United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
P. JORDAN III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
§ 1983 case is before the Court on Defendants'
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Declaratory Relief Claim
for Lack of Subject-Matter Jurisdiction . For the reasons
that follow, the motion is granted in part but denied in
part. I. Facts and Procedural History On August 16, 2016,
Canton Municipal Utilities (“CMU”), a
municipal-owned-and-operated utility entity, hired Plaintiff
Latoya Redd Thompson as a staff attorney. On September 13,
2016, in a 3-2 vote, CMU's commissioners voted to
terminate Thompson's employment; Defendants Cleveland
Anderson, Cleotha Williams, and L.C. Slaughter voted in favor
of termination. Aggrieved by the loss of her job, Thompson
filed this lawsuit on September 15, 2016, against CMU and
Anderson, Williams, and Slaughter in their official and
alleges that Defendants' actions in terminating her
employment without notice and a hearing violated her
due-process rights. In her Complaint, she seeks the following
A. A declaration that Anderson, Williams and Slaughter
violated her rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to
the U.S. Constitution when they terminated her without proper
notice and a hearing;
B. A declaration that Latoya Redd Thompson shall be
reinstated to her position as staff attorney[;]
C. A temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction
enjoining defendants from interfering with Latoya Redd
Thompson's constitutional rights when she returns to her
position as staff attorney[;]
D. An award to Plaintiff of attorneys' fees and costs
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988; and E. and [sic] such
other and further [relief] as this Court deems appropriate.
Compl.  at 4-5.
same day she filed her Complaint, Thompson moved for a
preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order,
seeking reinstatement to her position as staff attorney.
Pl.'s Mot. . The Court held an in-chambers conference
on the matter that same date, at which the parties agreed
that Thompson would be reinstated. An Agreed Order to that
effect, which found Thompson's pending motion
“moot, ” was entered on September 16, 2016.
Agreed Order .
thereafter filed their motion to dismiss for lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction, asking the Court to decline
consideration of “Plaintiff's sole remaining claim
[that] seeks [a declaration] that her alleged termination
violated her Fourteenth Amendment right.” Defs.'
Mem.  at 2. Thompson responded in opposition, Defendants
filed a rebuttal, and the Court is now prepared to rule. II.
Analysis Defendants contend that the Agreed Order rendered
moot all Thompson's claims in this case, leaving the
Court without subject-matter jurisdiction. See Genesis
Healthcare Corp. v. Symczyk, 133 S.Ct. 1523, 1532 (2013)
(concluding that because the plaintiff's claims were
moot, “her suit was appropriately dismissed for lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction”). In their opening
memorandum, Defendants focus solely on the Court's
discretion to decline to entertain declaratory-judgment
claims. In response, Thompson points out that she also makes
claims for injunctive relief and attorney's fees, and in
rebuttal, Defendants contend that the injunctive relief claim
is either not ripe or moot. The Court will address
Thompson's distinct claims separately.
Claim for Declaratory Relief
Complaint, Thompson asked for two separate declarations from
the Court; one of them-the request that the Court declare
that she “be reinstated to her position as staff
attorney”-is plainly moot. Compl.  at 5. Defendants
ask the Court to decline jurisdiction over the other request,
which seeks a declaration that the individual defendants
“violated [Thompson's constitutional] rights . . .
when they terminated her without proper notice and a
hearing[.]” Id. at 4.
Defendants note, district courts have discretion “over
whether to decide or dismiss a declaratory judgment
action.” Travelers Ins. Co. v. La. Farm Bureau
Fed'n, Inc., 996 F.2d 774, 778 (5th Cir. 1993). The
Fifth Circuit has “identified seven nonexclusive
factors for a district court to consider in deciding whether
to decide or dismiss a declaratory action”:
(1) whether there is a pending state action in which all of
the matters in controversy ...