Dotson et al v. Edmonson et al
ORDER AND REASONS granting 67 Motion for Partial Summary Judgment to Dismiss Claims of Olon Dotson. Signed by Judge Susie Morgan on 12/4/2017. (clc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
LYLE DOTSON, ET AL.,
COL. MICHAEL EDMONSON, ET AL.,
SECTION: “E” (1)
ORDER AND REASONS
Before the Court is Defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment.1
Defendants assert there are no disputes of material fact regarding the claims of Plaintiff
Olon Dotson, and they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law.2 Plaintiffs oppose the
motion.3 Defendants filed a reply.4 For the reasons that follow, the motion is GRANTED.
The allegations in the complaint are as follows. On October 7, 2015, Professor Olon
Dotson, his son Lyle, and several of Professor Dotson’s architecture students stopped in
New Orleans during an architecture tour through the South.5 When they reached New
Orleans, Professor Dotson dropped his students off in the French Quarter while he went
to check into their hotel.6 After a brief visit at Café du Monde, a popular café and tourist
attraction in the French Quarter, the group of students walked to Pat O’Brien’s, where
they intended to view the architecture of the interior courtyard.7 Because Lyle was
R. Doc. 67.
R. Doc. 67-1 at 2.
3 R. Doc. 84; R. Doc. 107. The Plaintiffs’ Statement of Contested Facts references R. Doc. 67-2. The correct
citation is to R. Doc. 78, as the Defendants filed an amended Statement of Uncontested Facts pursuant to
the Court’s November 14, 2017 Order. R. Doc. 69. The Amended Statement of Uncontested Facts supplied
additional citations to the record.
4 R. Doc. 93.
5 R. Doc. 1 at 5.
6 Id. at 5-6.
7 Id. at 6.
eighteen years old at the time, he was not allowed into Pat O’Brien’s. They made a plan
for Lyle to meet up with the students when the group exited through the other side of the
bar.8 Lyle got lost while making his way there.9 He ultimately ended up near the
intersection of Bourbon Street and Toulouse Streets.10 When the group emerged from Pat
O’Brien’s and did not immediately find Lyle, they called his father, who then called Lyle.
According to deposition testimony provided by the Defendants in connection with
a separate motion for summary judgment on the claims of Lyle Dotson,11 around the same
time the tour group left Café du Monde, undercover Louisiana State Police officers
conducted a drug buy operation in the vicinity of St. Louis Cathedral in the French
Quarter.12 Defendant Rene Bodet, a Louisiana State Trooper, was a member of a “cover”
team, assigned to watch the undercover troopers posing as drug buyers.13 After the buy,
while walking through the streets of the French Quarter, the cover team reported a
potential “shadow”—a person following the undercover troopers to determine whether
they were police officers. The potential “shadow” would later be identified as Lyle
Dotson.14 Trooper Bodet then sought the assistance of several uniformed Louisiana State
Police troopers—Defendants Huey McCartney, Calvin Anderson, and Tagee Journee—to
stop Lyle in order to positively identify him and determine whether he was in fact
following the officers.15
11 R. Doc. 75. The deposition testimony provided by the Defendants includes facts not covered in the
statement of material facts associated with the present motion for summary judgment. Some facts may be
in dispute, but they are not material to this motion and are included only as background information.
