Cain et al v. New Orleans City et al, No. 2:2015cv04479 - Document 228 (E.D. La. 2017)

Court Description: ORDER AND REASONS - the Magistrate Judge's order is MODIFIED as follows. Plaintiffs' motion to amend is GRANTED as to the amendments regarding Counts Four and Seven against Sheriff Gusman. Plaintiffs' motion to amend is DENIED as to the amendments regarding: Counts One, Two, and Three against Sheriff Gusman; Claims against the City of New Orleans; Claims against Judicial Administrator Robert Kazik; Claims against Orleans Parish Criminal District Court. Plaintiffs' motion for extension of deadlines is DENIED AS MOOT. The Court will issue a new scheduling order separately after a status conference with all counsel. Signed by Judge Sarah S. Vance on 2/3/17. (NEF: Mag 2) (jjs)
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Cain et al v. New Orleans City et al Doc. 228 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA ALANA CAIN, ET AL. CIVIL ACTION VERSUS NO. 15-4479 CITY OF NEW ORLEANS, ET AL. SECTION “R” (2) ORD ER AN D REASON S Plaintiffs Alana Cain, Ashton Brown, Reynaud Variste, Reynajia Variste, Thaddeus Long, and Vanessa Maxwell filed this civil rights putative class action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 seeking to declare the m anner in which the Orleans Parish Crim inal District Court collects post-judgm ent court costs from indigent debtors unconstitutional and other relief. Plaintiffs appeal from the Magistrate J udge’s denial of their m otion for leave to am end their com plaint. For the following reasons, plaintiffs’ appeal is granted in part and denied it part. I. BACKGROU N D A. Factu al Alle gatio n s Plaintiffs allege that the defendants m aintain an unconstitutional schem e of jailing indigent crim inal defendants and im posing excessive bail am ounts for nonpaym ent “offenses” in an effort to collect unpaid court costs. According to plaintiffs, the Crim inal District Court m aintains an internal “Collections Departm ent,” inform ally called the “fines and fees” departm ent, that oversees the collection of court debts from form er crim inal defendants. The “typical” case allegedly proceeds as follows. When a person is charged with a crim e, the Crim inal District Court judges first determ ine whether the crim inal defendant is legally “indigent,” which m eans they qualify for appointm ent of counsel through the Orleans Public Defenders under Louisiana Revised Statutes § 15:175 (20 16). According to plaintiffs, 85% of the criminal defendants in Orleans Parish are legally indigent. 1 With assistance of counsel, the defendants either plead guilty to their crim inal charges or proceed to trial. If convicted, the crim inal defendants m ust appear before a judge for sentencing. At sentencing, in addition to im posing a term of im prisonm ent or probation, the judge m ay assess various “court costs” against the defendants. These costs m ay include restitution to any victim , a statutory fine, fees, or other costs imposed at the judge’s discretion. According to plaintiffs, the discretionary assessm ents “fund the District Attorney’s office, the Public Defender, and the Court,” which rely on these collections “to fund their 1 R. Doc. 7 at 5. 2 operations and pay em ployee salaries and extra benefits.”2 Plaintiffs allege that the Crim inal District Court judges im pose court costs without inquiring into the crim inal defendants’ ability to pay. 3 If the crim inal defendants cannot im mediately pay in full, the judges allegedly direct them to the Collections Department. There, an em ployee allegedly im poses, at his discretion and without inquiring into a defendant’s ability to pay, a paym ent schedule—usually requiring a certain am ount per m onth. 4 Collections Department em ployees also allegedly warn defendants that failure to pay the m onthly am ount, in full, will result in their arrests. Plaintiffs contend that Collections Departm ent em ployees refuse to accept anything less than full paym ent. 5 When crim inal defendants fail to pay, a Collections Department em ployee allegedly issues a pre-printed warrant for the defendant’s arrest by forging a judge’s signature. 6 According to plaintiffs’ allegations, the Collections Departm ent often issues these warrants “years after a purported 2 3 4 5 6 Id. at Id. at Id. at Id. at Id. at 22-23 ¶ 88. 23 ¶ 91. 27-28 ¶10 3. 28 ¶ 10 6. 29 ¶ 10 9. 3 nonpaym ent,” and the warrants are “routinely issued in error” or without regard to a debtor’s indigence. 7 Plaintiffs also allege that each Collections Departm ent arrest warrant is “accom panied by a preset $ 20 ,0 0 0 secured money bond required for release.”8 According to plaintiffs’ allegations, the amount a debtor m ust pay to satisfy the $ 20 ,0 0 0 secured m oney bond is often m ore than all of the debtor’s outstanding court costs. 9 Plaintiffs allege that this “autom atic $ 20 ,0 0 0 secured money bond” is m otivated by defendants’ financial interest in state court arrestees’ paying for their release. 10 Plaintiffs contend that the Crim inal District Court judges collect 1.8% of each bond, while the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office, the Orleans Public Defenders’ office, and the Orleans Parish Sheriff each collect 0 .4% of each bond. 11 Plaintiffs allege that when crim inal defendants are arrested for nonpaym ent, they are “routinely told” that to be released from prison, they m ust pay for the $ 20 ,0 0 0 secured m oney bond, the entirety of their outstanding court debts, or som e other am ount “unilaterally determ ine[d]” 7 8 9 10 11 Id. at ¶ 110 . Id. at ¶ 113. See id. at 15 ¶ 47. Id. at 21-22 ¶88. Id. at 22 ¶88. 4 by the Collections Department. 12 As a result, these indigent debtors allegedly “languish” in prison “indefinite[ly]” because they cannot afford to pay any of the foregoing am ounts. 13 Although “arrestees are eventually brought to court,” plaintiffs allege that defendants “have no set policy or practice” regarding how long arrestees m ust wait for a hearing. 14 According to plaintiffs, indigent debtors “routinely” spend a week or m ore in prison. 15 Plaintiffs allege that som e arrestees, with help from fam ily and friends, pay for their release without ever having a hearing and thus have “no opportunity to contest the debt or the jailing.”16 When crim inal defendants are brought to court, the judges allegedly send them back to prison if they are unable to pay their debts or release them “on threat of future arrest and incarceration” if they do not prom ptly pay the Collections Departm ent. 17 The judges allegedly hold these brief “failure-topay hearings” without providing the debtors notice of the critical issues or considering the debtors’ ability to pay. 18 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Id. at Id. at Id. Id. Id. at Id. at Id. 30 ¶114. ¶115. ¶114. ¶116. 5 Plaintiffs contend that these practices are unconstitutional under the Fourth and Fourteenth Am endm ents. B. Plain tiffs The named plaintiffs in the First Amended Complaint are six persons who were defendants in the Orleans Parish Crim inal District Court—Alana Cain, Ashton Brown, Reynaud Variste, Reynajia Variste, Thaddeus Long, and Vanessa Maxwell. 19 During the crim inal proceedings, Crim inal District Court judges appointed counsel from the Orleans Public Defenders to represent each of the nam ed plaintiffs, except Reynaud Variste, during their crim inal proceedings. 20 Thus, the court m ust have determ ined that Cain, Brown, Reynajia Variste, Long, and Maxwell were legally indigent under Louisiana Revised Statutes § 15:175. 21 Reynaud Variste appears to have retained private counsel. 22 19 Id. at 7 ¶7. R. Doc. 59-3 at 1 (Alana Cain Docket Sheet, entry for 12/ 0 4/ 20 12) (“Court appointed Alex Liu, OPD.”), 5 (Ashton Brown Docket Sheet, entry for 10 / 0 2/ 20 13) (“Court appointed Seth Wayne, OPD.”), 9 (Reynajia Variste Docket Sheet, entry for 10 / 0 2/ 20 14) (“Court appointed Lindsey Sam uel, OPD.”), 23 (Vanessa Maxwell Docket Sheet, entry for 12/ 14/ 20 11) (“Court appointed J errod Thom pson-Hicks, OIPD.”); R. Doc. 95-7 at 1 (Thaddeus Long Docket Sheet, entry for 0 6/ 0 2/ 20 11) (“Court appointed Anna Fecker, OIDP). 21 See R. Doc. 7 at 5. 22 See R. Doc. 59-3 at 14 (Reynaud Variste Docket Sheet, entry for 9/ 25/ 20 12) (“Defendant m ust retain private counsel.”). 6 20 With the assistance of counsel, all of the nam ed plaintiffs pleaded guilty to their respective crim inal charges, including theft, 23 battery, 24 drug possession, 25 “sim ple crim inal dam age,”26 and disturbing the peace. 27 At plaintiffs’ sentencings, the presiding judges im posed term s of im prisonment, which were often suspended, and term s of active or inactive probation. In addition, the judges assessed various court costs against plaintiffs, including restitution, fines, and/ or discretionary fees and costs. 28 At som e point, all of the named plaintiffs were subsequently arrested for failing to pay outstanding court costs on a warrant issued by the court’s Collections Department. C. Claim s in th e Firs t Am e n d e d Co m p lain t Plaintiffs filed this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of their Fourth and Fourteenth Am endm ent rights, and violations 23 Id. at 4 (Alana Cain Guilty Plea), 8 (Ashton Brown Guilty Plea). Id. at 12 (Reynajia Variste Guilty Plea). 25 Id. at 22 (Reynaud Variste Guilty Plea). 26 Id. at 28 (Vanessa Maxwell Guilty Plea). 27 R. Doc. 95-7 at 5 (Thaddeus Long Guilty Plea). 28 R. Doc. 59-3 at 2 (Alana Cain Docket Sheet, entry for 5/ 30 / 20 13), 6 (Ashton Brown Docket Sheet, entry for 12/ 16/ 20 13), 9 (Reynajia Variste Docket Sheet, entry for 10 / 21/ 20 14), 18 (Reynaud Variste Docket Sheet, entry for 10 / 31/ 20 13), 23 (Vanessa Maxwell Docket Sheet, entry for 3/ 0 6/ 20 12); R. Doc. 95-7 at 1 (Thaddeus Long Docket Sheet, entry for 7/ 29/ 20 11). 