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Newton v. Caminita

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

February 13, 2019

DANIEL NEWTON
v.
DEPUTY JOSEPH CAMINITA ET AL.

          RULING AND ORDER

          BRIAN A. JACKSON JUDGE

         Before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 31) filed by the State of Louisiana through the Department of Public Safety and Corrections and Trooper Erin Williams. No. opposition was filed. For the reasons that follow, the Motion (Doc. 31) is GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit arises from a struggle between an intoxicated man and a police officer. (Doc. 31-2 at ¶¶ 1-2). After drinking liquor for several hours, Plaintiff Daniel Newton awoke at his father's home. (Id.). Plaintiff began arguing with his father, and someone called the police. (Id. at ¶ 5). Deputies from the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriffs Office responded to the call and removed Plaintiff from the home. (Id. at ¶ 7).

         Later that night, Louisiana State Trooper Erin Williams received a dispatch call about a truck abandoned in a ditch. (Id. at ¶ 9). Around 12:55 A.M., Trooper Williams arrived on the scene and called a wrecker to retrieve the truck. (Id. at ¶ 10). Plaintiff arrived on the scene five minutes later. (Id. at ¶ 12).

         Upon Trooper Williams's request, Plaintiff failed to present a driver's license or proof of insurance. (Id. at ¶¶ 13-15). Because Trooper Williams smelled alcohol on Plaintiffs breath, Trooper Williams gave Plaintiff a field sobriety test. (Id. at ¶ 25). Plaintiff passed. (Id.).

         Next, Trooper Williams told Plaintiff that he was going to call a tow truck. (Id. at ¶ 17). Plaintiff became upset and began yelling expletives at Trooper Williams. (Id. at ¶¶ 18-23). After Plaintiff threatened Trooper Williams and the tow-truck driver, Trooper Williams detained Plaintiff. (Id. at ¶ 24). At some point, Trooper Williams and Plaintiff began to fight. (Id. at ¶ 34.). Trooper Williams eventually brought Plaintiff to the ground, but Plaintiff resisted Trooper Williams's attempts to cuff him. (Id. at ¶ 37).

         After cuffing Plaintiff, Trooper Williams charged Plaintiff with resisting arrest, driving without a license, careless operation, and failure to carry insurance. (Id. at ¶ 43). Trooper Williams then drove Plaintiff to the Tangipahoa Parish Jail. (Id. at 42). On the trip, Plaintiff did not request medical treatment or say that he was in pain. (Id. at ¶ 41).

         Jail officials released Plaintiff on his own recognizance. (Id. at ¶ 47). After his release, Plaintiff went to North Oaks Medical Center complaining of "being assaulted by about 4-5 other men, a few hours ago." (Id. at ¶ 49). Plaintiff does not recall anything about his encounter with Trooper Williams. (Id. at ¶ 51).

         Even so, Plaintiff sued the Department of Public Safety and Corrections (the "Department") and Trooper Williams for violations of state law and § 1983. (Doc. 12). Plaintiff alleges that Trooper Williams violated his constitutional rights by using excessive force against him and acting with deliberate indifference to his medical needs. (Doc. 12 at ¶¶ 36, 53). Plaintiff also alleges battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims against Trooper Williams. (Id. at ¶¶ 59, 61). And Plaintiff alleges a failure-to-train claim against the Department.[1] (Id. at ¶ 58).

         Now, Defendants move for summary judgment dismissing all Plaintiffs remaining claims. (Doc. 31).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         The Court will enter summary judgment in Defendants' favor if Defendants show that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. CIV. P. 56(a). The Court cannot grant summary judgment just because Defendants' motion is unopposed; Defendants must point to the absence of a material factual dispute. Hetzel v. Bethlehem Steel Corp., 50 F.3d 360, 362 n.3 (5th Cir. 1995). In deciding if they have done so, the Court views facts and draws reasonable inferences in Plaintiffs favor. Vann v. City of Southaven, Miss.,884 F.3d 307, ...


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