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Newberry v. Champion

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

March 7, 2018

WEISSINGER NEWBERRY, III PLAINTIFF
v.
JOHN W. CHAMPION, District Attorney of Desoto County, Mississippi, et al. DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          DEBRA M. BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is John W. Champion and Patrick Steven Jubera's motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c). Doc. #26.

         I

         Procedural Background

         On May 2, 2016, Weissinger Newberry, III filed a complaint against John W. Champion, Patrick Steven Jubera, and the State of Mississippi in the Circuit Court of Desoto County, Mississippi, alleging claims arising from his indictment, conviction, and imprisonment in 2012. Doc. #2. The case was removed to this Court on June 24, 2016. Doc. #1.

         On June 27, 2016, Champion and Jubera filed a joint motion to dismiss. Doc. #4. The State filed a motion to dismiss on July 18, 2016. Doc. #9. On March 17, 2017, after both motions were fully briefed, the Court, granting each motion in part, dismissed the State and dismissed Newberry's claims against Champion and Jubera without prejudice. Doc. #16. The Court allowed Newberry fourteen days to file an amended complaint against Champion and Jubera that complied with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2). Id. at 11.

         After receiving a requested extension of the fourteen-day time period, Newberry filed an amended complaint against Champion and Jubera on April 20, 2017. Doc. #20. Champion and Jubera answered the amended complaint on May 17, 2017. Doc. #24. On June 2, 2017, Champion and Jubera moved to dismiss the amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c). Doc. #26. Newberry did not respond.

         II

         Standard of Review

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) provides that “a party may move for judgment on the pleadings.” A motion under Rule 12(c) is analyzed under the same standard as that 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). In that regard, Rule 8(a)(2) requires “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” A defendant may move to dismiss the claim for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted” if the complaint falls short of the Rule 8 directive. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In considering the interplay between Rule 8 and Rule 12, the United States Supreme Court has explained:

To survive a motion to dismiss [for failure to state a claim], a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. 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. The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.

Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal citations and punctuation omitted). Under this standard, a “court must accept all well-pleaded facts as true and view those facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Harold H. Huggins Realty, Inc. v. FNC, Inc., 634 F.3d 787, 803 n.44 (5th Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks and alterations omitted).

         III

         Factual Allegations

         On or about February 4, 2012, Newberry was indicted on charges of assault on a law enforcement officer, possession of marijuana, possession of cocaine, and driving under the influence. Doc. #20 at ¶ 12. Champion and Jubera prosecuted Newberry for such crimes despite there being no evidence of any crime. Id. at ¶ 13. Champion and Jubera prosecuted Newberry in “bad faith” and “conspir[ed] together … to accomplish bad faith convictions by having [him] convicted of all charges” by conspiring with other law enforcement officials to create evidence to secure his indictment. Id. at ¶¶ 14-15, 19.1.

         Newberry was sentenced “to terms of 2 days on the DUI count, six years on the possession of marijuana count, and thirty years on the possession of cocaine” count. Id. at ¶ 16. Newberry's convictions were overturned on direct appeal in August 2014, and he was acquitted of all charges at his May 2015 retrial. Id. at ¶ 17.

         IV

         Analysis

         Newberry's amended complaint asserts claims for (1) injunctive relief; (2) violations of constitutional rights and federal civil rights; (3) intentional infliction of emotional distress; (4) civil assault and battery; (5) malicious prosecution; (6) false arrest and imprisonment; and (7) civil ...


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