7 24 of Louisiana tort law. 29 The First Am ended Complaint named the following defendants: (1) The City of New Orleans, (2) Orleans Parish Crim inal District Court (OPCDC), (3) Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusm an, (4) Clerk of Court Arthur Morrell, (5) J udicial Adm inistrator Robert Kazik, and (6) thirteen individual judges of the Orleans Parish Crim inal District Court (the J udges). In their original and First Am endm ent complaints, plaintiffs prim arily alleged claim s against, and sought relief from , “Defendants” as a group, without distinguishing between different actors. The Court previously summ arized plaintiffs’ claim s as follows: (1) Defendants’ policy of issuing and executing arrest warrants for nonpaym ent of court costs is unconstitutional under the Fourth Am endm ent and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Am endm ent; (2) Defendants’ policy of requiring a $ 20 ,0 0 0 “fixed secured m oney bond” for each Collections Departm ent warrant (issued for nonpaym ent of court costs) is unconstitutional under the Due 29 Only Cain, Brown, Reynajia Variste, and Maxwell’s claim s for equitable relief rem ain. In an order addressing an earlier m otion to dism iss, the Court found that Reynaud Variste and Thaddeus Long lacked standing to pursue prospective equitable relief and dism issed those claims. R. Doc. 10 9 at 1921. 8 Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Am endm ent; (3) Defendants’ policy of indefinitely jailing indigent debtors for nonpaym ent of court costs without a judicial hearing is unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Am endm ent; (4) Defendants’ “schem e of m oney bonds” to fund certain judicial actors is unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendm ent. To the extent defendants argue this schem e is in compliance with Louisiana Revised Statutes §§ 13:1381.5 and 22:822, governing the percentage of each surety bond that judicial actors receive, those statutes are unconstitutional; (5) Defendants’ policy of jailing indigent debtors for nonpayment of court costs without any inquiry into their ability to pay is unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Am endment; (6) Defendants’ policy of jailing and threatening to im prison crim inal defendants for nonpaym ent of court debts is unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the 9 Fourteenth Am endm ent because it im poses unduly harsh and punitive restrictions on debtors whose creditor is the State, as com pared to debtors who owe m oney to private creditors; (7) Defendants’ conduct constitutes wrongful arrest under Louisiana law; and (8) Defendants’ conduct constitutes wrongful im prisonment under Louisiana law. In the First Am ended com plaint, Plaintiffs’ request for relief sought: (1) declaratory judgem ents that “the Defendants’” actions violate plaintiffs’ Fourth and Fourteenth Am endment rights; (2) an order enjoining “the Defendants” from enforcing the purportedly unconstitutional policies; (3) m oney dam ages for nam ed plaintiffs; and (4) attorney’s fees under §1983. After a round of motions, all claim s against the City of New Orleans, the Orleans Parish Sheriff, and the Orleans Parish Crim inal District Court were dism issed, along with claim s against the rem aining J udicial Defendants for m onetary and injunctive relief. 30 The only rem aining claim s were for declaratory relief against the J udges and Adm inistrator Kazik. 30 R. Docs. 119, 123-26. 10 A. Mo tio n to Am e n d Co m p lain t. After these dism issals, plaintiffs m oved for leave to am end their com plaint again. 31 The proposed am endm ents would return to this case claim s against the three previously dism issed defendants: the City, the Sheriff, and OPCDC. Specifically, (1) the City would be added as a defendant in Count 1, plaintiffs’ claim that City police officers execute the illegal warrants issued by the Court; (2) the Sheriff would be added as a defendant in Counts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7; and (3) OPCDC would be added as a defendant in Counts 1, 2, 4, and 6. The proposed am endments specify which allegations and claim s are asserted against each defendant. The proposed com plaint also contains various additions, which are sum m arized as follows: (1) Monique Merren is added as a nam ed plaintiff; (2) Additional allegations concerning the organizational structure of OPCDC; (3) Additional allegations concerning written grievances sent to jail staff by Plaintiffs Cain and Maxwell during their incarceration; (4) Additional allegations concerning how Collections Departm ent em ployees “seek” and “issue” warrants; 31 R. Doc. 161. 11 (5) Additional allegations concerning disparate treatment between individuals jailed on Collections Departm ent warrants and other arrestees, and the Sheriff’s failure to bring fines and fees arrestees to court; (6) Additional allegations concerning the City’s knowledge of the num ber of arrests m ade by City police officers pursuant to Collections Departm ent warrants, and new allegations regarding the City’s knowledge of Collections Departm ent practices. (7) Additional allegations concerning the City’s budgeting process and funding of the Collections Departm ent Plaintiffs’ m otion was subm itted for decision by Magistrate J udge Wilkinson, and was opposed by the J udicial Defendants, the Sheriff, and the City. 32 Magistrate J udge Wilkinson issued an order denying plaintiffs m otion. 33 Because the am endment was subm itted well after the deadline for am endments previously set by the Court, J udge Wilkinson found under Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b)(4) that none of the four factors considered when determ ining good cause to permit an untim ely am endm ent supported granting plaintiffs’ m otion. 34 The Magistrate J udge found that all of plaintiffs’ allegations 32 33 34 R. Docs. 163, 173, 174. R. Doc. 179 Id. 12 concerning claim s and defendants previously dism issed by order of the District J udge were not im portant under the Rule 16 analysis because they were futile. 35 Plaintiffs now appeal the order denying their m otion to am end. 36 II. LEGAL STAN D ARD A m agistrate judge’s ruling on a non-dispositive civil m otion m ay be appealed to the district court. Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a). When a tim ely objection is raised, the district judge m ust review the m agistrate judge’s ruling and “m odify or set aside any part of the order that is clearly erroneous or contrary to law.” Id. Under this standard, a m agistrate judge’s ruling “should not be rejected m erely because the court would have decided the m atter differently.” Arvie v. Tanner, No. 12-1638, 20 12 WL 3597127, at *1 (E.D. La. Aug. 21, 20 12) (internal quotations om itted). Instead, “[a] finding is ‘clearly erroneous’ when although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the entire evidence is left with the definite and firm conviction that a 35 Id. R. Doc. 183. Plaintiffs also suggest that instead of ruling on their m otion for review, the Court m ay sim ply rule on plaintiffs’ m otion for extension of deadlines. R. Doc. 156. Resolving either motion requires the Court to apply Rule 16(b). Rather than cut a new path, the Court chooses to instead proceed with the benefit of Magistrate J udge Wilkinson’s analysis, and considers plaintiffs’ m otion for review. 13 36 m istake has been com m itted.” United States v. U.S. Gy psum Co., 333 U.S. 364, 395 (1948). A legal conclusion, however, is contrary to law “when the m agistrate fails to apply or m isapplies relevant statutes, case law, or rules of procedure.” Am brose-Frazier v. Herzing Inc., No. 15-1324, 20 16 WL 890 40 6, at *2 (E.D. La. Mar. 9, 20 16). Therefore, the court applies plenary review to the Magistrate J udge’s legal conclusions. See Haines v. Liggett Grp. Inc., 975 F.2d 81, 91 (3d Cir. 1992) (“[T]he phrase ‘contrary to law’ indicates plenary review as to m atters of law.”); Bruce v. Hartford, 21 F. Supp. 3d 590 , 594 (E.D. Va. 20 14) (“For questions of law there is no practical difference between review under Rule 72(a)’s contrary to law standard and a de novo standard.” (internal quotations and m odifications om itted)). The Magistrate J udge found that plaintiffs failed to demonstrate good cause to amend their pleadings. Rule 16(b) governs am endm ent of pleadings after a scheduling order deadline has expired. S&W Enters. v. SouthTrust Bank of Ala., 315 F.3d 533, 536 (5th Cir. 20 0 3). Under that rule, the Court will m odify the scheduling order, and apply Rule 15(a)’s liberal am endment standard, “[o]nly upon the m ovant’s dem onstration of good cause.” Id.; Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(b)(4) (“A schedule m ay be m odified only for good cause and with the judge’s consent.”). To determ ine whether plaintiffs have shown good cause, the Court considers: (1) the explanation for the failure to tim ely m ove 14 for leave to amend; (2) the im portance of the amendment; (3) potential prejudice in allowing the am endment; and (4) the availability of a continuance to cure such prejudice. S&W Enters., 315 F.3d at 536 (quoting Reliance Ins. v. La. Land & Expl. Co., 110 F.3d 253, 257 (5th Cir. 1997)). Once a m ovant demonstrates good cause to m odify the scheduling order, the “m ore liberal standard of Rule 15(a) appl[ies] to the district court’s decision to grant or deny leave.” S&W Enters., 315 F.3d at 536; see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a). The Magistrate J udge’s order turned in part on his determ ination that all of plaintiffs’ new allegations regarding previously dism issed claim s and defendants were not im portant because they were inadequate to state a claim and therefore futile. The Court performs plenary review of these conclusions of law. An am endm ent is futile if it would be dism issed under a Rule 12(b)(6) m otion. Marucci Sports, LLC v. N at’l Collegiate Athletic Ass’n, 751 F.3d 368, 378 (5th Cir. 20 14). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) m otion to dism iss, plaintiffs m ust plead enough facts “to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (20 0 9) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Tw om bly , 550 U.S. 544, 547 (20 0 7)). A claim is facially plausible when the plaintiff pleads facts that allow the court to “draw the reasonable inference 15 that the defendant is liable for the m isconduct alleged.” Id. A court m ust accept all well-pleaded facts as true and m ust draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Lorm and v. U.S. Unw ired, Inc., 565 F.3d 228, 23233 (5th Cir. 20 0 9); Baker v. Putnal, 75 F.3d 190 , 196 (5th Cir. 1996). But the Court is not bound to accept as true legal conclusions couched as factual allegations. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Generally, a court ruling on a m otion to dism iss m ay rely on only the com plaint and its proper attachm ents. Fin. Acquisition Partners v. Blackw ell, 440 F.3d 278, 286 (5th Cir. 20 0 6). A court is perm itted, however, to rely on “docum ents incorporated into the com plaint by reference, and m atters of which a court m ay take judicial notice.” Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 30 8, 322 (20 0 7). The court m ay not consider new factual allegations m ade outside the com plaint. See Fin. Acquisition Partners, 440 F.3d at 289. III. D ISCU SSION Plaintiffs propose to am end their com plaint by adding a nam ed plaintiff, presenting new factual allegations, and reasserting several previously dism issed claim s. Specifically, plaintiffs seek to: (1) add Monique Merren as a nam ed plaintiff; (2) reassert claims for non-declaratory relief 16 against J udicial Adm inistrator Kazik based on new allegations purportedly showing that he is not entitled to absolute quasi-judicial im m unity; (3) reassert claim s against OPCDC based on new allegations purportedly showing that it is not entitled to im m unity under the Eleventh Am endm ent; (4) reassert Count One against the City for its alleged policies of executing invalid arrest warrants and funding the Collections Departm ent; (5) reassert Count One against the Sheriff for his alleged detention of plaintiffs based on invalid arrest warrants; (6) reassert Count Three against the Sheriff for his alleged indefinite detention of plaintiffs; (7) reassert claims for prospective, injunctive relief against the City under Count One, and against the Sheriff under Counts One, Two, Three, and Four; and (8) reassert Count Seven against the Sheriff for his alleged wrongful arrest and im prisonment of plaintiffs under Louisiana tort law. The Magistrate J udge found that each of these proposed amendm ents was futile and therefore unim portant. The Court considers the proposed amendments in turn. A. Mo n iqu e Me rre n Merren brings claim s that essentially m irror those of the existing nam ed plaintiffs. The Court finds no error in the Magistrate J udge’s determ ination that adding a new plaintiff at this stage needlessly complicates the litigation, prejudices defendants and is unim portant to resolving the 17 claim s of existing plaintiffs. Plaintiffs’ motion for leave to am end the com plaint with allegations concerning Monique Merren is therefore properly denied. A. Ju d icial Ad m in is trato r Kazik – qu as i-ju d icial im m u n ity The Court previously concluded that Kazik is protected by quasijudicial absolute im m unity and dismissed all of plaintiffs’ non-declaratory claim s against him. 37 Plaintiffs’ amendm ents do nothing to disturb this conclusion. Plaintiffs have attempted to restyle their allegations against Kazik to assert that he seeks rather than issues warrants. 38 In doing so, plaintiffs hope to tie Kazik to decisions applying qualified im m unity to police and probation officers who subm it insufficient affidavits to m agistrate judges in support of warrants. See, e.g., Malley v. Briggs, 475 U.S. 335, 343 (1986); Galvan v. Garm on, 710 F.2d 214, 215-16 (5th Cir. 1983). This reinterpretation of Kazik’s role—as de facto police officer rather than standin judge—is underm ined when plaintiffs’ allegations are read as a whole. Plaintiffs’ principal grievance is that the defendant judges have allegedly outsourced their job. Instead of perform ing the allegedly required willfulness inquiry, and then ordering arrest only if a defendant’s failure to 37 38 R. Doc. 119. R. Doc. 183-2 at 34-35. 18 pay is found to be willful, the J udges have purportedly given Kazik and the Collections Departm ent standing orders to issue warrants for any defendant who does not pay. It is clear that fram ed in this m anner Kazik’s alleged role in causing plaintiffs’ injuries is fundam entally judicial. Unlike the officers in Malley and Galvan, Kazik does not ask for issuance of a warrant based on his own investigation. Rather, Kazik applies a form ula for issuing warrants set by judges who are indisputably authorized to issue warrants on their own. This conclusion is further supported by the m aterials attached to plaintiffs’ com plaint. Exhibit 1, referenced in the proposed com plaint, is a transcript of an evidentiary hearing concerning OPCDC Collections Department practices. 39 In the hearing, Shannon Sim s, Deputy OPCDC J udicial Adm inistrator, explains that the authority to issue Collections Warrants is given to the Collections Departm ent by the judges of OPCDC. 40 According to Ms. Sim s, one section of Court, Section A, issues its own warrants rather than delegating that responsibility to the Collections Departm ent. 41 As m ade clear by Ms. Sim s’ testim ony, when Kazik issues warrants he stands in the shoes of a judge under a judge’s direction. When Kazik’s authority to issue 39 40 41 R. Doc. 161-5. Id. at 23. Id. 19 warrants is rescinded, a judge takes over. In this way Kazik allegedly “perform [s] functions com parable to those of judges,” and is entitled to absolute im m unity. Da Vinci Inv., Ltd. P’ship v. Parker, 622 F. App’x 367, 373 (5th Cir. 20 15) (quoting Beck v. Tex. State Bd. of Dental Exam ’rs, 20 4 F.3d 629, 634 (5th Cir. 20 0 0 )). Because Plaintiffs’ new allegations concerning Kazik do not underm ine the Court’s earlier finding of quasi-judicial im m unity, plaintiffs’ attem pt to reinstate claim s for dam ages and injunctive relief against Kazik is futile, and good cause to perm it this am endment after the Rule 16 deadline is not established. B. OPCD C – Ele ve n th Am e n d m e n t im m u n ity Plaintiffs offer a handful of amendm ents which purportedly underm ine the Court’s earlier ruling that plaintiffs’ claim s against OPCDC are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. 42 The Court finds that these m inor tweaks cannot overcom e the clear weight of precedent holding that OPCDC and sim ilar entities are covered by the Eleventh Am endment. 43 Even if OPCDC’s im m unity were im pacted by the proposed am endments, plaintiffs’ claim s against OPCDC m ust fail because it is not a 42 43 R. Doc. 183-2 at 8, 28-29. See R. Doc. 123. 20 “person” subject to suit under section 1983. See Dunn v. Louisiana, No. 10 4519, 20 11 WL 445684, at *1 (E.D. La. Feb. 3, 20 11) (adopting Report and Recom mendation concluding that Section K of the Orleans Parish Crim inal District Court is not a section 1983 person); see also Mum ford v. Basinski, 10 5 F.3d 264, 267 (6th Cir. 1997) (“A state court is not a ‘person’ for purposes of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and hence is not subject to lawsuit under that statute.”). The Court therefore finds that plaintiffs’ proposed am endm ents regarding OPCDC are futile. C. Th e City – Co u n t On e In Count One, plaintiffs allege that they have been arrested by City police officers, who execute the OPCDC warrants that were issued absent probable cause in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Am endm ent. The Court has already found that plaintiffs’ allegations of arrest and detention pursuant to OPCDC collections departm ent warrants issued absent probable cause adequately allege a constitutional violation. 44 Because the City is a m unicipal entity, plaintiffs’ section 1983 claim s against the City m ust satisfy the Supreme Court’s test first articulated in Monell v. Dept. of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978), before the City m ay be held liable. 44 R. Doc. 136 at 17-19. 21 Plaintiffs point to two alleged city policies that are purportedly responsible for plaintiffs’ illegal arrests: (1) that “[C]ity officials allow [the City’s police] officers to execute warrants issued by the Collections [Department em ployees]” despite the City’s knowledge that the warrants are invalid; and (2) that “City officials fund the salaries of the Collection [Department em ployees],” despite knowing of the employees’ allegedly invalid procedures for issuing warrants. 45 The Court considers these contentions in turn under the relevant Monell standards. i. Pe rm ittin g Arre s ts o n In valid W arran ts Section 1983 provides: Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Colum bia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or im m unities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress. 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In section 1983 suits, m unicipalities cannot be held liable under a theory of respondeat superior. Pineda v. City of Houston, 291 F.3d 325, 328 (5th Cir. 20 0 2). Instead, the Court m ust apply the Monell test, which ensures 45 R. Doc. 183-2 at 57. 