiff,
Horace Mann Educators Corp., et al., Defendants.



         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and the district judge's Standing Order of Reference, Doc. 14, the Court now considers Defendants Allstate Insurance Company and Gilda L. Spencer's Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint, Doc. 24, and Defendants Horace Mann Educators Corporation and Douglas Kevin George's Second Amended Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss, Doc. 25. For the reasons that follow, the motions should be


         A. Background

         Plaintiff filed this lawsuit on July 16, 2018. Doc. 3. In the operative complaint, he alleges that he was an employee of Defendant Allstate Insurance Company (“Allstate”) from 2006 until his termination in 2010, after which he worked at Defendant Horace Mann Educators Corporation (“Horace Mann”) starting in 2013. Doc. 8 at 5-6, 9-10. While working at Horace Mann, Plaintiff reported unethical claims handling by Horace Mann to state officials, after which he claims Defendants began to harass him. Doc. 8 at 5-6. Plaintiff resigned from Horace Mann in January 2014 and was arrested in December 2014 on charges associated with his employment at Allstate, including embezzlement and corporate malfeasance. Doc. 8 at 6, 9-10.

         Plaintiff alleges that his arrest was the result of a conspiracy among all Defendants to retaliate against him for reporting Horace Mann's insurance claim practices. Doc. 8 at 6. Ultimately, the criminal charges against Plaintiff were dismissed in September 2016. Doc. 8 at 8-9. Plaintiff asserts that Defendants (1) violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (2) conspired to interfere with his civil rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3); (3) violated the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the “Declaration”); (4) intentionally and negligently inflicted emotional distress on him; (5) maliciously prosecuted him; (6) invaded his privacy; and (7) were negligent. Doc. 8 at 12-26. Defendants now move to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Doc. 24; Doc. 25.

         B. Applicable Law

         A plaintiff fails to state a claim for relief under Rule 12(b)(6) when the complaint does not contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). In order to overcome a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a plaintiff's complaint should “contain either direct allegations on every material point necessary to sustain a recovery . . . or contain allegations from which an inference may fairly be drawn that evidence on these material points will be introduced at trial.” Campbell v. City of San Antonio, 43 F.3d 973, 975 (5th Cir. 1995) (quotation omitted).

         When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court may consider documents outside the complaint when they are: (1) attached to the motion to dismiss; (2) referenced in the complaint; and (3) central to the plaintiff's claims. In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litig., 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir. 2007). Additionally, a court may take judicial notice of matters of public record without converting a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment. See Randall D. Wolcott, M.D., P.A. v. Sebelius, 635 F.3d 757, 763 (5th Cir. 2011) (“Generally, a court ruling on a 12(b)(6) motion may rely on the complaint, its proper attachments, documents incorporated into the complaint by reference, and matters of which a court may take judicial notice.”) (citation and quotation marks omitted).

         C. Parties' Arguments and Analysis

         1. 42 U.S.C. § 1983

         In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants conspired with former Defendant Mecklenburg County, North Carolina to violate his rights under section 1983. Doc. 8 at 6-8. In order to successfully maintain a claim against a private, non-governmental party, a plaintiff must plausibly allege that the defendant acted under color of state law. See Cornish v. Corr. Servs. Corp., 402 F.3d 545, 549 (5th Cir. 2005) (section 1983 does not reach “private conduct, no matter how discriminatory or wrongful”). After Defendants filed their respective motions to dismiss, however, Plaintiff stipulated to a dismissal without prejudice of his case against Mecklenburg County. Doc. 44. As such, Plaintiff cannot maintain a section 1983 action against the remaining Defendants because, as they correctly argue, there is no longer a state actor involved in the case. Doc. 46 at 5-7; Doc. 47 at 2-3.

         2. 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3)

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendants engaged in “self-dealing to settle a personal vendetta” against him, shared his personal information without his consent, and maliciously pursued false criminal charges against him in “a scheme to ruin [his] physical, emotional, and financial state.” Doc. 8 at 21-23. Defendants argue, in relevant part, that Plaintiff has not stated a ...

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