United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
STARRETT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
reasons below, the Court grants
Defendants' Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings [6, 8].
alleges that Defendants forced him to work on a Lamar County
garbage truck without training or remuneration while he was a
pretrial detainee. In his words, he “was used as an
indentured servant . . . .” He alleges that an
automobile struck and severely injured him while he was
working, causing the amputation of a leg, pain and suffering,
lost wage-earning capacity, lost wages, and medical bills.
Finally, he alleges that Defendants advised him while he was
hospitalized that he was no longer in their custody, and that
they refused to pay for or provide medical care.
filed this lawsuit against Lamar County and Sheriff Danny
Rigel in his individual and official capacities. He asserted
claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendants
violated his constitutional rights. He may have also asserted
claims under state law, insofar as he alleged that Defendants
violated specific Mississippi statutes. Defendants filed two
Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings [6, 8]. Plaintiff did
not respond to the motions, and they are ripe for the
Standard of Review
“motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c)
is subject to the same standard as a motion to dismiss under
Rule 12(b)(6).” Doe v. MySpace, Inc., 528 F.3d
413, 418 (5th Cir. 2008). To survive a motion to dismiss
under Rule 12(b)(6), “a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.” Great
Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. LLC v. La. State, 624 F.3d
201, 210 (5th Cir. 2010) (punctuation omitted). “To be
plausible, the complaint's factual allegations must be
enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Id. (punctuation omitted). The Court
must “accept all well-pleaded facts as true and
construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff.” Id. But the Court will not accept
as true “conclusory allegations, unwarranted factual
inferences, or legal conclusions.” Id.
Likewise, “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.” PSKS, Inc. v. Leegin
Creative Leather Prods., Inc., 615 F.3d 412, 417 (5th
Cir. 2010) (punctuation omitted). “While legal
conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they
must be supported by factual allegations.” Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950, 173
L.Ed.2d 868 (2009).
Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings as to State-Law Claims
argue that any state-law tort claims asserted by Plaintiff
are barred by the Mississippi Tort Claims Act
(“MTCA”). The MTCA codified the common-law
sovereign immunity of Mississippi and its political
subdivisions. Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-3(1). It
“provides the exclusive remedy against a governmental
entity or its employees” under Mississippi law.
Covington County Sch. Dist. v. Magee, 29 So.3d 1, 4
(Miss. 2010). But the MTCA's waiver of sovereign immunity
is subject to certain conditions, restrictions, and
Claims against Lamar County and Rigel in His Official
Notice of Claim
Defendants argue that Plaintiff's tort claims are barred
because he failed to provide notice as required by the MTCA.
The statute provides that “any person having a claim
under this chapter shall proceed as he might in any action at
law or in equity, except that at least ninety (90) days
before instituting suit, the person must file a notice of
claim with the chief executive officer of the governmental
entity.” Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-11(1). The
Mississippi Supreme Court “strictly applies the
ninety-day-notice requirement . . . .” Gorton v.
Rance, 52 So.3d 351, 358 (Miss. 2011). It “is a
hard-edged, mandatory rule, ” id., that
applies “equally to cases in which no notice is filed,
notice is filed after the complaint, or the complaint is
filed sooner than ninety days after filing notice.”
Brown v. Southwest Miss. Reg'l Med. Ctr., 989
So.2d 933, 936 (Miss. Ct. App. 2008).
Defendants represented in briefing that Plaintiff provided a
notice of claim on May 11, 2017. Therefore, pursuant to Miss.
Code Ann. § 11-46-11(1), he was not allowed to file suit
until August 9, 2017. However, he filed the Complaint on
August 2, 2017 - before the ninety-day period had expired.
Therefore, his state tort claims against Lamar County and
Sheriff Rigel in his official capacity are barred because he
failed to comply with the MTCA's notice requirement.