22 that cities are held responsible only for “their ow n illegal acts.” Connick v. Thom pson, 563 U.S. 51, 60 (20 11) (em phasis in original). To state a claim under Monell, plaintiffs m ust allege the existence of (1) an official policy or custom , of which (2) a policym aker is charged with actual or constructive knowledge, and (3) a constitutional violation whose “m oving force” is that policy or custom . Valle v. City of Houston, 613 F.3d 536, 541-42 (5th Cir. 20 10 ). Thus, a plaintiff seeking to im pose liability on a m unicipality under section 1983 m ust “identify a m unicipal ‘policy’ or ‘custom ’ that caused the plaintiff’s injury.” Bd. of Cty . Com m ’rs of Bry an Cty . v. Brow n, 520 U.S. 397, 40 3-0 4 (1997). A policy need not itself be unconstitutional to satisfy Monell. City of Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 387 (1989) (“[W]e reject petitioner’s contention that only unconstitutional policies are actionable under the statute.”). The Fifth Circuit has identified three ways in which plaintiffs m ay meet their burden to show a policy or custom . See Burge v. Par. of St. Tam m any , 187 F.3d 452, 471 (5th Cir. 1999). The first two involve direct action by a “policym aker,” either in the form of generally applicable policies or specific, directed actions. Id. The third involves a failure to act by policym akers when “the need to take some action to control [its agents] ‘is so obvious, and the inadequacy [of existing practice] so likely to result in 23 a violation of constitutional rights, that the policym aker . . . can reasonably be said to be deliberately indifferent to the need.’” Id. (quoting Canton, 489 U.S. at 390 ). Since plaintiffs do not allege direct action by City policym akers, plaintiffs’ allegations m ust satisfy the third m ethod of showing a policy or custom . As noted, in addition to a policy or custom , plaintiffs m ust allege that the City’s policy or custom is the m oving force behind the constitutional violation. The “m oving force” com ponent of Monell liability is critical. Canton, 489 U.S. at 389 (holding that m unicipal liability can be found “only where [city’s] policies are the m oving force [behind] the constitutional violation” (internal quotations om itted)). The “m oving force” elem ent requires plaintiff to show “that, through its deliberate conduct, the m unicipality was the ‘moving force’ behind the injury alleged.” Bry an Cty ., 520 U.S. at 40 6 (em phasis in original). “‘[M]unicipal liability under § 1983 attaches where – and only where – a deliberate choice to follow a course of action is m ade from am ong various alternatives’ by city policym akers.” Canton, 489 U.S. at 389 (quoting Pem baur v. Cincinnati, 475 U.S. 469, 48384 (1986)). Because plaintiffs do not allege that the City—as opposed to its police officers—directly inflicted their injuries, the “moving force” analysis requires 24 that “rigorous standards of culpability and causation . . . be applied to ensure that the m unicipality is not held liable solely for the actions of its em ployee[s].” Bry an Cty ., 520 U.S. at 40 5; see also Mason v. Lafay ette City Par. Consol. Gov’t, 80 6 F.3d 268, 280 (5th Cir. 20 15) (holding that m oving force inquiry requires showing of causation and culpability) As to causation, “a plaintiff m ust show a ‘direct causal connection . . . between the policy and the alleged constitutional deprivation.’” Mason, 80 6 F.3d at 280 (quoting Fraire v. City of Arlington, 957 F.2d 1268, 1281 (5th Cir. 1992)). “The “m oving force” inquiry im poses a causation standard higher than “but for” causation.” Id. As to culpability, the applicable standard in this context is deliberate indifference, or a showing that the City “prom ulgated the policy with ‘deliberate indifference’ to the known or obvious consequences that a constitutional violation would result.” Id. (quoting Piotrow ski v. City of Houston, 237 F.3d 567, 579). The conduct of the City em ployees at issue consists of police officers’ checking a warrants database m aintained by the Sheriff’s office, determ ining that a warrant for unpaid fines and fees is outstanding against a person the officers have encountered for other reasons, and arresting persons shown to have such outstanding warrants. 46 The 46 R. Doc. 161-4 at 123-25. 25 com plaint does not allege that the police officers are aware of any constitutional defect in the warrants, and plaintiffs appear to accept that the warrants are facially valid. The custom or practice of executing facially valid warrants is not unconstitutional. Instead, plaintiffs allege that the Mayor m ade the City liable for the unconstitutional system put in place by the judges of the Crim inal District Court, and without the knowing com plicity of the police, by purportedly obtaining inform ation about the practices of OPCDC and not stopping the police from executing the warrants. Plaintiffs do not specifically allege what actions the Mayor failed to take. The allegations could be read to m ean that the Mayor failed to issue an im m ediate order to NOPD to refuse to execute all OPCDC issued warrants for outstanding fines and fees. Alternatively, since the City controls the behavior of its police by training them to respond to the situations they encounter in the field, plaintiffs’ allegations could be construed as a failure to train. Under either construction of plaintiffs’ claim s, the standard of culpability is deliberate indifference. See Bry an Cty ., 520 U.S. at 410 . (applying deliberate indifference standard when plaintiffs alleged that the city did not directly inflict their injury but instead caused em ployees to do so); Mason, 80 6 F.3d at 280 (holding that if policy is facially lawful, plaintiffs m ust show deliberate indifference); see also Thom pson, 563 U.S. at 61 (“[A] m unicipality’s failure 26 to train its em ployees in a relevant respect m ust amount to ‘deliberate indifference to the rights of persons with whom the [untrained em ployees] com e into contact.’” (quoting Canton, 489 U.S. at 388)). “‘Deliberate indifference’ is a stringent standard of fault, requiring proof that a m unicipal actor disregarded a known or obvious consequence of his action.” Thom pson, 563 U.S. at 61 (quoting Bry an Cty ., 520 U.S. at 410 ). “Heightened negligence is insufficient to satisfy this standard.” Mason, 80 6 F.3d at 280 . But, “inaction in light of notice that the city’s policy or practice will cause constitutional violations is the functional equivalent of a decision by the city to violate the constitution.” Thom pson, 563 U.S. at 61-62. “Policym akers’ ‘continued adherence to an approach that they know or should know has failed to prevent tortious conduct by em ployees m ay establish the conscious disregard for the consequences of their actions—the ‘deliberate indifference’—necessary to trigger m unicipal liability.’” Id. at 62 (quoting Bry an Cty ., 520 U.S. at 40 7). In the failure to train context, “without notice that a course of training is deficient in a particular respect, decision m akers can hardly be said to have deliberately chosen a training program that will cause violations of constitutional rights.” Id. Applying these standards for Monell liability to plaintiffs’ allegations, the Court finds that the plaintiffs have failed to plausibly allege that the City’s 27 failure to prevent its officers from executing Collections Department warrants was a “m oving force” behind plaintiffs’ injury or that any City policy that its police officers execute facially valid warrants was prom ulgated with deliberate indifference to the known or obvious consequences that constitutional violations would result. The need for an im m ediate order to stop executing all warrants for unpaid fines and fees or for police training to look behind all such warrants is not “so obvious,” based upon what the City allegedly knew about OPCDC’s collection practices, that City policym akers could reasonably be said to have been deliberately indifferent. In support of their contention that the City was aware of the alleged infirm ity of the Collections Department warrants, plaintiffs rely on quotes— with little context—purportedly drawn from m em os in the Mayor’s office. 47 The m em os allegedly date from 20 15, years after OPCDC allegedly started the practice of Collections Departm ent warrants, and within m onths of the filing of this lawsuit. At m ost, the allegations in the proposed amendment indicate that the City’s policym akers m ay have had some unclear, indefinite inform ation about the alleged collections practices at OPCDC, practices attributed to judges who are trained in the law and who would not reasonably be presum ed to order citizens locked up without probable cause. 47 R. Doc. 183-2 at 47. 28 The “internal m em os” allegedly dating from April or May of 20 15 quoted in Paragraph 155 of the proposed am endm ent are unattributed to any source or recipient. Nor do plaintiffs allege who discussed the reports or whether the Mayor, the alleged final policym aker, was aware of the reports. The quoted m em os em ploy hedge words to describe the unidentified author’s understanding of the alleged OPCDC practices, like “seem to” and leave out words. The unidentified authors state the judges “seem to be delegating a num ber of their powers to the collections departments,” which issued warrants “without . . . the constitutional safeguard” of a “judicial determ ination of probable cause.”48 This “seem to” language suggests uncertainty by the unnam ed author. Further, there is no m ention of the role of City police in the process and no suggestion that the City or its police, instead of the OPCDC, was responsible for it. Further, plaintiffs allege that these internal m em os “advised the Mayor’s office” of the Collection Departm ent’s warrant practices “in April or May of 20 15.”49 Only one plaintiff, Thaddeus Long, alleges that he was arrested after that period. The rem aining plaintiffs were either arrested 48 49 Id. Id. at 46. 29 before or during the “April or May” period, rendering the relevancy of the m em os suspect at best. None of the other material relied on by plaintiffs is any m ore indicative that a City policym aker possessed sufficient knowledge to m ake plaintiffs’ injuries a “known or obvious” consequence of the City’s failure to train or direct police. Plaintiffs rely on a report by an advocacy group, but supply no facts indicating that any policym aker was ever aware of it, m uch less that the m em o warranted im m ediate action by the City. 50 They also point to an unidentified advocacy group mem o in the Mayor’s office file from 20 15, which discusses practices by the judges at OPCDC, but does not m ention warrant practices, or the New Orleans police, and recom m ends that “the Court should m ake a system ic indigency determ ination before im posing fines and fees.”51 Such a court determ ination before the im position of fines is undoubtedly good policy, but it is not required by the Constitution. See United States v. Voda, 994 F.2d 149, 154 n.13 (5th Cir. 1993) (citing W illiam s v. Illinois, 399 U.S. 235, 243 (1970 )), and Bearden v. Georgia, 461 U.S. 660 , 663 (1983) (holding indigency no bar to im posing fine but lim iting the penalty courts can im pose for nonpayment because of inability to pay)). This 50 51 Id. at 46-47. Id. at 46. 