United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON, JUDGE
the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc.
64), filed by Defendants. Plaintiff filed a
Memorandum in Opposition (Doc. 65). For the reasons stated
herein, the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc.
64), is GRANTED.
March 20, 2016, Plaintiff was a Louisiana Department of
Corrections inmate housed at the Elayn Hunt Correctional
Center ("Elayn Hunt"). Plaintiff alleges that at
approximately 8:00 A.M., Defendant Captain John Wells
("Wells") came to Plaintiffs cell and began calling
him derogatory names. (Doc. 26 at pp. 3-4). Defendants
dispute this and further allege that Wells entered Plaintiffs
cell with the purpose of conducting a targeted search. (Doc.
64-4 at p. 2). During the search, Wells allegedly discovered
synthetic marijuana. (Id.). At this point, Defendant
Major Craig White ("White") was also called into
the cell. (Doc. 64-4 at p. 4). Plaintiff appeared to be
intoxicated, allegedly displaying slurred speech and
difficulty holding himself upright. (Id.). Plaintiff
also allegedly vomited while White was speaking with him.
(Id. at p. 4). Plaintiff asserts that Wells attacked
him without provocation while they were in the cell. The
officers then transported Plaintiff to the showers, during
which Plaintiff also alleges Wells assaulted him. (Doc. 26 at
p. 4). The beating in the cell and during transport are the
first basis of Plaintiffs excessive force claim. (Doc. 26 at
allege that while in the shower, Plaintiff refused repeated
direct verbal orders to come to the shower bars to be
searched. (Doc. 64-4 at p. 4). Plaintiff, in contrast,
asserts that he complied with all orders. (Doc. 26 at p. 4).
Defendants claim that White gave Plaintiff a final warning
and then sprayed him with a chemical agent to force him to
comply. (Doc. 64-4 at p. 5). The use of the chemical agent is
the second basis for Plaintiffs excessive force claim.
assert that Plaintiff continued to disobey their orders and
that he started hitting his head against the floor and walls.
(Id.). Defendants and other prison officials then
conducted an emergency extraction from the shower cell.
(Id.). The extraction team included Wells and White,
as well as Defendants Lieutenant Michelle Sullivan
("Sullivan") and Lieutenant Lindell Slater
("Slater"). (Id.). During the extraction,
Plaintiff allegedly began kicking his feet, swinging his
arms, and spitting. (Id.). Ultimately, the officials
gained control and placed Plaintiff in a jumpsuit,
restraints, and a spit mask. (Id.). Plaintiff was
then transported to the Assessment and Triage Unit (ATU),
during which Plaintiff alleges he was also beaten. (Doc. 26
at p. 5). This appears to be the third basis for Plaintiffs
excessive force claim.
was then medically assessed by an EMT and transported to Our
Lady of the Lake Hospital for additional assessment and
treatment for possible injuries. (Doc. 64-4 at p. 5).
Plaintiff alleges that the excessive force used by Defendants
caused him ankle and wrist lacerations, a blackened eye, a
fractured nose, and a bruised kidney. (Doc. 26 at pg. 5).
March 28, 2016, Plaintiff pled guilty to being intoxicated in
his cell. (Doc. 64-2 at p. 1). The disciplinary board also
found Plaintiff guilty of three counts of
"Defiance", four counts of "Aggravated
Disobedience", and one count of "Property
Destruction." (Id.). On April 1, 2016,
Plaintiff was found guilty by the Prison Disciplinary Board
of possessing contraband in his cell. (Id.). Because
of these charges, Plaintiff was issued multiple disciplinary
sanctions including loss of phone and canteen privileges, ten
days in isolation, and the forfeiture of 90 days of good time
credit. (Doc. 64-1 at p. 2).
March 24, 2017, Plaintiff filed a complaint seeking damages
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of
Defendant's Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to be
free from excessive force. (Doc. 26). On October 10, 2018,
Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 64).
Plaintiff filed a Response (Doc. 65).
to Rule 56, "[t]he [C]ourt 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." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In determining
whether the movant is entitled to summary judgment, the Court
views the facts in the light most favorable to the non-movant
and draws all reasonable inferences in the non-movant's
favor. Coleman u. Houston Independent School
Dist, 113 F.3d 528, 533 (5th Cir. 1997).
proper motion for summary judgment is made, the non-movant
must set forth specific facts showing there is a genuine
issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). At this stage, the Court does not
evaluate the credibility of witnesses, weigh the evidence, or
resolve factual disputes. Int'l Shortstop, Inc. v.
Rally's, Inc., 939 F.2d 1257, 1263 (5th Cir. 1991),
cert, denied, 502 U.S. 1059 (1992). However, if the evidence
in the record is such that a reasonable jury, drawing all
inferences in favor of the non-moving party, could arrive at
a verdict in that party's favor, the motion for summary
judgment must be denied. Int'l Shortstop, Inc.,
939 F.2d at 1263.
other hand, the non-movant's burden is not satisfied by
some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, or by
conclusory allegations, unsubstantiated assertions, or a mere
scintilla of evidence. Little v. Liquid Air Corp.,
37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994). Summary judgment is
appropriate if the non-movant "fails to make a showing
sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential
to that party's case." Celotex Corp. u.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986). In other words,
summary judgment will be appropriate only "if the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with affidavits if any, show
that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, and
that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law." Sherman v. Hallbauer, 455 F.2d 1236, 1241
(5th Cir. 1972).