Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Carmona v. City of Dallas

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

October 11, 2019

JOSHUA CARMONA, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF DALLAS and DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          SAM A. LINDSAY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the court are the City of Dallas's Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss the Claims Alleged in the Plaintiff's Original Complaint (Doc. 6), filed March 1, 2019; and the Dallas Police Department's Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss the Claims Alleged in the Plaintiff's Original Complaint[1] (Doc. 7), filed March 1, 2019. After careful consideration of the motions, response and objection, replies, pleadings, and the applicable law, the court grants the City of Dallas's Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss the Claims Alleged in the Plaintiff's Original Complaint (Doc. 6); grants the Dallas Police Department's Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss the Claims Alleged in the Plaintiff's Original Complaint (Doc. 7); and allows Joshua Carmona (“Plaintiff” or “Mr. Carmona”) to file an amended pleading.

         I. Background

         Mr. Carmona originally filed this action against the City of Dallas (the “City”) and the Dallas Police Department (the “DPD”) (collectively, “Defendants”) on January 7, 2019, in Dallas County Court at Law No. 1. In Plaintiff's Original Petition (“Petition”), Mr. Carmona contends that he was arrested without probable cause by police officers of the City on January 20, 2017, and charged under Section 42.03 of the Texas Penal Code for obstruction of a highway, street, sidewalk, or other passageway. Mr. Carmona asserts claims for false arrest, malicious prosecution, and violation of his rights under the First and Fourth Amendments to the United States Constitution. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages, attorney's fees, costs, and prejudgment and postjudgment interest. On February 22, 2019, Defendants removed this action to federal court because Plaintiff's asserted federal claims for alleged violations of the First and Fourth Amendments.

         Both the City and the DPD seek dismissal of all claims asserted by Plaintiff pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), contending that he has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiff disagrees and contends that his pleadings meet the requirements necessary to state claims upon which relief can be granted. Alternatively, he requests an opportunity to amend if the court determines that his pleadings are deficient. The court, for the reasons herein stated, agrees that Mr. Carmona has not pleaded facts from which the court can reasonably infer that the DPD is a jural entity, or that he has suffered a constitutional injury because of a custom or policy of the City.

         II. Standards

         A. Rule 12(b)(6) - Failure to State a Claim

         To defeat a motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a plaintiff must plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007); Reliable Consultants, Inc. v. Earle, 517 F.3d 738, 742 (5th Cir. 2008); Guidry v. American Pub. Life Ins. Co., 512 F.3d 177, 180 (5th Cir. 2007). A claim meets the plausibility test “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. The plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal citations omitted). While a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, it must set forth “more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citation omitted). The “[f]actual allegations of [a complaint] must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . . on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Id. (quotation marks, citations, and footnote omitted). When the allegations of the pleading do not allow the court to infer more than the mere possibility of wrongdoing, they fall short of showing that the pleader is entitled to relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.

         In reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must accept all well-pleaded facts in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Sonnier v. State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co., 509 F.3d 673, 675 (5th Cir. 2007); 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 (5th Cir. 1996). In ruling on such a motion, the court cannot look beyond the pleadings. Id.; Spivey v. Robertson, 197 F.3d 772, 774 (5th Cir. 1999). The pleadings include the complaint and any documents attached to it. Collins v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, 224 F.3d 496, 498-99 (5th Cir. 2000). Likewise, “‘[d]ocuments that a defendant attaches to a motion to dismiss are considered part of the pleadings if they are referred to in the plaintiff's complaint and are central to [the plaintiff's] claims.'” Id. (quoting Venture Assocs. Corp. v. Zenith Data Sys. Corp., 987 F.2d 429, 431 (7th Cir. 1993)). In this regard, a document that is part of the record but not referred to in a plaintiff's complaint and not attached to a motion to dismiss may not be considered by the court in ruling on a 12(b)(6) motion. Gines v. D.R. Horton, Inc., 699 F.3d 812, 820 & n.9 (5th Cir. 2012) (citation omitted). Further, it is well-established and ‘“clearly proper in deciding a 12(b)(6) motion [that a court may] take judicial notice of matters of public record.”' Funk v. Stryker Corp., 631 F.3d 777, 783 (5th Cir. 2011) (quoting Norris v. Hearst Trust, 500 F.3d 454, 461 n.9 (5th Cir. 2007) (citing Cinel v. Connick, 15 F.3d 1338, 1343 n.6 (5th Cir. 1994)).

         The ultimate question in a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is whether the complaint states a valid claim when it is viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Great Plains Trust Co. v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, 313 F.3d 305, 312 (5th Cir. 2002). While well-pleaded facts of a complaint are to be accepted as true, legal conclusions are not “entitled to the assumption of truth.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (citation omitted). Further, a court is not to strain to find inferences favorable to the plaintiff and is not to accept conclusory allegations, unwarranted deductions, or legal conclusions. R2 Invs. LDC v. Phillips, 401 F.3d 638, 642 (5th Cir. 2005) (citations omitted). The court does not evaluate the plaintiff's likelihood of success; instead, it only determines whether the plaintiff has pleaded a legally cognizable claim. United States ex rel. Riley v. St. Luke's Episcopal Hosp., 355 F.3d 370, 376 (5th Cir. 2004). Stated another way, when a court deals with a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, its task is to test the sufficiency of the allegations contained in the pleadings to determine whether they are adequate enough to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Mann v. Adams Realty Co., 556 F.2d 288, 293 (5th Cir. 1977); Doe v. Hillsboro Indep. Sch. Dist., 81 F.3d 1395, 1401 (5th Cir. 1996), rev'd on other grounds, 113 F.3d 1412 (5th Cir. 1997) (en banc). Accordingly, denial of a 12(b)(6) motion has no bearing on whether a plaintiff ultimately establishes the necessary proof to prevail on a claim that withstands a 12(b)(6) challenge. Adams, 556 F.2d at 293.

         B. Municipal Liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Rule 12(b)(6))

         A governmental entity can be sued and subjected to monetary damages and injunctive relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 only if its official policy or custom causes a person to be deprived of a federally protected right. Board of the Cty. Comm'rs of Bryan Cty. v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 403 (1997); Monell v. New York City Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978). A governmental entity cannot be liable for civil rights violations under a theory of respondeat superior or vicarious liability. Id.; see also Baskin v. Parker, 602 F.2d 1205, 1208 (5th Cir. 1979). Official policy is defined as:

1. A policy statement, ordinance, regulation, or decision that is officially adopted and promulgated by the [city's] lawmaking officers or by an official to whom the lawmakers have delegated policy-making authority; or
2. A persistent, widespread practice of [city] officials or employees which, although not authorized by officially adopted and promulgated policy, is so common and well-settled as to constitute a custom that fairly represents [city] policy. Actual or constructive knowledge of such custom must be attributable to the governing body of the ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.