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Langley v. Wiseman

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division

September 16, 2019





         Before the court is a Motion to Dismiss or, alternatively, Motion for Summary Judgment, filed by defendants in this matter pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(c) and 56(a). Plaintiff Kayla D. Langley opposes the motions. Doc. 28.



         This suit arises from the arrest and detention of Kayla Danielle Langley on September 2, 2017, in Allen Parish, Louisiana. Doc. 1. Langley was arrested on a charge of simple battery pursuant to a warrant issued for an incident that occurred on April 14, 2017. See doc. 28, art. 4 (affidavit for arrest warrant). The warrant was issued based on the affidavit of Deputy Joshua Manuel, an employee of the Allen Parish Sheriffs Office. Id.

         According to the dispatch notes from the April 2017 incident, a woman named Tyra Ardoin had requested assistance at her residence, 3534 Highway 383 in LeBlanc, Louisiana, because of a conflict with her daughter, "Kayla Langley."[1] Doc. 28, art. 2, p. 1. The dispatch notes, however, also identified the subject as "kayla nicole fontenot. .. w-f dob 11-23-1972." Id. The information in the dispatch notes was provided by Lieutenant Scott Stalsby, the second officer on the scene, by radio to dispatch. Doc. 28, att. 1, pp. 19, 27-28, 39. It was overheard by Manuel while he was en route, but he admits that he did not pay attention and instead intended to rely on the print-out he would later receive from dispatch. Id. at 39, 46. In his incident report Manuel identified the subject as "Kayla Langley," and in his affidavit in support of the arrest warrant he identified her as "Kayla Danielle Langley," born on January 31, 1985.[2] Doc. 28, att. 2, p. 2; doc. 28, att. 4.

         Manuel later blamed the discrepancy on an error by dispatch, which was allegedly responsible for taking suspect information from Stalsby and using it to retrieve the suspect's name, date of birth, and social security number from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Doc. 28, att. 1, pp. 41-42. He admitted that he never looked at the dispatch notes or asked Ardoin or Joseph Fontenot to confirm the suspect's full name or other identifying information. Doc. 28, att. 1, pp. 38-45. Instead, Manuel's affidavit led to an arrest warrant for Kayla Danielle Langley, born on January 31, 1985, and residing at 3534 Highway 383 (Ardoin's address). See doc. 28, att. 9.

         Kayla D. Langley, the plaintiff in this matter, was arrested in the early hours of September 2, 2017, after Deputy Richard Wiseman responded to her call to have an ex-boyfriend removed from her home. Doc. 28, arts. 5 & 6; see doc. 1. Langley's birthdate, name, and social security number matched the information of the "Kayla Danielle Langley" identified in the arrest warrant, but the home address to which officers had been dispatched did not match the one provided in the warrant. See doc. 28, arts. 5 & 9.

         After he removed the unwanted individual, Wiseman was informed by dispatch that Langley had an active warrant for simple battery. Doc. 28, art. 6, p. 2; doc. 28, art. 11, p. 14. Wiseman arrested Langley around 1:00 am, after comparing the information she provided with the warrant. Doc. 28, art. 11, p. 14; doc. 28, att. 10, p. 1; see doc. 28, att. 7. Though Langley insisted that there was a mistake, she was transported to the Allen Parish Jail. Doc. 28, att. 10. Wiseman testified that he checked the affidavit against the incident report from April 2017 and discovered the discrepancies in the subject's name and birthdate. Doc. 28, att. 11, pp. 13-14. He informed his superior, Chief Deputy Blair Fontenot, who said that it "would have to be looked into." Id. at 21-26; see doc. 28, att. 12, pp. 11-12. Wiseman then instructed another officer, Bryan Hargrave, to "[b]ook her." Doc. 28, att. 10, p. 2. Langley was not released until 4:11 am, when Tyra Ardoin arrived at the station and verified that Langley was not the subject of the arrest warrant. Doc. 28, att. 7. Langley states that, despite her brief detention, her book-in pictures were disseminated to sources which posted them online. Doc. 28, att. 10, p. 2.

         As a result of the stress of the event and the publication of her arrest, Langley claims that she has suffered depression and other mental health conditions as well as shame and humiliation at her workplace. Doc. 1. She filed suit in this court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state tort law, naming as defendants Deputies Wiseman, Manuel, Fontenot, and Hargrove, in their individual and official capacities; and Allen Parish Sheriff Doug Hebert, in his official capacity. Id. She alleges that the defendants wrongfully arrested and detained her after a reckless investigation, due to inadequate training and disregard for established procedures. She also maintains that supervisory officers are liable for implementing constitutionally deficient policies and that defendants are generally liable for failure to intervene, negligence, and conspiracy to deprive her of her constitutional rights.

         The defendants now move for dismissal of the civil rights claims against Hebert and the § 1983 conspiracy claim, or in the alternative for summary judgment on those claims. Langley opposes the motion and provides evidence in support of her claims. Doc. 28. Accordingly, the court treats the motion as one for summary judgment.


         Standards Governing Motion ...

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