United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
STARRETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
cause came before the Court on Defendants' Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings as to Federal Claims .
Plaintiff filed a Response , and Defendants have filed a
Reply . Having reviewed the parties' submissions and
the relevant legal authority, the Court finds the motion will
be denied for the reasons set forth below.
case arises from the Lamar County Board of Supervisors'
amendment to Lamar County's Unauthorized Dumping and
Litter Ordinance, which amendment discontinued waste
collection and disposal services for all multi-family
properties in Lamar County, Mississippi and required property
owners to privately contract for replacement services.
Plaintiff is a limited liability company that owns several
multi-family residential properties and regularly enters into
lease contracts with tenants who are predominantly
minorities. Plaintiff contends that members of the Board of
Supervisors amended the Ordinance based on discriminatory
animus, which allegedly infringes not only on Plaintiff's
own constitutional rights but also those of its tenants.
Plaintiff seeks to recover damages for violations of 42
U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1981, 1983 (Due Process and Equal
Protection), and 3613 (Fair Housing Act or
“FHA”); and several state statutes. At issue in
this motion are the federal claims only.
Relevant Legal Standard
bring this action as a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c). “The
standard for dismissal under Rule 12(c) is the same as that
for dismissal for failure to state a claim under Rule
12(b)(6). Edionwe v. Bailey, 860 F.3d 287, 291 (5th
Cir. 2017) (quoting Johnson v. Johnson, 385 F.3d
503, 529 (5th Cir. 2004)). “To survive a motion to
dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Id. (quoting
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(internal quotation marks omitted)). The Court must
“accept all well-pleaded facts as true, viewing them in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff.”
Id. The Court is generally limited to the contents
of the complaint and any attachments thereto. Bosarge v.
MS Bureau of Narcotics, 796 F.3d 435, 440 (5th Cir.
brings this motion based on two grounds: lack of standing and
qualified immunity for the individual Defendants, arguing
that Plaintiff has failed to comply with the heightened
pleading standard to overcome qualified immunity. The Court
will address each ground separately.
Fifth Circuit has explained:
Every party that comes before a federal court must establish
that it has standing to pursue its claims. . . . The Supreme
court has described standing as “contain[ing] two
strands: Article III standing, which enforces the
Constitution's case-or-controversy requirement; and
prudential standing, which embodies judicially self-imposed
limits on the exercise of federal jurisdiction.” . . .
Even if a plaintiff establishes Article III standing, we may
consider whether prudential standing principals nonetheless
counsel against hearing the plaintiff's claims. . . .
[A]s the Supreme Court has observed, prudential standing:
“[E]ncompasses ‘the general prohibition on a
litigant's raising another person's legal rights, the
rule barring adjudication of generalized grievances more
appropriately addressed in the representative branches, and
the requirement that a plaintiff's complaint fall within
the zone of interests protected by the law
Cibolo Waste, Inc. v. City of San Antonio, 718 F.3d
469, 473-474 (5th Cir. 2013) (internal citations omitted).
Defendants do not appear to take issue with Plaintiff's
Article III standing, but rather argue on each claim that
Plaintiff does not have standing to vindicate the rights of
third parties, namely its tenants.
Section 1981, ...