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Johnson v. City of Shreveport

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

August 15, 2017

CALVIN W. JOHNSON, SR.
v.
CITY OF SHREVEPORT, ET AL.

          HAYES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

          MEMORANDUM RULING

          S. MAURICE HICKS, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Record Document 26) filed by Defendants, Corporal Brad Sotak (“Sotak”) and the City of Shreveport (“the City”). Defendants seek a judgment dismissing Plaintiff Calvin W. Johnson, Sr.'s (“Johnson”) (1) federal excessive force claim to the extent same stems from Sotak's use of handcuffs when taking Johnson into protective custody; (2) Monell claim against the City in its entirety; (3) false arrest claim in its entirety; and (4) state law excessive force and negligence claims to the extent same depend on Sotak's use of handcuffs when taking Johnson into protective custody. Defendants have not moved for summary judgment on the component of the excessive force claim relating to Johnson's allegation that Sotak slung Johnson into his vehicle or intentionally caused Johnson to make contact with his vehicle.

         Johnson does not oppose the motion as to the dismissal of the Monell claims against the City and all claims of false arrest under both federal and state law. See Record Document 28 at 1. Johnson “opposes the dismissal of any claim arising out of handcuffing as use of force only in regards to a dismissal's form and wording.” Record Document 28 at 3. More specifically, Johnson submits:

Plaintiff makes no [claim for] typical handcuffing injuries such as nerve damage in wrists. However, Plaintiff does claim that being handcuffed (1) prevented him from avoiding injury, (2) assisted Sotak in his use of force[, ] (3) he should not have been handcuffed at all and (4) is a factor for the jury to consider whether force was necessary or reasonable.

         Record Document 28 at 8.

         For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment is GRANTED. Johnson's Monell claim against the City and his false arrest claims under both federal and state law are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. Johnson's federal excessive force claim to the extent same depends on the necessity or lack thereof in utilizing handcuffs when executing the Order of Protective Custody is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. Likewise, Johnson's state law battery/excessive force and negligence claims to the extent same depends on the necessity or lack thereof in utilizing handcuffs when executing the Order of Protective Custody are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. Johnson's federal excessive force claim and state law excessive force and negligence claims relating to the allegation that Sotak slung Johnson into his vehicle or intentionally caused Johnson to make contact with his vehicle remain.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On March 17, 2015, the Caddo Parish Deputy Coroner issued an Order of Protective Custody. See Record Document 26-8. The order provided:

         Description of threats which have led to the belief that the person needing treatment is mentally ill or suffering from substance abuse and is in need of immediate hospitalization to protect himself/herself from physical harm:

Mr. Calvin W. Johnson Jr. (son) came to this Office today seeking assistance for his father, Calvin W. Johnson Sr. According to Mr. Johnson his father has a medical history of bi- polar disorder and previous commitments. For the past week Mr. Calvin W. Johnson Sr. (father) has been non-compliant with his medications and refuses to sleep. Today he became violent with family members and feels that they are plotting on him. His condition is becoming worse each day. Mr. Calvin Johnson Jr. (son) feels that Mr. Calvin W. Johnson Sr. (father) is a danger to himself and others by his actions and condition; it is ordered that he be picked up and transported to University Health for psychiatric evaluation and/or treatment.

Id. Johnson does not dispute the validity of the Order of Protective Custody, which ordered he be taken into custody in accordance with Louisiana Revised Statute 28:53.2. See Record Document 26-1 at ¶ 1; Record Document 28-1 at ¶ 1.

         On March 19, 2015, at approximately 8:58 a.m., Sotak was dispatched to take Johnson into custody and transport him to University Health in accordance with the Order of Protective Custody. See Record Document 26-1 at ¶ 3. Sotak proceeded to Johnson's location at the Bill Cockrell Recreation Center on Pines Road in Shreveport, Louisiana. See id. at ¶ 4.[1] Upon arriving, Sotak parked his vehicle in the parking lot in front of the recreation center. See id. at ¶ 5. Sotak then asked dispatch for details concerning the Order of Protective Custody. See id. at ¶ 6. He was informed that Johnson was non-compliant with his medication, was refusing to sleep, was violent with his family, and that the family considered Johnson to be a danger to himself and others. See id.

         Sotak observed Johnson exiting the gym and entering his vehicle. See id. at ¶ 7. Sotak then positioned his vehicle behind Johnson's van. See id. While Sotak's MVS captured the initial interaction with Johnson, namely Sotak's first attempts to handcuff Johnson, it did not capture “the impact of Johnson's head to the van” or “all of the handcuffing.” See id.; see also Record Document 28-1 at ¶ 7. The MVS shows Sotak proceed to the driver's side of Johnson's vehicle. See Record Document 26-1 at ¶ 8; Record Document 28-1 at ¶ 8. Johnson asks Sotak “what seems to be the problem.” Id. Sotak asked Johnson to exit the vehicle to speak with him. See id. Johnson agreed and exited the ...


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