United States District Court, D. Maine
JOHN PAPI and JOHN J. PAPI, LLC, Plaintiffs,
TOWN OF GORHAM, TOWN OF GORHAM TOWN COUNCIL, TOWN OF GORHAM TOWN CLERK, DAVID COLE, individually and in his official capacity as Town Manager, RONALD SHEPARD, individually and in his official capacity as Chief of Police, and DANIEL JONES, individually and in his official capacity as Chief of Police, Defendants.
ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' PARTIAL MOTION TO
LEVY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Papi and his limited liability company, John J. Papi, LLC,
assert claims against the Town of Gorham and several of its
officials stemming from Papi's operation of a solid waste
removal business. See ECF No. 1. Defendants jointly
move to dismiss Counts I through VII of the Complaint to the
extent they relate to a prior action the Town brought against
Papi in the Cumberland County Superior Court. ECF No. 5 at 8.
For the reasons explained below, Defendants' motion is
the sole owner and manager of John J. Papi, LLC, which is a
solid waste removal company. Papi obtained a solid waste
removal license from the Town of Gorham each year between
1998 and 2013, as required by the Town's ordinance.
Between 2002 and 2014, Papi notified Gorham officials on
multiple occasions that other solid waste removal companies
were operating in Gorham without the required license. The
Town allegedly never took any action in response to these
notices. Papi expressed to Town officials his opposition to
what he believed was the selective enforcement of the
licensing ordinance. In January 2014, Papi engaged in waste
hauling without the required license and was issued a
citation by the Town. The Town was allegedly aware that other
companies were engaging in unlicensed waste hauling at the
time, but did not take any enforcement action against those
other companies. Papi asserts that he was cited in
retaliation for complaining about the selective enforcement
of the licensing ordinance.
contested the citation in Cumberland County Superior Court,
and the matter proceeded to trial. Papi argued in state court
that Gorham's selective enforcement of the licensing
ordinance violated the United States and Maine Constitutions.
The Superior Court rejected that argument, and upheld the
citation. Papi was ordered to pay a fine, cease and desist
from hauling solid waste without a municipal license, and pay
the Town's costs and attorney's fees.
move to dismiss the claims against them under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), for lack of subject-matter
jurisdiction, and under Rule 12(b)(6), for failure to state a
claim on which relief may be granted.
Rule 12(b)(1), the burden is on Papi to demonstrate that the
Court has subject-matter jurisdiction. See Aversa v.
United States, 99 F.3d 1200, 1209 (1st Cir. 1996). The
Complaint should be construed liberally; the Court must treat
all well-pleaded facts as true and draw all reasonable
inferences in Papi's favor. Id. at 1209-10. The
Court may also consider evidence outside of the pleadings to
determine the jurisdictional issue. Id. at 1210.
survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint
“must contain sufficient factual matter to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Saldivar v. Racine, 818 F.3d 14, 18 (1st Cir. 2016)
(quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009)) (internal quotation marks and alterations omitted).
The court should accept all well-pleaded facts as true, while
ignoring conclusory legal allegations. Id. All
reasonable inferences should be drawn in favor of the
non-moving party. Id. at 16. Determining the
plausibility of a claim is a context-specific task that
requires the court “to draw on its judicial experience
and common sense.” Id. at 18 (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679) (quotation marks omitted).
Consideration of Materials Outside the Complaint
noted above, a court may consider evidence outside of the
pleadings when ruling on a jurisdictional challenge under
Rule 12(b)(1). See Aversa, 99 F.3d at 1210. A court
may also consider certain materials outside the pleadings
when ruling on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6)
without converting the motion to one for summary judgment,
including documents of undisputed authenticity, official
public records, documents central to a plaintiff's claim,
and documents sufficiently referred to in the complaint.
See Global Tower Assets, LLC v. Town of Rome, 810
F.3d 77, 89 (1st Cir. 2016); see also Beddall v. State
St. Bank & Trust Co., 137 F.3d 12, 17 (1st Cir.
1998) (“When . . . a complaint's factual
allegations are expressly linked to-and admittedly dependent
upon-a document (the authenticity of which is not
challenged), that document effectively merges into the
pleadings and the trial court can review it in deciding a
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).”).
the Defendants urge the Court to consider a number of
documents attached to their motion to dismiss, including the
Decision and Order issued by the Cumberland County Superior
Court after the trial at which Papi contested his citation.
Papi does not dispute the authenticity of these documents or
contest the Court's ability to consider them. The
Complaint specifically references the Superior Court suit,
and asserts that the instant suit “result[s] from
damages incurred due to the Town of Gorham's selective
enforcement in Town of Gorham v. John Papi, Docket
No. VI-14-001 (Cumberland County Superior Court, March 27,
2015).” ECF No. 1 at 2, ¶ 3. Because the
authenticity of the documents is uncontested and the
Complaint's allegations expressly reference and depend
upon the Superior Court judgment, the documents are properly
considered in analyzing the Defendants' motion to