Casanova v. City of Brookshire, No. Civ.A. H-99-3950.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
Writing for the CourtCrone
Citation119 F.Supp.2d 639
PartiesAlex M. CASANOVA, Plaintiff, v. CITY OF BROOKSHIRE, Waller County, Harris County, Deputy L. Barr, Chief J. Garcia and Officer J. Prejean, Defendants.
Docket NumberNo. Civ.A. H-99-3950.
Decision Date07 September 2000
119 F.Supp.2d 639
Alex M. CASANOVA, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF BROOKSHIRE, Waller County, Harris County, Deputy L. Barr, Chief J. Garcia and Officer J. Prejean, Defendants.
No. Civ.A. H-99-3950.
United States District Court, S.D. Texas.
September 7, 2000.

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Luis Roberto Vera, Jr., San Antonio, TX, for Plaintiff.

William Scott Helfand, Magenheim Bateman et al., Houston, TX, Vanessa Ann Gonzalez, Allison Bass et al., Austin, TX, F. Clinton Gambill, II, Office of Harris County Atty., Houston, TX, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

CRONE, United States Magistrate Judge.


Pending before the court are Defendant Chief J. Garcia's ("Garcia") Motion to Dismiss (# 33), Defendant Waller County's ("Waller") Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (# 36), and Garcia's Motion for Summary Judgment (# 44). Garcia and Waller seek the dismissal of Plaintiff Alex M. Casanova's ("Casanova") claims brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Texas common law. Having reviewed the pending motions, the submissions of the parties, the pleadings, and the applicable law, the court is of the opinion that dismissal and/or summary judgment is warranted.

I. Background

Casanova, a resident of Bexar County, Texas, filed this action on November 15, 1999. According to his amended complaint, Casanova's claims arise from his wrongful arrest on or about September 3, 1997, for the delivery of a controlled substance. Casanova offers few facts describing the incident that forms the basis of his complaint, stating:

On or about September 3, 1997, the Plaintiff, Alex M. Casanova was arrested in Bexar County, Texas pursuant to a warrant issued by the County of Waller. The arrest arose out of information from an unidentified informant that a controlled

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substance had been purchased from someone named "Alex."

The plaintiff had never been in Waller County prior to his first court appearance there.

The charges against the Plaintiff for the delivery of a controlled substance were dismissed on or about September 9, 1998 as the only eyewitness to the crime could not identify the Plaintiff.

From these facts, Casanova alleges claims against the City of Brookshire ("Brookshire"), Waller, Harris County ("Harris"), Deputy L. Barr ("Barr"), Garcia, and Officer J. Prejean ("Prejean") for violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Texas common law, including claims for assault, false arrest, and malicious prosecution. Garcia and Waller filed motions to dismiss Casanova's complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Garcia also filed a motion for summary judgment to which Casanova submitted no response.

II. Analysis

A. Applicable Standards

1. Dismissal Under Rule 12(b)(6)

A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure tests only the formal sufficiency of the statement of a claim for relief. It is not a procedure for resolving contests about the facts or the merits of a case. In ruling on such a motion, the court must accept the factual allegations of the complaint as true, view them in a light most favorable to the plaintiff, and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 40 L.Ed.2d 90 (1974); Beanal v. Freeport-McMoran, Inc., 197 F.3d 161, 164 (5th Cir.1999); Brown v. Nationsbank Corp., 188 F.3d 579, 585 (5th Cir.1999), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 120 S.Ct. 2740, 147 L.Ed.2d 1004 (2000); Indest v. Freeman Decorating, Inc., 164 F.3d 258, 261 (5th Cir.1999); Jefferson v. Lead Indus. Ass'n, Inc., 106 F.3d 1245, 1250 (5th Cir.1997); Baker v. Putnal, 75 F.3d 190, 196 (5th Cir.1996); Fernandez-Montes v. Allied Pilots Ass'n, 987 F.2d 278, 284-85 (5th Cir.1993). Generally, the court may not look beyond the four corners of the plaintiff's pleadings. See Indest, 164 F.3d at 261; Baker, 75 F.3d at 196; McCartney v. First City Bank, 970 F.2d 45, 47 (5th Cir.1992). The court may, however, consider matters that are outside of the pleadings if those materials are matters of public record. See Davis v. Bayless, 70 F.3d 367, 372 n. 3 (5th Cir.1995); Cinel v. Connick, 15 F.3d 1338, 1343 n. 6 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 868, 115 S.Ct. 189, 130 L.Ed.2d 122 (1994); see also 5A CHARLES A. WRIGHT & ARTHUR R. MILLER, FEDERAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE: CIVIL 2d § 1357, at 299 (1990). The motion must be denied unless it appears to a certainty that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts that would entitle him to relief. See Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73, 104 S.Ct. 2229, 81 L.Ed.2d 59 (1984); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957); Jefferson, 106 F.3d at 1250; Blackburn v. City of Marshall, 42 F.3d 925, 931 (5th Cir.1995); U.S. Abatement Corp. v. Mobil Exploration & Producing U.S., Inc., 39 F.3d 556, 559 (5th Cir.1994); Leffall v. Dallas Indep. Sch. Dist., 28 F.3d 521, 524 (5th Cir.1994). "`The question therefore is whether, in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and with every doubt resolved in his behalf, the complaint states any valid claim for relief.'" Shipp v. McMahon, 199 F.3d 256, 260 (5th Cir.2000) (quoting 5 CHARLES A. WRIGHT & ARTHUR R. MILLER, FEDERAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE § 1357, at 601 (1969)).

