United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
HORNSBY MAGISTRATE JUDGE
ELIZABETH E. FOOTE JUDGE
before the Court are two Motions to Dismiss for Failure to
State a Claim Upon Which Relief can be Granted, pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The first motion
was filed by Defendants James Stewart, Dale Cox, and the
Caddo Parish District Attorney's Office. [Record Document
16]. This motion is opposed. [Record Document 29]. For the
reasons discussed below, the motion to dismiss [Record
Document 16] is GRANTED.
second motion to dismiss was filed by Defendant Todd G. Thoma
and the Caddo Parish Coroner's Office. [Record Document
18]. Alternatively, Thoma and the Caddo Parish Coroner's
Office move for a more definite statement pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(e). This motion is opposed.
[Record Document 28]. For the reasons discussed below, the
motion to dismiss [Record Document 18] is
before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss Penalty, Punitive, or
Exemplary Damages filed by the Caddo Parish Coroner's
Office, the Caddo Parish District Attorney's Office, Cox,
Stewart, and Thoma. [Record Document 15]. This motion is
opposed. [Record Document 30]. For the reasons discussed
below, the motion to dismiss penalty, punitive, or exemplary
damages [Record Document 15] is GRANTED.
case arises out of the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of
Rodricus Crawford ("Plaintiff) for the murder of his
son, Roderius Lott. Roderius died on February 16, 2012.
Record Document 1, ¶ 16. Authorities interrogated
Plaintiff about Roderius's death and on February 24,
2012, he was arrested and subsequently charged with first
degree murder. Id. at ¶ 38. Plaintiff was
convicted of first degree murder on November 12, 2013, in the
First Judicial District Court, Caddo Parish, and was
sentenced to death on November 13, 2013. Id. at
¶ 75; State v. Crawford, 218 So.2d 13 (La.
11/16/16). Defendant Dale Cox ("Cox")
prosecuted Plaintiff and was the acting District Attorney of
Caddo Parish at the time. Id. at ¶s 12 &
63. On November 6, 2016, the Louisiana Supreme Court reversed
Plaintiffs conviction and remanded his case for a new trial.
Id. at ¶ 75. He was released on November 22,
2016, after posting a $50, 000 bond. Id. Defendant
James Stewart ("Stewart"), the current District
Attorney of Caddo Parish, dismissed the charges against
Plaintiff on April 17, 2017. Id.
filed the instant lawsuit under Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983
on behalf of himself and his minor child Khasiah Crawford,
against the Caddo Parish Coroner's Office; Coroner Todd
G. Thoma; James Traylor, M.D.; the Caddo Parish District
Attorney's Office; James Stewart, Caddo Parish District
Attorney; the Shreveport Fire Department; Sharon Sullivan;
Daniel Mars; Dale Cox; ninety-nine "J. Does" that
Plaintiff alleges work for Caddo Parish 911 or the Shreveport
Police Department; and ten unnamed insurance companies.
Record Document 1, p. 1. Plaintiff claims that his
prosecution was illegally based on race and religion, and a
complete indifference to the evidence. Id. According
to Plaintiff, his prosecution and conviction were driven by
Caddo Parish's well-known history of racism and the
arbitrary application of the death penalty. Id. at
2. Plaintiff asserts that Defendants are liable to him under
§ 1983 for violations of his Sixth and Fourteenth
Amendment rights, as well as the state law torts of
intentional infliction of emotional distress and tortious
interference in a parent-child relationship. Id. at
¶s 81-106. Finally, Plaintiff brings a direct action
under state law against the insurance companies of
Defendants. Id. at ¶ 108.
Court now turns to the facts giving rise to Plaintiffs
alleged causes of action. On the morning of February 16,
2012, an ambulance was summoned to a house in Shreveport,
Louisiana where Plaintiff and his infant son Roderius, along
with several other family members, were staying. Id.
at ¶s 16 & 20. According to the complaint, Roderius
had been suffering from pneumonia in all five lobes of his
lungs and the bacteria had entered his blood stream, causing
septic shock and death. Id. at ¶ 16. The family
called an ambulance because Plaintiff, who was sharing a
fold-out couch with Roderius, had awakened to find that
Roderius was not breathing. Id. at ¶s 19 &
21. Plaintiff alleges that the 911 dispatchers sent out
police along with a fire department ambulance because they
suspected foul play based on the primarily African-American
neighborhood in which the house was located and the number of
people in the house. Id. at ¶ 23.
the paramedics who arrived on the scene, Defendant Sharon
Sullivan ("Sullivan"), examined
Roderius's body and suspected foul play based on
fluid draining from the child's nose.
