United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
GREGORY D. SEARLS, JR. (#475896)
MAJOR D. STROUGHTER, ET AL.
WILDER-DOOMES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
take notice that the attached Magistrate Judge's Report
has been filed with the Clerk of the U.S. District Court.
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), you have 14 days
after being served with the attached report to file written
objections to the proposed findings of fact, conclusions of
law, and recommendations set forth therein. Failure to file
written objections to the proposed findings, conclusions and
recommendations within 14 days after being served will bar
you, except upon grounds of plain error, from attacking on
appeal the unobjected-to proposed factual findings and legal
conclusions accepted by the District Court.
NO EXTENSION OF TIME SHALL BE GRANTED TO FILE WRITTEN
OBJECTIONS TO THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT.
JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
matter comes before the Court on the Motion for Summary
Judgment of Defendants Douglas Stroughter and Marcus Allen
(R. Doc. 11). This motion is not opposed.
se Plaintiff, an inmate previously incarcerated at Dixon
Correctional Institute, Jackson, Louisiana, filed this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Major Douglas
Stroughter, Capt. Marcus Allen and Sgt. M. Strahan,
complaining that Defendants violated his constitutional
rights on August 23, 2014, by subjecting him to excessive
force on that date.
Stroughter and Allen move for summary judgment asserting,
inter alia, that Plaintiff's claims are
time-barred. Defendants rely upon the pleadings, a Statement
of Undisputed Facts, and exhibits consisting of certified
copies of (1) Plaintiff's pertinent administrative remedy
proceedings, (2) a Bill of Information dated November 24,
2014, charging Plaintiff with one count of Battery of a
Correctional Facility Employee (3) an extract from the
Minutes of the 20th Judicial District Court for
the Parish of East Feliciana, State of Louisiana, reflecting
Plaintiff's sentence on August 23, 2016, upon a plea of
guilty, to one year in confinement for the commission of a
Battery upon a Correctional Facility Employee, and (4) the
affidavits of Rhonda Z. Weldon and Defendants Marcus Allen
and Douglas Stroughter.
to well-established legal principles, summary judgment is
appropriate where there is no genuine disputed issue as to
any material fact, and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Rule 56, Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317
(1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242 (1986). A party moving for summary judgment must inform
the Court of the basis for the motion and identify those
portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories and admissions on file, together with
affidavits, if any, that show that there is no such genuine
issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
supra, 477 U.S. at 323. If the moving party carries
its burden of proof under Rule 56, the opposing party must
direct the Court's attention to specific evidence in the
record which demonstrates that the non-moving party can
satisfy a reasonable jury that it is entitled to a verdict in
its favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
supra, 477 U.S. at 248. This burden is not satisfied
by some metaphysical doubt as to alleged material facts, by
unsworn and unsubstantiated assertions, by conclusory
allegations, or by a mere scintilla of evidence. Little
v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994).
Rather, Rule 56 mandates that summary judgment be entered
against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to
establish the existence of an element essential to that
party's case and on which that party will bear the burden
of proof at trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
supra, 477 U.S. at 323. Summary judgment is
appropriate in any case where the evidence is so weak or
tenuous on essential facts that the evidence could not
support a judgment in favor of the non-moving party.
Little v. Liquid Air Corp., supra, 37 F.3d
at 1075. In resolving a motion for summary judgment, the
Court must review the facts and inferences in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party, and the Court may not
evaluate the credibility of witnesses, weigh the evidence, or
resolve factual disputes. International Shortstop, Inc.
v. Rally=s, Inc., 939 F.2d 1257, 1263 (5th Cir. 1991).
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on the morning of August
23, 2014, he was told by a correctional officer that he
needed to get a haircut. According to Plaintiff, he put in a
request for a haircut appointment but, because of delays
attendant to a lengthy prison count, he was not able to get a
haircut before lunch. Later that day, during lunch, he was
asked why he had not gotten a haircut as instructed. Although
he tried to explain that the prison barbershop was closed
until after lunch, he was summoned to an office where he was
allegedly “brutally beaten” by Defendants while
in full restraints.
noted above, the moving Defendants contend, in response to
Plaintiff's allegations, that his claim is barred by the
one-year limitations period applicable to claims asserted
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. As discussed hereafter,
the Court finds that Defendants' contention in this
regard is well-founded.
as there is no federal statute of limitations for claims
brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a federal court
must borrow the forum state's general personal injury
limitations period for such claims. Owens v. Okure,
488 U.S. 235, 249-50 (1989). In Louisiana, the applicable
period of limitations is one year. La. Civ. Code Art. 3492.
Moreover, under federal law, a cause of action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 accrues “when the aggrieved party
has either knowledge of the violation or notice of facts
which, in the exercise of due diligence, would have led to
actual knowledge thereof.” Piotrowski v. City of
Houston, 51 F.3d 512, 516 (5th Cir. 1995) (citations and
internal quotation marks omitted). A plaintiff need not
realize that a legal cause of action exists but must only
have knowledge of the facts that support a claim.
Id. Under Louisiana law, a party pleading a
limitations defense normally has the burden of establishing
the elements of that defense. See Savoy v. St. Landry
Parish Council, 2009 WL 4571851, *3 (W.D. La. Dec. 1,
2009). However, when the face of the plaintiff's
Complaint reflects that more than a year has passed since the
events complained of, the burden of proof shifts to the
plaintiff to show that the limitations period has been
interrupted or tolled. Id. In computing the
applicable limitations period, the Court is obligated to take
into account the time during which any administrative
grievances filed by Plaintiff were pending within the prison
system. See Harris v. Hegmann, 198 F.3d 153, 158
(5th Cir. 1999) (finding that the pendency of a
properly-filed administrative grievance will toll or suspend
the running of the one-year limitations period for a
instant case, Plaintiff alleges in his Complaint, that was
filed herein on October 19, 2016, that the incident of which
he complains occurred on August 23, 2014. Based upon the
nature of his claim, i.e., the asserted utilization
of excessive force by Defendants, Plaintiff was
unquestionably aware of the factual basis for his cause of
action on the date that the incident occurred, well more than
a year before the commencement of this proceeding in 2016. As
a result, Plaintiff's cause of action accrued at such
earlier point in time, and his claim relative to the
referenced event clearly appears to be time-barred on the
face of his Complaint.
does the pendency of Plaintiff's pertinent administrative
remedy proceeding affect the Court's decision. In this
regard, the record reflects that Plaintiff submitted an
administrative grievance to prison officials on or about
September 2, 2014, see R. Doc. 12-4 at p. 11, and
that the referenced grievance remained pending for
approximately one hundred thirty-six (136) days, until the
denial thereof on January 16, 2015. See id. at p.
10. Accordingly, the one-year limitations period was extended
by that period of time, see Harris v. Hegmann,
supra. Notwithstanding, even discounting the period of
time during which his administrative grievance was ...