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Doe v. Dantin

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

June 17, 2015

JANE DOE, individually and on behalf of her minor son, JOHN DOE,
v.
JERRY DANTIN, ET AL, Section:

ORDER AND REASONS

JAY C. ZAINEY, District Judge.

Before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment (Rec. Doc. 82) filed by defendants David Camardelle, Euris Dubois, and the Town of Grand Isle. Plaintiffs, Jane Doe, and her minor son, John Doe, oppose the motion.[1] The motion, set for hearing on May 1, 2015, is before the Court on the briefs without oral argument.[2] For the reasons that follow, the motion is GRANTED.

I. BACKGROUND

This case concerns an alleged cover-up by the mayor of Grand Isle, the chief of police of Grand Isle, and the Grand Isle Police Department/Town of Grand Isle in investigating a possible felony. Defendant David Camardelle ("Camardelle") is the mayor of the Town of Grand Isle and a neighbor of John Doe's father. At the time of the incident, defendant Jerry Dantin ("Dantin") had been dating Camardelle's mother. Plaintiffs allege that on March 30, 2010, Jane Doe's son, John Doe, informed her that Dantin had sexually molested him by allowing him/instructing him to put cream on Dantin's penis and in Dantin's anus. In response, Jane Doe told John Doe's father about the sexual molestation. John Doe's father called Camardelle on March 31, 2010 to inform him of the allegations. Camardelle and John Doe's father discussed getting more information before taking further action, and John Doe's father agreed to give Camardelle until April 5, 2010, due to the upcoming Easter weekend.

Jane Doe and John Doe's father called Camardelle on April 5, 2010, but were unable to reach him. Jane Doe also called the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office that day to ask where to report a molestation, but she did not divulge any further details. On April 6, 2010, Jane Doe reported the matter in person to an officer at the Grand Isle Police Department. During this visit, Defendant Euris Dubois ("Dubois"), the Chief of the Grand Isle Police Department, allegedly accused Jane Doe of lying. Camardelle then arrived at the police station and apologized to Jane Doe for not returning her call. Camardelle offered to pick up Dantin and drive him to the station, which Dubois allowed. Upon his return, Dantin was questioned by Dubois and Jane Doe. Camardelle was also present during the questioning.

During questioning, Dantin initially denied molesting John Doe, but eventually stated that he would tell the truth. At this point, Dubois read Dantin his Miranda rights. Dubois attempted to record Dantin's statement, but the tape recorder would not work. A second tape recorder also would not work. Dubois allegedly decided against getting new batteries and instead instructed his secretary to handwrite the statement. According to Plaintiffs, Dubois ordered Dantin to continue with his statement even after his secretary informed him that she could not keep up with the dialogue.

In his statement, Dantin confessed to molesting John Doe. He then threatened to kill himself. While Dantin was providing his statement, Camardelle allegedly began crying hysterically and complained of having a heart attack. An EMS was called to examine Camardelle while Jane Doe was left alone with Dantin. Camardelle did not suffer a heart attack.

Dubois did not have any video or audio of the confession. He did not ask Dantin to handwrite his confession nor did he present a written confession for Dantin to sign. The police report does state that Dantin confessed to molesting John Doe.

Dantin was arrested and transported to a hospital for suicide watch. He was then released into the custody of the Grand Isle Police Department for booking. On April 7, 2010, Dantin was transferred to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office. On August 20, 2010, the District Attorney's Office instituted charges against Dantin for sexual battery of a juvenile.

In the criminal proceedings, Dantin filed a motion to suppress his oral confession, which the trial court denied. The trial court's denial of Dantin's motion was subsequently upheld by the appellate court. Dantin's criminal jury trial was held on July 13, 2011, resulting in a hung jury. The matter was again tried to a jury on September 22, 2011, concluding with the same result.

On February 25, 2011, Plaintiffs filed the instant lawsuit against Camardelle, Dubois, Dantin, and the Town of Grand Isle, asserting constitutional violations under ยง 1983 and state law claims for intentional torts.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

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)). ...


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