United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
HORNSBY MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
MAURICE HICKS, JR., CHIEF JUDQE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
the Court is Defendant Dale Cox's (“Cox”)
unopposed Motion for Summary Judgment (Record Document 74)
under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
regarding Plaintiff James Hayward Lester's
(“Lester”) suit alleging federal constitutional
violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Louisiana
constitutional violations, and state tort claims against Cox.
For the reasons stated in the instant Memorandum Ruling,
Cox's Motion for Summary Judgment is hereby
GRANTED, and all of Lester's claims
against Cox are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
history of this case predating the instant Memorandum Ruling
is lengthy and complex, spanning across three years and
eleven defendants. With the exception of Cox, all claims
against the defendants have been dismissed via a Rule
12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss or a Rule 56 Motion for Summary
Judgment. See Record Documents 49, 50, 51, 52, 60,
61, 63, 64, 71, and 72. The Court hereby adopts by reference
the factual and procedural backgrounds set forth in the
allegations against Cox primarily concern Cox's comments
emailed to The Inquisitor. More specifically, Lester
alleges that the publication was defamatory, resulting in a
deprivation of federal and state constitutional rights, loss
of business, and an intentional infliction of emotional
distress. In response, Cox has submitted an unopposed Motion
for Summary Judgment (Record Document 74) under Rule 56 of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Lester has not filed an
opposition to Cox's Motion for Summary Judgment. On May
7, 2018, this Court issued a “Notice of Motion
Setting” (Record Document 75) giving Lester 21 calendar
days to file an opposition. To date, no opposition has been
filed. Thus, all the material facts set forth by Cox have not
been controverted and are hereby deemed admitted.
See Record Document 74-2. Such facts include:
• Defendant was employed by the Caddo Parish District
Attorney's office as a fulltime Assistant District
Attorney beginning on March 1, 2009.
• Defendant did not participate in the investigation of
James Hayward Lester prior to criminal charges being filed.
• Defendant emailed a local newspaper, The
Inquisitor, that published his comments stating that the
District Attorney's office dropped Lester's home
improvement fraud charges because the evidence showed that
Lester had done a significant amount of work on the houses,
that Lester's quality of work could not meet the
requisite burden of proof, and that the District
Attorney's office pursued a charge based on an omission
from Lester's licensing application.
• Defendant based his statements to The
Inquisitor on the arrest affidavit and state trooper
• Defendant believed his statements to be truthful and
supported by the state trooper report.
• Defendant did not assist, supervise, or participate in
obtaining an arrest warrant for Lester.
Record Document 74-2 at ¶¶ 1, 5, 8-9, 13-17.
The instant Memorandum Ruling will address Lester's
remaining claims that have survived Cox's Rule 12(b)(6)
Motion to Dismiss. See Record Documents 51, 52.
Thus, the Court will analyze Lester's federal defamation
claim pursuant to Section 1983; Lester's Louisiana state
law claims for defamation and a violation of Article I,
Section 2 of the Louisiana Constitution; and the merit of
Cox's qualified immunity defense.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
The Summary ...