United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
OPINION AND ORDER
HOLMES, III CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
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
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).
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).
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.).
Motion to Dismiss
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).
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.
Motion for Default Judgment
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).
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 ...