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Hudson v. Town of Woodworth

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

November 16, 2017

JEREMY HUDSON
v.
TOWN OF WOODWORTH, et al.

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          JOSEPH H.L. PEREZ-MONTES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Defendant Kyle McCain (“McCain”) filed a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 15). McCain's motion is granted.

         I. Background

         Before the Court is civil rights complaint filed (and amended) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as supplemental state law claims, by Plaintiff Jeremy Hudson (“Hudson”) (Docs. 1, 17). The named Defendants are the Town of Woodworth, Louisiana and McCain (an officer employed by the Town of Woodworth Police Department). Hudson alleges Officer McCain violated his constitutional rights during a traffic stop in the Town of Woodworth. Hudson asserts constitutional and state law claims for assault, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, cruel treatment, false arrest/imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and deliberate indifference to Hudson's rights against McCain. Hudson further alleges the Town of Woodworth was negligent in hiring, training, and retaining McCain. Hudson seeks monetary damages for emotional, mental, and psychological injuries, medical expenses, punitive damages, attorney fees, and costs.

         Hudson alleges violations of his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Hudson alleges that, on February 19, 2016, McCain pulled Hudson over when he was passing through the Town of Woodworth (Doc. 1). McCain asked permission to search Hudson's vehicle, Hudson refused, and McCain searched it anyway. After the search revealed nothing incriminating, McCain asked to see Hudson's license and registration. McCain then issued Hudson three tickets: (1) improper equipment (no tail lights or brake lights); (2) television prohibited; and (3) improper muffler. When Hudson refused to sign the tickets, McCain purportedly threw Hudson's driver's license on the ground and spit on it. McCain then “advised” Hudson “to leave Woodworth before it gets bad.” Hudson appeared in the Town of Woodworth Mayor's Court, where all three tickets were dismissed.

         Hudson seeks monetary damages for emotional, mental, and psychological injuries, medical expenses, punitive damages, attorney fees, and costs.

         Defendants removed. Defendants premise federal jurisdiction on a federal question (28 U.S.C. § 1983). The Town of Woodworth filed a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 7), which was granted (Doc. 23). Only Hudson's Fourteenth Amendment claims against the Town of Woodworth remain.

         Defendant McCain also filed a Motion to Dismiss or for a More Definite Statement (Doc. 15), adopting the Town of Woodworth's arguments. McCain contends: (1) punitive damages are not authorized under Louisiana law;[1] and (2) Hudson has not stated a viable claim under the Eighth Amendment (Doc. 7). McCain also contends the complaint is vague and ambiguous, and asks for a more definite statement (Doc. 7).

         McCain's Motion to Dismiss is now before the Court for disposition.

         II. Law and Analysis

         A. Hudson's Eighth Amendment claim should be dismissed.

         McCain contends Hudson's Eighth Amendment claim should dismissed because he was not convicted on the traffic tickets.

         The language of the Eighth Amendment-“[e]xcessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”- manifests “an intention to limit the power of those entrusted with the criminal-law function of government.” Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 318 (1986) (citing Ingraham v. Wright, 430 U.S. 651, 664 (1977)). The Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause “was designed to protect those convicted of crimes, ” and consequently the Clause applies “only after the State has complied with the constitutional guarantees traditionally associated with criminal prosecutions.” Id. (citing Ingraham, 430 U.S. at 671, n. 40).

         Hudson's claims are not viable under the Eighth Amendment because he was not convicted and sentenced. Therefore, McCain's Motion to Dismiss Hudson's Eighth Amendment claims should be granted. Only ...


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