United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
SHELTON JACKSON, ET AL.
MARK HEBERT, ET AL.
WHITEHURST MAGISTRATE JUDGE
MAURICE HICKS, JR., CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the
Defendants, Mark Hebert (“Sheriff Hebert”),
former Sheriff of St. Mary Parish, Deputy Dustin Kennedy
(“Kennedy”), and Deputy Ryan Russo
(“Russo”). See Record Document 23.
Plaintiffs, Shelton Jackson (“Jackson”) and his
wife, Delicia Jackson, oppose the motion. See Record
Document 25. For the reasons set forth below, the
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is
GRANTED and all of the Plaintiffs'
claims are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
filed the instant lawsuit pursuant to Title 42, United States
Code, Section 1983 and Louisiana state law regarding an
incident that occurred on January 15, 2015. Jackson alleges
that Defendants violated his constitutional rights under the
Fourth Amendment (unreasonable search and seizure), Fifth and
Fourteenth Amendments (deprivation of life, liberty or
property without due process of law), and the Eighth
Amendment (cruel and unusual punishment). See Record
Document 1 at ¶ 1. Jackson asserts Section 1983 claims
against Kennedy, Russo, and Sheriff Hebert in their
individual and official capacities. See Record
Document 1 at ¶ 1; Record Document 10. Jackson also
alleges that Kennedy, Russo, and Sheriff Hebert are liable to
him under Louisiana law for negligence pursuant to La. Civ.
Code art. 2315, and assault and battery. See Record
Document 1 at ¶¶ 20-2; Record Document 10.
Delicia Jackson asserts a claim for damages against
Defendants for loss of consortium, mental anguish, and
physical illness, including the loss of two pregnancies.
See Record Document 1 at ¶ 13; Record Document
have filed a Rule 56 dispositive motion seeking the dismissal
of all claims. See Record Document 23. Defendants
previously invoked the affirmative defense of qualified
immunity. See Record Document 4. Defendants also
contend that Jackson's claims against Sheriff Hebert fail
because no constitutional rights were violated, and
alternatively, Sheriff Hebert did not implement (or fail to
implement) a policy which was the moving force behind the
alleged constitutional violations. Defendants seek dismissal
of all state law claims as a matter of law. See
Record Document 23-2 at 6.
January 15, 2015, Jackson was on the job working as a
maintenance man for Morgan City, Louisiana, identifying gas
lines along the streets. See Record Document 1 at
¶ C; Record Document 25-2 (Jackson Deposition) at 25.
Jackson was wearing a city uniform and was working near a
city owned vehicle. See Record Document 1 at ¶
C. Kennedy was driving an unmarked police vehicle en route to
the St. Mary Parish Sheriffs office when he noticed Jackson
and believed him to be an individual named Johnny Francois
who was wanted on an outstanding warrant. See Record
Document 23-3 (Kennedy Deposition) at 8-14. Francois had an
active arrest warrant for cultivation of marijuana. See
id. at 9. Kennedy was not actively in search of Francois
on the day this incident occurred. See id. at 11.
Kennedy was familiar with Francois's appearance because
he interviewed him prior to the issuance of the arrest
warrant. See id. at 13, 53. Kennedy believed Jackson
to be Francois because of their similar appearance (race,
dread locks, and beard) and because Francois previously had a
connection with Morgan City, although Kennedy was unaware of
Francois's status with city at the time of the incident.
See id. at 13, 48. Kennedy testified that after he
noticed the individual he believed to be Francois he drove
around the block and put on his protective vest with the word
“Sheriff” displayed on the front and back.
Id. at 14, 34.
alleges that Kennedy pulled up next to him in his unmarked
pickup truck, rolled down his window, and yelled out,
“hey, what's your name?” to which Jackson
responded, “why, what's wrong?” Record
Document 1 at ¶ C. Jackson states that the window was
rolled down half-way, while Kennedy states the window was
rolled down completely. See Record Document 25-2 at
30; Record Document 23-3 at 34. Jackson testified that when
Kennedy pulled up he did not know that he was a sheriff's
deputy, and that Kennedy did not announce himself as such.