"`[T]he complaint must contain either direct allegations on every material point necessary to sustain a recovery ... or contain allegations from which an inference fairly may be drawn that evidence on these material points will be introduced at trial.'" Campbell v. City of San Antonio, 43 F.3d 973, 975 (5th Cir.1995) (quoting 3 CHARLES A. WRIGHT & ARTHUR R. MILLER,

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FEDERAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE: CIVIL 2d § 1216, at 156-59 (1990) (footnote omitted)). "`[A] statement of facts that merely creates a suspicion that the pleader might have a right of action' is insufficient." Id. (quoting 3 CHARLES A. WRIGHT & ARTHUR R. MILLER, supra., at 163 (footnote omitted)). "`Dismissal is proper if the complaint lacks an allegation regarding a required element necessary to obtain relief....'" Id. (quoting 2A JAMES W. MOORE ET AL., MOORE'S FEDERAL PRACTICE ¶ 12.07 [2.-5], at 12-91 (1995) (footnote omitted)). "The court is not required to `conjure up unpled allegations or construe elaborately arcane scripts to' save a complaint." Id. (quoting Gooley v. Mobil Oil Corp., 851 F.2d 513, 514 (1st Cir.1988)). "Further, `conclusory allegations or legal conclusions masquerading as factual conclusions will not suffice to prevent a motion to dismiss.'" Id. (quoting Fernandez-Montes, 987 F.2d at 284); accord Jefferson, 106 F.3d at 1250; see Tuchman v. DSC Communications Corp., 14 F.3d 1061, 1067 (5th Cir.1994).

2. Summary Judgment

Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." FED.R.CIV.P. 56(c). The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for his motion and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions on file, and affidavits, if any, which he believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986); Colson v. Grohman, 174 F.3d 498, 506 (5th Cir.1999); Marshall v. East Carroll Parish Hosp. Serv. Dist., 134 F.3d 319, 321 (5th Cir.1998); Wenner v. Texas Lottery Comm'n, 123 F.3d 321, 324 (5th Cir.1997), cert. denied, 523 U.S. 1073, 118 S.Ct. 1514, 140 L.Ed.2d 667 (1998). The moving party, however, need not negate the elements of the nonmovant's case. See Wallace v. Texas Tech Univ., 80 F.3d 1042, 1047 (5th Cir.1996) (citing Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994)).

Once a proper motion has been made, the nonmoving party may not rest upon mere allegations or denials in the pleadings, but must present affirmative evidence, setting forth specific facts, to show the existence of a genuine issue for trial. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322-23, 106 S.Ct. 2548; Anderson, 477 U.S. at 257, 106 S.Ct. 2505; Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 585-86, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986); Colson, 174 F.3d at 506; Marshall, 134 F.3d at 321-22; Wallace, 80 F.3d at 1047; Little, 37 F.3d at 1075. All the evidence must be construed "in the light most favorable to the non-moving party without weighing the evidence, assessing its probative value, or resolving any factual disputes." Williams v. Time Warner Operation, Inc., 98 F.3d 179, 181 (5th Cir.1996) (citing Lindsey v. Prive Corp., 987 F.2d 324, 327 n. 14 (5th Cir.1993)); see Colson, 174 F.3d at 506; Marshall, 134 F.3d at 321; Messer v. Meno, 130 F.3d 130, 134 (5th Cir.1997), cert. denied, 525 U.S. 1067, 119 S.Ct. 794, 142 L.Ed.2d 657 (1999); Hart v. O'Brien, 127 F.3d 424, 435 (5th Cir.1997), cert. denied, 525 U.S. 1103, 119 S.Ct. 868, 142 L.Ed.2d 770 (1999); Songbyrd, Inc. v. Bearsville Records, Inc., 104 F.3d 773, 776 (5th Cir.1997). "The evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505; Palmer v. BRG of Ga., Inc., 498 U.S. 46, 49 n. 5, 111 S.Ct. 401, 112 L.Ed.2d 349 (1990); see Marshall, 134 F.3d at 321. Nonetheless, "`only reasonable inferences can be drawn from the evidence in favor of the nonmoving party.'"

