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Ellis v. Lowndes County

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

October 17, 2017

JAVONTE ELLIS, Individually; and STATE OF MISSISSIPPI ex rel. Javonte Ellis PLAINTIFFS
v.
LOWNDES COUNTY; WILL SPANN; MIKE ARLEDGE; RON COOK; and OHIO CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          DEBRA M. BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This civil rights action is before the Court on Ron Cook's two motions to dismiss, Doc. #20, Doc. #33; and his motion for sanctions, Doc. #35.

         I

         Relevant Procedural History

         On September 29, 2016, Javonte Ellis filed a complaint in this Court naming as defendants Lowndes County, Will Spann (in his official and individual capacities), Mike Arledge (in his official and individual capacities), Ron Cook (in his official and individual capacities), and Ohio Casualty Insurance Company. Doc. #1. The complaint asserted state and federal claims based on an alleged false arrest of Ellis.

         Cook, with leave of the Court, answered the complaint on March 26, 2017. Doc. #16. Two months later, on May 26, 2017, Cook filed a motion to dismiss or, alternatively, for judgment on the pleadings. Doc. #20.

         On July 3, 2017, Ellis, with leave of the Court, filed an amended complaint. Doc. #31. The amended complaint also asserts state and federal claims against the same defendants based on roughly the same allegations. One week later, on July 10, 2017, Cook filed: (1) an answer to the amended complaint, Doc. #32; (2) a second motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, for judgment on the pleadings, Doc. #33; and (3) a motion for sanctions, Doc. #35. Ellis responded in opposition to both motions. Doc. #43; Doc. #45. Cook did not reply to either response.

         II

         Motion to Dismiss Original Complaint

         “[A]n amended complaint supersedes [an] original complaint and renders it of no legal effect unless the amended complaint specifically refers to and adopts or incorporates by reference the earlier pleading ….” King v. Dogan, 31 F.3d 344, 346 (5th Cir. 1994). Accordingly, when a motion to dismiss has been filed against a superseded complaint, the proper course ordinarily is to deny the motion to dismiss as moot. See, Reyna v. Deutsche Bank Nat'l Tr. Co., 892 F.Supp.2d 829, 834 (W.D. Tex. 2012) (collecting cases).

         Here, insofar as the amended complaint does not reference or incorporate the original complaint, the latter has been superseded by the former. Accordingly, the motion to dismiss the original complaint, Doc. #20, will be denied as moot.

         III

         Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint

         In his second motion to dismiss, Cook “moves the Court to dismiss the Plaintiff's claims pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), or alternatively Rule 12(c), of the Federal Rules of ...


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