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LaGarde v. Metz

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

February 2, 2017

FELTON LAGARDE
v.
SERGEANT CHRISTOPHER L. METZ

          MEMORANDUM OF DECISION

          RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter was tried before the Court, sitting without a jury, on June 27, 2016. Having considered the testimony and evidence presented at trial, arguments of counsel, the applicable burden of proof, the pre-trial and post-trial briefing and the applicable law, the Court issues the following Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in accordance with Rule 52(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

         I.BACKGROUND

         This case arises out of Plaintiff's claims that Sergeant Christopher Metz sexually assaulted Plaintiff and used excessive force against Plaintiff while incarcerated at Louisiana State Penitentiary on March 13, 2013. On December 18, 2013, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that Defendant's conduct amounted to excessive force and sexual assault in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. Defendant submitted an Answer denying the allegations; however, he failed to plead qualified immunity - an affirmative defense. Plaintiff later filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on the issue of liability, which went unopposed by Defendant. (R. Doc. 36). The Court denied Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment on June 10, 2015. (R. Doc. 44). The case proceeded to a bench trial on June 27, 2016.

         II.FINDINGS OF FACT

         1. At all times relevant, Plaintiff, Felton Lagarde, was an adult inmate incarcerated by the State of Louisiana.

         2. On March 13, 2013, Plaintiff was an inmate housed at the Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola) working as an Orderly in the lobby area. (R. Doc. 80 at 29).

         3. On March 13, 2013, Defendant, Sergeant Christopher Metz, was employed as a corrections officer by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections and assigned to Angola.

         4. As an Orderly, Plaintiff's duties included, among other things, cleaning the lobby area on the first and second floor, cleaning after meals and ensuring that there were enough plates set out for the next meal. (R. Doc. 80 at 64, 66-67).

         5. On March 13, 2013, Plaintiff was on his knees counting the number of plates at the steam table on the first floor to ensure there were enough for the next meal. (R. Doc. 80 at 66).

         6. While kneeling at the steam table, Defendant approached Plaintiff and the two men engaged in joking and conversation. (Pl.'s Exhibit No. 1 at 2, 4). During the conversation, Defendant exposed his penis, grabbed Plaintiff's head and ordered Plaintiff to suck his penis. (R. Doc. 80 at 67); (Pl.'s Exhibit No. 1 at 5). Plaintiff jerked his head away from Defendant's grasp and ran upstairs. (R. Doc. 80 at 67).

         7. Defendant followed Plaintiff upstairs (R. Doc. 80 at 67) and Plaintiff retreated to the upstairs bathroom to get away from Defendant. (R. Doc. 80 at 67). While still in the bathroom, Plaintiff relieved himself at the urinal.

         8. Meanwhile, Defendant retrieved a broom and then went to the bathroom to find Plaintiff. Upon entering the bathroom, Defendant found Plaintiff relieving himself at the urinal. While Plaintiff was still urinating, Defendant used the broomstick to poke Plaintiff in the buttocks while calling Plaintiff a ‘hoe' and instructing Plaintiff to suck Defendant's penis. (R. Doc. 80 at 31, 67). Defendant then wedged the broomstick down the back of Plaintiff's pants and in between Plaintiff's bare butt cheeks, attempting to penetrate Plaintiff's anus. (R. Doc. 80 at 70-71); (Pl.'s Exhibit No. 1 at 2, 4, 5). Plaintiff was able to shove the broomstick aside before the broomstick could make contact with or penetrate his anus.[1] (R. Doc. 80 at 68, 71); (Pl.'s Exhibit No. 8). Plaintiff then ran out of the bathroom and down the stairs. (Pl.'s Exhibit No. 1 at 4).

         9. Sometime later that day, Defendant found Plaintiff downstairs, took Plaintiff to the ground (Pl.'s Exhibit No. 1 at 9, 11), sat on top of Plaintiff, called Plaintiff a ‘bitch' and ordered Plaintiff to apologize to Defendant. (R. Doc. 80 at 69); (Pl.'s Exhibit No. 1 at 2, 4). Defendant then stood up and let Plaintiff leave. (Pl.'s Exhibit No. 1 at 4).[2]

         10. Plaintiff did not suffer any serious physical trauma or injury as a result of Defendant's conduct. Plaintiff did not suffer any physical trauma or injury, to his anus or otherwise, as a result of Defendant wedging a ...


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