United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
ELIZABETH E. FOOTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment [Record
Document 42] filed by Defendants, Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve
Prator, Detective Matt Purgerson, Detective Keith Fox, and
Detective Leonard Scoggins, which prays for this Court to
dismiss all claims brought by Plaintiff, Miriam L Danna, with
prejudice. Upon consideration of the briefs filed by the
parties and for the reasons stated below, Defendants'
Motion for Summary Judgement is GRANTED.
January 2, 2015, Plaintiff, her son, and her two
grandchildren went to a Dairy Queen restaurant in Shreveport,
Louisiana. While at the checkout counter, Plaintiff picked up
a wallet that did not belong to her and placed it in her
purse. Record Document 48-7. She claims that once she
realized the wallet did not belong to her or her son, the
wallet was given to an employee at the restaurant.
Id. It was later discovered that the wallet belonged
to Gerald Smith ("Smith"). Smith reported that he
had been in the Dairy Queen on January 2, 2015, and that
$153.00 had been stolen from his wallet. Record Document
42-2, p. 1. He reported that he left the wallet on the
counter and that it was returned to him the next day, but
that all of the money from the wallet had been removed.
Id. at p. 1-2.
Matthew Purgerson of the Caddo Parish Sheriffs Office was
assigned to the case. Id. at p. 1. On January 16,
2015, Detective Purgerson, along with Detective Fox and
Detective Scoggins, viewed surveillance footage from the
Dairy Queen which showed Smith leaving his wallet on the
counter and Plaintiff picking up the wallet and placing it in
her purse. Id. at p. 2. The video also showed that
the wallet was later given to a cashier. Detective Purgerson
interviewed the cashier and a Dairy Queen manager. Record
Document 42-2, p. 3. Detectives Purgerson and Fox also
interviewed Plaintiff, and a decision was made to arrest her
for theft. See Record Document 48-1.
was held in state court in September 2015, and Plaintiff was
found not guilty. She then filed this suit under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 and state law alleging false arrest, excessive
force, and malicious prosecution. Defendants assert qualified
immunity and move for summary judgment on all of
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) directs that a court
"shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law." Summary judgment is appropriate when the
pleadings, answers to interrogatories, admissions,
depositions, and affidavits on file indicate that there is no
genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). When the
burden at trial will rest on the non-moving party, the moving
party need not produce evidence to negate the elements of the
non-moving party's case; rather, it need only point out
the absence of supporting evidence. See Celotex, 477
U.S. at 322-323.
movant satisfies its initial burden of showing that there is
no genuine dispute of materia! fact with the motion for
summary judgment, the nonmovant must demonstrate that there
is, in fact, a genuine issue for dispute at trial by going
"beyond the pleadings" and designating specific
facts for support. Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37
F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994). "This burden is not
satisfied with 'some metaphysical doubt as to the
material facts, '" by conclusory or unsubstantiated
allegations, or by a mere scintilla of evidence. Id.
(quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)). However, "[t]he
evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all
justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor."
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255
(1985) (interna! citations omitted); Reid v. State Farm
Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 784 F.2d 577, 578 (5th Cir. 1986)
(the court must "review the facts drawing all inferences
most favorable to the party opposing the motion"). While
not weighing the evidence or evaluating the credibility of
witnesses, courts should grant summary judgment where the
critical evidence in support of the nonmovant is so weak and
tenuous that it could not support a judgment in the
nonmovant's favor. Little, 37 F.3d at 1075.
Local Rule 56.1 requires the moving party to file a statement
of material facts as to which it contends there is no genuine
issue to be tried. Pursuant to Local Rule 56.2, the party
opposing the motion for summary judgment must set forth a
"short and concise statement of the material facts as to
which there exists a genuine issue to be tried." All
material facts set forth in the statement required to be
served by the moving party "will be deemed admitted, for
purposes of the motion, unless controverted as required by
this rule." Local Rule 56.2.