United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
B. WHITEHURST UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is an unopposed Motion To Dismiss Penalty, Punitive or
Exemplary Damages filed by Defendant, City of Ville Platte
(“Ville Platte”) [Rec. Doc. 11]. For the
following reasons, the undersigned recommends that the Motion
to Dismiss Penalty, Punitive or Exemplary Damages [Rec. Doc.
11], be granted.
Latasha Pleasant, alleges that on or about January 26, 2017,
she was arrested pursuant to a Bench Warrant. R. 8,
¶7. After her arrest, Plaintiff claims she was not
allowed to shower or change into clean clothes for two days.
R. 8, ¶8. Plaintiff complains she was put in
the “hole”instead of a jail cell. Id.
Plaintiff next alleges that on January 28th, she was forced
into a closet with no bed or toilet and that she was forced
to remove all of her clothing in front of male officers,
despite her request to disrobe before a female officer.
Id. at ¶¶9-10. She claims that during the
time she was held in the “closet, ” she
repeatedly requested the use of a restroom, but was denied.
Id. at ¶11. Plaintiff asserts that she remained
in the “closet” for two days, or until January
30. 2017. Id. at ¶ 12.
filed this action alleging claims under 43 U.S.C.
§§ 1983 and 1988, the Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendments to the Constitution, as well as statutory and
constitutional state law claims, against Ville Platte, Tommy
Gallow, individually and in his official capacity as the
Chief of Police for Ville Platte, and Tommy Thomas and
Malcolm McKinny, individually and in their official capacity
as Ville Platte police officers. R. 1, 8.
Motion to Dismiss Penalty, Punitive or Exemplary Damages
under Section 1983, Defendant, Ville Platte, contends that
Plaintiff's demand for punitive damages against it should
be dismissed because punitive damages are not recoverable
against a municipality under Section 1983. R.11. The
Supreme Court has held unequivocally that “[a]
municipality is immune from liability for punitive damages
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.” Tickner v. City of
Shreveport, 2017 WL 629227, at *4 (W.D.La., 2017)
(citing City of Newport v. Fact Concerts, Inc., 453
U.S. 247, 270-71 (1981)). This Court finds that Plaintiffs
are barred from recovering punitive damages against a
municipality such as the Ville Platte.
it is well settled that under Louisiana law, punitive damages
are not allowed unless specifically provided for by statute.
In the absence of such a specific statutory provision, only
compensatory damages are recoverable. See e.g. Killebrew
v. Abbott Laboratories, 359 So.2d 1275, 1278 (La. 1978);
International Harvester Credit Corp. v. Seale, 518
So.2d 1039, 1041 (La.1988); Gagnard v. Baldridge,
612 So.2d 732, 736 (La.1993); Ross v. Conoco, Inc.,
828 So.2d 546, 549 (La., 2002). Because plaintiff has failed
to identify a statutory provision which allows recovery of
punitive damages for her state law claims her claims for
punitive damages under state law must be dismissed.
on the foregoing, the undersigned recommends that City of
Ville Platte's Motion to Dismiss Penalty, Punitive, or
Exemplary Damages [Rec. Doc. 11] be GRANTED.
the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c) and
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b), parties aggrieved by this recommendation
have fourteen days from service of this report and
recommendation to file specific, written objections with the
Clerk of Court. A party may respond to another party's
objections within fourteen days after being served with of a
copy of any objections or responses to the district judge at
the time of filing.
to file written objections to the proposed factual findings
and/or the proposed legal conclusions reflected in the report
and recommendation within fourteen days following the date of
its service, or within the time frame authorized by
Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(b), shall bar an aggrieved party from
attacking either the factual findings or the legal
conclusions accepted by the district court, except upon
grounds of plain error. See Douglass v. Un (5th
 Pursuant to Local Rule 7.5, the
deadline to file Plaintiffs opposition to the Motion ...