Cross v. Bates-Anderson et al
ORDER AND REASONS GRANTING 23 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. All federal claims against these defendants in their personal capacities are dismissed with prejudice. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that 24 Cross Motion is DENIED. Signed by Judge Jay C. Zainey on 6/28/2017. (ajn) Modified on 6/28/2017 (ajn).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
CANDICE BATES-ANDERSON, ET
SECTION: "A" (4)
ORDER AND REASONS
The following motions are before the Court: Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings (Rec. Doc. 23) filed by defendants Daphne Johnson, Lemoyne Reine, and
Cody Smith; Cross-Motion (Rec. Doc. 24) filed by Plaintiff, Daphne Cross (pro se),
mother of the minor X.F. The motions, submitted on June 28, 2017, are before the Court
on the briefs without oral argument.
Plaintiff Daphne Cross has filed this § 1983 complaint pro se on behalf of her
minor son X.F. According to her complaint, Juvenile Court Judge Candice BatesAnderson (a defendant herein) presided over X.F.’s case wherein he was placed in the
custody of the Bridge City Center for Youth at the age of 15. Plaintiff complains that
notwithstanding some prior abuse at Bridge City Center that X.F. had endured in
September 2014, the judge decided to keep him there. On June 25, 2015, X.F. was
attacked by some other youths and had to be rushed to Children’s Hospital to have his
ear sewn back on.
Defendant Cody Smith was an employee of Bridge City and the Court gleans from
the complaint that Plaintiff believes that Smith lied in Court about X.F.’s case.
Defendant Lemoyne Reine was X.F.’s probation officer, and defendant Daphne Johnson
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was Reine’s supervisor. Plaintiff alleges generally that her son’s federal due process
rights were violated by the defendants acting together.1
Defendants Johnson, Reine, and Smith previously moved to dismiss all federal
claims against them. Their motion was directed solely at the official capacity claims and
the Court agreed that for purposes of § 1983 these defendants are not “persons”
amenable to suit. (Rec. Doc. 10). See Will v. Mich. Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71
(1989). The Court therefore dismissed with prejudice the federal claims against
defendants Johnson, Reine, and Smith in their official capacities. Id.
Defendants Johnson, Reine, and Smith now move for judgment on the pleadings
as to the claims, if any, asserted against them in their personal capacities. 2 As to the
moving defendants, the Court agrees with their characterization of the Complaint: Cross
appears to claim that X.F. was improperly convicted because of Defendants’ fault,
thereby laying responsibility on them for the abuse and violence that X.F. experienced at
the Bridge City Center for Youth. (Rec. Doc. 23-2, Memo in Support at 1). Cross takes
issue with the testimony that Smith gave in the juvenile proceedings, and with
documents that Reine provided to the court.
The claims against Reine and Smith for their acts in conjunction with X.F.’s trial
are barred under Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). Heck holds that a civil cause
of action does not accrue under § 1983 during the existence of a criminal judgment
when success on that cause of action would render the criminal conviction invalid. 312
Plaintiff also sued Ms. Tenee Felix, X.F.’s attorney and Judge Bates-Anderson. The claims
against them have already been dismissed. (Rec. Docs. 16 & 17).
Plaintiff’s complaint expressly states that Defendants are sued in their official capacities.
Personal capacity is not mentioned. But the Court gave a liberal reading to the pro se complaint
and concluded that Plaintiff meant to sue the defendants in their personal capacities as well.
(Rec. Doc. 10).
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U.S. at 486-87. The principles of Heck apply to allegations of false testimony and
evidence tampering. See Villegas v. Galloway, 458 Fed. Appx. 334, 337 (5th Cir. 2012)
The claims against Johnson are likewise barred by Heck for the same reason.
Moreover, under § 1983 supervisory officials are not liable for the acts of their
subordinates on any theory of vicarious liability. Thompkins v. Belt, 828 F.2d 298, 305
(5th Cir. 1987) (citing Thibodeaux v. Arceneaux, 768 F.2d 737, 739 (5th Cir. 1985)).
In sum, defendants Daphne Johnson, Lemoyne Reine, and Cody Smith are
entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the claims asserted against them in their
Accordingly, and for the foregoing reasons;
IT IS ORDERED that the Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Rec.
Doc. 23) filed by defendants Daphne Johnson, Lemoyne Reine, and Cody Smith is
GRANTED. All federal claims against these defendants in their personal capacities are
dismissed with prejudice. The Clerk is instructed to enter a final judgment as to all
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Cross-Motion (Rec. Doc. 24) filed by
Plaintiff, Daphne Cross (pro se) is DENIED.
June 28, 2017
JAY C. ZAINEY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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