United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT CITY OF GULFPORT,
MISSISSIPPI'S AMENDED MOTION TO DISMISS 
SULEYMAN OZERDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
THE COURT is Defendant City of Gulfport, Mississippi's
Amended Motion to Dismiss  the claims asserted by
Plaintiffs Li'Trendia West and Charmaine Hartfield in
their Amended Complaint . This Motion is fully briefed.
For the reasons that follow, the Court finds that
Defendant's Motion should be denied.
case arises out of an incident which allegedly occurred on
June 8, 2014. Plaintiffs Li'Trendia West
(“West”) and Charmaine Hartfield
(“Hartfield”) (jointly, “Plaintiffs”)
allege in their Amended Complaint  that they were
subjected to “violent and abusive conduct” by
Defendant Mario Hill (“Defendant Hill”) due to
Defendant City of Gulfport's (the “City”)
failure to “adopt and implement policies and
procedures” to prevent such conduct. Am. Compl.  at
they claim that after they called the Gulfport Police
Department to report a disturbance at a business on Beach
Boulevard in Gulfport, Mississippi, Defendant Hill, a police
officer with the Gulfport, Mississippi, Police Department,
responded and offered to drive them back to their hotel room.
Id. at 2. Instead, Defendant Hill parked on a dark
street, ordered West out of the patrol car, and then exposed
himself, groped West, and sexually propositioned her.
Id. Plaintiffs further claim that Defendant Hill
exposed himself to Hartfield suggesting that she “touch
it” while otherwise sexually propositioning her.
Id. Plaintiffs advance 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims
against Defendant Hill for actions taken “under the
color of state law, ” and against the City for its
deliberate indifference in failing “to investigate,
train, supervise and discipline Defendant Hill” and in
failing to adopt adequate policies and procedures that would
have prevented Defendant Hill's conduct. Id. at
November 18, 2016, the City filed an Amended Motion to
Dismiss  on grounds that the Amended Complaint contains
only conclusory allegations of violations of Plaintiffs'
constitutional rights, and that the allegations against the
City appear to be predicated upon a theory of vicarious
liability. Am. Mot. to Dismiss  at 4-5. The City seeks
dismissal under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b) and/or
56. Id. The City asserts that, based upon the
Affidavit of Leonard Papania, Chief of Police for the City of
Gulfport, the only “existing proof is that the City did
conduct a thorough background check of Hill's past”
which revealed no prior criminal activity and that no prior
sexual harassment complaints had been lodged against any City
law enforcement officer, including Defendant Hill, prior to
those advanced by Plaintiffs.
Response in Opposition  maintains that the Amended
Complaint does make “sufficient allegations to state a
claim for liability against the City under 42 U.S.C. §
1983.” Resp. in Opp'n  at 1. Plaintiffs contend
that dismissal at this early stage of the litigation would be
improper in that they have stated a sufficient factual basis
to support their claims and have not had the benefit of
discovery concerning the City's policies. Mem.  at
The Amended Motion to Dismiss.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) standard.
considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the
“[C]ourt accepts ‘all well-pleaded facts as true,
viewing them in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff.'” Martin K. Eby Constr. Co. v.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit, 369 F.3d 464, 467 (5th Cir.
2004) (citation omitted). “To survive a motion to
dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
Specifically, a plaintiff must plead “factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a complaint must
contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Wooten v. McDonald Transit Associates, Inc., 788
F.3d 490, 498 (5th Cir. 2015).
The purpose of this requirement is “to ‘give the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly,550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167
L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355
U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957)). The factual
allegations in the complaint need only “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. (footnote and
citations omitted). “[D]etailed factual
allegations” are not required, but the pleading must