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Daniels v. City of Sioux City

United States District Court, Eighth Circuit

November 8, 2013

DaCOSTA DANIELS, individually, and DaCOSTA DANIELS as mother, guardian, and next friend of Y.A., a minor child, Plaintiffs,
v.
THE CITY OF SIOUX CITY, JOSHUA TYLER, individually and in his official capacity as a police officer for the City of Sioux City, and THE SIOUX CITY COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER REGARDING THE DEFENDANT SCHOOL DISTRICT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

MARK W. BENNETT, District Judge.

This case involves federal constitutional claims, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging use of "excessive force" before and during the plaintiff's arrest, against the city police officer who arrested her and the city that employed him, and a state law claim for assault against the city police officer. It also involves state law claims against the city and a school district for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress on the plaintiff's daughter, arising from a separate incident, months later, in which a different city employee and a school district employee showed a video of the plaintiff's arrest to the plaintiff's daughter's middle school class. This case is now before me on the school district's motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

More specifically, in a Complaint (docket no. 2), filed July 29, 2013, plaintiff DaCosta Daniels alleges that, on or about August 8, 2011, defendant City Police Officer Joshua Tyler directed another city police officer to approach a stopped vehicle in which Daniels was located on suspicion that the person driving the vehicle did not have a valid driver's license. Daniels alleges that Officer Tyler then approached Daniels and "began to harass her regarding who was driving the vehicle and where that person was." Complaint at ¶ 12. Daniels alleges that she was placed in front of a police vehicle in sight of a dashboard camera, which recorded relevant events; that Officer Tyler did not want her to use her phone, even though she was not under arrest; that when she attempted to use her phone, Officer Tyler "attacked, grabbed, shoved, and punched Daniels, " causing various injuries; and that she was then handcuffed and arrested. Based on these allegations, Daniels asserts, in Count I of her Complaint, that Officer Tyler's actions constituted an "assault"; in Count II, a claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, that Officer Tyler's actions constituted use of unconstitutional "excessive force" against her before and in the course of her arrest; and, in Count III, another claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, that the City of Sioux City is subject to " Monell liability" for Officer Tyler's actions based on a custom and policy of deliberate indifference to the rights of citizens.

In her Complaint, Daniels repleads all of the preceding paragraphs, then asserts, in Count IV, a claim of "intentional infliction of emotional distress" on her minor daughter, Y.A., and, in Count V, a claim of "negligent infliction of emotional distress" on Y.A. These claims are based on additional factual allegations that, on or about February 23, 2012, during class time, a City employee, Mr. Aesoph, and a Sioux City School District employee, teacher Michael Newburn, showed Y.A. and the rest of her class at West Middle School in Sioux City, Iowa, a video of her mother being "brutalized" by Officer Tyler. Mr. Aesoph and Mr. Newburn are not named as defendants in this action. Rather, the City and the Sioux City Community School District are named as the defendants, and their liability is premised on wrongful acts of their employees committed while acting within the scope of their employment.[1]

On August 20, 2013, the City and Officer Tyler filed a joint Answer (docket no. 12), denying the claims against them and asserting various affirmative defenses. Also on August 20, 2013, the School District filed a Motion To Dismiss (docket no. 14), asserting lack of supplemental subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a) over the state law claims against it in Counts IV, V, and VI, which the School District argued were the only claims against it. More specifically, the School District argues that the state law claims against it do not form part of the same case or controversy as the federal claims upon which this court's original jurisdiction is premised, because the state law claims against it are entirely different in nature and kind than the federal claims against the City and Officer Tyler. Specifically, the School District argues that the claims against the City and Officer Tyler are based on Officer Tyler's conduct toward Y.A.'s mother, while the claims against it are based on the showing of a video to Y.A.'s class, by a different City employee and a School District employee, on a separate occasion. The School District argues that the facts necessary to prove the claims against it have nothing to do with the facts necessary to prove the claims against the City and Officer Tyler and that the legal issues among the claims are entirely distinct. In short, the School District argues that resolution of the federal claims would have no impact on the resolution of the state law claims against it, or vice versa.