Id. at ¶ 27. Sullivan also claimed to observe
bruises on the child's buttocks and petechiae in his
eyes. Id. Another paramedic, Defendant Daniel Mars
("Mars"), spoke to Plaintiff and claimed that
Plaintiff told him that Roderius had fallen off a bed.
Id. at ¶ 28. Mars asked the ambulance driver to
take them to the hospital because he claimed "the
situation was getting kind of violent." Id. at
¶ 29. The Shreveport Police Department arrived shortly
thereafter. Id. at ¶ 31. Upon arrival, officers
placed Plaintiff in the back of a police cruiser, detained
him for over an hour, and then took him to the police station
for interrogation. Id. at ¶ 32.
Todd G. Thoma ("Thoma"), the elected Coroner of
Caddo Parish, was summoned to the emergency room to examine
the body. Id. at ¶ 33. Thoma determined that
the cause of death was suffocation from smothering and that
the death was a homicide. Id. Defendant James
Traylor, MD ("Traylor"),  a forensic pathologist,
contracted with Defendant Caddo Parish Coroner's Office
to perform an autopsy on Roderius. Id. at ¶ 34.
Traylor incised the skin on Roderius's buttocks and scalp
and found hemorrhages that were not visible to the naked eye.
Id. He determined that the injuries were a result of
child abuse and decided that, combined with the contusions on
Roderius's lips, the death was "more likely than
not" a smothering. Id. Traylor did not take
tissue samples from the buttocks, scalp, or lips that would
have revealed the timing of those injuries. Id. at
¶ 35. After announcing that the death was a homicide,
Traylor discovered that Roderius had pneumonia in all five
lobes of his lungs and that his blood culture tested positive
for alpha hemolytic streptococcus bacteria, but Traylor did
not order further testing to determine if the positive blood
culture was the result of sepsis. Id. at ¶ 36.
Court will now address Cox, Stewart, and the Caddo Parish
District Attorney's Office's Motion to Dismiss
[Record Document 16], the Caddo Parish Coroner's Office
and Thoma's Motion to Dismiss [Record Document 18], and
Cox, Stewart, the Caddo Parish District Attorney's
Office, the Caddo Parish Coroner's Office, and
Thoma's Motion to Dismiss Penalty, Punitive, or Exemplary
Damages [Record Document 15] in turn.
TO DISMISS UNDER RULE 12(b)(6)
order to survive a motion to dismiss brought under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a plaintiff must
"state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). "A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged." Id. at 678.
"Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice." Id. The court must accept as true all
of the factual allegations in the complaint in determining
whether plaintiff has stated a plausible claim. See Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twornbly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007);
In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litig., 495 F.3d 191,
205 (5th Cir. 2007). However, a court is "not bound to
accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation." Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265,
286 (1986). If a complaint cannot meet this standard, it may
be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79. A court
does not evaluate a plaintiffs likelihood for success, but
instead determines whether a plaintiff has pleaded a legally
cognizable claim. United States ex rel. Riley v. St.
Luke's Episcopal Hosp., 355 F.3d 370, 376 (5th Cir.
2004). A dismissal under 12(b)(6) ends the case "at the
point of minimum expenditure of time and money by the parties
and the court." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 558.
Motion to Dismiss by Cox, Stewart and the Caddo Parish
District Attorney's Office
asserts claims against the Caddo Parish District
Attorney's Office, Dale Cox in his individual capacity
and in his official capacity as the former acting District
Attorney of Caddo Parish, and against James
Stewart in his individual capacity and his
official capacity as the current District Attorney of Caddo
Parish. Record Document 1, ¶s 7, 8, & 12.
Count 1 of his complaint, Plaintiff claims that the District
Attorney's Office and Cox violated his right to a fair
trial. Id. at ¶s 81-87. According to Plaintiff,
the District Attorney's Office failed to properly train
and supervise Cox which allowed Cox to distort evidence,
exhort Thoma and Traylor to testify falsely with
"reckless disregard for the truth," improperly
strike African-Americans from the jury, make
"constitutionally improper" arguments at trial, and
base Plaintiffs prosecution on religious and racial
Count 2, Plaintiff claims that the District Attorney's
Office, Cox, and Stewart violated his right to liberty
without due process of law. Id. at ¶s 88-91.
