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MacKey v. Jarrott

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

February 2, 2015

TRENT MACKEY, JR.,
v.
FRANCIS JARROTT, ET AL., Section

ORDER AND REASONS

HELEN G. BERRIGAN, District Judge.

Before the Court is defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, plaintiff's Memorandum in Opposition, and defendants' Reply. Rec. Docs. 27, 33, 38. For the reasons discussed herein, the Court GRANTS defendants' Motion as to plaintiff's claim under 42 U.S.C. §1983. The Court declines to exercise jurisdiction over plaintiff's remaining state law claims.

I. Factual background

This matter arises out of the arrest of plaintiff, Trent Mackey, Jr. on September 24, 2012 by the New Orleans Police Department ("NOPD"). On August 4, 2012, Nicholas Shatz ("Shatz") awoke from a nap and saw an unknown man inside his bedroom at 618 Broadway Street in New Orleans, Louisiana. Rec. Doc. 27-4. After the intruder fled, Shatz noticed he was missing two watches, his phone, and cash from his wallet. Rec. Doc. 27-5 at 21:13 - 22:12 and 28:13-20. Shatz called the NOPD to report a burglary. Id. at 22:22-23:16. NOPD Officer Kevin Wheeler met with Shatz later that day. Rec. Doc. 27-3.

On August 6, Detective Francis Jarrott ("Jarrott") was assigned to investigate the case. Rec. Doc. 27-7 at 1. On or about September 12, 2012, Shatz saw an online news article reporting that Trent Mackey had been accused of a robbery that took place across the street from Shatz's home. The article included a photograph of Trent Mackey which Shatz says fit his recollection of the intruder he had seen on August 4. He contacted the police to notify them of the similarities. Rec. Doc. 33-4 at 31-32. Upon receiving word of Shatz's call, Jarrott telephoned Shatz and asked him to go to the Second District police station to review a photo lineup of possible suspects. Rec. Doc. 27-7 at 3. When Shatz went to the station on September 19, 2012, Jarrott presented him with six photographs of individuals with similar facial and physical characteristics, from which Shatz identified Mackey's photo. Id. Shatz then signed and dated the back of the photo he'd selected and wrote a brief statement about the person he had identified. Rec. Doc. 27-5 at 42. After the meeting, Jarrott contacted Tulane University Police Department and learned that Mackey did not have any scheduled class or football practice on the day of the burglary. Rec. Doc. 27-7 at 3.

On September 20, 2012, Jarrott applied for and received a warrant for Mackey's arrest. Id. On September 24, 2012, the Tulane University Police Department took Mackey into custody and immediately turned him over to the NOPD. Rec. Doc. 27-7 at 3. Following Mackey's arrest, Mackey's attorney, Richard Kohnke, contacted Shatz and discussed Mackey's arrest and Shatz's identification of Shatz in the photo lineup. Rec. Doc. 33-4 at 56-57. After their conversation, Shatz met again with Jarrott and stated that he had not expected that his identification would lead to Mackey's arrest, and that he estimated he was only 60 to 70 percent certain that Mackey was the person he had seen in his apartment. Rec. Doc. 33-4 at 58-61. According to defendants, both a DNA test and a fingerprint test of samples taken from Shatz's stolen phone, which had been retrieved through a phone-tracking application, had proven inconclusive. Rec. Doc. 27-6, 27-11. On November 26, 2012, the District Attorney's Office refused the burglary charge against Mackey. Rec. Doc. 33-2.

On June 26, 2013, Mackey filed suit in this Court, bringing a claim against Jarrott in his individual capacity under 42 U.S.C. §1983 for violations of Mackey's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as state law claims of false arrest, malicious prosecution, and intentional inflection of emotional distress. Rec. Doc. 1. Defendants now move for summary judgment on all claims. Rec. Doc. 33.

II. Standard of review

Summary judgment is proper when the record indicates that there is not a "genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. A genuine issue of fact exists if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1996).

A party seeking summary judgment "bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of [discovery], together with the affidavits, if any, ' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the initial burden is met, the nonmoving party must "designate specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial" using evidence cognizable under Rule 56. Id. at 324. "[U]nsubstantiated assertions" and "conclusory allegations" will not defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment. Hopper v. Frank, 16 F.3d 92, 97 (5th Cir. 1994); Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 871-73 (1990). "If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, " summary judgment is appropriate. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50 (internal citations omitted). "Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Id. at 248.

When reviewing a motion for summary judgment, a court must view the evidence and inferences drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Daniels v. City of Arlington, Texas, 246 F.3d 500, 502 (5th Cir. 2001). Summary judgment does not allow a court to resolve credibility issues or weigh evidence. Int'l Shortstop, Inc. v. Rally's, Inc., 939 F.2d 1257, 1263 (5th Cir. 1991).

III. Law and Analysis

a. Section 1983 claim against Jarrott in his individual capacity

Defendants argue that Mackey's claim against Jarrott in his individual capacity must be dismissed, both because Jarrott had probable cause to arrest Mackey and because Jarrott is entitled to qualified immunity. The Court will ...


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