United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
ELIZABETH ERNY FOOTE JUDGE
the Court are two motions for summary judgment: Plaintiff s
motion regarding several of her claims against the City of
Shreveport, [Record Document 53], and a broader motion by the
City of Shreveport ("the City") and Willie Shaw
("Shaw"), the former chief of the Shreveport Police
Department ("the Department"), on all of Plaintiff
s claims against them, [Record Document 54]. The City and
Shaw have filed opposition and reply briefs, and Plaintiff
has filed an opposition brief, all of which have been
considered by the undersigned. [Record Documents 56-58].
Hassan ("Hassan") was allegedly raped at the
Shreveport police station by James Greene
("Greene"), then an officer with the Department. In
addition to federal and state law claims against Greene in
his individual and official capacities, Hassan brings the
following claims against the City and Shaw: (1) 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 claims against the City and against Shaw in his
individual and official capacities for failure to train
Greene appropriately and for maintaining a policy, custom, or
practice that allowed the alleged rape to occur; (2) a state
law claim against the City for negligent hiring, training,
and supervision of Greene; and (3) state law claims for
assault, battery, and false imprisonment against the City as
reasons discussed below, Hassan's Motion for Summary
Judgment is DENIED, The City and Shaw's
Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED IN
PART and DENIED IN PART. The motion
is GRANTED on Hassan's claims for
punitive damages against the City and for punitive damages
against Shaw in his official capacity. The motion is
DENIED on all of Hassan's remaining
claims against the City and against Shaw in his official
capacity and on all of Hassan's claims against Shaw in
his individual capacity.
February 10, 2015, Hassan went to the Department to file a
report against a former boyfriend who had threatened her
life. [Record Document 53-1 at 1]. Greene took her report
inside his office. [Id.]. While she was there, he
touched her breast under the guise of looking at a tattoo
that she had; she swatted his hand away and left. [Record
Documents 53 at 4 and 53-4 at 4], The following day, Greene
telephoned Hassan and asked her to return to the police
station. [Record Document 53-1 at 2]. When she did so, Greene
again interviewed her in his office where the two had sexual
intercourse; Greene contends that the sex was consensual,
while Hassan alleges that it was rape. [Id.].
Hassan reported the incident, an investigation was opened
that led to Greene's termination. [Record Document 54-2
at 2]. The state charged Greene with abuse of office under
La. R.S.14:134.3; he was acquitted following a trial. [Record
Document 40 at 2]. An important witness at the trial was
Officer Stephen Gipson ("Gipson"), who at the time
of the alleged rape was romantically involved with Hassan.
[Record Document 54-4 at 3-5]. Hassan told Gipson that Greene
had raped her, though he testified that he was uncertain
whether or not he believed her. [Record Document 57-4 at 5].
Believing that Gipson had perjured himself on the stand to
protect Greene and the Department, Hassan moved to amend her
complaint to name Gipson as an additional defendant and to
add two counts of conspiracy. [Record Document 37]. The Court
denied Hassan's motion as both untimely and futile.
[Record Document 40].
Standard of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) directs a court to "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 Id. at 322-23. However, "if the movant
bears the burden of proof on an issue, ... he must establish
beyond peradventure all of the essential elements of
the claim or defense to warrant judgment in his favor."
Fontenot v. Upjohn Co., 780 F.2d 1190, 1194 (5th
movant satisfies its initial burden of showing that there is
no genuine dispute of material fact, the nonmovant must
demonstrate that there is, in fact, a genuine issue for trial
by going "beyond the pleadings" and designating
specific facts for support. Little v. Liquid A ir
Corp., 3 7 F. 3 d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994) (citing
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325). "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.
(internal quotation marks and citations omitted). 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). 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 (citing Armstrong v.
City of Datt., 997 F.2d 62 (5th Cir. 1993)).
Section 1983 Claims Against the City and
raises two § 1983 claims against the City and Shaw.
First, she alleges a failure to train Greene in the proper
procedures for taking a complainant's report, in a
person's right to be free from unlawful seizures, and in
Greene's "duties as a police officer [to] refrain
from bringing a complainant in a criminal case to his office
so he can satisfy his sexual desires." [Record Document
1 at 9]. Second, she alleges a policy, custom, or
practice of providing inadequate training and employing,
retaining, and failing to discipline an officer that the City
"knew or reasonably should have known had dangerous
propensities for abusing authority and for using his
position... to make inappropriate sexual advances toward
women." [Id. at 14].
Adverse Inference from Gipson's Refusal to Answer
Questions at His Deposition
discussed below, in order to prevail on her § 1983 claim
that the City failed to adequately supervise and discipline
Greene, Hassan must establish that the City and Shaw had
reason to know that Greene was likely to engage in sexual
misconduct. Shaw has submitted an affidavit stating that
during his six-year term as police chief he was unaware of
Greene or anyone "having sexual activity in their [sic]
office at the Shreveport Police Department while on or off
duty." [Record Document 57-2 at 1]. In response, Hassan
points out that when asked whether he ever told anyone that
Greene "had a reputation for getting fresh with women at
the police department, " Gipson asserted his Fifth
Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. [Record
Documents 53 at 7-8 and 53-1 at 8-9]Hassan argues that this
assertion is "affirmative evidence, not only of a
cover-up and concealment of wrongdoing, but the deliberate
promotion of a false counter-narrative intended to exonerate
... the City of Shreveport of civil liability." [Record
Document 56-1 at 5].
Fifth Amendment does not prohibit a factfinder from drawing
adverse inferences in a civil trial from a non-party
witness's invocation of the Fifth Amendment. FDIC v.
Fid. & Deposit Co. of Md, 45 F.3d 969,
977(5thCir. 1995) (citing Baxter v. Palmigiano, 425
U.S. 308, 318(1976); RAD Servs., Inc. v. Aetna Cas. &
Sur. Co., 808 F.2d 271, 275 (3d Cir. 1986)). In this
case, it is not clear why Gipson invoked the Fifth Amendment
with regard to this question. The question does not involve
any action by Gibson-other than making the statement-but by
Greene. However, the adverse inference that could be drawn
from Gipson's invocation of his right against
self-incrimination is that Greene had a reputation in the
Department for inappropriate conduct toward women while on
duty. Because at the summary judgment stage all inferences
must be made in favor of the non-movant, Anderson,
Ml U.S. at 255, for purposes of evaluating the City and
Shaw's motion, it must be taken as proven that Greene had
a reputation in the Department for inappropriate sexual
Section 1983 Claims Against the City
parties seek summary judgment on Hassan's § 1983
claims against the City. [Record Documents 53 at 7 and 54-1
at 7]. Hassan raises two interconnected claims: a failure to
adequately train Greene and a policy or practice of
inadequately supervising and disciplining an officer that the
City knew or should have known had a ...