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Wakley v. Sustainable Local Foods LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

January 16, 2018

VICTOR WAKLEY, et al., Plaintiffs,


          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge United States District Court

         This cause is before the Court on the following motions: Defendant James Bloom's Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. No. 131); Defendant Local Initiatives Support Corporation's (“LISC”) Renewed Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. No. 138); Defendants James Aldrich, Joe Bowling, and Englewood Community Development Corporation's (“ECDC”) Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. No. 141); Defendants Mike Bowling and the Englewood Christian Church's (“ECC”) Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. No. 143); and Defendants Paul Smith and the Southeast Neighborhood Development, Inc.'s (“SNDI”) Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. No. 149). Plaintiff Victor Wakley has responded to each of the motions. For the reasons set forth below, each of the motions is GRANTED.


         This case originally was filed on April 20, 2016, by Plaintiffs Victor Wakley and Julie Wakely against Defendants Sustainable Local Foods LLC (“SLF Ohio”), James Bloom, LISC, SNDI, Paul Smith, Joe Bowling, ECDC, Mike Bowling, ECC and “DOEs 1-300” (the individual members of ECC), and James Aldrich. On November 4, 2016, an Amended Complaint was filed that added the City of Indianapolis (“the City”) as a Defendant and dropped the Doe Defendants.

         The Amended Complaint contained ten counts, all of which arose out of the alleged forcible removal of Victor Wakley from property at which he operated a business, Save Our Veterans, Inc.

         On May 9, 2017, Magistrate Judge LaRue granted a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim that was filed by LISC, holding that the Amended Complaint failed to state a claim against LISC upon which relief may be granted. Dkt. No. 120. On May 19, 2017, the Court granted a motion to dismiss filed by the City, finding that the Plaintiffs were not the real parties in interest because they were not parties to the lease upon which the Amended Complaint relied; rather, that lease was entered into by Save Our Veterans, Inc., which was not a party to the Amended Complaint. Dkt. No. 121. The Court instructed the Plaintiffs as follows:

If the Plaintiffs wish to attempt to pursue their constitutional claims and believe they have a good faith basis for doing so, they also shall replead those claims by June 1, 2017. The failure to do so will result in their constitutional claim being dismissed with prejudice. To be clear, if the Plaintiffs wish to pursue any of their claims against LISC or their constitutional claim against the any of the Defendants, they shall file a Second Amended Complaint by June 1, 2017. The Second Amended Complaint must contain all of the claims against all of the Defendants that the Plaintiffs wish to pursue, not just the claims implicated by the various motions to dismiss. In other words, if the Plaintiffs file a Second Amended Complaint, it will be as if their Amended Complaint never existed; no claim will be preserved because it was in the Amended Complaint if it does not appear in the Second Amended Complaint. The Plaintiffs should focus on stating clearly the facts that support their claims, avoiding unnecessary repetition, legal conclusions without factual support, and allegations of wrongdoing of various Defendants unrelated to the Plaintiffs.

Id. at 6-7 (footnotes omitted).[1]

         Victor Wakley filed a Second Amended Complaint in response to the Court's ruling.[2] Dkt. No. 127. Julie Wakley is not a party to the Second Amended Complaint. Victor Wakley (hereinafter referred to as Wakley) asserts one claim in the Second Amended Complaint; he alleges that the City violated his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment when it removed him from the property and the other Defendants conspired with the City to do so. With the exception of the City, each of the Defendants (hereinafter referred to collectively as the “Moving Defendants”) has moved to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint as failing to state a claim for conspiracy.

         The question before the Court, then, is whether the Second Amended Complaint satisfies the pleading requirement with regard to the claims against the Moving Defendants.

“To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, if accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). We “must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint” that are not legal conclusions. Id. “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id.

Toulon v. Cont'l Cas. Co., 877 F.3d 725, 734 (7th Cir. 2017).

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. The plausibility standard is not akin to a “probability requirement, ” but it asks for ...

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