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19 practice notes
  • Maier v. Green, Civil Action No. 06-715.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Louisiana
    • March 30, 2007
    ...cause," to believe a crime has been committed. See Street v. Surdyka, 492 F.2d 368, 372 (4th Cir.1974); Casanova v. City of Brookshire, 119 F.Supp.2d 639, 651 (S.D.Tex.2000). Because a claim of false arrest implicates the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments it is, therefore, actionable under 4......
  • Wooten v. Roach, Civil Action No. 4:18-CV-380
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • March 27, 2019
    ...as such these claims "accrue[ ] at the same time as the cause of action for malicious prosecution." Casanova v. City of Brookshire , 119 F.Supp.2d 639, 650 (S.D. Tex. 2000) ; accord Brandley v. Keeshan , 64 F.3d 196, 199 (5th Cir. 1995), Jacobs v. Port Neches Police Dep't , No. 1:94-cv-767,......
  • Causey v. Parish of Tangipahoa, No. Civ.A. 00-2352.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana)
    • April 12, 2001
    ...on behalf of the Sheriff. See Duckett v. City of Cedar Park, Texas, 950 F.2d 272 (5th Cir.1992); Casanova v. City of Brookshire, 119 F.Supp.2d 639, 651(S.D.Tex.2000) (evidence that arrest was carried out pursuant to valid arrest warrant forecloses 1983 claim for false arrest); Patterson v. ......
  • Renee v. Peralez, CIVIL ACTION NO. 7:16-CV-281
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Texas
    • August 3, 2017
    ...no such defense in her Motion. (Dkt. No. 24). Accordingly, the Court does not address it here. See Casanova v. City of Brookshire, 119 F.Supp.2d 639, 666-67 (S.D. Tex. 2000) ("Official immunity is an affirmative defense which places on the defendant the burden of establishing all its...
  • Request a trial to view additional results
18 cases
  • Maier v. Green, Civil Action No. 06-715.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Louisiana
    • March 30, 2007
    ...cause," to believe a crime has been committed. See Street v. Surdyka, 492 F.2d 368, 372 (4th Cir.1974); Casanova v. City of Brookshire, 119 F.Supp.2d 639, 651 (S.D.Tex.2000). Because a claim of false arrest implicates the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments it is, therefore, actionable under 4......
  • Wooten v. Roach, Civil Action No. 4:18-CV-380
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • March 27, 2019
    ...as such these claims "accrue[ ] at the same time as the cause of action for malicious prosecution." Casanova v. City of Brookshire , 119 F.Supp.2d 639, 650 (S.D. Tex. 2000) ; accord Brandley v. Keeshan , 64 F.3d 196, 199 (5th Cir. 1995), Jacobs v. Port Neches Police Dep't , No. 1:94-cv-767,......
  • Causey v. Parish of Tangipahoa, No. Civ.A. 00-2352.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Louisiana)
    • April 12, 2001
    ...on behalf of the Sheriff. See Duckett v. City of Cedar Park, Texas, 950 F.2d 272 (5th Cir.1992); Casanova v. City of Brookshire, 119 F.Supp.2d 639, 651(S.D.Tex.2000) (evidence that arrest was carried out pursuant to valid arrest warrant forecloses 1983 claim for false arrest); Patterson v. ......
  • Renee v. Peralez, CIVIL ACTION NO. 7:16-CV-281
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Texas
    • August 3, 2017
    ...no such defense in her Motion. (Dkt. No. 24). Accordingly, the Court does not address it here. See Casanova v. City of Brookshire, 119 F.Supp.2d 639, 666-67 (S.D. Tex. 2000) ("Official immunity is an affirmative defense which places on the defendant the burden of establishing all its...
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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