United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division
PATRICK J. HANNA JUDGE.
A. DOUGHTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No.
59] filed by Allstate Insurance Company
(“Allstate”). Allstate moves the Court for a
declaration that it does not provide insurance coverage for
the claims asserted by Plaintiff Ke'von Loston
(“Loston”) against Defendant Richelle Bowman
(“Bowman”) and that it does not have a duty or a
contractual obligation to provide legal representation or a
defense to the claims asserted by Loston.
September 25, 2018, Loston filed a response [Doc. No. 78]
indicating that he did not oppose the Motion for Summary
Judgment. Bowman filed a Memorandum in Opposition to the
Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 98].
following reasons, Allstate's Motion for Summary Judgment
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
about July 2, 2015, Loston was arrested by the St. Mary
Parish's Sheriff's Office for the crime of larceny or
theft of an ATV. However, the charges were later dismissed.
stolen ATV 4-wheeler belonged to Bowman's son. Loston
alleges that, subsequent to his arrest, Bowman posted a
photograph of him on Facebook and stated that he was the
“thug” who stole her son's ATV.
15, 2016, Loston brought suit in the United States District
Court, Western District of Louisiana, Lafayette Division,
asserting claims against the St. Mary Parish Sheriff's
Office, Sheriff Mark A. Hebert, Sheriff Deputy Sennet
Wiggins, Sheriff Deputy Beau Martin (collectively “the
Sheriff's Office Defendants”), and Bowman. Loston
alleges that the Sheriff's Office Defendants, operating
under the color of law, wrongfully abused the judicial
process to have him arrested and subsequently jailed for
felony theft of an ATV. Loston further alleges that Bowman
publicly defamed him by “circulating false allegations
on social media resulting in thousands of views by persons in
the community and beyond.” [Doc. No. 1, ¶ 7].
further alleges that, “[a]s a direct result of
Defendants' misconduct, which resulted in Plaintiff's
wrongful arrest, and detention, Plaintiff sustained
substantial damages, including, but not necessarily limited
to, mental and psychological anguish, and lost wages during
and after the period of detention.” Id. at
explains that he brought suit against the Sheriff's
Office Defendants and Bowman “to redress the
deprivation under color of law of Plaintiff's rights as
secured by the United States and Louisiana Constitutions and
the defamation, with resulting damages, including, but not
limited to mental and psychological anguish.”
Id. at ¶ 9.
in paragraph 36 of the Complaint, Loston makes clear that he
brought suit against Bowman for only the following:
A. In making false and defamatory statements;
B. In making false and defamatory statements and publishing
same on social media that she knew or should have known would
reach a wide variety of the public;
C. In causing embarrassment and injuries to Plaintiff in
damaging his reputation; and
D. All other acts of negligence, etc. that will be shown at
the trial of this matter.
[Doc. No. 1, ¶ 36].
issued a standard homeowner's policy to Bowman, bearing
policy number 921098588, with a coverage period of August 19,
2014, to August 19, 2015.
to the filing of Loston's Complaint, Bowman tendered the
claims asserted to Allstate for defense and indemnity.
December 21, 2018, Judge John W. deGravelles granted summary
judgment in favor of the Sheriff's Office Defendants and
dismissed all claims against them. He further denied
Bowman's Motion for Summary Judgment, finding that there
was a genuine issue of material fact whether she committed
the tort of defamation of Louisiana law. He took the instant
motion under advisement.
April 2, 2019, the matter was reassigned to the undersigned.
The instant motion is ripe for review.
Standard of Review
judgment “shall [be] grant[ed] . . . 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). A fact is
“‘material' if proof of its existence or
nonexistence would affect the outcome of the lawsuit under
applicable law in the case.” Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute about a
material fact is ...