United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
H.L. PEREZ-MONTES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 33). Because
Defendants admit they punched and tripped Plaintiff while he
was handcuffed, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. 33) should be DENIED IN PART AND GRANTED IN PART.
Garrison (“Garrison”) filed a complaint pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law, alleging excessive
force and battery claims, as well as vicarious liability of
the warden (Docs. 1, 12). The named Defendants are Warden
James Deville (“Deville”) (warden of the Winn
Correctional Center (“WCC”) in Winnfield,
Louisiana), Major Chelette (“Chelette”) (a
corrections officer at WCC), Captain Bobby Toler
(“Toler”) (a corrections officer at WCC), and
Captain Curry (“Curry”) (a corrections officer at
WCC). Defendants are sued in their individual capacities only
contends that, while he was incarcerated in WCC in August
2016, Toler and Chelette handcuffed him and escorted him to
the Cypress Unit-a segregated housing unit
(“SHU”)-for a rule infraction. Garrison claims
Toler caused him to fall face-first onto the concrete floor
while his hands were cuffed behind him, then lifted him to
his feet so Chelette could punch him in the face. At the
Cypress Unit, Curry caused him to fall face-first again, then
lifted him and punched him twice. Garrison contends he was
then locked in a shower stall, still handcuffed, where Curry
and Chelette began punching him in the body and face. When
Garrison asked why they were beating him, Chelette told him
he was hallucinating. Garrison contends that, while he was
with Toler, Chelette, and Curry, he did not resist, provoke,
disobey, or misbehave in any manner. Garrison alleges
Defendants injured him.
contends: (1) Toler has been terminated in the past for use
of excessive force; (2) Warden Deville condones the use of
excessive force; and (3) Warden Deville has been put on
notice of Toler's, Chelette's, and Curry's use of
excessive force through grievances, incident reports, unusual
occurrence reports, medical records, and narratives. Garrison
further contends Warden Deville was deliberately indifferent
to Garrison's safety and is vicariously liable for the
acts of his subordinates. Garrison seeks compensatory,
general, and punitive damages.
answered the complaint (Doc. 14) and filed a Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. 33). Garrison filed an opposition to
the motion (Doc. 41), to which Defendants replied (Doc. 42).
Law and Analysis
The standard for summary judgment.
Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a court must
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.” Paragraph
Rule 56 also provides the following:
If a party fails to properly support an assertion of fact or
fails to properly address another party's assertion of
fact as required by Rule 56(c), the court may:
(1) give an opportunity to properly support or address the
(2) consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the motion;
(3) grant summary judgment if the motion and supporting
materials--including the facts considered undisputed--show
that the movant is entitled to it; or
(4) issue any other appropriate order.
genuine dispute of material fact exists ‘if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.'” Hefren v.
McDermott, Inc., 820 F.3d 767, 771 (5th Cir. 2016)
(quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 248 (1986)). In deciding a motion for summary judgment,
a court must construe all facts and draw all inferences in
the light most favorable to the non-movant. See Dillon v.
Rogers, 596 F.3d 260, 266 (5th Cir. 2010). However, a
mere scintilla of evidence is insufficient to defeat a motion
for summary judgment. See Stewart v. Murphy, 174
F.3d 530, 533 (5th Cir. 1999).
There are genuine issues of material fact that preclude a
summary judgment in favor of Toler, Chelette, and
contend the alleged use of excessive force resulted in only
de minimis injuries to Garrison. Therefore,
Garrison has not shown Defendants used excessive force.
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment should be
denied as to Garrison's § 1983 claims against Toler,
Chelette, and Curry.
deposition, Garrison testified that, on August 25, 2016,
while he was walking with his hands cuffed behind him, Toler
lifted Garrison's handcuffs up, causing Garrison to bend
over until his head was between his legs. (Doc. 33-3, p. 4).
In that position, Garrison depended on Toler to hold him up
while they walked. (Doc. 33-3, p. 4). Garrison testified he
walked bent over from the Ash unit to the main walk, down the
main walk, past the canteen, and past the control room. (Doc.
33-3, pp. 4-5). As they walked past the canteen, Garrison
tried to stand erect and Toler pushed up on his handcuffs and
let go, causing Garrison to fall to the ground and
“scar” his knee and face. (Doc. 33-3, pp. 5-6).
Garrison did not recall Toler giving him an order before he
pushed him to the ground. Doc. 33-3, p. 5). Toler then picked
Garrison up by the handcuffs.
testified that Chelette began walking with them somewhere
between the Ash unit and the main walk. (Doc. 33-3, p. 6).
Chelette was close by when Garrison fell to the ground. (Doc.
33-3, p. 6). When Garrison got up from the ground and tried
to stand up straight, Chelette hit him with a closed hand on
the left side of his face in the jaw area. (Doc. 33-3, p. 6).
Garrison testified he did not have any discoloration or
swelling in his jaw, but it was sore. (Doc 33-3, pp. 8-9).
they arrived at the Cypress unit, Toler pushed Garrison
toward Curry, and Curry grabbed Garrison's handcuffs and
escorted him into Cypress (Doc. 33-3, p. 7). Curry then
tripped Garrison and let go of the handcuffs, slamming
Garrison onto the ground face-first. (Doc. 33-3, p. 7).
Garrison testified there was no visible injury from Curry
tripping him. (Doc. 33-3, p. 7). Curry then picked Garrison
up and put him in a shower that was used as a holding cell.
(Doc. 33-3, p. 7). The officers left Garrison, still
handcuffed, standing in the shower for a little while. (Doc.
33-3, p. 8). When they returned, Curry unlocked the shower
door and Toler stepped in and hit Garrison with closed ...