United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
ANTHONY T. BROWN, ET AL
CITY OF ALEXANDRIA, ET AL
MAURICE HICKS, JR., CHIEF JUDGE
the Court are Defendants the City of Alexandria
(“City”) and Mayor Jacques Roy (“Mayor
Roy”) Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Record
Document 43) under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure seeking dismissal of Plaintiffs, Anthony and Bianca
Brown’s (“Browns” or
“Plaintiffs”), federal claims. The Browns oppose
summary judgment (Record Document 52). For the reasons stated
in the instant Memorandum Ruling, Defendants’ Motion
for Partial Summary Judgment is hereby
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
instant suit arises from an altercation at the movie theater
on the night of May 21, 2016 in Alexandria, Louisiana.
See Record Document 1-5 at 3. The altercation was
between Mr. Stevenson (“Stevenson”) and the
Browns. See id; see also Record Document
18-3 at 1. On May 21, 2016, Plaintiffs attended a movie.
See Record Document 1-5 at 3. Upon entering the
theater, Stevenson approached Plaintiffs and began speaking
to Ms. Brown. Mr. Brown went to the concession stand.
See Record Document 18-1 at 52. After Stevenson and
Ms. Brown finished their conversation, Ms. Brown went to the
restroom. See id. At this time, Mr. Brown approached
Stevenson and engaged him in conversation. See id.
at 42 According to Mr. Brown’s deposition, the purpose
of this conversation was to let Stevenson know that Mr. and
Ms. Brown had been married for 18 years, and to ask Stevenson
to acknowledge Mr. Brown’s presence whenever he spoke
to Ms. Brown in the future. See id. Plaintiffs then
went to their movie.
the movie ended, Plaintiffs began moving towards the
theater’s exit, but were “accosted” by
Stevenson, who was standing in the doorway. Record Document
1-5 at 3. Stevenson “attempted to commence a
conversation with Ms. Brown.” Id. Stevenson
told her that before the movie, Mr. Brown had accused them of
having an affair. See Record Documents 18-1 at 58
& 18-2 at 65. Plaintiffs turned to walk away.
See Record Document 1-5 at 3. Stevenson then
“jumped in front of them” and became hostile.
Id. Stevenson then pushed Mr. Brown and
“commenced attacking him, causing a fight to break out
between them.” Id. Ms. Brown then yelled for
help from the police officer, Officer Rennier
(“Rennier”) who was working security at the
theater. See id.; see also Record Document
18-1 at 64.
intervened to break up the fight. See Record
Document 43-3 at 10. Plaintiffs allege that Rennier engaged
in excessive force and caused significant injuries to both of
them during the course of his intervention. See
Record Document 1-5 at 3 & 4. More specifically,
Plaintiffs assert Rennier “arbitrarily slammed”
Mr. Brown to the ground and “sat on his back using
profanity.” Id. at 3. Further, Rennier
“struck Ms. Brown, ” and knocked her to the
floor. Id. at 4; see also Record Document
18-1 at 65. Both Mr. and Ms. Brown assert significant
injuries from this altercation. However, Mr. Brown alleges
“no medical services were provided by the Alexandria
Police Department, ” even after Mr. Brown indicated
multiple times he was hurt. Record Document 1-5 at 4.
allege federal and state constitutional claims pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1983 against Officer Rennier, the City of
Alexandria, Mayor Roy, the Alexandria City Council, and the
Alexandria Police Department. See id. at 4. The
Court dismissed all claims against the Alexandria City
Council and Alexandria Police Department as they are entities
incapable of being sued. See Record Document 13.
Plaintiffs also sued the theater for negligent hiring of
Stevenson, but all claims against the theater were also
dismissed. See Record Document 50.
City and Mayor Roy filed the instant Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment asserting Plaintiffs failed to provide any
evidence demonstrating a § 1983 violation. See
Record Document 43-1 at 13-20. Further, Mayor Roy asserts the
defense of qualified immunity. See id. at 17-18. The
Browns oppose the motion. See Record Document 52.
Defendants replied to Plaintiffs’ opposition.
See Record Document 55.
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is proper pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure when “there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law.” A genuine dispute of material fact
exists if the record, taken as a whole, could lead a rational
trier of fact to find for the non-moving party. See
Geoscan, Inc. of Texas v. Geotrace Techs., Inc., 226
F.3d 387, 390 (5th Cir. 2000).
56(c) mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate
time for discovery and upon motion, against a party
“who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish
the existence of an element essential to that party’s
case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof
[at trial].” Patrick v. Ridge, 394 F.3d 311,
315 (5th Cir. 2004) (quoting Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552
(1986)). If the movant demonstrates the absence of a genuine
dispute of material fact, “the nonmovant must go beyond
the pleadings and designate specific facts showing that there
is a genuine [dispute] for trial.” Gen. Universal
Sys., Inc. v. Lee, 379 F.3d 131, 141 (5th Cir. 2004).
reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the court must view
“all facts and inferences in the light most favorable
to the non-moving party.” Rogers v. Bromac Title
Servs., L.L.C.,755 F.3d 347, 350 (5th Cir. 2014). But
the non-moving party “cannot defeat summary judgment
with conclusory allegations, unsubstantiated assertions, or
only a ‘scintilla of evidence.” Hathaway v.
Bazanay, 507 F.3d 312, 319 (5th Cir. 2007) (internal
citations omitted). Where critical evidence is so weak or
tenuous on an essential fact that it could not support ...