United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
IRVIN M. ESCORT
OFFICER DERRICK MILES, ET AL
PATRICK J HANNA JUDGE
A. DOUGHTY JUDGE
Irvin M. Escort (“Escort”) brought this lawsuit
against Officer Derrick Miles (“Officer Miles”),
Interim Chief Reginald Thomas (“Chief Thomas”),
and the Lafayette City Parish Consolidated Government
(“LCPCG”), seeking damages for injuries he
allegedly sustained during his arrest following a traffic
stop. Pending before the Court is a Motion for Summary
Judgment [Doc. No. 24] filed by Defendants. Plaintiff Escort
has filed an Opposition [Doc. No. 26], and Defendants have
filed a Reply [Doc. No. 27]. For the following reasons, the
Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.
April 23, 2016, Officer Miles observed Escort make an illegal
U-turn on Hollywood Drive in Lafayette, Louisiana. Officer
Miles stopped Escort and began investigating the alleged
traffic violation by asking Escort for his identification.
Escort acknowledged that he did not have his driver's
license. Officer Miles noted a strong chemical smell emitting
from Escort's person, similar to what he has smelled in
past instances when a person has ingested PCP. At this point,
Escort ran from Officer Miles.
Escort was running away, Officer Miles saw Escort throw
something to the ground, which was later determined to be a
Scope bottle containing PCP. Officer Miles pursued Escort,
overtook him from behind, and they both went to the ground.
contends that Officer Miles broke his right elbow while
attempting to handcuff him. He claims that he advised Officer
Miles, immediately after he was cuffed, that his arm was
broken, but Officer Miles said he should not have run and
threatened him not to tell anyone.
was taken by the booking officer to the medical station,
where he was examined by a medical professional and x-rays
were taken. Although the medical personnel at the jail
advised him that there was no break or fracture, Escort went
to Lafayette General Medical Center after he bonded out the
following morning. There he was diagnosed with a nondisplaced
fracture of the radial head.
was initially charged with possession of PCP and resisting
arrest. However, Escort and the District Attorney made an
agreement that if Escort took and passed six drug screens and
stayed clean, the charges would be dismissed. The District
Attorney ultimately dismissed the charges.
subsequently filed suit against Officer Miles, Chief Thomas,
and the LCPCG, seeking damages for violations of his civil
rights under 42 USC § 1983, et seq., as well as under
filed the instant motion for summary judgment. The motion is
fully briefed, and the Court is prepared to rule.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
Standard of Review
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), “[a] party may
move for summary judgment, identifying each claim or
defense--or the part of each claim or defense--on which
summary judgment is sought. The court shall grant summary
judgment if 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.” The moving party bears
the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for
its motion by identifying portions of the record which
highlight the absence of genuine issues of material fact.
Topalian v. Ehrmann, 4 F.2d 1125');">954 F.2d 1125, 1132 (5th Cir.
1992); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1) (“A
party asserting that a fact cannot be . . . disputed must
support the assertion by . . . citing to particular parts of
materials in the record . . .). A fact is
“material” if proof of its existence or
nonexistence would affect the outcome of the lawsuit under
applicable law in the case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242');">477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute about a
material fact is “genuine” if the evidence is
such that a reasonable fact finder could render a verdict for
the nonmoving party. Id.
moving party can meet the initial burden, the burden then
shifts to the nonmoving party to establish the existence of a
genuine issue of material fact for trial. Norman v.
Apache Corp., 19 F.3d 1017, 1023 (5th Cir. 1994). In
evaluating the evidence tendered by the parties, the Court
must accept the evidence of the nonmovant as credible and
draw all justifiable inferences in its favor.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. However, “a party
cannot defeat summary judgment with conclusory allegations,
unsubstantiated assertions, or only a scintilla of
evidence.” Turner v. Baylor Richardson Med.
Ctr., 476 F.3d 337');">476 F.3d 337, 343 (5th Cir. 2007) (citing
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.)
False Arrest/Unreasonable Seizure Claim
has conceded in brief that he cannot make a good faith
argument that the seizure and the arrest were unreasonable,
and that, as such, these claims should be dismissed with
prejudice. This Court agrees with that conclusion, and
therefore, the Court will dismiss these claims with
Plaintiff's Excessive Force Claim
The Heck Doctrine
acknowledges that an officer making a lawful arrest may use a
reasonable amount of force to overcome resistance by a person
being arrested. Escort contends, however, that he never
actively resisted the arrest. He admits to taking 7-8 steps
in furtherance of a flight, but he claims he stopped the
flight prior to the seizure by Officer Miles. He argues that
the slamming to the ground and the yanking and twisting of
the arm to the point of breakage is excessive. Escort states
that some form of force is a reoccurring theme when dealing
with police officers, and that the force grows exponentially
when there is flight or resistance. He asserts it is a sad
fact that many individuals in high crime areas have grown to
anticipate some force when they engage with police officers.
respond that Escort's excessive force claim is precluded
by the Heck doctrine, as Escort admittedly
participated in a pretrial diversion program which ultimately
led to the dismissal of the charges brought against him.
Escort was charged with possession of PCP and resisting
arrest, and the charges were only dismissed pursuant to an
agreement between Escort and the District Attorney's