United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON, CHIEF JUDGE
the Court are the Motions for Summary Judgment (Docs.
25 and 28) filed by the Louisiana State University
Police Department ("LSU"), the Baton Rouge Police
Department, Officer Ory Holmes, and Officer Troy McCreary.
Plaintiff Blake Huval filed oppositions (Docs. 41 and 42).
Also before the Court is a Motion to Strike
(Doc. 61) filed by LSU. For the following reasons, the
Motions for Summary Judgment (Docs. 25 and
28) are GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN
undisputed facts taken in the light most favorable to
Plaintiff are as follows. On Saturday, March 8, 2014, Plaintiff
Blake Huval, his brother Chase Huval, and their wives drove
to dinner at the Chimes Restaurant and then went to a concert
at the Varsity Theater near LSU's campus. (Doc. 25-1 at
¶ 1). At the time, Chase Huval was an off-duty state
trooper. (Doc. 46-1 at 21:13-14). When the concert ended
after midnight, the group walked to a nearby parking lot to
meet a friend to pick them up because they had been drinking.
(Doc. 25-3 at p. 17:8-19:4). Around the same time, someone
alerted Officers McCreary and Holmes of the Baton Rouge
Police Department, who were in a police cruiser near the
Chimes, that someone was being assaulted in a parking lot
nearby. (Doc. 25-7 at p. 21-22).
officers drove toward the parking lot and saw a large fight.
Id. at p. 22-24. They saw several people bleeding,
and several people fled. Id. Officer McCreary began
looking for one man who fled, and he eventually saw him
sitting in the back of an SUV nearby in the parking lot.
Id. at p. 27-28. When Officer McCreary saw the man
in the SUV, he walked toward the car shining his flashlight.
Id. What Officer McCreary did not know, however, is
that three men had just run toward the Huvals, and they told
Plaintiffs brother that someone was trying to beat them up,
and they asked for help. (Doc. 25-3 at 76:22-77:9).
Plaintiffs brother then let the three men sit in his car.
(Doc. 77 at 77:13-78:10).
Officer McCreary approached, he saw Plaintiff standing near
the SUV holding a bottle of alcohol. (Doc. 32 at 1:16:44
Officer McCreary then drew his gun and held it by his side,
pointing it toward the ground. (1:16:48 AM). Seconds later
Plaintiffs brother walked toward Officer McCreary, stopping
within a few feet from him, and he told Officer McCreary that
he was a state trooper and he showed him his state trooper
badge. (1:16:52 AM; Doc. 46-1 at p. 61). He also told the
officer to calm down, and that there was nothing going on.
(Doc. 46-1 at 18:6-8).
Officer Holmes approached from the opposite direction with
his taser drawn. (1:16:52 AM). While trying to show Officer
McCreary his badge, Plaintiffs brother, placed his left hand
on Officer McCreary's chest. (1:16:53 AM). In response,
Officer McCreary immediately pushed him away. (1:16:54 AM).
Plaintiffs brother recoiled back a few feet, and seconds
later Officer Holmes tased him in the back. (1:16:56 AM).
After being tased, he fell face first on the ground. (1:16:57
Holmes then tried to grab Plaintiff, but Plaintiff stepped
backwards to avoid Holmes' reach. (1:16:58 AM). Plaintiff
then placed the bottle of alcohol he had been holding on the
ground and charged toward Officer Holmes by taking two steps
toward him. (1:17:01AM). Officer Holmes then punched
Plaintiff in the face, grabbed him, and threw him to the
ground. (1:17:01 AM-1:17:05 AM). Officer McCreary also hit
Plaintiff with his flashlight once while Officer Holmes
struggled to take Plaintiff to the ground. (1:17:04 AM).
After being punched, thrown, and hit, Plaintiff fell to the
ground next to his brother. (1:17:06 AM).
McCreary then yelled "gun" because he saw a gun in
the small of Plaintiffs brother's back. (Docs. 25-7 at p.
66; 25-8 at p. 79). According to Officer Holmes, because
Officer McCreary yelled "gun, " he kicked Plaintiff
in the head. (Doc. 25-8 at p. 79; 1:17:05 AM). Neither
Officer McCreary nor Officer Holmes saw either Plaintiff or
his brother reach for a gun, nor does the video show either
man reaching for a gun. (1:16:57 AM-1:17:07 AM). The video
also reflects that Plaintiffs brother lay motionless on the
ground after Officer Holmes tased him. (1:16:57 AM-1:17:07
kicking Plaintiff, Officer Holmes put his left knee on
Plaintiffs back to secure him on the ground. (1:17:12 AM).
