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Loston v. St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division

June 26, 2019

KE'VON TRAMAR LOSTON
v.
ST. MARY PARISH SHERIFF'S OFFICE, ET AL.

          PATRICK J. HANNA Judge.

          RULING

          TERRY A. DOUGHTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 113] filed by Defendant Lana Richelle Bowman (“Bowman”). Bowman moves for summary judgment on Plaintiff Ke'von Tramar Loston's (“Loston”) remaining defamation claim against her.

         On June 6, 2019, Loston filed a Motion to Strike Affidavit and Attachments and a Memorandum in Opposition to the Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 117].

         On June 14, 2019, Bowman filed an opposition to the Motion to Strike [Doc. No. 119].

         For the following reasons, Loston's Motion to Strike is DENIED, and Bowman's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.

         I.FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         In June 2015, Bowman's son, John Cody Bowman (“Cody Bowman”), advertised an ATV for sale on Craigslist. After having conversations with a person in St. Mary Parish interested in purchasing the vehicle, he took the ATV there for a viewing. Cody Bowman met a young black male there who took the ATV and never returned it.

         Cody Bowman later looked on Facebook and identified Loston as the person he believed had stolen his ATV.

         On June 25, 2015, Bowman posted pictures of her son's ATV on Facebook and made a statement about the theft, providing the information she had, and asking for others who had friends in the Jeanerette/New Iberia area to share her post.

         On or 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.

         Subsequent to Loston's arrest, Bowman posted a photograph of him on Facebook with the words above the picture, “This is thug that has Cody's.” Bowman does not recall making the post, and it is no longer on her Facebook account.

         On June 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].

         Loston further alleges that, “[a]s a direct result of Defendants' misconduct, which resulted in Plaintiff's wrongful arrest, and detention, Plaintiff ...


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