Plaintiff makes the same allegations against the District
Attorney's Office and Cox in Count 2 that he does in
Count 1. Id. Plaintiff also claims that Stewart and
the District Attorney's Office acted with deliberate
indifference to his civil rights and pursuant to a policy of
"deliberate inaction on admittedly innocent and
wrongfully convicted inmates in their jurisdiction."
Count 4,  Plaintiff asserts that Cox, Stewart, and
the District Attorney's Office violated his right to
equal treatment under the law because his investigation,
detention, arrest, prosecution, and incarceration were based
on intentionally unequal treatment and he is a member of a
protected class. Id. at ¶s 92-94.
Count 5, Plaintiff claims that Cox and the District
Attorney's Office used their peremptory challenges in a
racially discriminatory manner during his criminal trial by
using five of seven challenges to exclude African-Americans
from the jury. Id. at ¶s 95-97. Plaintiff
claims that this exclusion allowed Cox to freely use racial
stereotypes at trial which led to a violation of Plaintiffs
Count 6, Plaintiff alleges that the District Attorney's
Office and Cox established policies, patterns, or practices
that caused Plaintiff to be investigated, charged, detained,
and prosecuted based on his race and that this led to his
wrongful conviction. Id. at ¶s 98-102.
Plaintiff claims that such policies were established with
deliberate indifference and disregard for his constitutional
and civil rights. Id. at ¶ 101.
in Counts 7 and 8, Plaintiff claims that all Defendants are
liable to him under state law for intentional infliction of
emotional distress and tortious interference with a
parent-child relationship. Id. at ¶s 103-106.
their motion to dismiss, Defendants first argue that Cox and
Stewart are absolutely immune from Plaintiffs claims against
them in their individual capacities under the doctrine of
prosecutorial immunity. Record Document 16-1, p. 11.
Defendants claim that they are not liable for any of
Plaintiff s claims against the District Attorney's Office
or against Cox and Stewart in their official capacities
because Plaintiff has failed to sufficiently state a
Monell claim for municipal liability under §
1983. Id. at 9 & 20. Defendants also allege that
Plaintiff has no constitutional right to a fault-free
investigation, fails to state a cause of action as to his
claims regarding insufficient evidence, and fails to make
allegations that Defendants fabricated evidence. Id.
at 8, 16, & 22. Finally, Defendants argue that Plaintiff
has not sufficiently stated a claim for relief on state law
grounds and that the District Attorney's Office is not an
entity that can be sued under Louisiana law. Id. at
Individual Capacity Claims
establish § 1983 claims against Cox and Stewart in their
individual capacities, Plaintiff must demonstrate (1) a
deprivation of a right secured by federal law, (2) that
occurred under color of state law, and (3) was caused by a
state actor. Victoria W. v. Larpenter, 369 F.3d 475,
482 (5th Cir. 2004). Section 1983 is violated only when a
person deprives another of a constitutional or statutory
right under color of state law. 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (2012);
Am. Mfrs. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Sullivan, 526 U.S. 40,
49-50 (1999). Despite its broad reach, § 1983 was not
intended to create a radical departure from ordinary
common-law immunities that apply in tort suits. Rehberg
v. Paulk, 566 U.S. 356, 361 (2012). The Supreme Court
has recognized several categories of officials that are
absolutely immune from lawsuits brought under § 1983 for
actions taken within the legitimate scope of their duties,
such as judges and legislators. Id. at 362.
Inlmbler v. Patchman, the Supreme Court held that
prosecutors were also absolutely immune from § 1983
Such suits could be expected with some frequency, for a
defendant often will transform his resentment at being
prosecuted into the ascription of improper and malicious
actions to the State's advocate. Further, if the
prosecutor could be made to answer in court each time such a
person charged him with wrongdoing, his energy and attention
would be diverted from the pressing duty of enforcing the
424 U.S. 409, 425 (1976) (internal citations omitted).
from a § 1983 suit covers actions taken by a prosecutor
in initiating prosecutions and presenting a criminal case on
behalf of a state. Id. at 431. This immunity extends
to actions taken by a prosecutor that are "intimately
associated with the judicial phase of the criminal
process" outside of a criminal trial. Loupe v. O
'Bannon, 824 F.3d 534, 538 (5th Cir. 2016) (quoting
Imbler, 424 U.S. at 430). Such actions include
pretrial court appearances by a prosecutor (Burns v.