See Record Document 25-2 at 32. Conversely, Kennedy
testified that he pulled up to Jackson he announced himself
as “Sheriff's office, ” explained why he
stopped and asked Jackson for his name. Record Document 23-3
at 15. Because of the angle in which Kennedy's truck was
parked next to Jackson, Kennedy spoke to Jackson from the
driver's side of the car through the passenger window.
See Record Document 25-2 at 31. Kennedy asked
Jackson his name, and Jackson responded by asking why he
wanted to know his name. See id. at 32. Kennedy
stated, “I am looking for somebody” and described
the person as “a black guy with long dreads and a
beard.” Id. Jackson answered by stating
“I'm not the guy that you looking for.”
Id. at 33. Jackson explained that he did not tell
Kennedy his name at this point because he didn't know who
he was and he could only see Kennedy's face when he was
sitting in the truck. See id. Kennedy then asked
Jackson “How do I know you're not the guy I'm
looking for?” Id. at 35. Jackson replied that
he could not be the person because he did nothing wrong, and
he does not get into trouble. See Record Document 1
at ¶ C; Record Document 25-2 at 36. Kennedy responded by
saying that he was looking for someone who worked for the
city or had worked for the city in the past. See
Record Document 25-2 at 36. Jackson replied again that he did
not have to provide his name. See Record Document
23-3 at 16; Record Document 23-4.
Jackson refused to identify himself, Kennedy exited his
vehicle. See Record Document 25-2 at 37; Record
Document 23-3 at 16. Kennedy testified that he was only in
the truck a few seconds during his conversation with Jackson
before he decided to exit his vehicle. See Record
Document 23-3 at 45. Kennedy also testified that at this
point he turned on his audio recording device on. See
id. at 16. Jackson testified that when Kennedy exited
his vehicle he noticed the “sheriff” logo on
Kennedy's vest. Record Document 25-2 at 38.
testified that Kennedy exited the vehicle and said “so
you ain't going to tell me your name, boy?”
Id. at 40. Jackson asked - “did you say - boy,
” to which Jackson claims Kennedy replied, “No, I
said Bub.” Id. at 40-41. Kennedy testified
that he has no recollection of referring to Jackson as
“boy.” Record Document 23-3 at 38-39. Neither the
audio nor the video contains the exchange alleged by Jackson.
Kennedy is heard later on the audio recording asking
“what's your name ‘bub' or
‘bud?'” Record Document 23-4. Kennedy then
asked Jackson for his name again, but Jackson did not reply
and instead turned around to continue his work. See
Record Document 25-2 at 41, 44. Jackson testified that he
knew Kennedy was a law enforcement officer at this point, but
did not tell him his name because believed he had done
nothing wrong. See id. at 42. Kennedy continued to
ask Jackson for his name. See id. at
Jackson responded by saying he was not going to provide his
name because he had not done anything wrong, and that he
doesn't get into trouble. See Id. at 48, 60.
Jackson suggested that Kennedy call the city or the sheriff
to verify that he was not the subject of the warrant. See
id. at 48, 60. At this point, Jackson's coworker,
Demond Madise, began a video recording the incident on his
cell phone. Id. at 24, 26, 61; Record Document 23-5,
Ex. C (Manual Attachment of January 15, 2015 video
audio recording of the incident reveals that Kennedy fully
informed Jackson at least three times that he was looking for
a subject who matched his physical appearance to execute an
arrest warrant. See Record Document 23-4, Ex. B.
Kennedy also informed Jackson that the person he was looking
for worked for the city. See Id. Kennedy is heard on
the audio requesting Jackson to provide his name numerous
times. See id. Jackson refused to comply by
responding alternatively with, “it ain't me,
” “you can't just stop me, ”
“I'm not the suspect, ” “you're not
getting my name, ” “you've got to stop me for
a cause, ” or “I'm over here working.”
Id. Kennedy also asked Jackson for his Id.