30 m em o, for which no recipient is identified, is not even an accurate source of inform ation on the constitutional duty of OPCDC, m uch less a discussion of the constitutional infirm ity of police conduct. Receipt of it in the Mayor’s office is not a basis for a plausible inference of deliberate indifference. The upshot of plaintiffs allegations is that the vague, unsourced, notalways-accurate inform ation they describe, some of which they do not even allege anyone in the Mayor’s office had possession of, was sufficient to require the Mayor either to im m ediately order city police officers to refuse to execute any facially valid, outstanding warrants for unpaid fines and fees issued under the authority of a duly constituted court, or to provide some unspecified training for looking behind facially valid warrants. In evaluating these allegations, the Court is m indful of the Supreme Court’s adm onition in Iqbal, that determ ining whether a com plaint states a plausible claim for relief will “be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on judicial experience and com m on sense.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. And, “where the well-pleaded facts do not perm it the court to infer m ore than the m ere possibility of m isconduct,” the com plaint fails to show “that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. These considerations require the Court to find plaintiffs’ allegation of City liability im plausible. Plaintiffs’ allegations are insufficient to alter the essential im port of their allegations in the remainder 31 of Count 1, that the m oving force behind the alleged constitutional violation is the Orleans Parish Crim inal District Court and its judges. The court is a political entity separate and distinct from the City. It is not the Municipal Court of the City of New Orleans. It is an agency of the State, not the City. Its judges are its policym akers, not the City Council, the City’s mayor, the City’s police chief, or any other City official. The allegations in the proposed am ended com plaint are insufficient to establish that the City had knowledge of the alleged practices of OPCDC that m ade it so obvious to the City that constitutional violations would occur that the City was deliberately indifferent to the need to order or train its police officers to alter their practice of executing facially valid warrants. This is especially true in this context where Fifth Circuit law holds that “when law enforcement officers hold[] a warrant for arrest identifying the person named in the warrant, their duty [is] to arrest him .” Perry v. Jones, 50 6 F.2d 778, 780 (5th Cir. 1975). And, this conclusion is buttressed by the fact that plaintiffs’ own exhibit indicates that at least one OPCDC judge issues her own warrants, and plaintiffs allege others bore the purported signatures of judges. 52 It would be wholly unrealistic and would stretch the boundaries of Monell liability beyond recognition to hold that, based on plaintiffs’ allegations, the City 52 See R. Doc. 161-5 at 23. 32 should have instructed its police officers to refuse to execute facially valid arrest warrants or to go behind them and m ake their own determ ination as to whether probable cause existed to support them. Plaintiffs have failed plausibly to allege any failure to act by the City with respect to its police officers’ execution of the challenged warrants that was a “m oving force” behind their allegedly unconstitutional arrests. Plaintiffs therefore cannot state a claim relating to a City policy, and the proposed am endments regarding arrests performed by the City are futile. i. Th e City’s fu n d in g o f th e Co lle ctio n s D e partm e n t. Plaintiffs assert as a second ground for the City’s Monell liability the City’s alleged policy of funding the Collections Department. To evaluate whether the City may be held liable for this policy, the Court m ust again apply the Monell factors to determ ine whether the com plaint plausibly alleges that the City’s own policy caused plaintiffs’ injuries. This allegation fails at the causation prong. As noted above, for a policy to be a “m oving force” under Monell there m ust be a “direct causal link” between City policy and plaintiffs’ injury. Bry an Cty ., 520 U.S. at 40 0 . The Fifth Circuit has m ade clear that “[t]he ‘m oving force’ inquiry im poses a causation standard higher than ‘but for’ causation.” Mason, 80 6 F.3d at 280 ; see also Fraire, 957 F.2d at 1281 (“[A] direct causal connection m ust exist 33 between the policy and the alleged constitutional deprivation. This connection m ust be m ore than a m ere ‘but for’ coupling between cause and effect.”). “But for” causation is, in other words, necessary but not sufficient for Monell liability. Here, plaintiffs cannot m eet even the lower “but for” causation standard. “But for” causation exists when “the harm would not have occurred in the absence of—that is, but for—the defendant’s conduct.” United States v. Ram os-Delgado, 763 F.3d 398, 40 2 (5th Cir. 20 14) (quoting Univ. of Tex. Sw . Med. Ctr. v. N assar, 133 S. Ct. 2517, 2525 (20 13)). Plaintiffs allege that the City provides OPCDC with m illions of dollars in funding each year. 53 Plaintiffs allege that OPCDC’s budget request for the fiscal year 20 12 indicates OPCDC’s Collection Department em ployees are “fully funded” by the City. 54 Additionally, plaintiffs allege that in 20 15 the City provided an additional $ 92,831 in funding, with the understanding that this m oney would be used to hire two new Collections Department em ployees. 55 The City provides these funds, according to plaintiffs, despite having no legal obligation to fund the Collections Department. 56 53 54 55 56 R. Doc. 183-2 at 41. Id. Id. at 47-48. Id. at 41. 34 Plaintiffs adm it, however, that the City is not OPCDC’s only benefactor. The proposed complaint states that OPCDC’s “annual budget is com posed of funds from a variety of sources, including the State of Louisiana, grants, m onies generated via fines and fees, and contributions from the City of New Orleans to the OPCDC general fund.”57 The m oney generated for the Court by fines and fees is allegedly placed in the J udicial Expense Fund, which is “used in [the J udges’] discretion.”58 OPCDC allegedly collects “m illions of dollars in revenues” for the Fund, and uses this m oney to “fund [the Court’s] basic operations” including “em ployee salaries.”59 The thrust of these allegations is that the Collections Department generates m illions of dollars in revenue for OPCDC, and that OPCDC is free to spend that m oney as it pleases. Assum ing, as the Court m ust, that this is true, it is sim ply not plausible that– even if the City cut all funding to the OPCDC—the court would shutter the Collections Departm ent or restrict its warrant practices. On the contrary, every dollar not contributed by the City increases the budgetary pressure on OPCDC. Therefore, a reduction in City funding would, if anything, cause an increase in the collection activities that plaintiffs challenge. Plaintiffs have therefore failed to plead a plausible “but 57 58 59 Id. at 40 . Id. at 28-29. Id. at 30 . 35 for” connection between their alleged injuries and the City’s policy of funding the Collections Departm ent. See City of Oklahom a City v. Tuttle, 471 U.S. 80 8, 823 (1985) (rejecting notion that a city’s “‘policy’ of establishing a police force” could justify § 1983 liability because Monell requires “an affirmative link between the policy and the particular constitutional violation alleged”). Finally, in the proposed complaint, plaintiffs concede that “OPCDC retains ultim ate control over the daily activities of its em ployees,” but nonetheless m aintain that “nothing prevents the City from exercising its authority to understand and oversee the activities of a program it is fully or largely funding.”60 This purported causal link also stretches “but for” causation, and is plainly insufficient to m eet Monell’s rigorous “m oving force” standard. Plaintiffs cite no authority for finding causation based on a failure to exercise the City’s im plicit power of the purse, and this Court has rejected sim ilar theories in the past. See Broussard, 20 0 1 WL 2580 55, at *2 (dism issing city from suit regarding jail policy where city funded and m aintained jail, but sheriff operated facility); Jones v. St. Tam m any Par. Jail, 4 F. Supp. 2d 60 6, 613 (E.D. La. 1998) (dism issing parish from suit regarding jail policy where “[p]arish’s responsibility to the jail [wa]s lim ited to the funding of the jail”); see also Deaton v. Montgom ery Cty ., 989 F.2d 60 R. Doc. 183-2 at 42. 36 885, 887 (6th Cir. 1993) (County policy was not “m oving force” behind strip search policy at jail where “County erected the facility and m aintained the physical plant and the City m anaged and operated the facility”). Because plaintiffs have failed to plausibly allege the required causal link between their injuries and the City’s policy of funding the Collections Department, plaintiffs’ proposed am endments regarding this policy are futile. D. Sh e riff Gu s m an – Co u n t On e In Count One Plaintiffs challenge the Sheriff’s authority to jail them at all on Collections Department warrants. 61 Plaintiffs allege that the Sheriff is a final policym aker with respect to m anagem ent of the jail, and argue that the Sheriff is “aware of his deputies’ custom of booking and detaining individuals arrested on [Collections Department] warrants.”62 Count One is brought against the Sheriff in his official capacity. As the Fifth Circuit has noted, “[o]fficial capacity suits generally represent another way of pleading an action against an entity of which an officer is an agent.” Burge, 187 F.3d at 466. When a § 1983 claim is asserted against the Sheriff in this way “proper analysis requires us to separate two different issues . . . (1) whether plaintiff’s harm was caused by a constitutional violation, and (2) 61 62 Id. at 4, 10 -20 . Id. at 12. 