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Burks v. Russell

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division

December 2, 2014

RODERICK BURKS
v.
JAY RUSSELL, ET AL

For Roderick Burks, Plaintiff: Wendell C Woods, LEAD ATTORNEY, Law Office of Wendell C Woods, Baton Rouge, LA.

For Jay Russell individually and in his official capacity, Reginald Smith, Defendants: L Fred Schroeder, LEAD ATTORNEY, Usry Weeks & Matthews (NO), New Orleans, LA.

ROBERT G. JAMES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE. MAG. JUDGE KAREN L. HAYES.

RULING

ROBERT G. JAMES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 10], in which they argue Plaintiff Roderick Burks' 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims have prescribed. For the following reasons, the motion is DENIED.

I. Facts and Procedural Background

On April 15, 2012, Cameron Brown (" Brown") was beaten unconscious outside his home in Ouachita Parish. [Doc. No. 10, Exh. A]. Deputy Reginald Smith (" Deputy Smith"), of the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office, was assigned to investigate the incident. Id. During the investigation, Brown identified Plaintiff Roderick Burks and another individual as his assailants. Id. Plaintiff alleges that Brown falsely accused him, evidenced by the fact that Plaintiff was working in Houston, Texas, when the assault occurred. [Doc. No. 1, p. 2].

On April 19, 2012, Deputy Smith submitted an affidavit in support of an application for an arrest warrant, relaying to the court Brown's allegations that Plaintiff had assaulted him. [Doc. No. 10, Exh. B]. Based on Deputy Smith's affidavit of probable cause, the Fourth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Ouachita, State of Louisiana, issued an arrest warrant for Plaintiff on charges of second degree battery. [Doc. No. 10, Exh. C]. Plaintiff highlights that, at the time Brown identified Plaintiff, Deputy Smith knew Brown had a bullet lodged in his brain and that Brown had been recently beaten unconscious. [Doc. No.1, p. 3; see also Doc. No. 10, Exh. B]. Based on these facts, and on Plaintiff's verifiable contention that he was working in Houston on the day of the assault, Plaintiff argues that Deputy Smith failed to adequately assess the accuracy of Brown's statements. [Doc. No. 1, p. 3].

Records of the Ouachita Parish Correctional Center (" OCC") indicate that Plaintiff was arrested and booked into OCC on February 5, 2013. [Doc. No. 10, Exh. D]. More than three months later, on May 6, 2013, the Ouachita Parish District Attorney's Office filed a Motion to Dismiss the charges against Plaintiff. [Doc. No. 10, Exh. E]. Plaintiff alleges that he was released from jail " on or about May 13, 2013, " [Doc. No. 1, p. 2](emphasis added), and that " his freedom from incarceration did not occur until May 13, 2013." [Doc. No. 1, p.4].[1] Further, Plaintiff claims he was required to " appear in open court on these charges" sometime after his release from custody and that the appearance was not " May 6, 2012 as May 6, 2012 fell on a Sunday." [Doc. No. 12, p.4](emphasis added).[2]

Defendants, on the other hand, citing OCC's Release Report and an affidavit from Deputy Smith, claim Plaintiff was released on May 6, 2013. [Doc. No. 10, Exhs. A & D]. The Release Report included captions for the released prisoner's and releasing officer's signatures, but neither were signed or dated. [Doc. No. 10, Exh. D]. Deputy Smith, in his affidavit, did not aver that he was the custodian of the Ouachita Parish Correctional Center's records or that he had personal knowledge of Plaintiff's release date. [Doc. No. 10, Exh. A].

On May 12, 2014, Plaintiff filed the instant action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Jay Russell, in his individual and official capacity as the Sheriff of Ouachita Parish, and Deputy Smith for " false arrest, false imprisonment, emotional distress, mental anguish, lost wages, impairment of earning capacity, loss of reputation, humiliation and embarrassment, and all such other damages as will be more fully shown at trial." [Doc. No. 1, p. 5].

On October 21, 2014, Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff filed a deficient Opposition Memorandum on November 6, 2014. [Doc. No. 12], and failed to rectify the deficiencies within the applicable deadline. [Doc. No. 14].

II. Law and Analysis


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