United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
ELIZABETH E. FOOTE, JUDGE
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. Hayes, Judge
the undersigned magistrate judge, on reference from the
District Court, is a motion for summary judgment [doc. # 28]
filed by defendant, Deputy Rusty Poland a/k/a Ellis B.
Poland. For reasons set forth below, it is recommended that
the motion be GRANTED. It is further recommended that
plaintiff's claims against Michael Crawford be dismissed,
August 25, 2016, plaintiff pro se Julian Champion, who is
proceeding in forma pauperis in this matter, filed the
instant civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against various law enforcement agencies and officers
involved with his May 6, 2016, arrest. According to his
complaint, as amended, Champion learned on May 6, 2016, that
a warrant had been issued for his arrest on a charge of armed
robbery. Accordingly, Champion set out that day to meet his
grandfather, who was to accompany him to the Sheriffs'
Department to “clear his name.” Whilst en route
to his grandfather's house, however, Champion encountered
Bienville Parish Sheriff's deputies and a David Wade Man
Search officer, who proceeded to shoot Champion in his right
leg, below the knee. Fearing for his life, Champion fled from
the officers as they continued to discharge their weapons at
him. Champion eventually came across additional officers and
raised his hands to surrender, but nevertheless was tased
Champion was secured, the officers did not take him to the
hospital to treat his gunshot wound; rather, they took him to
the Bienville Parish Courthouse where they interrogated him
for the next three or so hours. Only after the interrogation
was finished did a deputy finally escort Champion to the
complaint included claims for excessive force, racial
profiling,  and torture stemming from defendants'
refusal to provide him with prompt medical care. He named the
following defendants: (1) Michael Crawford (spelled in his
complaint as “Micheal Crawford”); (2) John
Ballance, Sheriff of Bienville Parish; (3) Glenn Fallin,
2nd Judicial District Court Judge; (4) David Wade
Man Search Task Force; (5) Unknown officers of the David Wade
Man Search Task Force; (6) Bienville Parish Sheriff's
Department; and (7) Rusty Poland. Plaintiff alleged that he
suffered permanent injury because of loss of sensation to his
shin. He seeks dismissal of the pending criminal charges
against him, release from custody with permission to leave
the state, and monetary damages for the violation of his
February 16, 2017, the undersigned recommended dismissal of
plaintiff's claims against the Sheriff's Department
of Bienville Parish, Sheriff's Department of Bienville
Parish, Lt. Investigators, David Wade Man Search Task Force,
John Ballance and Glen Fallin. (Feb. 16, 2017, R&R [doc.
# 10]. The court concomitantly determined that
plaintiff's complaint sufficiently pleaded a cause of
action against remaining defendants, Michael Crawford and
Rusty Poland, and therefore, ordered service as to them.
(Feb. 16, 2017, Mem. Order [doc. # 11]). On April 24, 2017,
the U.S. Marshal filed an executed return of service for
Rusty Poland, but service for Michael Crawford was returned
un-executed. [doc. #s 13-14].
12, 2017, Poland filed a motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted. On September
12, 2017, the undersigned recommended that the motion be
denied. (Sept. 12, 2017, R&R [doc. # 20]). The court
contemporaneously re-ordered defendant to provide plaintiff
with a copy of all documents pertinent to the issues in the
case that were in his possession. (Sept. 12, 2017, Order
[doc. # 21]). The court further ordered that,
within 14 days after service of the discovery documents from
defendant, plaintiff may seek leave of court to amend his
complaint to join other responsible parties and to allege
what role Michael Crawford played in his constitutional
deprivations. Within that same period, and if he intends to
purse his claims against Crawford, plaintiff should provide
the Clerk of Court with an updated agency affiliation and
address for Crawford. Plaintiff is cautioned that if he fails
to do so comply, then the court may dismiss his claims
against Crawford for failure to prosecute, serve, and/or heed
September 22, 2017, defendant complied with the order to
provide plaintiffs with all documents in his possession.
See doc. #s 22 & 23.
