United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
PATRICK J. HANNA, UNITED STAGES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the court is the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by
defendants Town of Church Point ("TCP"), Church
Point Police Chief Albert Venable, and Church Point Police
Officers Dale Thibodeaux and Ronald Carriere. Doc. 5.
Plaintiff, Bronston Drew ("Drew"), filed an
opposition to the motion. Doc. 7. The motion has been
referred to the undersigned for Report and Recommendation.
After considering the findings and arguments of the parties,
the applicable law, and for the reasons set out herein, it is
recommended that the motion be GRANTED.
Factual and Procedural Background
about November 30, 2015, Drew was issued a citation by
Officer Carriere for violation of Article III, Section 5-43
of the Church Point Municipal Code which prohibits the
keeping of two or more dogs penned up within fifty feet of
any residence in the corporate limits of the town. Doc. 1, p.
3; doc. 5, art. 1, p. 1. It appears that Drew had two dogs
penned up when he was issued the citation. Id. On or
about March 22, 2016, Drew pleaded guilty to the violation
and was ordered to pay a fine and court courts. Doc. 1, p. 3.
Drew was also ordered to remedy the violation within thirty
days of the order. Id.
March 30, 2016, Officers Carriere and Thibodeaux responded to
another complaint about the dogs penned up at Drew39;s
residence. Doc. 5, att. 3, p. 3. According to the Affidavit
for Warrant of Arrest ("Affidavit") [doc, 5, att.
3, p. 4] sworn to by Officer Carriere, the officers observed
five dogs penned up at the residence. Id. The
officers were told by Drew39;s son that Drew was in the
house. Id. However, Drew did not come to the door
despite the officers39; request that he do so.
Id., Thereafter, Officer Carriere executed the
Affidavit, and Magistrate Brad Andrus made a finding of
probable cause for Drew39;s arrest. Id. An arrest
warrant ("Warrant") was then issued. Doc. 5, att.
3, p. 5. Officers Carriere and Thibodeaux arrested Drew, who
posted the $500.00 bond. Doc. 1, p. 4. It appears that Drew
pleaded not guilty to the charges on May 16, 2016. Doc. 5,
att. 2, p. 16. The charges against him were dropped on or
about June 21, 2016. Doc. 1, p. 4. The defendants state that
the charges were dropped "because the arresting officer
was not present" at the hearing. Doc. 5, att. 2, p. 16.
litigation arises out of the events surrounding Drew39;s
March 30, 2016 arrest. Drew filed this civil rights suit on
March 30, 2017, claiming that the Warrant was issued without
being signed by a judge. Doc. 1, p. 4. As such, he claims
that Officers Carriere and Thibodeaux violated (1) his rights
of privacy and security of his person under the Fourth
Amendment to the United States Constitution; (2) his due
process rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to
the United States Constitution; and (3) his rights guaranteed
by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Id. He further alleges that Officers Carriere and
Thibodeaux violated his rights under Article 1, Sections 2
and 15 of the Louisiana Constitution. Id. Drew
maintains that Officers Carriere and Thibodeaux are also
liable to him under Louisiana law for malicious prosecution,
wrongful arrest, and defamation. Id. at 5.
regard to TCP, Drew contends that same is "vicariously
liable, under the doctrine of respondent superior,
for the tortious actions or inactions" of Officers
Carriere and Thibodeaux committed in the course and scope of
their employment with TCP. Id. He also claims that
TCP and Chief Venable are liable to him for the negligent
hiring, training, and supervision of Officers Carriere and
relief for the above, Drew seeks compensatory and punitive
damages, attorney39;s fees, costs of suit, and declaratory
relief. Id. at 6.
Law and Analysis
Motion for Summary Judgment, the defendants argue that they
are entitled to summary judgment because: (1) Drew39;s
arrest was made pursuant to a validly issued warrant based on
probable cause; (2) they are entitled to qualified immunity
from suit under § 1983; (3) the valid arrest warrant
defeats Drew39;s federal and state constitutional claims;
and (4) the invalidity of Drew39;s constitutional and
tortious claims against Officers Carrier and Thibodeaux
necessarily remove all support for his claims against the TCP
and Chief Venable.
response to the defendants39; Motion for Summary Judgment,
Drew contends that there is a genuine dispute as to the
following material facts: (1) whether, as part of his March
22, 2016 sentencing, he had until April 19, 2016, to become
compliant with the city ordinance that he violated; and (2)
whether the arrest warrant was invalid at the time it was
executed on March 30, 2016, as it did not contain the
signature of a judge. Doc. 7, att. 2, p. 4. He also argues
that the Motion for Summary Judgment is premature as it was
filed prior to the commencement of formal discovery.
Id. at 6.
Summary Judgment Standard
Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary
judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. A fact is material if proof of
its existence or nonexistence might affect the outcome of the
lawsuit under the applicable substantive law in the case.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986); Minter v. Great American Ins. Co. of New
York, 3 F.3d 460');">423 F.3d 460, 465 (5th Cir. 2005). A genuine issue
of material fact exists if a reasonable jury could render a
verdict for the non-moving party. Brumfield v.
Rollins, 3d 322');">551 F.3d 322, 326 (5th Cir. 2008), citing
Anderson, 477l U.S. at 252.
party seeking summary judgment has the initial responsibility
of informing the court of the basis for its motion, and
identifying those parts of the record that it believes
demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Washburn v. Harvey,3d 505');">504 F.3d 505, 508 (5th Cir.
2007), citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477l U.S.
317, 323 (1986). If the moving party carries its initial
burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to
demonstrate the existence of a genuine issue of a material
fact. Id. All facts and justifiable inferences are
construed in the light most favorable to the non-movant.
Brumfield, 551 F.3d at 326; Anderson, 477
U.S. at 255. If the dispositive issue is one on which the
nonmoving party will bear the burden of proof at trial, the
moving party may satisfy its burden by pointing out that
there is insufficient proof concerning an essential element
of the non-moving party's claim. Norwegian Bulk
Transport A/S v. Int'lMarine Terminals
P'ship,3d 409');">520 F.3d 409, 412 (5th Cir. 2008), citing
Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 325. The motion should be
granted if the non-moving party cannot produce evidence to
support an essential element of its claim. Condrey v.
SunTrust Bank of Georgia,31 F.3d 191');">431 F.3d 191, 197 (5th Cir.
2005). Where no such showing is ...