United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
WILLIAM AUBIN ET AL.
COLUMBIA CASUALTY COMPANY, ETAL.
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
the Court are Plaintiffs William Aubin and April Aubin's
Motion in Limine to Exclude Testimony of George
Armbruster (Doc. 142) and Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment (Doc. 146), Defendant Deputy
William Durkin's Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment (Doc. 143), and Defendant Sheriff Jason
Ard's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc.
144). For the following reasons, Plaintiffs'
Motion in Limine (Doc. 142) and
Defendants' Motions for Partial Summary Judgment
(Docs. 143 and 144) are GRANTED.
Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
(Doc. 146) is DENTED.
William Aubin and his wife April Aubin allege that on April
30, 2015, Deputy William Durkin arrived in their neighborhood
near Denham Springs, Louisiana in response to a complaint
about their neighbor. (Doc. 117 at ¶ 6-7). Plaintiffs
claim that when they approached Deputy Durkin, the Deputy
told Mr. Aubin to "stand back and shut his mouth."
Id. at ¶ 8-9. Plaintiffs allege that Deputy
Durkin then called Mr. Aubin a "pussy" and when he
asked Deputy Durkin not to curse in front of his wife, Deputy
Durkin said "one more time and your pussy ass is going
to jail." Id. at ¶ 10-11. Plaintiffs
assert that Mr. Aubin then told Deputy Durkin that he was
going to call the Deputy's supervisor to complain about
him and that he said "I'm gonna get you fired"
and "I'm gonna have your job." Id. at
¶¶ 14-15, 58.
claim that Deputy Durkin then hit Mr. Aubin in the head with
his handcuffs, twisted his arm behind his back, kicked him in
the legs and buttocks, and threw him on his patrol car.
Id. at ¶ 15-18. Plaintiffs allege that when Ms.
Aubin asked what was happening, Deputy Durkin said "Shut
up bitch before I take you with the dumb ass."
Id. at ¶ 24. Plaintiffs allege that Mr. Aubin
was charged with resisting an officer, interfering with a law
enforcement investigation, and public intimidation.
Id. at ¶ 27. Plaintiffs claim that the charges
were later dismissed. Id. at ¶ 28.
sued Deputy Durkin, in his individual capacity, Livingston
Parish Sheriff Jason Ard, individually and in his official
capacity, and Columbia Casualty Company. (Doc. 117 at p. 1).
Plaintiffs claim that Deputy Durkin is liable for battery,
assault, false arrest, false imprisonment, unlawful seizure,
cruel treatment, excessive and unreasonable use of force, and
malicious prosecution. Id. at ¶ 29. Plaintiffs
also claim that Deputy Durkin is liable for assault and for
loss of consortium, and that that Sheriff Ard is also
vicariously liable for Deputy Durkin's actions and for
his failure to adequately train and supervise Deputy Durkin.
Id. at ¶ 30-34. Plaintiffs further allege that
Louisiana's public intimidation statute is
unconstitutional. Id. at ¶ 41-45.
March 24, 2017, the Court denied Sheriff Ard's Motion to
Dismiss, in which he sought to dismiss all federal and
certain state law claims against him. (Doc. 88). On June 12,
2017, the Magistrate Judge granted Plaintiffs' Motion for
Leave to File a Second Amended Complaint. (Doc. 116). The
Court then granted Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment in part, and ruled that Plaintiffs are entitled to
summary judgment on their state law false arrest claim.
Aubin v. Columbia Cas. Co., 272 F.Supp.3d 828, 832
(M.D. La. 2017). The Court also granted Defendants Motion to
Dismiss in part and dismissed Plaintiffs' state law
failure to train claim. Id.
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[s] all reasonable
inferences in her favor." Coleman v. Houston Indep.
Sch. Dist., 113 F.3d 528, 533 (5th Cir. 1997) (citing
Brothers v. Klevenhagen, 28 F.3d 452, 455 (5th Cir.
Deputy Durkin's Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment (Doc. 143)
Durkin and Plaintiffs cross-move for summary judgment on
Plaintiffs' false arrest claim under § 1983. (Docs.
143 and 146). Plaintiffs' argue that Mr. Aubin is
entitled to summary judgment because the Court has already
held that it was unreasonable for Deputy Durkin to rely on
the public intimidation statute to arrest him. (Doc. 146-1 at
p, 3). Deputy Durkin argues that Plaintiffs' false arrest
claim is barred by the independent intermediary doctrine
because a state court judge found that there was probable
cause to detain Mr. Aubin. (Doc. 143 at p. 12).
context of Plaintiffs' Louisiana state law false arrest
claim, the Court has held that it was unreasonable for Deputy
Durkin to rely on the public intimidation statute.
Aubin, 272 F.Supp.3d at 838. The Court explained
that "[a] statute that criminalizes entirely non-violent
threats to an officer's employment is so patently and
obviously unconstitutional, that no reasonable officer could
believe it to have been valid." Id. While the
independent intermediary doctrine does not apply to Louisiana
state law false arrest claims, id. at 836, it does
apply to a § 1983 action grounded in the Fourth
Amendment. In a § 1983 action, the Fifth Circuit has
held that "if facts supporting an arrest are placed
before an independent intermediary such as a magistrate or
grand jury, the intermediary's decision breaks the chain
of causation for false arrest, insulating the initiating
party." Cuadra v. Houston Indep. Sch. Dist.,
626 F.3d 808, 813 (5th Cir. 2010) (quoting Taylor v.
Gregg, 36 F.3d 453, 456 (5th Cir. 1994).
the undisputed facts reflect that after arresting Mr. Aubin
on April 30, 2015, Deputy Durkin completed an affidavit of
probable cause, detailing the facts that gave rise to Mr.
Aubin's arrest for resisting an officer and public
intimidation. (Doc. 143-4). The next day, ajudgeonthe
21st Judicial District Court, Parish of
Livingston, Louisiana signed the affidavit of probable cause,
concluding that there was probable cause to continue to hold
Plaintiff. Id. Because a state court judge found
probable cause, the independent intermediary ...