Reed, 500 U.S. 478, 492 (1991)); the decision to file
charging documents and the preparation of those documents
(Kalina v. Fletcher, 522 U.S. 118, 129 (1997)); and
administrative obligations such as training, supervision, and
information management that are directly connected with the
conduct of trial (Van de Kamp v. Goldstein, 555 U.S.
335, 344 (2009)).
immunity protects prosecutors regardless of their motives,
even when they act maliciously, wantonly, or negligently.
Brummett v. Cable, 946 F.2d 1178, 1181 (5th Cir.
1991); Loupe, 824 F.3d at 539 (quoting Rykers v.
Alford, 832 F.2d 895, 897 (5th Cir. 1987)). This
immunity prevents prosecutors from being held individually
liable for constitutional violations resulting from actions
taken within the legitimate scope of their prosecutorial
duties, such as the suppression of exculpatory evidence
(Cousin v. Small, 325 F.3d 627, 636 (5th Cir. 2003))
or state law claims such as malicious prosecution
(Loupe, 824 F.3d at 539). Although prosecutorial
immunity is broad, it is meant to protect the operations of
the office itself rather than the interests of the occupant
of that office. Id. at 538 (quoting Kalina,
522 U.S. at 125). When a court determines whether absolute
immunity applies in a given case, it evaluates the nature of
the function being performed rather than the identity of the
person performing that function. Id. at 127.
prosecutor's actions are not covered by absolute immunity
simply because a prosecutor performs them. Buckley v.
Fitzsirnmons, 509 U.S. 259, 273 (1993). Prosecutors are
not covered by absolute immunity when they perform
investigative functions normally performed by a police
officer or a detective. Id. A prosecutor's role
in evaluating evidence and interviewing witnesses in
preparation for trial is distinct from a detective's role
in searching for clues and corroboration that might establish
probable cause to arrest a suspect. Id.
Investigative actions that would be covered only by qualified
immunity if performed by a police officer or detective will
not be covered by absolute immunity merely because they are
performed by a prosecutor. Id. at 275.
Supreme Court established this distinction between advocacy
and investigation in Buckley v. Fitzsimmons. In this
case, the petitioner accused prosecutors of manufacturing
false evidence that linked his boot to a boot print found at
the scene of a murder and shopping for experts who would
confirm their theories. Id. at 272. The prosecutors
convened a special grand jury to investigate the murder
before they had probable cause to arrest the petitioner or to
initiate judicial proceedings against him. Id. at
274. The petitioner was not arrested until ten months after
the grandy jury was convened. Id. at 275. The
Supreme Court found that the prosecutors' mission when
they convened the grand jury was entirely investigative in
nature and that their conduct occurred well before they could
claim to be acting as advocates for the state. Id.
The Court concluded that absolute immunity did not apply to
the prosecutors' actions because:
A prosecutor may not shield his investigative work with the
aegis of absolute immunity merely because, after a suspect is
eventually arrested, indicted, and tried, that work may be
retrospectively described as "preparation" for a
possible trial; every prosecutor might then shield himself
from liability for any constitutional wrong against innocent
citizens by ensuring that they go to trial.
Id. at 276. With these limits on the scope of
absolute prosecutorial immunity in mind, the Court will now
evaluate Plaintiffs claims against Cox and Stewart in their
individual capacities. See id. at 273.
Claims Against Cox Individually
Plaintiff s allegations against Cox in his individual
capacity have to do with Cox's conduct during Plaintiffs
criminal trial and are therefore barred by absolute
prosecutorial immunity. Plaintiff first alleges that the
prosecution at his trial, led by Cox, illegally excluded
African-American jurors by using five of seven peremptory
challenges to exclude African-Americans. Record Document 1,
¶s 86 & 96. While a good argument can be made that
Cox did illegally exclude African-Americans from the jury,
this claim is directed towards actions Cox took while he was
initiating and presenting a criminal case and is therefore
barred by absolute immunity. Irnbler, 424 U.S. at
430-31. Furthermore, the Fifth Circuit has explicitly held
that prosecutors are absolutely immune from personal
liability for using peremptory strikes in a racially
discriminatory manner. Esteves v. Brock, 106 F.3d
674, 677 (5th Cir. 1997) ("Because Brock's use of
peremptory strikes in a racially discriminatory manner was
part of her presentation of the state's case, she is
entitled to absolute immunity from personal
liability."). Thus, this claim by Plaintiff is barred by
further claims that Cox pursued a conviction and death
sentence against him because of Cox's personal religious
beliefs and mental instability even though there was
insufficient evidence to support a prosecution [Record
Document 1, ¶s 63-65], and that Cox made arguments based
on racial stereotypes and animus [Id. at ¶s
66-67] and made "constitutionally improper"
arguments at trial. Id. at ¶s 86 & 90.
Again, these claims involve actions that Cox took when he was
initiating a prosecution against Plaintiff and presenting the
state's case against him. Absolute immunity applies to
these actions regardless of motive, even if they were taken
maliciously, wantonly or negligently. Loupe, 824
F.3d at 539 (quoting Rykers, 832 F.2d at 897).
Plaintiffs claims regarding Cox's mental state and his
alleged animus towards Plaintiff during his criminal
prosecution are barred by absolute immunity.
next claims that Cox, as the acting District Attorney of
Caddo Parish during this prosecution and trial, adopted and
implemented policies that led to unconstitutional actions,
including the failure to supervise and train prosecutors to
avoid wrongful convictions of African-American men.
Id. at ¶ 12. But here again, Cox is protected
by absolute prosecutorial immunity. In Van de Kamp v.
Goldstein, the Supreme Court held that absolute immunity
applied to a district attorney's alleged failure to
properly train and supervise deputy district attorneys on
their duty to provide impeachment-related information to a
defendant because such activities required "legal
knowledge and the exercise of related discretion." 555
U.S. at 344. Plaintiffs claims that Cox failed to properly
train prosecutors in his office to avoid wrongful convictions
of African-American men involve activities that similarly
require legal knowledge and the exercise of discretion. These
claims are thus barred by absolute immunity.
claims that Cox distorted evidence against him and exhorted
Defendants Traylor and Thoma to "testify falsely with
reckless disregard for truth" at trial. Record Document
1, ¶s 85 & 90. Plaintiff does not specify what
evidence against him was distorted by Cox, nor what Cox told
Thoma and Traylor to say that was false, although this claim
likely has to do with Thoma's and Traylor's testimony
about the cause of Roderius's death. The Supreme
Court established absolute immunity for prosecutors in
Imbler v. Patchman when it held that a prosecutor
was immune from the plaintiffs claims under § 1983 that
the prosecutor "with intent, and on other occasions with
negligence," allowed a key witness to give false
testimony at the plaintiffs criminal trial. 424 U.S. at 416.
The Court acknowledged that absolute prosecutorial immunity
leaves criminal defendants without civil redress when the
malicious or dishonest actions of a prosecutor deprive them
of liberty. Id. at 427. Furthermore, the Court
opined that the alternative-qualified immunity for
prosecutors-would endanger the functioning of the criminal
justice system by preventing prosecutors from zealously
performing their duties. Id. at 427-28. The Fifth
Circuit adhered to this doctrine under similar facts in
Cousin v. Small, where it found that a prosecutor
was absolutely immune from the plaintiffs claims that he
coerced and intimidated a witness into giving false testimony
at the plaintiffs criminal trial. 325 F.3d at 632 & 635.
Like the Supreme Court in Imbler, this Court
acknowledges that the application of absolute prosecutorial
immunity to Plaintiffs claims that Cox distorted evidence and
encouraged witnesses to give false testimony against him may
leave Plaintiff without civil redress for a genuine
deprivation of liberty. However, the Supreme Court's
holding in Imbler establishes that Cox is absolutely
immune from these claims because they involve actions Cox
took while he was initiating a prosecution and presenting the
case for trial. See Imbler, 424 U.S. at 427-28.
Plaintiff claims that Cox should be held individually
responsible for actions that he took that were not connected
to the initiation of prosecution or judicial proceedings.
Record Document 1, ¶ 68. According to Plaintiff, Cox
"participated in the investigation of the case including
searching for the clues and corroboration that gave [him]
putative probable cause to have [Plaintiff] arrested and then
charged with capital murder." Id. This claim
mirrors the language used by the Supreme Court in Buckley
v. Fitzsimmons to distinguish between the role of an
advocate and the role of a detective. 509 U.S. at 273. If Cox
took on the role of a detective in his investigation of the
state's case against Plaintiff, he could arguably be
entitled to qualified immunity, but not absolute immunity,
for such actions. Id. But the complaint contains no
facts or further information as to the investigative actions
Cox undertook. Thus, the Court does not decide the question
of qualified immunity because Plaintiffs claim against Cox
regarding the investigation is vague, conclusory, and does
not provide enough facts to survive a motion to dismiss.