37 if so, whether the [Sheriff] is responsible for that violation.” Collins v. City of Harker Heights, 50 3 U.S. 115, 120 (1992); see also Bush v. Viterna, 795 F.2d 120 3, 120 9 (5th Cir. 1986) (“Whenever a cause of action is alleged under § 1983, the first question m ust be whether a federally secured right has been affected.”). As noted, the Court has previously determ ined that plaintiffs’ allegations of arrests and detention under invalid warrants plausibly state a constitutional violation. 63 But the Sheriff cannot be liable in his official capacity for these detentions unless plaintiffs can satisfy the liability standards of Monell. See Burge, 187 F. 3d at 468; N agle v. Gusm an, 61 F. Supp. 3d 60 9, 630 (E.D. La. 20 14). The Sheriff has no Monell liability unless he acted or failed to act with deliberate indifference to the resulting constitutional injury. Mason, 80 6 F.3d at 280 ; see also discussion supra Section III. D. i. To show deliberate indifference, plaintiffs m ust plausibly allege that the Sheriff was “on actual or constructive notice” of the invalidity of the warrants, and therefore that jailing plaintiffs pursuant to these warrants was “substantially certain to result in the violation of their constitutional rights.” Gonzalez v. Ysleta Indep. Sch. Dist., 996 F.2d 745, 756 (5th Cir. 1993) (quoting Canton, 489 U.S. at 396 (O’Connor, J ., 63 R. Doc. 136 at 17-19. 38 concurring in part and dissenting in part)). The Court finds that Plaintiffs’ allegations concerning the Sheriff’s knowledge do not include sufficient facts to “nudge[] their claim s across the line from conceivable to plausible.” Tw om bly , 550 U.S. at 570 . Given the absence of any allegations concerning how the Sheriff was directly m ade aware of Collections Departm ent policies, plaintiffs attem pt to rely on alleged m edia reports concerning poor people in New Orleans facing jail for failure to pay fines and fees. 64 Even if the Court were to find that publication of these reports was sufficient to provide the Sheriff with “actual or constructive notice” of their contents, plaintiffs’ allegations would remain defective. There is no indication from plaintiffs’ com plaint that these media reports discuss the Collections Departm ent’s warrant practices or suggest that OPCDC issues warrants without the required finding of probable cause. 65 Accordingly, plaintiffs have not plausibly alleged that even if the Sheriff reviewed these publications, he could reasonably be expected to conclude from reading them that anyone was falsely im prisoned in OPP. The Court therefore finds that plaintiffs have failed to plausibly allege that the Sheriff’s alleged policy of detaining individuals pursuant to Collections 64 65 R. Doc. 183-2 at 45-46. Id. 39 Department warrants occurred with deliberate indifference to a resulting constitutional injury. Plaintiffs also argue that the Sheriff was m ade aware of the infirm ity of the warrants by virtue of being served with the com plaint in this case, and that he has nonetheless continued to detain individuals pursuant to Collections Departm ent warrants. Prior lawsuits m ay som etim es be relevant in evaluating knowledge of Monell defendants. See, e.g., Deaton v. Montgom ery Cty ., 989 F.2d 885, 890 (6th Cir. 1993). But, in this instance the plaintiffs filed their lawsuit after they suffered injury, so that inform ation acquired after initiation of this suit is irrelevant to determ ining the Sheriff’s knowledge at the tim e of the alleged deprivations. Because plaintiffs have failed to plausibly allege that the Sheriff was aware of the Collections Department’s alleged warrant practices, Count One fails to state a claim as to the Sheriff and the proposed am endments related to this count are futile. 66 E. Sh e riff Gu s m an – Co u n t Th re e Count Three focuses on the Sheriff’s conduct after plaintiffs were arrested by New Orleans police officers and brought to Orleans Parish 66 See infra, Section H. i, for a discussion of plaintiffs’ claim s for injunctive relief under Count One. 40 Prison. Plaintiffs challenge the Sheriff’s alleged “indefinite” detention of them without a court hearing. The Sheriff did not issue or execute the warrants at issue, but instead detained plaintiffs on the basis of facially valid arrest warrants. The Court has already found that plaintiffs failed to plausibly allege that the Sheriff knew or should have known that the capias warrants were invalid. Plaintiffs sue Sheriff Gusm an in his official capacity in Count Three. As in Count One, the Court m ust ask (1) whether plaintiffs have alleged a constitutional violation, and (2) whether the Sheriff is responsible for it. Collins, 50 3 U.S. at 120 . In Count Three, plaintiffs allege that the Sheriff violated their rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Am endm ent by jailing them “indefinitely” without a hearing. Specifically, plaintiffs allege that, after arriving at OPP, arrestees are inform ed that to secure their release they m ust either: (1) pay the $ 20 ,0 0 0 bond affixed to the Collections Department warrant, or (2) pay a sum of m oney to the Collections Departm ent and thereby secure an order of release. 67 According to the proposed amended com plaint, jail staff do not bring such arrestees before a m agistrate for an initial appearance, the Sheriff does not have written procedures for notifying 67 R. Doc. 183-2 at 36. 41 OPCDC of their arrests, and the Sheriff does not “consistently” inform OPCDC of the arrest of persons on fines and fees warrants. 68 Plaintiffs further allege that in response to plaintiffs’ discovery requests in this case, the Sheriff stated that his duty with respect to individuals held on Collections Departm ent warrants is to m aintain custody until his staff receives an order directing that the inm ate be brought to OPCDC or released. 69 Plaintiffs also plead that, according to OPCDC, OPCDC has had a policy for five years (in writing since J une of 20 16) of placing arrestees for unpaid fines and fees on the Court’s docket within 48 hours of arrest. 70 As a result of the Sheriff’s policies, plaintiffs allege that they respectively spent seven, 71 fifteen, 72 three, 73 seven, 74 six, 75 and twelve 76 days in jail before being either brought before a judge or released. Plaintiffs describe their eventual release or hearing as dependent on the help of a third party who either paid the Collections Department or lobbied OPCDC to 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 Id. at Id. at Id. at Id. at Id. at Id. at Id. at Id. at Id. at 36. 37-38. 38. 12. 13-14. 16. 18. 19. 21. 42 secure a place on the docket. 77 Finally, plaintiffs also allege that five other unnam ed individuals arrested on Collections Department warrants were detained between one week and 57 days without a hearing, and that a sixth arrestee was told he would not be brought to court for at least 12 days unless he paid $ 50 to the Collections Departm ent. 78 The Court finds that the alleged detention of plaintiffs for the periods described under facially valid warrants fails to state an unconstitutional denial of due process. This conclusion is based on the following authority. In Baker v. McCollum , 443 U.S. 137, 141 (1979), police arrested McCollum pursuant to a facially valid warrant and detained him for three days. After McCollum com plained repeatedly, the police released him upon discovering that although the warrant bore McCollum ’s nam e, he was not the wanted m an. Id. McCollum sued the police under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his three-day detention violated his Fourteenth Am endm ent protection against deprivation of liberty without due process. Id. The Court held that whatever claim McCollum m ight have under state tort law, he stated no claim under the Fourteenth Am endm ent. Id. at 146-47. The Court held that a sheriff executing a valid arrest warrant is not required by the Constitution to 77 78 Id. at 12-21. Id. at 38-39. 43 investigate every claim of innocence. Id. at 146. “Nor is the official m aintaining custody of the person nam ed in the warrant required by the Constitution to perform an error-free investigation of such a claim .” Id. The Court acknowledged that McCollum ’s detention for three days under a facially valid warrant, albeit one that nam ed the wrong person, “indeed deprived him of his liberty for a period of days.” Id. at 144. But, because the detention was pursuant to a facially valid warrant, McCollum ’s detention did not give rise to a Fourteenth Am endment claim . Id. The Court noted that one in McCollum ’s position could not be held “indefinitely” in face of repeated claim s of innocence because he enjoyed a right to a speedy trial. Id. In dicta, the Court assumed for the sake of argument that “depending on what procedures the State affords defendants following arrest and prior to actual trial, m ere detention pursuant to a valid warrant but in the face of repeated protests of innocence will, after the lapse of a certain am ount of tim e, depriv[e] the accused of liberty . . . without due process of law.” Id. But, the Court said it was “quite certain that a detention of three days” could not am ount to such a deprivation. Id. at 145. In Harris v. Pay ne, 254 Fed. Appx. 410 , 421 (5th Cir. 20 0 7), the Fifth Circuit, after considering Baker v. McCollum , found no due process violation when the Sheriff detained the wrong person for four m onths on a facially 44 valid capias warrant, despite the arrestee’s protests of innocence and the failure by the Sheriff and his deputies to access available inform ation that would have exonerated him . Further, the Fifth Circuit has consistently held, without in-depth discussion or analysis, that a requirement, either under state or federal rules, to be prom ptly taken to court following an arrest within any particular tim e period “has not been given constitutional status.” Anderson v. N osser, 438 F.2d 183, 196 (5th Cir. 1971) (quoting Kuly k v. United States, 414 F.2d 139, 141 (5th Cir. 1969)). The Fifth Circuit has rejected constitutional challenges to even extended periods of detention without an initial court appearance. See