See id. Jackson stated that he did not have an ID
with him. See Id. Kennedy described Jackson's
behavior as confrontational, noting that Jackson talked over
him while he was trying to explain what was happening.
See Record Document 23-3 at 36, 42. At some point
during his conversation with Jackson, Kennedy radioed for
backup. See id. at 16-17, 58.
attempting unsuccessfully to obtain Jackson's name (at
least 11 attempts are heard on the audio), Kennedy proceeded
to detain Jackson to investigate further. See Record
Document 23-3 at 56; Record Document 23-4, Ex. B. Jackson
states that Kennedy grabbed his left wrist and attempted to
place handcuffs on him. See Record Document 25-2 at
61. Jackson testified that at this point he believed that
Kennedy was going to put him in handcuffs and try to hurt or
kill him. See id. at 66-67. However, Jackson's
subjective feelings are not supported by the video, which
shows Kennedy speaking to Jackson in a calm and
nonconfrontational manner. See Record Document 23-5,
Ex. C. The video demonstrates that while Kennedy was holding
Jackson's left wrist, Jackson offered up his wrists to
Kennedy and said “put them right here.”
Id. When Kennedy attempted to place the handcuffs,
Jackson resisted by jerking his arm away from Kennedy and
lifting his arms in the air. See id. Jackson then
held his arms up in the air, refusing to tell Kennedy his
name. See id. Kennedy is heard instructing Jackson
to “quit resisting” (at least 7 times), and he
also instructed Jackson to “turn around” (at
least 25 times), which Jackson refused to do. Id.;
Record Document 23-4, Ex. B. Kennedy held Jackson in place
until backup arrived, occasionally attempting to move
Jackson's left arm behind his back, which Jackson
repeatedly resisted. See Record Document 23-5, Ex.
who was working patrol nearby, arrived on the scene. See
id.; Record Document 23-3 at 59. With Russo's
assistance, Jackson was placed in handcuffs. See id.
at 17, 59. According to Jackson, Russo told him to
“stop resisting” while putting him in handcuffs
to which Jackson replied “I'm not resisting.”
Record Document 25-2 at 77. Kennedy continued to ask Jackson
for identification or his name. See Record Document
23-3 at 17. Jackson continued to reply that he did not have
to provide that information. See id. at 17. Jackson
then told the officers to “read me my rights, ”
prompting either Kennedy or Russo (it is unclear which from
the audio and video) to read Jackson his Miranda
rights. Record Document 23-4, Ex. B; Record Document 23-5,
supervisor, Kawaika Kai (“Kai”), arrived on the
scene around the same time as Russo. See Record
Document 25-2 at 71. Kai provided Jackson's identity to
Kennedy. See Record Document 23-3 at 18. Kennedy
returned to Jackson and asked him if his name was Shelton
Jackson, stating he could not let him go unless he confirmed
his identity. See Record Document 25-2 at 74-75. The
audio demonstrates that Kennedy stated “if that's
your name I'm taking those off.” Record Document
23-4, Ex. B. Jackson replied, “Yes, that's my
name.” Record Document 25-2 at 75. Once Jackson's
identity was established, Kennedy released him from the
handcuffs. See id.; Record Document 23-3 at 18.
Kennedy apologized to Jackson for the inconvenience, shook
his hand, and then Kennedy and Russo left the scene.
See Record Document 25-2 at 79-81.
testified that Russo “roughed up” his left arm,
and was “pushing” his shoulder up. Id.
at 76. Jackson also testified that Kennedy was twisting his
wrists. See id. After Jackson was released, he went
to a local urgent care center. See id. at 84-85. He
told the doctor that he had pain in his left arm and his head
hurt. See Id. Jackson stated that his head hurt from
Russo grabbing his hair. See id. at 84. The video
indicates that Russo grabbed the back of Jackson's head
while trying to cuff him, although it is not clear from the
video whether he grabbed Jackson's hat or hair.
