Justice v. Ball et al
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER re: 29 ORDERED that Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings is granted. FURTHER ORDERED that judgment is entered in favor of Defendant and against Plaintiff. A separate judgment is entered this same date. Signed by District Judge Henry E. Autrey on 2/13/13. (CEL)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
BOBBY LENN JUSTICE,
GEORGE BALL, et al.,
Case No. 4:11CV1045 HEA
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on Defendants Rick Stallings, Dent County
Commission and George Ball’s Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, [Doc. No.
29]. Plaintiff has failed to respond to the Motion. For the reasons set forth below,
the Motion is granted.
Facts and Background
Plaintiff brought this action in the Circuit Court of Dent County, Missouri
apparently seeking recovery under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for an alleged unlawful arrest,
confinement and prosecution. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants deprived him of
his constitutional rights through their actions when he was arrested on June 12,
Defendants removed the matter on June 9, 2011 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1441 and 1446. The removal is based on the Court’s original jurisdiction over this
matter, as it alleges violations of Plaintiff’s constitutional rights, and the Court’s
supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s state law claims.
On March 28, 2012, the Court granted Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss for
Failure to State a Claim, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. The Court found that Plaintiff’s Complaint failed to state a claim. The
Court found the allegations of the Complaint deficient in that Plaintiff failed to
allege any facts with respect to Defendants Dent County Commission and
Stallings. The Court further found that as to Defendant Ball, Plaintiff’s sole
allegation was that he “falsely arrested Plaintiff without a warrant and held him for
twenty four hours.” This general allegation was insufficient to state a Section
1983 claim against Defendant Ball. The Court allowed Plaintiff to file an
On April 24, 2012, Plaintiff filed a “Motion Amending Original Complaint”
and on May 9, 2012, Plaintiff filed an “Addendum to Amended Complaint.”
Defendants now move for judgment on the pleadings, claiming that Plaintiff’s
Amended Complaint and the Addendum thereto fail to make any factual
allegations against any of the Defendants.
Standard for Judgment on the Pleadings
Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure establishes that “[a]fter
the pleadings are closed-but early enough not to delay trial-a party may move for
judgment on the pleadings.” “Judgment on the pleadings is appropriate where no
material issue of fact remains to be resolved and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Faibisch v. Univ. of Minn., 304 F.3d 797, 803 (8th
Cir.2002) (citing United States v. Any & All Radio Station Transmission Equip.,
207 F.3d 458, 462 (8th Cir.2000)). When presented with a motion for judgment
on the pleadings, a district court must “ ‘accept as true all factual allegations set
out in the complaint” and “construe the complaint in the light most favorable to
the plaintiff[s], drawing all inferences in [their] favor.’ ” Ashley County, Ark. v.
Pfizer, Inc., 552 F.3d 659, 665 (8th Cir.2009) (quoting Wishnatsky v. Rovner, 433
F.3d 608, 610 (8th Cir.2006)). As a general rule, a Rule 12(c) motion for
judgment on the pleadings is reviewed under the same standard as a 12(b)(6)
motion to dismiss.” Ginsburg v. InBev NV/SA, 623 F.3d 1229, 1233 n. 3 (8th
Cir.2010); accord Gallagher v. City of Clayton, 699 F.3d 1013,1016 -1017 (8th
Cir. 2012). Thus,
“To survive a motion to dismiss [or a motion for judgment on the
pleadings], a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173
L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). “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.” Id. While this court must “accept as true
all facts pleaded by the non-moving party and grant all reasonable
inferences from the pleadings in favor of the non-moving party,”
United States v. Any & All Radio Station Transmission Equip., 207
F.3d 458, 462 (8th Cir.2000), “[a] pleading that offers ‘labels and
conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action will not do.’” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555).
Gallagher, 699 F.3d 1016 (8th Cir. 2012). Furthermore, dismissal under Rule
12(b)(6)-and, hence, judgment pursuant to Rule 12(c)—is appropriate when a
claim or action is fatally flawed in its legal premises. See Stringer v. St. James
R–1 Sch. Dist., 446 F.3d 799, 802 (8th Cir.2006) (citing Young v. City of St.
Charles, 244 F.3d 623, 627 (8th Cir.2001)).
Plaintiff’s allegations fail to satisfy even the liberal pleading standard
required to state a claim. None of the allegations in Plaintiff’s Complaint give
rise to a plausible Section 1983 claim.
To prevail under §1983, plaintiff must show that defendants 1) acted under
the color of state law; and 2) that the alleged wrongful conduct deprived plaintiff
of a constitutionally protected federal right. Schmidt v. City of Bella Villa, et. al.,
557 F.3d 564. 571 (8th Cir. 2009); DuBose v. Kelly, 187 F.3d 999, 1001 (8th Cir.
1999). Plaintiff has failed to allege facts sufficient to establish that the
Defendants deprived him of any constitutionally protected right. Nowhere
within the Amended Complaint or its Addendum, does Plaintiff state which
constitutional right he claims any of the Defendants violated.
Plaintiff’s Complaint fails to state any plausible claim against Defendant.
The facts set forth in the Complaint fail to assert a claim for any depravation of
any constitutional rights. As such, Defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law pursuant to Rule 12(c).
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant’s Motion for Judgment on
the Pleadings is granted.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that judgment is entered in favor of
Defendant and against Plaintiff.
A separate judgment is entered this same date.
Dated this 13th day of February, 2013.
HENRY EDWARD AUTREY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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