United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
JACOB LUKE, SR.
CAPT. BEAGRON, ET AL.
ORDER AND REASONS
VAN MEERVELD, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Jacob Luke, Sr., a state inmate, filed this pro se
and in forma pauperis civil action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. He named as defendants Captain S.
Bergeron,  Sheriff Jerry Larpenter,  Lieutenant
Nichallis Daigle,  Warden Trish, the Narcotics Team,
Officer Scott Robinson. He thereafter amended the complaint on
numerous occasions, and he added Cory Daplantis, Lieutenant
T. Schwausch, and Assistant District Attorney Amanda Mustin
as additional defendants.
only claims currently remaining in this lawsuit are a claim
against Robinson for excessive force and a claim against
Mustin for interfering with plaintiff's right to counsel.
All other claims were previously dismissed. Luke v.
Beagron, Civ. Action No. 16-13461, 2016 WL 8740486 (E.D.
La. Dec. 28, 2016), adopted, 2017 WL 1407719 (E.D.
La. Apr. 20, 2017). The remaining parties have consented to
the jurisdiction of the United States Magistrate Judge
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).
and Mustin have now filed a motion for summary judgment on
the remaining claims pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure. Plaintiff has opposed that
motion. For the following reasons, that motion is
reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the Court may grant
the motion when no genuine issue of material fact exists and
the mover is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). There is no “genuine issue”
when the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational
trier of fact to find for the nonmovant. Matsushita
Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475
U.S. 574, 587 (1986).
the party moving for summary judgment bears the initial
burden of informing the district court of the basis for its
motion, and identifying those portions of the record which it
believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact.” Taita Chemical Co., Ltd. v.
Westlake Styrene Corp., 246 F.3d 377, 385 (5th Cir.
2001) (quotation marks and brackets omitted). The party
opposing summary judgment must then “go beyond the
pleadings and by [his] own affidavits, or by the depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, designate
specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 324 (1986) (internal quotation marks omitted);
accord Provident Life and Accident Ins. Co. v. Goel,
274 F.3d 984, 991 (5th Cir. 2001). The Court has no duty to
search the record for evidence to support a party's
opposition to summary judgment; rather, “[t]he party
opposing summary judgment is required to identify specific
evidence in the record and to articulate the precise manner
in which the evidence supports his or her claim.”
Ragas v. Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., 136 F.3d 455,
458 (5th Cir. 1998). Conclusory statements, speculation, and
unsubstantiated assertions are not competent summary judgment
evidence and will not suffice to defeat a properly supported
motion for summary judgment. Id.; Douglass v.
United Services Auto. Ass'n, 79 F.3d 1415, 1429 (5th
Against Officer Scott Robinson
lawsuit, plaintiff claims that Officer Robinson used
excessive force during a search at the Terrebonne Parish
Criminal Justice Complex. Based on plaintiff's complaint,
as amended, and his Spears hearing testimony,
the Court finds that he is making the following allegations
with respect to this claim: On May 3, 2016, at approximately
9:00 p.m., Lieutenant Bergeron and narcotics officers
conducted a search at the jail. The officers had guns and
were accompanied by dogs. Brandishing a gun, Officer Scott
Robinson approached plaintiff, who was lying on his stomach
on his mattress on the floor. When plaintiff raised his head,
Robinson told him to stay down and stepped on his shoulder.
From a standing position, Scott then dropped his knee onto
plaintiff's back with such force that it caused something
in his shoulders to “crack.” Robinson also forced
plaintiff's arm to his back and restrained him with
handcuffs and leg restraints. Plaintiff did not initially
believe he was physically injured by Robinson's actions;
however, he later began to experience symptoms such as neck
pain and numbness in his arms and hands, and he still
experiences those symptoms periodically. He requested medical
care, and a doctor diagnosed plaintiff as having a pinched
nerve and prescribed Flexeril (a muscle relaxer) and
plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at the time of the
incident, his excessive force claim “lies under the
Fourteenth Amendment.” Benoit v. Bordelon, 596
Fed. App'x 264, 267 n.2 (5th Cir. 2015). In this Circuit,
it had long been the rule that excessive force claims brought
pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment by pretrial detainees
were to be considered using the same analysis as employed
when considering excessive force claims brought pursuant to
the Eighth Amendment by convicted prisoners. Valencia v.
Wiggins, 981 F.2d 1440, 1446-47 (5th Cir. 1993). Under
that analysis, courts were to employ the subjective
standard announced in Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S.
312 (1986), and Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1
(1992), which looked to “whether force was applied in a
good faith effort to maintain or restore discipline, or
maliciously and sadistically for the very purpose of causing
harm.” Valencia, 981 F.2d at 1446 (internal
quotation marks omitted); accord Kitchen v. Dallas
County, Texas, 759 F.3d 468, 477 (5th Cir. 2014). As
part of that analysis, courts were to consider the following
1. the extent of the injury suffered;
2. the need for the application of force;
3. the relationship between the need and the amount of force
4. the threat reasonably perceived by the responsible
5. any efforts made to temper the severity of a forceful
Hudson v. McMillian, 962 F.2d 522, 523 (5th Cir.
1992) (citing Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 7
in 2015, the United States Supreme Court clarified the law
concerning excessive force claims brought pursuant to the
Fourteenth Amendment. The Supreme Court concluded that with
respect to such a claim, a pretrial detainee need show only
that the use of force was “objectively
unreasonable.” Kingsley v. Hendrickson, 135
S.Ct. 2466, 2470 (2015). In doing so, the Supreme Court
expressly rejected the subjective standard of
Whitley and Hudson, holding that those
cases are relevant to a Fourteenth Amendment excessive force
claim “only insofar as they address the practical
importance of taking into account the legitimate
safety-related concerns of those who run jails.”
Id. at 2475.
United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has not yet
considered the ultimate impact of Kingsley on this
Circuit's precedents. However, shortly after
Kingsley was issued, Judge Debra M. Brown of the
United States District Court for the Northern District of
In the approximately three weeks since Kingsley was
decided, only one court in this circuit has addressed the
Supreme Court's Kingsley opinion's impact on
a Fourteenth Amendment excessive force claim in the Fifth
Circuit. In Clark v. Anderson, a Texas District
Court followed the Fifth Circuit rule that Fourteenth and
Eighth Amendment claims are analyzed under the same
framework, although it allowed that “this holding is
called into question by the Supreme Court's recent
decision in Kingsley ....” No. 4:15-cv-360,
2015 WL 3960886, at *3, *3 n. 3 (N.D. Tex. June 29, 2015).
While Clark stopped short of recognizing that
Kingsley overruled the Kitchen and
Valencia line of cases, a reading of
Kingsley compels such a conclusion.
Kingsley held that Fourteenth Amendment claims,
unlike Eighth Amendment claims, must be decided under an
objective standard. 135 S.Ct. at 2473-74. Kitchen
and Valencia held that Fourteenth Amendment claims,
like Eighth Amendment claims, must be decided under a
subjective standard. Kitchen, 759 F.3d at 477. These
holdings cannot be squared. Accordingly, this Court follows
the Supreme Court's direction and holds that
Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment claim must be evaluated
under an objective standard -- that is, the Court must ask
whether, from an objective point of view, [the
defendant's] actions were rationally related to a
legitimate, nonpunitive governmental purpose and whether his
actions were excessive in relation to that purpose.
Kingsley, 135 S.Ct. at 2473-74.
Thompson v. Beasley, 309 F.R.D. 236, 247 (N.D. Miss.
whatever the ultimate impact of Kingsley may be on
this Circuit's traditional analysis, one thing is clear:
the foregoing Hudson factors still play a role in a
court's analysis of a Fourteenth Amendment excessive
force claim. That is apparent from the fact that the
Kingsley court referenced similar factors to be
considered in resolving the objective reasonableness
of an action on which a Fourteenth Amendment claim is based:
Considerations such as the following may bear on the
reasonableness or unreasonableness of the force used: the
relationship between the need for the use of force and the
amount of force used; the extent of the plaintiff's
injury; any effort made by the officer to temper or to limit
the amount of force; the severity of the security problem at
issue; the threat reasonably perceived by the officer; and
whether the plaintiff was actively resisting. See,
e.g., Graham, supra, at 396, 109
S.Ct. 1865. We do not consider this list to be exclusive. We