In her Resistance (docket no. 18), filed September 6, 2013, Daniels admits that the only claims against the School District are the state law claims in Counts IV, V, and VI, but she argues that supplemental jurisdiction pursuant to § 1367(a) over those claims is proper. Daniels contends that establishing Y.A.'s claims will include an intensive, fact-specific analysis of the allegedly outrageous conduct on the part of the School District, which she argues depends, in part, on whether or not Officer Tyler used "excessive force" on or assaulted Daniels. Thus, she argues that Officer Tyler's acts constitute the common operative facts between her federal claims against Officer Tyler and the City and Y.A.'s state law claims against the School District. She also argues that all of the claims in her Complaint would normally be expected to be tried in one judicial proceeding, because her claims would have required the joinder of the School District to afford her full relief. Finally, she argues that fairness, practical considerations, and judicial economy will also be served by trying all of the claims in a single case.

On September 12, 2013, the School District filed a Reply (docket no. 20) in further support of its motion. In its Reply, the School District reiterates its contention that there is no common nucleus of operative fact between Daniels's federal claims and Y.A.'s state law claims. The School District argues that nothing about Y.A.'s claims of intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress depends upon whether or not Officer Tyler used "excessive force" against Daniels-and Officer Tyler is not even named as a defendant on Y.A.'s state law claims. Indeed, the School District points out that Daniels has conceded that, even should Daniels lose her claims against Officer Tyler and the City, Y.A.'s claims could still proceed to a jury, because a jury could still find that the School District acted in reckless disregard of the probability of emotional distress to Y.A. from showing the video of her mother's arrest.

Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for a pre-answer motion to dismiss for "lack of subject-matter jurisdiction." FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(1). How the court examines the pleadings and the facts on a Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss depends upon whether the movant's challenge to subject matter jurisdiction is "facial" or "factual":

On a facial attack, the court must accept all factual allegations in the pleadings as true and view them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Hastings v. Wilson, 516 F.3d 1055, 1058 (8th Cir.2008); see also United States v. Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer Dist., 569 F.3d 829, 834 (8th Cir.2009) (when a party seeks to dismiss a suit for lack of standing, the court "must accept as true all material allegations of the complaint, and must construe the complaint in favor of the complaining party, '" quoting Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 501, 95 S.Ct. 2197, 45 L.Ed.2d 343 (1975)). On the other hand, when jurisdictional facts are in dispute, "[t]rial courts have wide discretion to allow affidavits, other documents, and a limited evidentiary hearing to resolve disputed jurisdictional facts under Rule 12(b)(1).'" Johnson v. United States, 534 F.3d 958, 964 (8th Cir.2008) (quoting Holt v. United States, 46 F.3d 1000, 1003 (10th Cir.1995)); see also Precision Press, Inc. v. MLP U.S.A., Inc., 620 F.Supp.2d 981, 986-88 (N.D.Iowa 2009) (discussing, in detail, the differences between a facial and a factual challenge to subject matter jurisdiction). As this court has also noted, the proper course for a factual challenge is for the defendant to request an evidentiary hearing on the jurisdictional issue, so that the court can determine the matter, not simply rule on whether there is or is not enough evidence to have a trial on the issue. Precision Press, 620 F.Supp.2d at 988 (citing Osborn v. United States, 918 F.2d 724, 730 (8th Cir.1990)).

Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund v. Sebelius, 734 F.Supp.2d 688, 683 (N.D. Iowa 2010).

Here, the parties have not looked outside of the pleadings for support for their positions, but only argued whether, as a matter of law, there is a factual relationship between the federal and state law claims as required to support § 1367(a) supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims against the School District. Furthermore, the parties have not submitted any materials in support of the Motion To Dismiss or the resistance to it outside of the pleadings, nor has the School District requested an evidentiary hearing on the question of subject matter jurisdiction.[2] Therefore, I will treat the School District's challenge to subject matter jurisdiction as a "facial" challenge. See id.

Turning to the requirements for the exercise of supplemental jurisdiction pursuant to § 1367(a), that statute provides, with exceptions not relevant here,

[I]n any civil action of which the district courts have original jurisdiction, the district courts shall have supplemental jurisdiction over all other claims that are so related to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy under Article III of the United States Constitution. Such supplemental ...

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