United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
DEBORAH MCCAULEY, ET AL.
CENTENARY COLLEGE OF LOUISIANA, ETAL.
HORNSBY MAGISTRATE JUDGE
ELIZABETH ERNY FOOTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment.
[Record Document 47]. For the reasons given below, the motion
Marcus McCauley ("Marcus") was shot and killed by
campus police officers on the grounds of Centenary College
("Centenary"). [Record Documents 1 at 3 and 47-2 at
2]. Marcus left behind three minor children, L.M., V.M., and
K.M., all of whom are in the sole custody of their mother,
Jennifer Spears ("Spears"). [Record Document 47-2
at 1-2]. Spears and Marcus were divorced at the time of his
death; the divorce decree prohibited Marcus from having any
contact or communication with Spears or the children.
McCauley ("McCauley"), Marcus's mother, filed
this action asserting a variety of federal and state law
claims against Centenary and its employees. [Record Document
30 at 12-19]. Before filing suit in this Court, McCauley
petitioned the First Judicial District Court in Caddo Parish
ex parte for provisional appointment as the children's
tutor. [Id. at 2]. After being served with
McCauley's complaint in this suit, Defendants appeared in
state court to challenge McCauley's appointment; in
support, they produced an affidavit from Spears objecting to
the provisional tutorship and to her children's
participation in this suit. [Record Documents 32-3 and 32-4
at 7-9]. Although the trial court rejected Defendants'
arguments, the Second Court of Appeal reversed course,
concluding that Spears was the children's natural tutor
and that her objection to McCauley's provisional
tutorship required that the appointment be vacated. [Record
Document 47-4 at 7-9]. The Louisiana Supreme Court denied
McCauley's application for a supervisory writ. [Record
procedural capacity in federal court is determined by state
law and because state court proceedings to determine
McCauley's right to sue on her grandchildren's behalf
were ongoing, this Court stayed the case to allow the
Louisiana courts to resolve the state-law question. [Record
Document 41]. After being notified that the state court
proceedings had concluded, this Court lifted the stay and
ordered Defendants to file a new motion for summary judgment.
[Record Document 44]. Defendants filed the instant motion,
and McCauley has objected. [Record Documents 47 and 51]. As
Defendants have filed a reply, this matter is ripe for
decision. [Record Document 54].
Summary Judgment Standard
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) directs a court to "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." Summary judgment is
appropriate when the pleadings, answers to interrogatories,
admissions, depositions, and affidavits on file indicate that
there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, Ml U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
When the burden at trial will rest on the non-moving party,
the moving party need not produce evidence to negate the
elements of the non-moving party's case; rather, it need
only point out the absence of supporting evidence. See
Id. at 322-23.
movant satisfies its initial burden of showing that there is
no genuine dispute of material fact, the nonmovant must
demonstrate that there is, in fact, a genuine issue for trial
by going "beyond the pleadings" and
"designating] specific facts" for support.
Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th
Or. 1994) (citing Celotex, Ml U.S. at 325).
"This burden is not satisfied with some metaphysical
doubt as to the material facts," by conclusory or
unsubstantiated allegations, or by a mere "scintilla of
evidence." Id. (internal quotation marks and
citations omitted). However, "[t]he evidence of the
non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences
are to be drawn in his favor." Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., Ml U.S. 242, 255 (1985) (citing Adickes
v. S H. Kress <& Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158-59
(1970)). While not weighing the evidence or evaluating the
credibility of witnesses, courts should grant summary
judgment where the critical evidence in support of the
nonmovant is so "weak or tenuous" that it could not
support a judgment in the nonmovant's favor.
Armstrong v. City of Dall, 997 F.2d 62, 67 (5th Cir.
Local Rule 56.1 requires the movant to file a statement of
material facts as to which it "contends there is no
genuine issue to be tried." The opposing party must then
set forth a "short and concise statement of the material
facts as to which there exists a genuine issue to be
tried." W.D. La. R. 56.2. All material facts set forth
in the movant's statement "will be deemed admitted,
for purposes of the motion, unless controverted as required
by this rule." Id.
opposition did not include a statement of material facts on
which genuine issues exist for trial. Therefore, all of
Defendants' assertions in their statement of material
facts, [Record Document 47-2], are deemed admitted,
see W.D. La. R. 56.2.