October 26, 2017, the District Court adopted the
undersigned's report and recommendations and dismissed
all defendants, save for Rusty Poland and Michael Crawford.
[doc. #s 26 & 27].
November 9, 2017, Poland filed the instant motion for summary
judgment, invoking the defense of qualified immunity and
seeking dismissal of plaintiff's claims against him. On
November 20, 2017, plaintiff filed a response to the motion
for summary judgment in which he discussed the actions of
other officers whom he had not sought to add as defendants in
this matter, and complained that he still did not know the
name of the officer who shot him. [doc. # 31]. He also
remarked that Rusty Poland directed an officer to transport
him to the sheriff's office for investigation, and that
Poland interrogated him at the office. Id.
did not file a reply brief, and the time to do so has lapsed.
See Notice of Motion Setting [doc. # 30]. Thus, the
matter is ripe.
judgment is appropriate when the evidence before the court
shows “that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A fact is
“material” if proof of its existence or
nonexistence would affect the outcome of the lawsuit under
applicable law in the case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute about a
material fact is “genuine” if the evidence is
such that a reasonable fact finder could render a verdict for
the nonmoving party. Id.
party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial
responsibility of informing the district court of the basis
for its motion, and identifying those portions of ‘the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if
any,' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (quoting
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247). “The moving party
may meet its burden to demonstrate the absence of a genuine
issue of material fact by pointing out that the record
contains no support for the non-moving party's
claim.” Stahl v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., 283
F.3d 254, 263 (5th Cir. 2002). Thereafter, if the non-movant
is unable to identify anything in the record to support its
claim, summary judgment is appropriate. Id.
evaluating the evidence tendered by the parties, the court
must accept the evidence of the non-movant as credible and
draw all justifiable inferences in its favor.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. While courts will
“resolve factual controversies in favor of the
non-moving party, ” an actual controversy exists only
“when both parties have submitted evidence of
contradictory facts.” Little v. Liquid Air.
Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994) (en banc).
There can be no genuine dispute as to a material fact when a
party fails “to make a showing sufficient to establish
the existence of an element essential to that party's
case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof
at trial.” Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322-323.
The non-moving party may not rely merely on the allegations
and conclusions contained within the pleadings; rather, the
non-movant “must go beyond the pleadings and designate
specific facts in the record showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial.” Wallace v. Texas Tech Univ.,
80 F.3d 1042, 1047 (5th Cir. 1996). The non-movant does not
satisfy his burden merely by demonstrating some metaphysical
doubt as to the material facts, by setting forth conclusory
allegations and unsubstantiated assertions, or by presenting
but a scintilla of evidence. Little, 37 F.3d at 1075
“summary judgment is appropriate in any case
‘where critical evidence is so weak or tenuous on an
essential fact that it could not support a judgment in favor
of the nonmovant.'” Little, supra
(citation omitted) (emphasis in original). In sum,
“[a]fter the non-movant has been given the opportunity
to raise a genuine factual issue, if no reasonable juror
could find for the non-movant, summary judgment will be
granted.” Mississippi River Basin Alliance v.
Westphal, 230 F.3d 170, 174 (5th Cir. 2000) (citation
Poland had reason to believe that on May 6, 2016, Julian
Champion was armed and dangerous. (Ellis B.
“Rusty” Poland Affidavit, ¶34; Def. MSJ,
6, 2016, deputies involved in the search, other than Poland,
as well as the Wade Correctional Center K9 Tracking Team,
headed toward the area where Champion was last seen.
stationed himself in his Sheriff's Department vehicle
just north of downtown Gibsland on Highway 154. Id.,
received a call from another Sheriff's Deputy stating
that Julian Champion was in custody. Id., at
was not at the scene when Champion was arrested, and he never
discharged a firearm or a Tazer during the course of the
search for Champion. Id.
learning that Champion was in custody, Poland drove to the
location where Champion was with the officers who apprehended
him. Id., at ¶37.
first time Poland saw Champion on May 6, 2016, he was sitting
in the back of a Sheriff's Department pickup truck with ...