About a minute and a half later, with Officer Holmes still
kneeling over Plaintiff, Plaintiff resisted Officer Holmes by
struggling with him on the ground. (1:18:45 AM). About a
minute later, Office Latour of the LSU Police Department
arrived in a police cruiser. (1:20:00 AM). Officer McCreary
handed him a handgun, which belonged to Chase Huval. (Doc.
25-4 at p. 36). Officer Holmes and Officer Latour then
flipped Plaintiff onto his stomach and handcuffed him.
(1:20:27 AM). After they handcuffed Plaintiff face first on
the ground, Plaintiff rolled onto his back so he could
breathe. (Doc. 25-3 at p. 29). Officer Latour then told
Plaintiff to roll back over and he used his feet to roll
Plaintiff back onto his stomach. (1:20:54 AM; Doc. 25-3 at p.
29). Officers Latour and Holmes then grabbed Plaintiff by the
arms to roll him on his stomach. Id.
turning Plaintiff onto his stomach, Officer Latour put his
left foot on Plaintiffs back to keep him on his stomach for
about forty seconds. (1:21:02 AM -1:21:40 AM). After Officer
Latour removed his foot from Plaintiffs back, Officer Holmes
knelt over Plaintiff and held him down for another minute,
until he lifted Plaintiff off the ground. (1:21:40 AM-1:22:43
AM). Officer Latour testified that he wanted to keep
Plaintiff on his stomach so that he could not kick or resist
any further. (Doc. 25-4 at p. 43). Officer Holmes and Officer
Latour then walked Plaintiff to Officer Latour's police
cruiser while holding onto either side of Plaintiff. (1:22:51
Officers Holmes and Latour took him to a police cruiser, one
of the officers, located at Plaintiffs "eight
o'clock" hit him with an elbow on the left side of
his face. (Doc. 25-3 at p. 30-31). Plaintiff, though, could
not see which officer elbowed him. Id. Another
witness saw an LSU officer elbow Plaintiff, but she said that
the officer who elbowed Plaintiff was not one of the two
officers who carried him toward the police cruiser. (Doc.
28-16 at p. 2). Officers then took Plaintiff to a local jail,
and released him a few hours later. (Doc. 25-3 at p. 33-36).
Plaintiff suffered bruises to his ribs and back, and
temporomandibular joint dysfunction to his jaw. (Doc. 25-3 at
p. 28). Plaintiff has also experienced anxiety, suffers
nightmares, and has trouble sleeping. Id. at p. 50.
was charged with aggravated assault and resisting an officer.
(Doc. 28-9). On March 10, 2015, Plaintiff enrolled in the
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney's Office
Pretrial Intervention Program ("PTI"). (Docs. 25-9
and 41-2). As part of the program, Plaintiff paid a $500
enrollment fee and a $30 monthly supervision fee. (Doc. 25-9
at p. 4). Plaintiff also agreed to work a suitable job or be
enrolled in school, not to leave town without prior approval,
to be subject to urine tests, and to make restitution.
Id. He also acknowledged that he would be terminated
from PTI and prosecuted for the original charges filed
against him if he was arrested on new charges. Id.
On October 8, 2015, Plaintiff completed PTI, (Doc. 41-3), and
the District Attorney dismissed the case against him two
weeks later. (Doc. 28-12), In a letter informing Plaintiff
that he had completed the pretrial intervention program, the
District Attorney wrote that Plaintiffs "record will
show no conviction for the charges(s) in question, and there
will be no prosecution[.]" (Doc. 42-3).
