United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
T. DAWSON SENIOR U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is the Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss for failure
to state a claim filed by the Arkansas Municipal League (ECF
No. 27). Plaintiff has filed a Response in Opposition (ECF
No. 32), and the matter is ripe for consideration. For the
reasons set out herein, the motion will be GRANTED.
facts are taken from Plaintiff's Complaint and considered
true for purposes of analyzing this motion under Rule
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiff
filed suit for damages under 42. U.S.C. §1983 alleging
deprivation of his civil rights under the Fourth, Eighth, and
Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United
States, the Arkansas Constitution, and other claims which
arise out of state law. Specifically, Plaintiff claims his
Constitutional rights were violated as a result of
Defendants' excessive use of force, deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs, and other wrongful
acts that took place during and after a traffic stop by
officers of the Malvern Police Department in Malvern,
Arkansas on December 7, 2016 and a subsequent stay at the Hot
Spring County Jail. Plaintiff filed this lawsuit on December
6, 2018, naming as defendants 4 officers of the Malvern
Police Department in their individual and official
capacities; the City of Malvern, Arkansas; the Malvern City
Police Department; the Arkansas Municipal League (the
League); Hot Spring County, Arkansas; the Sheriff of Hot
Spring County, Arkansas, in his official capacity; and the
Hot Spring County Sheriff's Department.
respect to the League, Plaintiff alleges it is a “local
government association whereby participating municipalities
can pool their resources and provide liability
protection.” According to Plaintiff, the City of
Malvern is a participating municipality, and the League
provides insurance coverage to the City for the acts set
forth in Plaintiff's Complaint. Plaintiff contends the
League is amenable to suit pursuant to Arkansas statute
allowing a direct cause of action against an insurer. (Compl.
¶ 19, ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff alleges further that by
“purchasing liability insurance by contract with an
insurance company and/or participation in an insurance risk
pool that covers claims asserted in this legal action,
” all Defendants have waived immunity for civil
liability in tort.
Arkansas Municipal League responded to the Complaint by
filing its Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 27) arguing that the
League is not a proper party to this case, because it is not
an insurance company or an insurer, and it is not a
self-insurer as contemplated by Arkansas statutes.
Alternatively, the League contends that it is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law in accordance with Fed.R.Civ.P.
56. Plaintiff filed a Response in Opposition to the Motion
(ECF No. 32) denying that the League should be dismissed,
however Plaintiff's response does not include a a brief
or otherwise cite to any points or authorities that refute
the League's contention that dismissal is proper.
Standard of Review
is proper if Plaintiff's Complaint fails to state a claim
upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The
factual allegations in the complaint must be taken as true
and construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127
S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). A motion to dismiss for
failure to state a claim shall not be granted unless it
appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of
facts in support of the claim entitling him to relief.
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 76 S.Ct. 99, 2
L.Ed.Ed 80 (1957). Only a complaint that states a plausible
claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss. Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950, 173
L.Ed.2d 868 (2009); McIvor v. Credit Control Servs.,
Inc., 773 F.3d 909 912-13 (8th Cir. 2014).
“[A] dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is likely to be
granted only in the unusual case in which a plaintiff
includes allegations that show on the face of the complaint
that there is some insuperable bar to relief.”
Thomas W. Garland, Inc. v. City of St. Louis, 596
F.2d 784, 787 (8th Cir. 1979).
alleges the City is not entitled to immunity from
Plaintiff's civil rights claim because the City is
covered by liability insurance, and the League is subject to
a direct cause of action as the insurer. Plaintiff's
argument presupposes that the League is an insurer and the
MDLP is an insurance contract. In City of Marianna v.
Arkansas Municipal League, 291 Ark. 74, 722 S.W.2d 225
(1998), the Arkansas Supreme Court expressly held that
Municipal League Defense Program (MLDP) is not an insurance
contract finding that the MLDP “was developed by the
[League] to provide funds to member cities for the defense of
certain types of lawsuits filed against municipal officials
and employees.” Id. at 75. Participation in
the MLDP is optional; “the program is not operated for
profit and is not actuarially sound; and membership in the
program is not open to the public.” Id. The
Supreme Court also found that the MLDP is not an insurance
contact primarily because there is no legally binding promise
to pay in any and all cases. Id. In Stromwell v.
Van Hoose, 371 Ark. 267, 265 S.W.3d 93 (2006), the
Arkansas Supreme Court held that “the MDLP is not a
contract at all. Rather it is a program within a
constitutionally valid association.” Id. at
282. The Eighth Circuit has also ruled that the Arkansas MLDP
“was established pursuant to Ark.Stat.Ann.
§14-54-101 (1987), which permits municipalities to
associate for the promotion of their general welfare and to
join together in the purchase of services, such as legal
fees.” O'Brien v. City of Greers Ferry,
873 F.2d 1115 (8th Cir. 1989); Meade v. City
of Dermott, Ark., 2014 WL 1316931, *2 (E.D.Ark. 2014)
(holding that the League “provides funds to member
cities for the defense of certain types of lawsuits, but it
does not provide liability insurance to member
upon forgoing authority, this Court finds that Plaintiff
cannot state a plausible claim for relief against the League
because the MDLP is not an insurance contract and the League
is not an insurance company subject to a direct cause of
action. Accordingly, the League's motion to dismiss (ECF
No. 27) should be and hereby is GRANTED, and the Arkansas
Municipal League is hereby dismissed from this case with