Robinson v. Lipps, CASE NO. 6:18-CV-01062

CourtUnited States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Louisiana
Docket NumberCASE NO. 6:18-CV-01062
Decision Date04 January 2019


CASE NO. 6:18-CV-01062


January 4, 2019




Before the Court in this civil rights suit is a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), filed by Defendants Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government ("LCG") and Officer Gene Lipps ("Lipps"), individually and in his official capacity as a police officer for LCG. [Doc. No. 15]. Pursuant to their motion, Defendants seek dismissal of all claims brought against them by Plaintiff Jasper Robinson ("Robinson") and his two minor children. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.1

I. Factual Background

Plaintiff Jasper Robinson brings this suit for violations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as related state law tort claims pursuant to this Court's supplemental jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1367. Robinson's Complaint alleges that:


. . .

On July 15, 2017, JASPER ROBINSON ("Mr. Robinson") along with several family members and friends attended his Mother's wedding which was located on the corner of Cameron and St. Antoine Street in Lafayette, Louisiana. Mr. Robinson briefly left the wedding venue by foot to go to his mother's home

Page 2

which was located on the 200th block of Bienville when a fight broke out down the street involving 30 to 40 people.


Simultaneously Officer Gene Lipps was dispatched to the corner of Bienville and Cameron where the disturbance was taking place which was also located down the street from where Mr. Robinson and his family were situated.


Officer Lipps made several verbal commands to the crowd which had gathered around the altercation to move across the street where Mr. Robinson and his family were located. At such time, Mr. Robinson and his family proceeded to walk in the street to observe what was going on.


Officer Lipps then moved across the street where Mr. Robinson and about 10 to 15 of Mr. Robinson's family and friends were standing and commanded them to get out of the street. As Mr. Robinson complied, he asked Officer Lipps not to touch him and moved off of the street. As a result the following verbal exchange ensued:

Officer Lipps: I said get out of the street, TRY ME.
Mr. Robinson: Don't touch me, you can't touch me.
Officer Lipps: I can't really? You're blocking traffic.
Mr. Robinson: I ain't blocking no traffic.
Officer Lipps: You're blocking traffic would you like to tell me what the law is.
Mr. Robinson: Man I ain't bothering you, handle ya f***ing business.
Mr. Robinson: Quit talking for what? You ain't f***ing with me baw.


Immediately following Mr. Robinson's last statement, Officer Lipps charged Mr. Robinson who was in the middle of a crowd of his family. Mr. Robinson and the rest of the crowd backed up which resulted in Officer. Lipps [sic] "suplex" slamming Mr. Robinson head first on the concrete, In [sic] front of Mr. Robinsons Family member [sic] including his two minor children . . . .

Page 3


At the time of this violent attack Mr. Robinson did not pose a threat to Officer Lipps. Mr. Robinson sustained serious physical injuries to his lower back and knee, cuts and bruises around his eye, knee, and elbows. Along with mental and psychological injuries as a result of the attack at the hands of Officer Lipps. [sic]


Mr. Robinson was subsequently arrested and charged with Disturbing the Peace, Remaining after Forbidden, and Resisting an Officer.


Mr. Robinson was brought to the Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government Police Department, where he received no medical attention for his injuries even after specifically requesting medical services.


Officer Lipps acted with criminal intent and malice in the attack of Mr. Robinson. Additionally, he filed false charges to cover his criminal behavior and attack of Mr. Robinson.
Doc. 11 at 3-5 (emphasis in original)

Based upon these allegations, Robinson asserts claims for: (1) unlawful arrest by Lipps in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution; (2) excessive force by Lipps in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; (3) violation of his right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution2; (4) state law tort claims for false arrest and imprisonment, assault and battery, failure to provide medical attention, and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Robinson additionally asserts a claim of

Page 4

vicarious liability against LCG3 for the tortious acts of its employee, Officer Lipps. Finally, Robinson and Andrea Williams assert state law claims on behalf of their two minor children for loss of consortium and bystander damages. [Doc. No. 11 at 6-7]

II. Standard of Review

Motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim are appropriate when a defendant attacks the complaint because it fails to state a legally cognizable clam. Ramming v. United States, 281 F.3d 158, 161 (5th Cir. 2001). A motion to dismiss an action for failure to state a claim "admits the facts alleged in the complaint, but challenges plaintiff's rights to relief based upon those facts." Id. at 161-62. When deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, "[t]he court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true, viewing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litig., 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir. 2007) (internal quotation marks omitted).

"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." Harold H. Huggins Realty, Inc. v. FNC, Inc., 634 F.3d 787, 796 (5th Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks omitted). The plausibility standard is met "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief." Id. at 679. However, conclusory allegations and unwarranted deductions are not accepted as true, and courts "are not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)). A complaint which merely "tenders naked assertions devoid of further factual

Page 5

enhancement" will not survive a motion to dismiss. Iqbal at 678 (internal quotation marks and alterations omitted). Rather, "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level," and the pleading must contain something more than a statement of facts which merely creates a suspicion of a legally cognizable right of action. Twombly at 555.

In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a district court generally "must limit itself to the contents of the pleadings, including attachments thereto." Collins v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, 224 F.3d 496, 498 (5th Cir.2000). However, "[t]he court may also consider documents attached to either a motion to dismiss or an opposition to that motion when the documents are referred to in the pleadings and are central to a plaintiff's claims." Brand Coupon Network, L.L.C. v. Catalina Marketing Corp., 748 F.3d 631, 635 (5th Cir.2014). Further, "the court may permissibly refer to matters of public record." Cinel v. Connick, 15 F.3d 1338, 1343, n. 6 (5th Cir.1994); see also Test Masters Educational Services, Inc. v. Singh, 428 F.3d 559, 570, n. 2 (5th Cir.2005). This includes "the record of the underlying litigation." Cal Dive at 216, n. 1 (citing Norris v. Hearst Trust, 500 F.3d 454, 461, n. 9 (5th Cir. 2007)). Finally, a complaint is also subject to dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) "when its allegations indicate the existence of an affirmative defense that will bar the award of any remedy. . . ." 5B Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure Civil § 1357 (3d ed. 2004); Miller v. BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P., 726 F.3d 717, 726 (5th Cir. 2013).

III. Federal Claims

A. Applicable Law

Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 provides a cause of action against "[e]very person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State . . . , subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the

Page 6

Constitution and laws. . . ." 42 U.S.C. § 1983. "The purpose of § 1983 is to deter state actors from using the badge of their authority to deprive individuals of their federally guaranteed rights and to provide relief to victims if such deterrence fails." Wyatt v. Cole, 504 U.S. 158, 161 (1992). Section 1983 "is not itself a source of substantive rights; it merely provides a method for vindicating federal rights conferred elsewhere." Olabisiomotosho v. City of Houston, 185 F.3d 521, 525 (5th Cir. 1999). To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must: (1) allege a violation of rights secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, and (2) demonstrate that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under color of state law. Southwestern Bell Telephone, LP v. City of Houston, 529 F.3d 257, 260 (5th Cir. 2008).

B. Whether Robinson's claim for unlawful arrest is barred by Heck v. Humphrey

Defendants contend Robinson's claim for unlawful arrest is "barred by the Heck doctrine in light of Robinson's conviction on the resisting an officer charge." [Doc. No. 15-1 at 10]. Robinson does not directly address this argument in his briefing. The Court finds Robinson is precluded from seeking damages under § 1983 for his alleged unlawful arrest, because he stands convicted of...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT