United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
ANTHONY T. BROWN, ET AL
CITY OF ALEXANDRIA, ET AL
MAURICE HICKS, JR., CHIEF JUDGE
the Court are two Motions for Summary Judgment (Record
Documents 17 & 39) filed by defendant Southern Theatres,
LLC (“Defendant”). Plaintiffs Anthony Brown
(“Mr. Brown”) and Bianca Brown (“Ms.
Brown”) (collectively “Plaintiffs”) oppose
the motions. See Record Documents 22 & 45. For
the reasons set forth in the instant Memorandum Ruling,
Defendant's Motions for Summary Judgment (Record
Documents 17 & 39) are hereby GRANTED.
operates the Grand Theatre in Alexandria, Louisiana
(“the Theatre”). At all times relevant to this
case, Michael Stevenson (“Stevenson”) was
employed by the Theatre as an usher and was tasked with
keeping the building clean. See Record Document 1-5
at 3; see also Record Document 18-3 at 1. Plaintiffs
attended movies at the Theatre on multiple occasions prior to
May 21, 2016. Plaintiffs both stated in their individual
depositions that Stevenson would speak to Ms. Brown each time
they would go to the Theatre. See Record Document
18-1 at 36. According to Plaintiffs, this was because Ms.
Brown and Stevenson had a pre-existing personal connection.
Specifically, they went to church together in the past.
See Record Documents 18-1 at 39 & 18-2 at 30. In
his deposition, Mr. Brown stated that during Plaintiffs'
interactions with Stevenson at the Theatre, Stevenson would
only address Ms. Brown and would not acknowledge Mr. Brown.
See Record Document 18-1 at 42.
21, 2016, Plaintiffs attended a movie at the Theatre.
See Record Document 1-5 at 3. Upon entering the
Theatre, Stevenson approached Plaintiffs and began speaking
to Ms. Brown. Mr. Brown went to the concession stand.
See Record Document 18-1 at 52. After Stevenson and
Ms. Brown finished their conversation, Ms. Brown went to the
restroom. See id. At this time, Mr. Brown approached
Stevenson and engaged him in conversation. See id.
at 42 According to Mr. Brown's deposition, the purpose of
this conversation was to let Stevenson know that Mr. and Ms.
Brown had been married for 18 years, and to ask Stevenson to
acknowledge Mr. Brown's presence whenever he spoke to Ms.
Brown in the future. See id. According to Mr. Brown,
the two of them shook hands at the end of the conversation.
See id. at 43. Plaintiffs then went to their movie.
the movie ended, Plaintiffs began moving towards the
Theatre's exit, but were “accosted” by
Stevenson, who was standing in the doorway. Record Document
1-5 at 3. Stevenson “attempted to commence a
conversation with Ms. Brown.” Id. He told her
that before the movie, Mr. Brown had accused them of having
an affair. See Record Documents 18-1 at 58 &
18-2 at 65. Plaintiffs turned to walk away. See
Record Document 1-5 at 3. Stevenson then “jumped in
front of them” and became hostile. Record Document 1-5
at 3. He stated, “I'm a grown ass man and I'll
talk to whoever [sic] the hell I want to talk to.”
Id.; see also Record Document 18-1 at 60.
Stevenson then pushed Mr. Brown and “commenced
attacking him, causing a fight to break out between
them.” Id. Ms.
then yelled for help from the police officer who was working
security at the Theatre. See Record Document 18-1 at
64. The police officer intervened to break up the fight.
See id. Plaintiffs allege that the police officer
engaged in excessive force and caused significant injuries to
both of them during the course of his intervention.
See Record Document 1-5 at 3 & 4.
allege that Stevenson was hired by Defendant despite having a
“demonstrable propensity for excessive force, violence,
negligence, and other misconduct.” Record Document 1-5
at 3. Plaintiffs have also submitted evidence on summary
judgment showing that Stevenson had a criminal history at the
time of his hiring, which includes a prior conviction for
sexual battery. See Record Document 22-4.
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is proper pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure when “there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law.” Quality Infusion Care, Inc. v.
Health Care Serv. Corp., 628 F.3d 725, 728 (5th Cir.
2010). “A genuine [dispute] of material fact exists
when the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return
a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. at
728. During this stage, courts must look to the substantive
law underlying the lawsuit in order to identify “which
facts are material.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510 (1986)
56[(a)] mandates the entry of summary judgment, after
adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party
who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to that party's case,
and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at
trial.” Patrick v. Ridge, 394 F.3d 311, 315
(5th Cir. 2004). If the movant demonstrates the absence of a
genuine dispute of material fact, “the nonmovant must
go beyond the pleadings and designate specific facts showing
that there is a genuine [dispute] for trial.” Gen.
Universal Sys., Inc. v. Lee, 379 F.3d 131, 141 (5th Cir.
2004). A nonmovant cannot meet the burden of proving that a
genuine dispute of material fact exists by providing only
“some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, by
conclusory allegations, by unsubstantiated assertions, or by
only a scintilla of evidence.” Little v. Liquid Air
Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994). Where
critical evidence is so weak or tenuous on an essential fact
that it could not support a judgment in favor of the
nonmovant, then summary judgment should be granted. See
Boudreaux v. Swift Transp. Co., 402 F.3d 536, 540 (5th
reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the court is to view
“the facts and inferences to be drawn therefrom in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party.”
Tubos de Acero de Mexico, S.A. v. Am. Int'l Inv.
Corp., Inc., 292 F.3d 471, 478 (5th Cir. 2002); see
also Harris v. Serpas, 745 F.3d 767, 771 (5th Cir.
2014). The court should not, however, in the absence of any