United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
L. Hornsby, U.S. Magistrate Judge.
Robertson (“Plaintiff”), who is self-represented,
filed this civil rights action against Shreveport Police
Officer James A. Delo and the City of Shreveport after
Plaintiff was arrested for, but then acquitted of, a charge
of careless operation of a vehicle. The parties filed written
consent to have the case decided by the undersigned
magistrate judge, and the district judge referred the case
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). Before the court is a
Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 28) filed by the City and
Corporal Delo. Plaintiff has not filed any timely opposition.
For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted.
original complaint was filed on a Pro Se 1 form that asked
him to provide a short and plain statement of his claim.
Plaintiff referred to an attachment, which consisted of a
letter to the court in which he described a traffic stop.
Plaintiff wrote that he was stopped by Corporal Delo, who
said Plaintiff was driving carelessly and charged him with
being under the influence of alcohol. Plaintiff alleged that
the officer perjured himself in court, and the case was
also submitted a single page from a transcript of the city
court proceeding. It includes the judge's verdict, where
she found reasonable doubt, acquitted Plaintiff, and
suggested he contact Internal Affairs about his claim of
missing money. Plaintiff said that he had done so. In his
letter to the court, Plaintiff wrote that Internal Affairs
found the officer guilty of violating his civil rights by
keeping his personal property and taking $300 from his
wallet. Plaintiff suggests that $5, 000, 000, 000 in damages
would be appropriate.
later filed an Amended Complaint (Doc. 16) that added some
factual allegations about the traffic stop and related
events. He alleged that police were conducting a dragnet on
I-49 at Kings Highway on the lookout for a black male around
30 or 40 years old who was driving a 2003 to 2004 burgundy
Nissan Altima. Plaintiff alleges that he was driving south
through that area on his way home to shower and prepare for
work, and he had wet his pants because of a bladder procedure
performed on him in 2015. Plaintiff alleges that the police
stopped him as part of the dragnet even though he was driving
a red (not burgundy) 2015 Altima and was 60 years old.
Plaintiff alleges that Corporal Delo accused him of being
drunk when he saw that Plaintiff's pants were wet.
Amended Complaint alleged that Corporal Delo took
Plaintiff's cell phone and $300 from his wallet.
Plaintiff contends that Delo is also liable for false arrest,
defamation, and slander, with the latter two charges stemming
from publication of his arrest in a local paper. He contends
that friends have asked him about the arrest and lost respect
for him even though he has not consumed alcohol in 20 years.
judgment is appropriate “if the movant 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. Pro. 56(a). A fact is “material” if it might
affect the outcome of the suit under governing law.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 106 S.Ct. 2505,
2510 (1986). A dispute is “genuine” if there is
sufficient evidence so that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for either party. Anderson, supra;
Hamilton v. Segue Software Inc., 232 F.3d 473, 477
(5th Cir. 2000).
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 dispute of material
fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 106 S.Ct. 2548
(1986). If the moving party carries his initial burden, the
burden then falls upon the nonmoving party to demonstrate the
existence of a genuine dispute of a material fact.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
106 S.Ct. 1348, 1355-56 (1986).
Summary Judgment Evidence
moved for summary judgment and directly challenged each of
Plaintiff's claims. They submitted a transcript of
Corporal Delo's city court testimony, an inmate property
release form, and a police report as their summary judgment
evidence. Corporal Delo testified at the trial that he was
southbound on Interstate 49 at 11:20 p.m. and was traveling
in a lane where there was one lane to his left. He was
driving at about the speed limit when he saw in his rearview
mirror a vehicle in that left lane closing in at a high rate
of speed, estimated to be 20 to 25 miles an hour faster than
Delo was going. That vehicle passed Delo in the left lane and
quickly came upon the bumper of a truck that was ahead in
that same lane. Plaintiff's vehicle slowed rapidly and
began to tailgate the truck.
Delo testified that he pulled into the left-hand lane and
activated his lights and siren to make a traffic stop.
Plaintiff's vehicle kept going for about 30 seconds-which
Delo said he confirmed by reviewing video of the stop-but
finally pulled over. Plaintiff quickly got out of the car
before Delo ordered him back in the car. Corporal Delo
approached on the passenger side and asked for
Plaintiff's license, registration, and proof of
insurance. Plaintiff was granted permission to look in his