United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KATHLEEN KAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the court are Motions for Summary Judgment [docs. 43, 58]
filed by defendant Joshua Stanford (“Stanford”)
in the civil rights and tort action brought by Courtney
individually and as administrator on behalf of the estate of
Eric Senegal (“decedent”). Senegal has filed no
opposition to either motion and her time for doing so has
passed. Accordingly, the motions are regarded as unopposed.
They have been referred to the undersigned for review,
report, and recommendation in accordance with the provisions
of 28 U.S.C. § 636.
action arises from the decedent's death during the
execution of a no-knock search warrant at the decedent's
home in Ragley, Louisiana, allegedly committed by members of
the Beauregard Parish Narcotics Task Force
(“NTF”) and Beauregard Parish SWAT Team on the
night of January 4, 2016. Doc. 49, pp. 4-10. The warrant was
allegedly obtained by members of the NTF based on
uncorroborated and unreliable sources and without a risk
assessment performed by any member of the NTF to determine
the need for applying for a “no-knock” warrant.
Id. at 5-6. The plaintiff asserts that defendants
are therefore liable for forcibly entering the decedent's
home on the night of January 4, 2016 and firing numerous
shots which fatally wounded the decedent and his dog.
Id. at 6-7.
plaintiff, who is the surviving spouse of the decedent, filed
suit in this court against several defendants, including
DeRidder Police Officer Joshua Stanford. See doc. 1.
In her second amended complaint, she seeks to hold Stanford
personally liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state tort
law based on Stanford's alleged presence during the
execution of the warrant and involvement in the NTF, which
plaintiff maintains had a policy of requesting
“no-knock” warrants without making necessary
constitutional inquiry. Doc. 49, pp. 4-16.
moved for summary judgment [doc. 43] after the plaintiff
filed her first amended complaint, and now renews the
arguments made in that motion based on the claims raised in
the plaintiff's second amended complaint. Doc. 58. The
plaintiff has filed no response, and so the motions are
regarded as unopposed.
should grant a motion for summary judgment when 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.P. 56. The party moving for
summary judgment is initially responsible for identifying
portions of pleadings and discovery that show the lack of a
genuine issue of material fact. Tubacex, Inc. v. M/V
Risan, 45 F.3d 951, 954 (5th Cir. 1995). The court must
deny the motion for summary judgment if the movant fails to
meet this burden. Id.
movant makes this showing, however, the burden then shifts to
the non-moving party to “set forth specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 106 S.Ct.
2505, 2511 (1986) (quotations omitted). This requires more
than mere allegations or denials of the adverse party's
pleadings. Instead, the nonmovant must submit
“significant probative evidence” in support of
his claim. State Farm Life Ins. Co. v. Gutterman,
896 F.2d 116, 118 (5th Cir. 1990). “If the evidence is
merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary
judgment may be granted.” Anderson, 106 S.Ct.
at 2511 (citations omitted).
may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence
in ruling on a motion for summary judgment. Reeves v.
Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 120 S.Ct. 2097, 2110
(2000). The court is also required to view all evidence in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all
reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Clift v.
Clift, 210 F.3d 268, 270 (5th Cir. 2000). Under this
standard, a genuine issue of material fact exists if a
reasonable trier of fact could render a verdict for the
nonmoving party. Brumfield v. Hollins, 551 F.3d 322,
326 (5th Cir. 2008).
motion for summary judgment cannot be granted simply because
there is no opposition, even if failure to oppose violated a
local rule.” Hetzel v. Bethlehem Steel Corp.,
50 F.3d 360, 362 n. 3 (5th Cir. 1995) (quoting Hibernia
Nat. Bank v. Administracion Cent. Sociedad Anonima, 776
F.2d 1277, 1279 (5th Cir. 1985)). The moving party still
bears the burden, described above, of demonstrating the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Id.
Under this court's rules, however, when the non-moving
party fails to file a response and statement of contested