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Alidoust v. Hancock County

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division

August 2, 2017

SAFA ALIDOUST PLAINTIFF
v.
HANCOCK COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI, et al. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS, GRANTING PLAINTIFF LEAVE TO FILE AN AMENDED COMPLAINT, AND ORDERING PLAINTIFF TO SHOW CAUSE WHY CERTAIN OTHER CLAIMS SHOULD NOT BE DISMISSED

          LOUIS GUIROLA, JR. CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         BEFORE THE COURT are the [15] Motion for Judgment on Pleadings as to State Law Claims filed by Sheriff Ricky Adam, the [17] Motion for Judgment on Pleadings filed by Deputy Carl Contranchis, Deputy John Compton, Investigator Steve Saucier, Chief Deputy Don Bass, Jailer Ronald Thompson, and Warden Brandon Zeringue, and the [19, 21] Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings as to Federal Claims filed by these Defendants.[1] Plaintiff Safa Alidoust has not responded to the Motions and the time for doing so has expired.[2]

         The Court has considered the Motions and the applicable law and finds that the Motions should be granted. The Court will dismiss with prejudice all state law claims against the Moving Defendants, as well as the individual capacity claims under Title VI, the ADA, and the Rehabilitation Act against those Defendants. The Court will dismiss without prejudice the remaining individual capacity claims against the Moving Defendants and will allow Plaintiff Alidoust an opportunity to file an Amended Complaint to attempt to cure the pleading deficiencies with respect to those claims. The Court will also order Alidoust to show cause why certain other claims should not be dismissed or to otherwise address those claims via the Amended Complaint. Any Amended Complaint and/or show cause response must be filed by August 23, 2017.

         Background

         On February 14, 2017, Plaintiff Alidoust filed a “Complaint for Violation of Civil Rights” against numerous parties, including the Moving Defendants. Alidoust alleges that he was illegally detained without bond and denied appropriate and necessary medical care while detained. (See Compl. 8 (¶¶ 23-24), ECF No. 1). He further states that “[t]he officers involved falsely reported the charges and allegations against the Plaintiff as well as falsely reported statements allegedly made by the Plaintiff which resulted in a longer detention as well as permanently and irreversibly defaming the Plaintiff's character and reputation.” (Id. (¶25)). Alidoust states that he was arrested on August 30, 2015 and held for 68 days until November 5, 2015. (See, e.g., id. at 9 (¶¶ 27, 29)).

         Alidoust has made multiple claims against the Moving Defendants, all of whom are employees of one or more Mississippi governmental entities, pursuant to both Mississippi state law and federal law. Alidoust's Complaint is less than clear, but Defendants have identified the following state law claims against them in the Complaint: (1) false imprisonment, (2) denial of equal protection, (3) denial of due process, (4) cruel and unusual punishment, (5) inadequate medical care, (6) failure to train, (7) failure to supervise, (8) failure to hire, (9) intentional infliction of emotional distress, (10) negligent infliction of emotional distress, (11) negligence, (12) gross negligence, (13) reckless disregard, (14) civil conspiracy, (15) slander, (16) defamation, and (17) libel. They have also identified the following federal claims: (1) discrimination based on national origin, race, and religion under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act (Title VI), (2) discrimination based on disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, (3) various constitutional claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and (4) a conspiracy claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1985.[3]

         Defendants have now moved to dismiss all state law claims against them. They have also moved to dismiss all federal claims against them in their individual capacities, including on the ground of qualified immunity.

         Discussion

         “‘The standard for dismissal under Rule 12(c) [governing motions for judgment on the pleadings] is the same as that for dismissal for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6).'” Bosarge v. Miss. Bureau of Narcotics, 796 F.3d 435, 439 (5th Cir. 2015) (citation and brackets omitted). The Court “‘accept[s] all well-pleaded facts as true, viewing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.'” Id. (citation omitted). “[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) (citation and quotation marks omitted).

         “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. at 678. “While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.” Id. at 679. “When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Id. However, “[a] pleading that offers labels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Bosarge, 796 F.3d at 439 (citation and quotation marks omitted). “Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement.” Id. (citation, quotation marks, and brackets omitted).

         State Law Claims

         Defendants argue that the state law claims against them are barred by the Mississippi Tort Claims Act (MTCA) and by the applicable statute(s) of limitation. Because the Court agrees that the claims are barred on these grounds, it need not address Defendants' other arguments for dismissal of the state law claims.

         The majority of Alidoust's state law claims against Defendants are governed by the MTCA. This is because, with certain limited exceptions, the MTCA provides the exclusive civil remedy against a governmental entity or its employees - such as the Moving Defendants here - for acts or omissions which give rise to a suit. See Stewart ex rel. Womack v. City of Jackson, 804 So.2d 1041, 1046 (Miss. 2002). “Any tort claim filed against a government entity or its employee shall be brought only under the MTCA.” Id.

         The MTCA requires claimants to file a notice of claim with the governmental entity's chief executive officer before filing a lawsuit. See Miss. Code § 11-46-11. The notice must contain specific information about the claim, including the nature and extent of the injury, the names of the persons involved, and the “amount of money damages sought . . . .” See Id. There is a one-year statute of limitation on claims under the MTCA, and failure to file the required notice within the one-year period means the claims are time-barred. See, e.g., Seymour v. Necaise, No. 1:11CV50 LG-RHW, 2013 WL 886056, at *5 (S.D.Miss. Mar. 8, 2013). “The MTCA's notice ...


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