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Hudson v. Town of Woodworth

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division

July 23, 2018

JEREMY HUDSON, Plaintiff
v.
TOWN OF WOODWORTH, et al., Defendants

          DRELL JUDGE

          MEMORANDUM RULING

          JOSEPH H.L. PEREZ-MONTES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the Court are two Motions for Summary Judgment (Doc. 46) (Doc. 48) filed by Defendants the Town of Woodworth (“the Town”) and Kyle McClain (“McClain”) (collectively, “Defendants”). The motions are unopposed. Because there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact, summary judgment is GRANTED. And because Hudson's claim under 42 U.S.C. §1983 was frivolous, Defendants are entitled to a reasonable attorney's fee.

         I. Background

         On February 9, 2017, Plaintiff Jeremy Hudson (“Hudson”) filed this action against Defendants. (Doc. 1-1, p. 1). Hudson alleges that McClain wrongfully searched his vehicle, threw his license on the ground, spit on his license, and threatened him. (Doc. 1-1, p. 2). Hudson claims that: (1) both Defendants violated La. Civ. Code art. 2315, La. Civ. Code art. 2316, 42 U.S.C. §1343, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution; and (2) the Town further violated La. Civ. Code art. 2317 and La. Civ. Code art. 2320. (Doc. 17, p. 1-2).

         Defendants served Hudson with requests for admission. (Doc. 36-3, p. 4). Defendants requested Hudson to admit that: (1) the factual allegations of ¶ 7, ¶ 11, and ¶ 12 of the Complaint were a fabrication;[1] (2) Hudson had no claim under La. Civ. Code. art. 2317, 42 U.S.C. §1343, or common law; and (3) Hudson had no claim for punitive damages against the Town. (Doc. 36-3, p.1-3). Hudson did not respond to the requests. (Doc. 36, p. 1). By Memorandum Order (Doc. 43), the Court found Hudson's failure to respond constituted admissions as a matter of law. (Doc. 43, p.2). Hudson did not move to withdraw or amend his admissions.

         Defendants then filed the Motions for Summary Judgment (Doc. 46) (Doc. 48). Defendants seek summary judgment and an award of attorney's fee. (Doc. 46, p.1) (Doc. 48, p.1). Hudson did not oppose the motions.

         II. Law and Analysis

         A. Standards governing the Motion for Summary Judgment.

         A court should grant summary judgment if a 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. “[T]he substantive law will identify which facts are material.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A genuine dispute of material fact exists if “a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. In deciding a motion for summary judgment, a court must decide all inferences in the light most favorable to the non-movant. See Walker v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 853 F.2d 355, 358 (5th Cir. 1988).

         B. Standards governing the Motion for Attorney's Fees.

         Title 42 U.S.C. §1988(b) provides that “in any action to enforce . . . [42 U.S.C. §]1983, . . . the court, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party, other than the United States, a reasonable attorney's fee as part of the costs.” 42 U.S.C. §1988(b). “A prevailing defendant is entitled to fees only if the plaintiff's underlying claim is frivolous, unreasonable, or groundless.” Myers v. City of West Monroe, 211 F.3d 289, 292 (5th Cir. 2000). In determining whether a suit is frivolous, a court considers factors such as whether the plaintiff established a prima facie case, whether the defendant offered to settle, and whether the court held a full trial. Id.

         C. There is no genuine dispute of material fact.

         “A matter is admitted unless, within 30 days after being served, the party to whom the request is directed serves on the requesting party a written answer or objection addressed to the matter and signed by the party or its attorney.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(3). The admission is “conclusively established unless the court, on motion, permits the admission to be withdrawn or amended.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(b). Here, Defendants served Hudson with their requests for ...


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