Rheaum e v. Tex. Dep’t of Pub. Safety , 666 F.2d 925, 929 (5th Cir. 1982) (reiterating the Fifth Circuit’s “holding consistently” that a claim of failure to bring an arrestee before a judge within tim e requirements set by state law was not “of constitutional dim ension under the due process clause”); Stephenson v. Gaskins, 539 F.2d 10 66, 10 67-68 (5th Cir. 1976) (thirty-eight day “failure to take an arrestee before a magistrate [judge] is not a federal constitutional issue”); Perry v. Jones, 50 6 F.2d 778, 780 (5th Cir. 1975) (arrestee detained for six days without being “prom ptly taken before a m agistrate or given the opportunity to post bail” m ade a com plaint that “has not been given constitutional status”); Scarbrough v. Dutton, 393 F.2d 6, 7 (5th Cir. 1968) (seven m onth 45 detention without prelim inary hearing “does not am ount to a violation of constitutional rights”). Less than a year ago, the Eleventh Circuit reiterated the Fifth Circuit’s long-standing conclusion that no violation of constitutional rights occurs for detentions like those alleged in the Count Three of plaintiffs’ proposed am ended com plaint. In Tay lor v. Tay lor, 649 Fed. App’x 737, 748 (11th Cir. 20 16), plaintiff asserted a Section 1983 claim against a sheriff and his deputy based on allegations that “they failed to present her to a judge im mediately after her arrest.” Id. The delay resulted in her detention for nine days, at which tim e a judge set a bond, and she was subsequently released. Id. at 741. The Eleventh Circuit stated: [W]e note that our predecessor court, by which we are bound, has ‘held that even though [Georgia state law] required that an officer arresting under a warrant bring the person arrested before a com m itting officer within 72 hours after arrest, failure to take an arrestee before a m agistrate [judge] is not a federal constitutional issue. . . .’ [Plaintiff] has not shown that her dueprocess rights were violated or that those rights were clearly established.” Id. at 748 (emphasis added)(citations om itted). The Court finds that the decisions of the Fifth Circuit, which bind this Court, dictate the outcom e of plaintiffs’ claim s regarding the length of their detentions without being afforded a hearing, and require a finding that Count Three fails to allege a constitutional violation. Hence, plaintiffs’ 46 allegations fail to satisfy Monell and are futile. Nevertheless, plaintiffs’ allegations about the Sheriff’s systematic incom petence in handling their detentions, if true, are indeed troubling. The Court also notes that other circuits have held that allegations sim ilar to plaintiffs’ give rise to actionable due process violations. See Oviatt Pearce, 954 F. 2d 1470 , 1473-77 (9th Cir. 1992); Hay es v. Faulkner County , 388 F.3d 669, 674 (8th Cir. 20 0 4). But because the Fifth Circuit’s precedent is binding on this Court, the Court m ust find that plaintiffs claim in Count Three is futile. This result does not foreclose plaintiffs from stating a plausible tort claim under State law for false im prisonment. See discussion of Count Seven infra, Section III. H. F. In ju n ctive re lie f u n d e r Co u n ts On e , Tw o , an d Fo u r. i. Co u n ts On e an d Tw o Plaintiffs m aintain that even if the Court finds the Monell requirem ents unfulfilled, it m ay nevertheless order prospective, injunctive relief against the Sheriff and City. This power, according to plaintiffs, derives from the Court’s authority to enjoin “individuals who, as officers of the state, are clothed with some duty in regard to the enforcem ent of the laws of the state, and who threaten and are about to com m ence proceedings, either of a civil or crim inal nature, to enforce against parties affected an unconstitutional 47 act, violating the Federal Constitution.” Ex parte Young, 20 9 U.S. 123, 15556 (190 8). The Supreme Court, however, recently held that “claim s for prospective relief, like claim s for m oney dam ages, fall within the scope of the ‘policy or custom’ requirement.” Los Angeles County , v. Hum phries, 562 U.S. 29, 36-37 (20 10 ). In Hum phries, plaintiff sued the county, rather than a county official in his or her official capacity. Id. Plaintiffs argue that Hum phries can be distinguished. They argue that Monell always applies to m unicipalities sued in their own nam e, regardless of the type of relief sought, because m unicipalities cannot act, except through the types of policies and custom s discussed in Monell. According to plaintiffs, however, claims against m unicipal officials in their official capacities for prospective, injunctive relief need not check the Monell boxes because a county official can act on his or her own to com m it a constitutional violation. The problem with plaintiffs’ argument is twofold. First, this argument does not apply to plaintiffs’ claim against the City, which is brought against an entity. Second, as to plaintiffs’ claim s against the Sheriff, the Supreme Court has repeatedly stated that a suit against a government official in his official capacity “is not a suit against the official but rather is a suit against the official’s office.” W ill v. Michigan Dep’t of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 48 (1989); see also Monell, 436 U.S. at 690 n.55 (“[O]fficial-capacity suits generally represent only another way of pleading an action against an entity of which an officer is an agent.”). The equivalence between official-capacity and entity suits is further supported by the Supreme Court’s statement that “[t]here is no longer a need to bring official-capacity actions against local governm ent officials, for under Monell . . . local governm ent units can be sued directly for dam ages and injunctive or declaratory relief.” Kentucky v. Graham , 473 U.S. 159, 167 n.14 (1985). Accordingly, since an official capacity suit is simply a suit against an entity by another nam e, Hum phries applies whether the plaintiff brings an official capacity suit against a m unicipal official or sues the m unicipality itself. This conclusion is, however, somewhat in tension with the Ex parte Young line of cases. Courts have long recognized that under Young “[a] suit is not ‘against’ a state . . . when it seeks prospective, injunctive relief from a state actor . . . based on an alleged ongoing violation of the federal constitution.” N iGen Biotech, L.L.C. v. Paxton, 80 4 F.3d 389, 394 (5th Cir. 20 15) (quoting K.P. v. LeBlanc, 729 F.3d 427, 439 (5th Cir. 20 13)). Rather, “a state official attem pting to enforce an unconstitutional law ‘is stripped of his official clothing and becom es a private person subject to suit [and s]uits by private citizens against state officers in their official capacit[ies] are not, 49 therefore, categorically barred.’” Id. (quoting K.P. v. LeBlanc, 627 F.3d 115, 125 (5th Cir. 20 10 ). The First Circuit has recognized and discussed, but not resolved, the competing pull of these doctrines as applied to m unicipal officials, sued in their official capacity, for prospective, injunctive relief. Dirrane v. Brookline Police Dep’t, 315 F.3d 65, 72 (1st Cir. 20 0 2). Faced with this uncertainty, the Court holds that it m ay not order prospective injunctive relief against the Sheriff absent a finding that the Monell requirem ents are satisfied. Contrary to plaintiffs’ argum ent, this ruling does not upend our constitutional order. The Court entertains no doubts about its authority and obligation to enjoin constitutional violations. In applying Monell to plaintiffs’ claim for injunctive relief, the Court m erely recognizes that such relief against a m unicipal actor is appropriate only when the m unicipality’s own actions cause the com plained-of injury. Absent this causal link, the Court’s unquestioned authority to enjoin ongoing constitutional violations would be m isapplied. Because the Court has already found that plaintiffs failed to m eet the Monell requirem ents as to Count One against both the Sheriff and City, plaintiffs cannot state a claim against these parties for injunctive relief under this Count. Plaintiffs m ake no argument that the Sheriff is a m oving force behind the injuries alleged in Count Two, and that claim therefore fails for 50 the sam e reason. Accordingly, the Court finds that the proposed am endments as to these two counts are futile. ii. Co u n t Fo u r Under Count Four, plaintiffs challenge the constitutionality of sections 22:822 and 13:1381.5 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes. Those provisions direct the Sheriff to collect “a fee of three dollars for each one hundred dollars worth of liability on . . . bail bond[s] being presented for the release of a person on bail.” La. Rev. Stat. § 22:822 (20 16). The Sheriff is further required to divide the collected funds according to a set form ula and distribute them among his own office, OPCDC, the J udicial Expense Fund, the district attorney, and the public defender. La. Rev. Stat. § 13:1381.5. Plaintiffs allege that this arrangem ent robbed them of their Fourteenth Am endm ent right to a neutral forum by giving the judge charged with setting their bond—along with other actors in the crim inal justice system —a financial stake in that bond. Before evaluating plaintiffs’ claim s against the Sheriff, the Court m ust determ ine whether the Sheriff, in enforcing section 22:822, acts as a state or m unicipal official. In Echols v. Parker, 90 9 F.2d 795, 80 1 (5th Cir. 1990 ), the Fifth Circuit held: [T]he state cannot dissociate itself from actions taken under its laws by labeling those it com m ands to act as local officials. A 51 county official pursues his duties as a state agent when he is enforcing state law or policy. He acts as a county agent when he is enforcing county law or policy. It m ay be possible for the officer to wear both state and county hats at the same tim e . . . but when a state statute directs the actions of an official, as here, the officer, be he state or local, is acting as a state official. Accordingly, because plaintiffs allege that the Sheriff distributes bond fees as directed by a state statute, he acts as a state official when he does