See Record Document 23-5, Ex. C. Urgent care
released Jackson with a return to work date of January 19th
with light duties until January 26th. See Record
Document 25-2 at 85-88. Jackson sought additional treatment
from an orthopedist on March 12, 2015, who suggested that he
visit a chiropractor for his pain. See id. at 90.
Jackson did see a chiropractor, but testified that the
chiropractor's adjustment caused the pain on the left
side of his body to increase such that he now feels pain in
his left ribcage area. See Id. at 107.
time of Jackson's deposition he had not returned to work
because he claims his left arm is still injured and his
shoulder hurts from tendonitis. See id. at 106-107,
109. Jackson also claims to have daily headaches and
insomnia. See id. at 107-108. He stated that he
cannot sleep at night because of the pain and stress from the
incident because he felt like the deputies were trying to
kill him and that police are still “coming after
him.” Id. at 111. Jackson also claims that he
has nightmares, night sweats, and talks in his sleep because
of the incident. See id. at 115. He also testified
that he is now afraid to leave his house. See id. at
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is proper pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure when “there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law.” Quality Infusion Care, Inc. v.
Health Care Serv. Corp., 628 F.3d 725, 728 (5th Cir.
2010). “A genuine issue of material fact exists when
the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” See id.
“Rule 56[(a)] mandates the entry of summary judgment,
after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, 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.” Patrick v. Ridge, 394 F.3d 311, 315
(5th Cir. 2004). If the movant demonstrates the absence of a
genuine dispute of material fact, “the nonmovant must
go beyond the pleadings and designate specific facts showing
that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Gen.
Universal Sys., Inc. v. Lee, 379 F.3d 131, 141 (5th Cir.
2004). A nonmovant cannot meet the burden of proving that a
genuine issue of material fact exists by providing only
“some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, by
conclusory allegations, by unsubstantiated assertions, or by
only a scintilla of evidence.” Little v. Liquid Air
Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994). Where
critical evidence is so weak or tenuous on an essential fact
that it could not support a judgment in favor of the
nonmovant, then summary judgment should be granted. See
Boudreaux v. Swift Transp. Co., 402 F.3d 536, 540 (5th
reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the court is to view
“the facts and inferences to be drawn therefrom in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party.”
Tubos de Acero de Mexico, S.A. v. Am. Int'l Inv.
Corp., Inc., 292 F.3d 471, 478 (5th Cir. 2002); see
also Harris v. Serpas, 745 F.3d 767, 771 (5th Cir.
2014). However, when there is video evidence available in the
record, the court is not bound to adopt the nonmoving
party's version of the facts if it is contradicted by the
record, but rather should “review [ ] the facts in the
light depicted by the videotape.” Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 381, 127 S.Ct. 1769, 1776 (2007);
see also Carnaby v. City of Houston, 636 F.3d 183,
187 (5th Cir. 2011) (“Although we review evidence in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, we assign
greater weight, even at the summary judgment stage, to the
facts evident from video recordings taken at the
scene.”). Further, the court should not, in the absence
of any proof, presume that the nonmoving party could or would
prove the necessary facts. See Little, 37 F.3d at
Official Capacity Claims
has asserted Section 1983 claims against Kennedy and Russo in
both their official and individual capacities. See
Record Document 1 at ¶ 1. Defendants argue that the
official capacity claims against Kennedy and Russo are
redundant, and should be dismissed. See Record
Document 23-2 at 4.
brought against a defendant in his official capacity is,
effectively, a suit against the governmental unit that
employs the defendant. Monell v. Dept. of Soc.
Serv., 436 U.S. 658, 690, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 2035 n. 55
(1978); Brooks v. George County, Miss., 84 F.3d 157,
165 (5th Cir. 1996). Therefore, an official capacity suit
against a municipal official “generally represents only
another way of pleading an action against an entity of which
an officer is an agent.” Monell, 436 U.S. at
690 n.55. It is firmly established that a municipality cannot
be held liable for the unconstitutional acts of its
non-policy making employees under the theory of respondeat
superior. Id. at 691. Therefore, it is appropriate
to dismiss ...