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.

Martin v. Boykin

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Aberdeen Division

September 5, 2017

RICKY MARTIN, Natural Father and Wrongful Death Beneficiary PLAINTIFF
v.
CANYON BOYKIN, JOHNNY BRANCH, YOLANDA YOUNG, and GARRETT MITTAN, Individually and in Their Official Capacities as Officers of the Columbus Police Department; TONY CARLETON, Individually and in His Official Capacity as the Chief of Police of the Columbus Police Department; and CITY OF COLUMBUS, MISSISSIPPI DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS

         Presently before the Court are two motions: a motion to dismiss [13] filed by Defendants City of Columbus and Tony Carleton which the other Defendants have joined [18 & 34]; and a motion to dismiss [22] filed by Defendant Canyon Boykin which the other Defendants have joined [35, 38, & 45]. Upon due consideration, the Court finds the motions to dismiss are well taken and must be granted.

         7. Factual and Procedural Background

         On October 14, 2016, Plaintiff Ricky Martin ("Plaintiff Martin"), "as natural father and wrongful death beneficiary" of the deceased, Ricky Javentia Ball ("Decedent"), filed this action against Defendant City of Columbus, Mississippi, as well as the following Defendants in their individual and official capacities as officers of the Columbus Police Department: Canyon Boykin ("Defendant Boykin"), Johnny Branch ("Defendant Branch"), Yolanda Young ("Defendant Young"), and Garrett Mittan ("Defendant Mittan"); and Tony Carleton in his individual and official capacity as Chief of Police of the Columbus Police Department ("Defendant Carleton") (collectively, "Defendants")-[1] It is undisputed that Decedent was shot and killed by police in Columbus, Lowndes County, Mississippi. Plaintiff Martin, the putative natural father of Decedent, contends that Decedent's estate is entitled to damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as state law claims, for the alleged wrongful death of Decedent. Defendants argue that the fatal shooting of Decedent was in self-defense.

         On February 8, 2017, Defendants Carleton and City of Columbus filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and lack of jurisdiction [13] which was subsequently joined in by the other Defendants [18 & 34]. Plaintiff Martin filed a response in opposition, and Defendants filed a reply. Plaintiff Martin then filed an untimely memorandum brief in support of his response in opposition, and Defendants filed an amended reply.

         On February 14, 2017, Defendant Boykin filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction [22] which was subsequently joined in by the other Defendants [35, 38, & 45]. Plaintiff Martin filed a response in opposition, and Defendants filed a reply and supplement to their motion. Plaintiff Martin filed a response to the supplement.

         II. Analysis and Discussion

          Three issues are before the Court on the present motions to dismiss: (1) whether Plaintiff Martin has standing to bring the claims asserted in the case sub judice; (2) whether this case should be dismissed or consolidated with the Royal case; and (3) whether the Mississippi Tort Claims Act state law claims are barred by failure to provide pre-suit notice. Because the Court finds that Plaintiff Martin does not have statutory standing, the case must be dismissed. The Court need not and does not address the remaining issues.

         As stated, the dispositive issue in this case is whether Plaintiff Martin has statutory standing to bring this case, which asserts Section 1983 and state law claims. The type of standing at issue is not Article III standing, but statutory standing. "[S]tatutory standing is not indicative of Article III jurisdictional standing." Camsoft Data Sys., Inc. v. S. Elecs. Supply, Inc., 756 F.3d 327, 332 (5th Cir. 2014). "If a plaintiff does not have statutory standing, he lacks a cause of action, and the action should be dismissed under Federal Rule of Procedure 12(b)(6)." Walker v. New Orleans City, La., No. 16-31229, 2017 WL 3467879, at *1 (5th Cir. Aug. 11, 2017) (per curiam) (citing Malvino v. Delluniversita, 840 F.3d 223, 229-30 (5th Cir. 2016); Harold H. Huggins Realty, Inc. v. FNC, Inc., 634 F.3d 787, 795 n.2 (5th Cir. 2011) ("Unlike a dismissal for lack of constitutional standing, which should be granted under Rule 12(b)(1), a dismissal for lack of . . . statutory standing is properly granted under Rule 12(b)(6).")).[2] "[W]hether or not a particular cause of action authorizes an injured plaintiff to sue is a merits question ... not a jurisdictional question." Blanchard 1986, Ltd. v. Park Plantation, LLC, 553 F.3d 405, 409 (5th Cir. 2008).

         Therefore, although Defendants in the case sub judice urge their motions to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as a challenge to the Court's subject-matter jurisdiction and Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for failure to state a claim, the issue of statutory standing presents a challenge to the merits of the action under Rule 12(b)(6). The Court will thus consider the motion as one filed solely under Rule 12(b)(6).

         "Standing to bring a [Section] 1983 claim 'is guided by 42 U.S.C. § 1988, which provides that state common law is used to fill the gaps in [Section 1983's] administration.' " Walker, 2017 WL 3467879, at *1 (quoting Pluet v. Frasier, 355 F.3d 381, 383 (5th Cir. 2004)). "Thus, in order to have statutory standing to bring a [Section] 1983 claim on behalf of another, a plaintiff 'must have standing under the state wrongful death or survival statutes.' " Id. (quoting Pluet, 355 F.3d at 383); accord Rodgers v. Lancaster Police & Fire Dep't, 819 F.3d 205, 208-09 (5th Cir.), cert denied, 137 S.Ct. 304, 196 L.Ed.2d 223 (2016), reh'g denied, 137 S.Ct. 545, 196 L.Ed.2d 440 (2016) ("[Section 1988 incorporates wrongful death statutes."). "A party must have standing at the time the complaint is filed." Pluet, 355 F.3d at 386.

         If Plaintiff Martin has statutory standing, he can assert both the Section 1983 claims and state law claims against Defendants. If Plaintiff Martin does not have statutory standing, he cannot bring any of the claims in this case, and his claims must be dismissed.

         Mississippi's wrongful death statute is Mississippi Code ¶ 11-7-13. Pioneer Cmty. Hosp. of Newton v. Roberts, 214 So.3d 259, 259-60 (Miss. 2017). The statute provides in pertinent part:

The action for such damages may be brought in the name of the personal representative of the deceased person or unborn quick child for the benefit of all persons entitled under the law to recover, or by widow for the death of her husband, or by the husband for the death of the wife, or by the parent for the death of a child or unborn quick child, or in the name of a child, or in the name of a child for the death of a parent, or by a brother for the death of a sister, or by a sister for the death of a brother, or by a sister for the death of a sister, or a brother for the death of a brother, or all parties interested may join in the suit, and there shall be but one (1) suit for the same death which shall ensue for the benefit of all parties concerned, but the determination of such suit shall not bar another action unless it be decided on its merits. . . . The list of persons in this section who may bring a wrongful death action is exclusive and only those persons shall be considered interested parties who are entitled to bring an action under this section.

         Miss. Code Ann. § 11-7-13 (emphases added). As stated above, Plaintiff Martin is the putative natural father of Decedent, who died intestate. See Lowndes Cty. Chancery Ct.'s Order Determining Heirs at Law [42-2] ¶ 1. The statute "appl[ies].. to the natural father on account of the death of the illegitimate child ..., and [he] shall have all the benefits, rights[, ] and remedies conferred by this section on legitimates, if the survivor has or establishes the right to inherit from the deceased under Section 91-1-15." Estate of Smith v. Smith ex rel Rollins,130 So.3d 508, 512 (Miss. 2014) (emphasis added); see Burdette v. ...


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.