sued the Baton Rouge Police Department, Officer Troy
McCreary, Officer Ory Holmes, the LSU Police Department, and
Barco Entreprises d/b/a the Chimes in the 19th
Judicial District Court, Parish of East Baton Rouge,
Louisiana. (Doc. 1-2 at p. 2-10). Invoking the Court's
federal question jurisdiction, Defendants then removed the
case to this Court on August 22, 2016. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff
claims that Defendants are liable under 42 U.S.C. §1983
for violating his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
(Doc. 1-2 at p. 6-7). Plaintiff also brings state law claims
for battery, false arrest, and false imprisonment, and
intentional infliction of emotional distress against
Defendants. Id. at p. 6. Plaintiff also claims that
the Chimes is liable for negligent supervision, and negligent
hiring. Id. at p. 7. On December 13, 2017, the Court
granted Plaintiff and Barco Enterprises Joint Motion for
Partial Dismissal, dismissing all claims brought by Plaintiff
against Barco Entreprises d/b/a the Chimes. (Doc. 34).
judgment is appropriate "if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the
movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). "[W]hen a properly supported motion
for summary judgment, is made, the adverse party must set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986) (quotation marks and footnote
determining whether the movant is entitled to summary
judgment, the Court "view[s] facts in the light most
favorable to the non-movant and draw[s] all reasonable
inferences in her favor." Coleman v. Houston Indep.
Sch. DisL, 113 F.3d 528, 533 (5th Cir. 1997) (citing
Brothers v. Klevenhagen, 28 F.3d 452, 455 (5th Cir.
1994)). At this stage, the Court does not evaluate the
credibility of witnesses, weigh the evidence, or resolve
factual disputes. Int'l Shortstop, Inc. v.
Rally's, Inc., 939 F.2d 1257, 1263 (5th Cir. 1991).
However, if the evidence in the record is such that a
reasonable jury, drawing all inferences in favor of the
non-moving party, could arrive at a verdict in that
party's favor, the motion for summary judgment must be
denied. Id. at 1263. On the other hand, the
non-movant's burden is not satisfied merely upon a
showing of "some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts, by conclusory allegations, by unsubstantiated
assertions, or by only a scintilla of evidence."
Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th
Plaintiffs Claims Against LSU
claims that LSU is liable under § 1983 for violating his
Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. (Doc. 12 at p. 5).
LSU argues that Plaintiffs claims against it should be
dismissed because LSU is not a person under § 1983.
(Doc. 25-2 at p. 5-6). Section 1983 is limited to claims
against "persons." A State is not a
"person" under § 1983. Will v.
Michigan, 491 U.S. 58, 65 (1989). And Louisiana's
public university's including LSU are arms of the state,
and are not persons under § 1983 subject to suit. See
Jarvis v. Louisiana State Univ. Health Scis. Ctr.,
No. 06-CV-4384, 2007 WL 2993862, at *3 (E.D. La. Oct. 10,
2007). Plaintiffs § 1983 claims against LSU are
Plaintiffs Claims Against the Baton Rouge Police
Baton Rouge Police Department seeks to dismiss the claims
against it because Plaintiff has not provided evidence that
his rights were violated as a result of an official policy,
and municipalities cannot be held liable under § 1983
based on vicarious liability. (Doc. 28-1 at p. 10).
"Municipal liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
requires proof of 1) a policymaker; 2) an official policy; 3)
and a violation of constitutional rights whose 'moving
force' is the policy or custom." Piotrowski v.
City of Houston, 237 F.3d 567, 578 (5th Cir. 2001).
Plaintiff has provided no evidence- nor does he even
argue-that any official policy led to his injuries. (Doc.
42). Additionally, under § 1983, municipalities cannot
be held liable based on vicarious liability, and so Plaintiff
cannot hold the Baton Rouge Police Department liable for the
actions of Officer McCreary and Holmes. See Rivera v.
Houston Indep. Sch. Dist., 349 F.3d 244, 247 (5th Cir.
2003). Plaintiffs § 1983 claims against the Baton Rouge
Police Department are therefore dismissed.
next argue that Plaintiffs claims are barred under the
Heck doctrine. (Docs. 25-2 at p. 8, 28-1 at p. 8).
In Heck v. Humphrey,512 U.S. 477 (1994) the Supreme
Court held that a state prisoner cannot challenge the
constitutionality of his criminal conviction in a civil suit
for damages under § 1983. The Heck rule rests
on the "principle that civil tort actions are not
appropriate vehicles for challenging the validity of
outstanding criminal judgments." Id. at 486.
Instead, "habeas corpus is the appropriate remedy for
state prisoners attacking the validity of the fact or length
of their confinement, and that specific ...