McGuire v. Larpenter et al
ORDER granting 17 Motion for Summary Judgment; granting 19 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt on 4/30/2014. (mmm)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
ROBERT MCGUIRE, JR.
JERRY LARPENTER, ET AL
SECTION “N” (4)
Before the Court are the following motions: (1) Motion for Summary Judgment filed by
defendants Jerry Larpenter, Sheriff of Terrebonne Parish, Major Darryl Stewart, Deputy Michael
Garner, Deputy Charles Jackson, and Deputy Eric Villavaso (Rec. Doc. 17); and (2) Motion for
Summary Judgment filed by defendant Juan Pickett, Assistant District Attorney for the
Terrebonne Parish (Rec. Doc. 19). Plaintiffs' opposition memorandum is at Rec. Doc. 20.
Plaintiff brings this section 1983 action against an assistant district attorney of
Terrebonne Parish and six Terrebonne Parish law enforcement officers, alleging that his
constitutional rights were violated when he was unlawfully arrested on November 4, 2011,
pursuant to a Terrebonne Parish warrant, and detained in a Terrebonne Parish jail until October
3, 2012, on which date the conspiracy and drug racketeering charged against him were nolle
prossed, and he was released from detention. Rec. Doc. 1.
The plaintiff tendered his complaint for filing on October 7, 2013. Defendants now seek
to dismiss the claims on grounds that they are prescribed.
II. LAW AND ANALYSIS:
The Standard for Summary Judgment under Rule 56:
“The Court shall 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.” Fed.
R. Civ. P. 56(a). “When a party seeks summary judgment pursuant to an affirmative defense,
such as a statute of limitation, the movant must establish all of the elements of the defense.”
Citigroup Inc. v. Federal Ins. Co., 649 F.3d 367, 371 (5th Cir. 2011). “If the movant does so, the
burden shifts to the nonmovant to provide specific facts showing the existence of a genuine issue
for trial.” Id. “[T]here is no issue for trial unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the
nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict for that party.” Amazing Spaces, Inc. v. Metro
Mini Storage, 608 F.3d 225, 234 (5th Cir. 2010) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 249 (1986)). Although the Court must draw in favor of the nonmoving party all
reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the evidence submitted, “a party cannot defeat
summary judgment with conclusory allegations, unsubstantiated assertions, or ‘only a scintilla of
evidence.’ ” Turner v. Baylor Richardson Medical Center, 476 F.3d 337, 343 (5th Cir. 2007)
(quoting Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir.1994)); Bellard v. Gautreaux,
675 F.3d 454, 460 (5th Cir. 2012).
Prescription of Claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983:
“In § 1983 claims, the applicable statute of limitations is that which the state would apply
in an analogous action in its courts.” Bourdais v. New Orleans City, 485 F.3d 294, 297 (5th Cir.
2007). In Louisiana, the applicable liberative prescriptive period is one year. Id.; see La. Civ.
Code art. 3492. However, “[t]he accrual date of a § 1983 cause of action is a question of federal
law that is not resolved by reference to state law.” Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 388 (2007)
(emphasis in original). “Under federal law, the statute of limitations under § 1983 begins to run
the moment the plaintiff becomes aware that he has suffered an injury or has sufficient
information to know that he has been injured.” Edmonds v. Oktibbeha County, Miss., 675 F.3d
911, 916 (5th Cir. 2012) (internal quotations omitted).
The injury alleged is unlawful arrest and incarceration. Rec. Doc. 1 at 9 of 16. Plaintiff
alleges that he was arrested on November 4, 2011, and incarcerated in Terrebonne Parish on
November 9, 2011. Id. at 7 of 16; see also Rec. Doc. 17-3 at 1 of 10; cf. Rec. Doc. 17-3 at 1 of
10 (affidavit of warden attesting that the plaintiff was incarcerated at the Terrebonne facility on
November 8, 2011). Thus, the injuries at issue were sustained nearly two years before suit was
filed, well outside the one-year limitation. Indeed, the suit would be untimely even if
prescription has not commenced to run until the termination of the alleged wrongful
imprisonment. It is clear from the complaint and the undisputed evidence, that the plaintiff was
released from detention on October 3, 2012. See Rec. Docs. 1 at 8 of 16, 17-3 at 1 of 10 and 6 of
10. The record shows that the charges against him were nolle prossed on that same date. See
Rec. Docs. 17-3 at 8 of 10, 20-3 at 94 of 105. Thus, even using the release date, the complaint
tendered for filing on October 7, 2013, was untimely.
Plaintiff alleges that on October 5, 2012, he visited the Terrebonne Parish Clerk of Court
to obtain documentation to explain the sudden dismissal of the charges against him. If
prescription commenced to run on this date, the suit perhaps would be timely, for October 5,
2013, fell on a Saturday. However, prescription begins to run “the moment the plaintiff
becomes aware that he has suffered an injury or has sufficient information to know that he has
been injured.” Edmonds, 675 F.3d at 916. Here, it is clear from the complaint that the plaintiff
was advised upon his arrest of the charges against him and that he immediately began asserting
that he was innocent as to the charges. See Rec. Doc. 1 at 7 of 16 (“After I had been questioned
by the officers..., I was then advised that a warrant was issued for my arrest for “Drug
Racketeering and Conspiracy to commit Drug Racketeering ” in Terrebonne Parish..., in which,
at the time of the arrest, I began asserting "my innocence" to the charges I was being arrested
for.”) (emphasis in original). Therefore, based upon the record, construing it liberally in favor
of the pro se plaintiff, and drawing all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor, the Court
finds that no genuine dispute of material fact exists. Based upon this record, no reasonable factfinder could conclude that the plaintiff was not aware as of November 4, 2011, that he had
suffered an injury or that he did not have sufficient information as of that date to know that he
had been injured. As for the plaintiff's complaint that he was denied due process of law during
his pretrial detention and was denied a speedy trial, these alleged injuries occurred during his
detention and, thus, concluded at the latest, on October 3, 2012, when he was released from
detention and the charges dismissed. Thus, the complaint tendered for filing on October 7,
2012, was untimely as to these claims as well. Accordingly;
IT IS ORDERED that the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by defendants Jerry
Larpenter, Sheriff of Terrebonne Parish, Major Darryl Stewart, Deputy Michael Garner, Deputy
Charles Jackson, and Deputy Eric Villavaso (Rec. Doc. 17) and the Motion for Summary
Judgment filed by defendant Juan Pickett, Assistant District Attorney for the Terrebonne Parish
(Rec. Doc. 19) are hereby GRANTED, and the plaintiff's claims are DISMISSED WITH
New Orleans, Louisiana, this 30th day of April, 2014.
KURT D. ENGELHARDT
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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