all of Plaintiff s claims against Cox in his individual
capacity are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
Claims Against Stewart Individually
is the current District Attorney of Caddo Parish and had
replaced Cox as the acting District Attorney at the time
Plaintiffs conviction was overturned. Plaintiff alleges that
Stewart required him to post a $50, 000 bond to secure his
release from custody after the Louisiana Supreme Court
reversed his conviction. Record Document 1, ¶ 74. This
allegation appears to be the basis for Plaintiffs claim that
Stewart acted with deliberate indifference to Plaintiffs
civil rights and "pursuant to a policy of deliberate
inaction on admittedly innocent and wrongfully convicted
begin, this Court notes that the Louisiana Supreme Court did
not declare Plaintiff "innocent." In fact, the
Court found that there was enough evidence to support
Plaintiffs conviction, but also found that his constitutional
rights were violated when the district court improperly
handled a Batson challenge. Crawford, 218
So.3d at 26 & 35. During trial, the district court found
that the defense's Batson objection constituted
a prima facie case of discrimination, but the district court
did not require the prosecution to provide race-neutral
justifications for peremptory strikes that the defense
asserted were Batson violations. Id. at 35.
Instead, the district court provided its own race-neutral
justifications. Id. The Louisiana Supreme Court held
that the error was sufficient to reverse Plaintiffs
conviction and remanded the case for a new trial.
Id. at 36. Plaintiff was required to post a $50, 000
bond while Stewart decided whether to refile the criminal
charges, which he ultimately decided not to do. Record
Document 1, ¶ 75. Plaintiff claims that Stewart was
responsible for imposing this bond. Id.
allegation that Stewart required this bond stands in contrast
to Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Article 314, which
lists the different types of courts that have the authority
to fix bail. District Attorneys do not have authority to fix
bail in Louisiana. La. Code Crim. Proc. art. 314. Stewart
might have requested that the state court set Plaintiffs bond
at $50, 000, but he could not have imposed the bond himself.
Furthermore, any request Stewart made regarding Plaintiffs
bond is covered by absolute immunity because it is part of
the initiation and presentation of a prosecution. Pinaud
v. Cty. of Suffolk, 52 F.3d 1139, 1149 (2d Cir. 1995)
("[W]e cannot disagree with the holding of other
circuits that actions in connection with a bail application
are best understood as components of the initiation and
presentation of a prosecution, and therefore are protected by
also argues that Stewart failed to supervise and train
prosecutors to determine whether a conviction is wrongful and
exoneration appropriate. Record Document 1, ¶ 8. As
stated above, district attorneys are absolutely immune from
claims that they failed to train deputy district attorneys in
areas that require legal knowledge and the exercise of
related discretion. Van de Kamp, 555 U.S. at 344.
Determining whether a conviction is wrongful and whether
exoneration is appropriate clearly requires legal knowledge
and Stewart is absolutely immune from these claims as well.
Therefore, Plaintiffs claims against Stewart in his
individual capacity are DISMISSED WITH
Municipality/Official Capacity Claims
complaint contains allegations against Cox and Stewart in
their official capacities as the former acting and current
District Attorneys of Caddo Parish. Record Document 1,
¶s 8 & 12. It also names as a defendant the Caddo
Parish District Attorney's Office. Id. at ¶
7. However, Louisiana law does not allow a district
attorney's office to be sued in its own name. Hudson
v. City of New Orleans, 174 F.3d 677, 680 (5th Cir.
1999). Instead, claims against a district attorney's
office must be brought against the current district attorney
in his official capacity. Id. Furthermore, Cox's
actions as the former District Attorney during Plaintiffs
prosecution and conviction are imputed to the Caddo Parish
District Attorney's Office via current District Attorney
Stewart for the purposes of analyzing Plaintiffs municipal
liability claims. Ford v. Caddo Parish, 15-0544,
2017 WL 6045465, at *2 (W.D. La. Dec. 6, 2017). Thus,
procedurally, all claims against the Caddo Parish District
Attorney's Office or against Cox in his official capacity
as the former District Attorney of Caddo Parish must be
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. The Court will
construe all such claims as claims against Stewart in his
official capacity as the current District Attorney for Caddo
Parish. The Court now turns to those claims. Plaintiffs
municipal liability claims can be generally grouped into two
categories: allegations of unconstitutional policies within
the District Attorney's Office and allegations that the
District Attorney's Office, Cox, and/or Stewart failed to
adequately train and supervise their employees.