United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
ELIZABETH ERNY FOOTE, JUDGE
before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by
Defendant Jerry Goodwin ("Defendant"). [Record
Document 58]. The motion is opposed. [Record Document 60].
For the reasons discussed below, the motion is
DENIED. Defendant may file a subsequent
motion for summary judgment in accordance with the deadlines
that will be set during the upcoming status conference.
matter arises from the custodial death by apparent suicide of
Terrance Goudeau ("Goudeau"), husband of Plaintiff
Nicole Newsome-Goudeau ("Plaintiff), while he was housed
at David Wade Correctional Center ("DWCC"). Earlier
in these proceedings Defendant, warden of DWCC, filed a
motion to dismiss that was granted in part and denied in
part. Record Document 41, p. 1. Plaintiffs claims against
Defendant in his official capacity and her claim that
Defendant was deliberately indifferent in light of actual
knowledge of Goudeau's condition were dismissed.
Id. Plaintiffs claim that Defendant created a
constitutionally insufficient suicide prevention policy and
her state law tort claims are still viable. Id. The
only remaining causes of action in this case are against
Defendant in his individual capacity. Id.
Court issued a new scheduling order in this case on February
26, 2019, after both parties requested a continuance of the
trial date and additional time to engage in discovery. Record
Documents 51 & 55. Approximately one month after the
entry of that scheduling order, on March 27, 2019, Defendant
filed the instant motion for summary judgment. Record
Document 58. In her opposition, Plaintiff states that she
propounded discovery to Defendant just one week earlier, on
March 21, 2019, and that Defendant did not answer that
discovery before filing the instant motion. Record Document
60, p. 11. Plaintiff argues that "in the interest of
substantial justice and fair play," the Court should
extend her deadline to respond to the motion for summary
judgment until after Defendant has answered her discovery
requests. Id. at 12. In response, Defendant asserts
that Plaintiff does not need the discovery she has requested
in order to respond to his motion. Record Document 61, p. 3.
While the instant motion for summary judgment was pending,
the parties filed another joint motion to continue trial.
Record Document 64. This motion was granted and a status
conference with the Magistrate Judge is currently scheduled
for October 11, 2019. Record Documents 65 & 68.
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.
"if the movant bears the burden of proof on an issue, .
. . he must establish beyond peradventure all of the
essential elements of the claim or defense to warrant
judgment in his favor." Fontenotv. Upjohn Co.,
780 F.2d 1190, 1194 (5th Cir. 1986).
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
Cir. 1994) (citing Celotex, 477 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., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986) (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.
ruling on Defendant's motion to dismiss, the Court held
that Defendant was not entitled to qualified immunity from
Plaintiffs claim that he created an insufficient suicide
prevention policy at DWCC. Record Document 41, pp. 7-8. The
Court stated that Defendant's conduct could only be
reasonable in light of established law if he had adopted a
suicide prevention policy at DWCC. Id. Because
motions to dismiss are filed before discovery begins, the
Court had no evidence to determine whether DWCC had a suicide
prevention policy in place. Therefore, Defendant could not be
entitled to qualified immunity at the motion to dismiss
stage. Defendant now argues that, because he has shown that a
suicide prevention policy existed at DWCC at the time of
Goudeau's death, he is entitled to qualified immunity
from Plaintiffs claim that he created an insufficient suicide
prevention policy. Record Document 58-1, p. 2.
has apparently interpreted the Court's ruling on
qualified immunity at the motion to dismiss stage to mean
that he is automatically entitled to qualified immunity if he
can show that a suicide prevention policy existed at DWCC at
the time of Goudeau's death. Record Document 58-1, p. 2.
However, simply because a suicide prevention policy is
necessary to show that Defendant's actions were
reasonable in light of clearly established law does not mean
that such a policy is sufficient to show that
reasonableness. At the summary judgment stage, Defendant is
tasked with showing that there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact of Plaintiff s claims. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
If Defendant satisfies this burden, Plaintiff must
demonstrate a genuine issue for trial by going "beyond
the pleadings" and "designating] ...