Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Pease v. Cook

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division

March 19, 2018

TWYLA PEASE, as Trustee of the Pease Family Trust PLAINTIFF
v.
JOSH COOK, et al. DEFENDANTS

          OPINION AND ORDER

          P.K. HOLMES, III CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court are motions to dismiss filed by Separate Defendants Josh Cook and Betty Gillette (Doc. 12) and Separate Defendant City of Eureka Springs, Arkansas (“City”) (Doc. 21). Plaintiff Twyla Pease has filed responses to both motions (Docs. 24 and 28). All parties have filed supporting documents. (Docs. 13, 22, 25, and 27). The City argues that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, and has also joined in Mr. Cook and Ms. Gillette's motion to dismiss. Mr. Cook and Ms. Gillette have moved to dismiss, arguing diversity jurisdiction requirements are not met and that Ms. Pease has failed to state a claim on which relief can be granted.

         Ms. Pease has filed a motion for default judgment against Mr. Cook and a supporting brief. (Docs. 30 and 31). Mr. Cook has filed a response and brief in opposition to Ms. Pease's motion. (Docs. 32 and 34).

         I. Background

         Ms. Pease is the trustee of the Pease Family Trust (“Trust”). The Trust owns the property at 77 Hillside, Eureka Springs, Arkansas 72632. Ms. Pease is now suing Mr. Cook, Ms. Gillette, and the City, on behalf of the Trust, alleging damages to the property caused by Defendants. Ms. Pease's complaint alleges that a structure built on adjacent property belonging to Mr. Cook and Ms. Gillette (298 N. Main Street, Eureka Springs, Arkansas 72632) impairs and damages the value of the Trust's property (77 Hillside, Eureka Springs, Arkansas 72632). Ms. Pease states in her complaint that Mr. Cook and Ms. Gillette's structure (“structure”) violates Eureka Springs Historic District Commission codes and the Eureka Springs Municipal Code. (Doc. 1, p. 3).

         Ms. Pease additionally alleges that the City is responsible for the harm to the Trust's property because it failed to follow its own ordinances. The properties are located within the City's Historic District and are controlled by the Eureka Springs Historic District Commission (“HDC”). (Doc. 22, p. 1). A “Certificate of Appropriateness” is required by HDC prior to any construction or erection of buildings within the Historic District. (Doc. 22, p. 1-2). HDC issued a Certificate of Appropriateness to Mr. Cook and Ms. Gillette on December 2, 2015, and again on March 10, 2017. (Doc. 22, p. 4). HDC issued building permits for the addition to the structure on March 10, 2017 and May 16, 2017. (Id.).

         II. Legal Standard

         A. Motion to Dismiss

         In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must “accept as true all facts pleaded by the non-moving party and grant all reasonable inferences from the pleadings in favor of the non-moving party.” Gallagher v. City of Clayton, 699 F.3d 1013, 1016 (8th Cir. 2012) (quoting United States v. Any & All Radio Station Transmission Equip., 207 F.3d 458, 462 (8th Cir. 2000)). “[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citations omitted). However, pleadings that contain mere “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of the cause of action will not do.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2009).

         “Twombly and Iqbal did not abrogate the notice pleading standard of [Federal] Rule [of Procedure] 8(a)(2). Rather, those decisions confirmed that Rule 8(a)(2) is satisfied ‘when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for a misconduct alleged.'” Hamilton v. Palm, 621 F.3d 816, 817 (8th Cir. 2010) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Where the facts alleged, taken as true, “raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence” in support of a plaintiff's claim, the Court should deny a motion to dismiss. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.

         B. Motion for Default Judgment

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(c) a court “may set aside an entry of default for good cause.” Whether a default judgment will be entered is a matter committed to the sound discretion of the court. F.T.C. v. Packers Brand Meats, Inc., 562 F.2d 9, 10 (8th Cir. 1977). Default judgment is warranted only when there are “willful violations of court rules, contumacious conduct, or intentional delays.” U.S. v. Harre, 983 F.2d 128, 130 (8th Cir. 1993). This is because “[u]nder modern procedure, defaults are not favored by the law and any doubts usually will be resolved in favor of the defaulting party.” 10A Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller & Mary Kay Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure §2681 (3d ed. 2009).

         III. Discussion

         Defendants filed motions to dismiss in which they argue that this Court does not have subject matter jurisdiction over this case and that Ms. Pease has failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted. Defendants' motions will be granted in part and denied in part. Ms. Pease has also ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.