United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON, CHIEF JUDGE
the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 33) filed
by Defendants Lt. Andrew Cupil and Msgt. Reginald Robinson.
Plaintiff Layne Aucoin filed an opposition. (Doc. 36). For
the following reasons, the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc.
33) is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.
facts taken in the light most favorable to Plaintiff are as
follows. Plaintiff is an inmate at the Dixon Correctional
Institute, and on August 24, 2015 he was on suicide watch.
(Docs. 39 and Doc. 13 at ¶ 3, 7). Plaintiffs prison cell
had a video camera with a live feed that prison guards
monitored in a control room. (Doc. 33-4 at p. 2). At about
11:00 AM, Plaintiff placed a paper cup over the camera to see
if anyone was watching him. (Docs. 39 and Doc. 13 at ¶
7). At about 11:30 A.M. an officer in the control room
notified Msgt. Robinson that the camera in Plaintiffs cell
was covered. (Doc. 33-5 at p. 2). Msgt. Robinson and Lt.
Cupil then "snuck up" on Plaintiff and used mace on
him. (Docs. 39 and 13 at ¶ 8).
Cupil then ordered Plaintiff to come to the bars in his cell.
Id. at ¶ 10. Plaintiff complied with Lt.
Cupil's order and Lt. Cupil handcuffed Plaintiffs hands
behind his back and restrained his feet. Id. Lt.
Cupil then removed Plaintiff from his cell and brought him to
a lobby area where Msgt. Robinson allegedly punched him and
threw him to the ground. Id. at ¶ 10-11. Sgt.
Franklin was also in the area and failed to intervene.
Id. at ¶ 10. Plaintiff asserts that Lt. Cupil
then kicked him. Id. at ¶ 11.
Plaintiff showed a Warden his arms and face and boot prints
on his chest. Id. at ¶ 12. There was an
"indentation" on his arm from where Defendants
kicked his handcuffs. Id. at ¶ 12. Plaintiff
was allegedly refused medical care for more than twenty-five
days while his hand was numb. Id. Two days later, he
was moved to a cell that also had a camera and he made sure
his swollen face, head, ears, and the "crook" in
his arm were presented to the camera. Id. at ¶ 13.
claims that Defendants are liable in their personal
capacities under § 1983 for violating his Eighth
Amendment right to be free from excessive force, for failing
to protect him from excessive force under the Eighth
Amendment, and for retaliating against him for filing an
administrative complaint in violation of the Fourteenth
Amendment. Id. at ¶ 27. Plaintiff also claims
that Defendants are liable for negligence under Louisiana
law. Id. at 35-36.
filed suit on June 8, 2016, (Doc. 1), and then filed an
Amended Complaint on August 2, 2016. (Doc. 13). The Court
then denied Defendants Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 30).
Defendants then filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc.
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
omitted). When 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[sj all reasonable
inferences in her favor." Coleman v. Houston Indep.
Sch. Dist., 113 F.3d 528, 533 (5th Cir. 1997) (citing
Brothers v. Kleuenhagen, 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).
claims that Defendants used excessive force in violation of
the Eighth Amendment. (Doc. 13 at ¶ 27). "[T]he
settled rule [is] that 'the unnecessary and wanton
infliction of pain . . . constitutes cruel and unusual
punishment forbidden by the Eighth Amendment.'"
Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 5 (1992) (quoting
Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 319 (1986)). In the
context of an allegation of the use of excessive force by a
prison official, "the core judicial inquiry is . . .
whether force was applied in a good-faith effort to maintain
or restore discipline, or maliciously and sadistically to
cause harm." Id. at 7.
determining whether the use of force [by a prison guard] was
wanton and unnecessary, " courts consider "the
extent of [the] injury suffered, " "the need for
[the] application of force, the relationship between that
need and the amount of force used, the threat reasonably
perceived by the responsible officials, and any efforts made
to temper the severity of a forceful response."
Id. (citing Whitley, 475 U.S. at 321)
(internal quotation marks omitted). Not every malicious or
malevolent action by a prison guard gives rise to a federal
cause of action, and the Eighth Amendment's prohibition
against cruel and unusual punishment ...