so. See also McMillian v. Monroe County , 520 U.S. 781, 783 (1997) (Sheriff was, for purposes of the issue before the Court, a state policym aker, not a county policym aker); Bostic v. Schaefer, 760 F.3d 352, 371 n.3 (4th Cir. 20 14) (Clerk for the Circuit Court for the City of Norfolk was “proper defendant” to challenge state law). However, as a state actor sued in his official capacity, the Sheriff is entitled to the protection of the Eleventh Am endm ent. See W allace v. Tex. Tech Univ., 80 F.3d 10 42, 10 47 n.3 (5th Cir. 1996) (“Suits against state officials in their official capacity are considered to be suits against the individual office, and so are generally barred as suits against the state itself.”). “The Eleventh Am endm ent bars citizens of a state from suing their own state or another state in federal court unless the state has waived its sovereign im m unity or Congress has expressly abrogated it.” Raj v. La. State Univ., 714 F.3d 322, 328 (5th Cir. 20 13) (internal citations om itted). Section 1983 does not abrogate Eleventh Am endm ent im m unity, Khan v. S. Univ. & 52 Agric. & Mech. Coll. Bd. of Supervisors, No. 0 3-30 169, 20 0 5 WL 199430 1, at *3 (5th Cir. Aug. 19, 20 0 5), and Louisiana has explicitly asserted its sovereign im m unity by statute La. Rev. Stat. § 13:510 6(A) (20 16) (“No suit against the state or a state agency or political subdivision shall be instituted in any court other than a Louisiana state court.”). Because the Sheriff’s actions as a state official are protected by Eleventh Am endment im m unity—and that im m unity is underm ined by neither abrogation nor consent—plaintiffs’ claim s under Count Four m ay proceed only if they fall under the limited exception articulated in Ex parte Young, 20 9 U.S. 123 (190 8). “In determ ining whether the doctrine of Ex parte Young avoids an Eleventh Am endm ent bar to suit, a court need only conduct a straightforward inquiry into whether the complaint alleges an ongoing violation of federal law and seeks relief properly characterized as prospective.” Verizon Md., Inc. v. Pub. Serv. Com m ’n of Md., 535 U.S. 635, 645 (20 0 2) (internal quotations and m odifications om itted). Because this claim is brought against the Sheriff as a state actor, and not a m unicipality, the Court need not apply Monell. See Rounds v. Clem ents, 495 F. App’x 938, 941 (10 th Cir. 20 12) (“[T]he ‘policy or custom ’ standard . . . [is] a liability standard for suits against m unicipalities—entities not im m une from suit under the Eleventh Am endm ent—and it has no applicability to state officers 53 who are im m une from suit for dam ages but susceptible to suit under Ex parte Young for injunctive relief.”). Plaintiffs plainly allege that the Sheriff’s enforcem ent of the challenged state statutes is ongoing, 79 and seek only “injunctive and declaratory relief,”8 0 which m ay be fairly characterized as prospective. The Court therefore need only determ ine whether plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that the statutory scheme, as described, violates a federal constitutional right. “Trial before ‘an unbiased judge’ is essential to due process.” Pub. Citizen, Inc. v. Bom er, 274 F.3d 212, 217 (5th Cir. 20 0 1) (quoting Johnson v. Mississippi, 40 3 U.S. 212, 216 (1971)); see also Brow n v. Edw ards, 721 F.2d 1442, 1451 (5th Cir. 1984) (“The right to a judge unbiased by direct pecuniary interest in the outcom e of a case is unquestionable.”). “[M]ost m atters relating to judicial disqualification,” however, do “not rise to a constitutional level.” FTC v. Cem ent Inst., 333 U.S. 683, 70 2 (1948). Plaintiffs cite to two Supreme Court cases finding due process violations when judges m aintained pecuniary interests in cases before them. In Tum ey v. Ohio, 273 U.S. 510 , 510 (1927), a defendant was convicted of possessing liquor in violation of Ohio’s then-existing Prohibition Act. The 79 80 R. Doc. 183-2 at 27. Id. at 58. 54 Act provided for trial in a “liquor court,” in which the village m ayor served as judge. Id. at 521. The m oney raised by fines levied in these courts was divided between the state, the village, a “village safety” fund, and a “secret service” fund. Id. at 521-22. The latter fund covered expenses associated with enforcing the Prohibition Act, including nearly $ 70 0 paid to the m ayor “as his fees and costs, in addition to his regular salary.” Id. at 522. The Suprem e Court overturned Tum ey’s conviction, and held that the m ayor, acting as judge, was disqualified from deciding Tum ey’s case “both because of his direct pecuniary interest in the outcom e, and because of his official m otive to convict and to graduate the fine to help the financial needs of the village.” Id. at 535. In W ard v. Vill. of Monroeville, 40 9 U.S. 57, 57 (1972), the Court considered a challenge to traffic fines im posed by another Ohio “m ayor’s court.” Fines generated by the m ayor’s court at issue in W ard provided a “substantial portion” of the total operating funds for the m unicipality that the m ayor oversaw. Id. at 58. The Court viewed the case as controlled by Tum ey and noted that “[t]he fact that the m ayor there shared directly in the fees and costs did not define the lim its of the principle” of judicial bias articulated in that case. Id. Instead, the Court offered a general test to 55 determ ine whether an arrangement of this type com prom ises a defendant’s right to a disinterested and im partial judicial officer: [T]he test is whether the [judge’s] situation is one which would offer a possible temptation to the average m an as a judge to forget the burden of proof required to convict the defendant, or which m ight lead him not to hold the balance nice, clear, and true between the state and the accused. Id. at 60 (internal quotations om itted). The Court found that this test was m et in W ard because that possible tem ptation “[p]lainly . . . m ay also exist when the m ayor’s executive responsibilities for village finances m ay m ake him partisan to m aintain the high level of contribution from the m ayor’s court.” Id. Considering this Suprem e Court authority, the Court finds that plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that the bond fee system described in sections 22:822 and 13:1381.5 and im plem ented by the Sheriff is inconsistent with the right to an im partial judge guaranteed by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Am endment. Accordingly, the proposed am endm ent to perm it injunctive relief against the Sheriff in his official capacity under Count Four should be perm itted. G. Sh e riff Gu s m an – Co u n t Se ve n : Fals e Im p ris o n m e n t In addition to their federal claim s, plaintiffs allege that the Sheriff is liable for the state law tort of false im prisonment. In Louisiana, false im prisonment “consists of two elements: ‘(1) detention of the person; and (2) 56 the unlawfulness of the detention.’” W aganfeald v. Gusm an, 674 F.3d 475, 480 (5th Cir. 20 12) (quoting Kennedy v. Sheriff of E. Baton Rouge, 935 So. 2d 669, 690 (La. 20 0 6)). Here, the plaintiffs plainly allege that they were detained. The Court therefore need only ask whether plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that these detentions were unlawful. Louisiana law provides that a law enforcement officer having custody of an arrested person shall prom ptly bring him, “and in any case within seventy-two hours from the time of the arrest, before a judge for the purpose of appointm ent of counsel.” La. Code Crim . Proc. art. 230 .1(A) (20 16). Detention beyond this 72 hour period is illegal, and gives rise to a claim for false im prisonment against the jailer. State v. W allace, 392 So. 2d 410 , 413 (La. 1980 ) (“[W]hen an arrested person is held in custody m ore than 72 hours without being brought before a judge, then any detention thereafter is illegal, whether or not the initial detention was proper, and that detention (in excess of 72 hours) gives rise to (1) the right to im m ediate release and (2) a claim for civil dam ages for that illegal detention.”). Every plaintiff except Reynaud Variste alleges specific facts concerning his or her detention in excess of 72 hours without being brought before a judge. These plaintiffs have therefore stated a claim for false imprisonm ent 57 under Louisiana law, and the proposed am endments as to this Count are not futile. H. Re m ain in g go o d cau s e facto rs Having considered the futility—and therefore the im portance—of the proposed am endments, the Court reconsiders the remaining factors to determ ine whether plaintiffs have dem onstrated good cause to allow am endment. The Magistrate J udge found that plaintiffs’ explanation for their failure to tim ely move for leave to am end was inadequate, that perm itting the proposed amendment would prejudice defendants, and that this prejudice cannot be cured by granting a continuance. The Court does not find any of these conclusions to be clearly erroneous. The factors, however, m ust be reweighed in light of the above findings regarding im portance and futility. Given the im portance of the proposed am endments in asserting previously dism issed claim s, and the general preference for resolving disputes on the m erits, the Court finds that plaintiffs have shown good cause for perm itting those am endments not found to be futile above. 58 IV. CON CLU SION For the foregoing reasons, the Magistrate J udge’s order is MODIFIED as follows. Plaintiffs’ m otion to am end is GRANTED as to the am endments regarding: Counts Four and Seven against Sheriff Gusm an Plaintiffs’ m otion to am end is DENIED as to the amendm ents regarding: Counts One, Two, and Three against Sheriff Gusm an; Claim s against the City of New Orleans; Claim s against J udicial Adm inistrator Robert Kazik; Claim s against Orleans Parish Crim inal District Court. Plaintiffs’ m otion for extension of deadlines is DENIED AS MOOT. The Court will issue a new scheduling order separately after a status conference with all counsel. 3rd New Orleans, Louisiana, this _ _ _ _ _ day of February, 20 17. _____________________ SARAH S. VANCE UNITED STATES DISTRICT J UDGE 59