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Roberts v. Lessard

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

December 24, 2018




         Before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 60), filed by Defendants. Plaintiff filed a Memorandum in Opposition (Doc. 64). For the reasons stated herein, the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 60), is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On December 26, 2015, Plaintiff Brian Roberts was an inmate in custody at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel, Louisiana. (Doc. 60-1 at p. 2). While housed in Golf 2, B Tier, he collapsed due to what both parties agree was a stroke. Ibid. Upon observing Plaintiff's condition, Sergeant Nakyra Johnson activated her beeper to call other officers to the scene. (Doc. 64 at p. 1).

         Plaintiff alleges that when Defendants Major Shannon Lessard and Major Kevin Durbin arrived at the scene, they asserted that Plaintiff had consumed a substance known as “mojo.”[1] Id. Plaintiff asserts that an EMT arrived thereafter, and upon hearing Defendants' remarks, released Plaintiff back into the custody of Majors Lessard and Durbin. Id. It is undisputed that after the EMT assessed Plaintiff, he was taken to the Assessment Triage Unit (“ATU”) for further evaluation. Id.

         Plaintiff asserts that in the ATU, rather than being examined or treated medically by a doctor, Major Lessard, Major Durbin and Lieutenant Slater ordered that Plaintiff be drug tested, the results of which were negative. (Doc. 64 at p. 2). However, Defendants continued to insist that he was intoxicated. Ibid. Plaintiff asserts that he was not permitted to see a doctor and did not undergo additional medical evaluation. Id. Plaintiff asserts that throughout the episode he continued to have serious problems speaking and communicating. Id.

         After Plaintiff left the ATU, he was transferred to administrative segregation as punishment for intoxication. Id. It is undisputed that shortly after midnight, Plaintiff was found on the floor of the cell, half-conscious, covered in his own vomit, pupils constricted and non-reactive, with slurred speech and the inability to move. (Doc. 62 at p. 3). This prompted his return to ATU. Ibid.

         It is further undisputed that Plaintiff was then administered Narcan, which is used to treat narcotic overdoses in emergencies. (Doc. 64 at p. 3). At roughly 5:30 A.M., Plaintiff alleges that he was finally examined by a doctor who diagnosed a stroke. Id. Around noon, Plaintiff was transferred to Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center. Id. The hospital physician indicated that the damage from the stroke had already occurred, and that medical or surgical intervention would no longer make a difference. Id. at 4. Plaintiff alleges that had Plaintiff been brought to the hospital earlier, the severity of the stroke could have been lessened. Id. Plaintiff ultimately suffered left sided paralysis and several other stroke related symptoms. Id.

         Plaintiff filed suit against Defendants Major Shannon Lessard, Lieutenant Lindell Slater, and Major Durbin, asserting claims for deliberate medical indifference and negligence under Louisiana law.


         Pursuant 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 v. Houston Independent School Dist, 113 F.3d 528, 533 (5th Cir. 1997).

         After a 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.

         On the 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. v. 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).

         III. ...

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