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Beard v. Wolf

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

December 18, 2014

JANICE BEARD
v.
CRANE PAUL WOLF, ET AL. Section:

ORDER AND REASONS

JAY C. ZAINEY, District Judge.

The following motion is before the Court: Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Rec. Doc. 77) filed by Defendants, Sheriff Daniel Edwards and Crane Wolf. Plaintiff, Janice Beard, has filed an opposition to the motion. The motion, noticed for submission on October 22, 2014, is before the Court on the briefs without oral argument. For the reasons that follow, the motion is GRANTED.

Also before the Court is Defendants' Motion in Limine (Rec. Doc. 76) to exclude evidence and testimony at trial pertaining to several topics. The motion was noticed for submission on October 22, 2014. Plaintiff has not responded to the motion. The Court finds Defendants' unrebutted arguments to be persuasive. The motion in limine will therefore be GRANTED in its entirety.

I. Background

Plaintiff Janice Beard brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against defendants Deputy Crane Paul Wolf and Sheriff Daniel Edwards, both of Tangipahoa Parish.

This action arises out of plaintiff Janice Beard's arrest on February 22, 2013. Beard was a passenger in a vehicle that was attempting to exit a parking spot at a bar located in Hammond, Louisiana. (Comp. ¶ 6). The vehicle made contact with another vehicle and someone called 911. Defendant Wolf responded to the call. Beard contends that Wolf was belligerent and for no apparent reason pulled her from the vehicle, maced her, and threw her to the ground. ( Id. ¶ 10). Beard contends that she was then arrested without probable cause and subjected to excessive force in the process. ( Id. ¶¶ 11-2).

Beard alleges that she was denied timely medical treatment and food service while being held at the jail, and deprived of her personal belongings because she lacked the cash fee to obtain them. ( Id. ¶¶ 13-14, 18). The complaint against Wolf and the official capacity claims against Sheriff Daniel Edwards are brought pursuant to § 1983 and state law.

Plaintiff was charged with resisting an officer, battery of a police officer, and disturbing the peace. (Rec. Doc. 45, Fourth Amended Complaint ¶ 80). Those charges were nolle prossed on April 28, 2014. Plaintiff later amended her complaint to join claims against the District Attorney for Tangipahoa Parish for malicious prosecution. The Court dismissed those claims on July 23, 2014 (Rec. Doc. 64).

A jury trial in this matter is scheduled to commence on February 9, 2015. (Rec. Doc. 63).

Defendants now move for partial summary judgment on several issues, each of which the Court addresses below.

II. Motion for Summary Judgment

Summary judgment is appropriate only if "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, " when viewed in the light most favorable to the non-movant, "show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact." TIG Ins. Co. v. Sedgwick James, 276 F.3d 754, 759 (5th Cir. 2002) ( citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986)). A dispute about a material fact is "genuine" if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Id. ( citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248). The court must draw all justifiable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Id. ( citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255). Once the moving party has initially shown "that there is an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's cause, " Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986), the non-movant must come forward with "specific facts" showing a genuine factual issue for trial. Id. ( citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio, 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)). Conclusional allegations and denials, speculation, improbable inferences, unsubstantiated assertions, and legalistic argumentation do not adequately substitute for specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial. Id. ( citing SEC v. Recile, 10 F.3d 1093, 1097 (5th Cir. 1993)).

The Court begins by noting that Plaintiff's opposition to Defendants' motion is for the most part unresponsive to the specific arguments that Defendants are making. The opposition not only fails in large part to address Defendants' arguments, but it also includes arguments in opposition to issues that clearly have not been raised, and to claims that are not part even part of this lawsuit.[1] Plaintiff's opposition totals 546 pages yet the briefing contains only two citations to the exhibits.[2] The party opposing summary judgment must do so by citing to specific evidence in the record. Willis v. Cleo Corp., 749 F.3d 314, 317 n.3 (5th Cir. 2014) (citing Ragas v. Tenn. Gas Pipeline Co., 136 F.3d 455, 458 (5th Cir. 1998)). That party must also explain the "precise manner" in which that evidence supports her argument. Id. (quoting Forsyth v. Barr, 19 F.3d 1527, ...


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