13 R. Doc. 94-12, Deposition of Rene Bodet, at 126.
14 Id. at 135.
15 R. Doc. 84-9, Deposition of Huey McCartney at 123.
Plaintiffs allege Lyle Dotson was approached by Troopers McCartney, Journee,
and Anderson while Lyle was speaking to his father on his cell phone16 and was then
placed in handcuffs.17 Plaintiffs further allege Trooper McCartney took possession of
Lyle’s phone and disconnected the call with Lyle’s father.18 After a brief detention,
Plaintiffs allege the troopers then walked Lyle Dotson two blocks to the New Orleans
Police Department Eighth District Station.19
The parties do not dispute that when the troopers initially encountered Lyle,
Professor Dotson heard his son say “whoa” over the phone, and then the call was
disconnected.20 It is also undisputed that Professor Dotson attempted to call his son back,
but received no answer.21 The parties agree that Professor Dotson arrived at the station
after Lyle.22 Professor Dotson was not at the scene of Lyle’s arrest and did not see or speak
to his son until after Lyle arrived at the Eighth District police station.23
Plaintiffs filed suit in this Court on October 7, 2016.24 Lyle asserts causes of action
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of rights protected by the First, Fourth, Eighth,
Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.25 Lyle also asserts causes of
action under Louisiana state law.26 Professor Dotson raises two claims. First, he asserts a
tort claim for intentional inflection of emotional distress under Louisiana Civil Code
R. Doc. 1 at 6.
R. Doc. 1 at 9.
18 R. Doc. 1 at 7. See also R. Doc. 84-3, Deposition of Lyle Dotson at 31.
19 Id. at 10-11.
20 R. Doc. 78 at ¶ 4; R. Doc. 107 at ¶ 4.
21 R. Doc. 78 at ¶ 5; R. Doc. 107 at ¶ 6; R. Doc. 84-1 at ¶5-6. Plaintiffs do dispute there was only one call and,
instead, point to Professor Dotson’s deposition testimony that he called three times. This dispute is not
material to the Court’s decision.
22 R. Doc. 78 at ¶ 6; R. Doc. 84-1 at ¶ 8.
23 R. Doc. 78 at ¶ 6-7; R. Doc. 107 at ¶ 6; R. Doc. 84-1 at ¶ 8.
24 R. Doc. 1.
25 Id. at 2.
26 Id. at 27-28.
article 2315,27 arguing that by repeatedly declining to answer Lyle’s phone, Trooper
McCartney’s conduct “intentionally den[ied] a clearly worried ‘Dad’ access to information
about his son’s well-being.”28 Second, Professor Dotson asserts “bystander negligence”
claims under Louisiana Civil Code article 2315.629 in relation to two distinct events.30 He
claims that he suffered emotional distress when he “aurally” witnessed the encounter
between the troopers and his son and “believed his son had been injured or abducted for
over an hour.”31 He also claims that he suffered emotional distress when he visually
observed his son “chained to a bench” at the police station.32
Defendants now move for summary judgment that, based on the undisputed
material facts, they are entitled to judgment on Professor Dotson’s claims under articles
2315 and 2315.6.33
Summary judgment is appropriate only “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.”34 “An issue is material if its resolution could affect the outcome of the action.”35
When assessing whether a material factual dispute exists, the Court considers “all of the
evidence in the record but refrains from making credibility determinations or weighing
the evidence.”36 All reasonable inferences are drawn in favor of the nonmoving party.37
LA. CIV. CODE ANN. art. 2315 (1999).
R. Doc. 84 at 11.
29 LA. CIV. CODE ANN. art. 2315.6 (1991).
30 Id. at 27-28.
31 R. Doc. 1 at 27.
32 R. Doc. 84-2, Deposition of Olon Dotson at 31-32.
33 R. Doc. 67.
34 FED. R. CIV. P. 56; see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322–23 (1986).
35 DIRECTV Inc. v. Robson, 420 F.3d 532, 536 (5th Cir. 2005).
36 Delta & Pine Land Co. v. Nationwide Agribusiness Ins. Co., 530 F.3d 395, 398 (5th Cir. 2008); see also
Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150–51 (2000).
37 Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994).
There is no genuine issue of material fact if, even viewing the evidence in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party, no reasonable trier of fact could find for the nonmoving
party, thus entitling the moving party to judgment as a matter of law.38
If the dispositive issue is one on which the moving party will bear the burden of
persuasion at trial, the moving party “must come forward with evidence which would
‘entitle it to a directed verdict if the evidence went uncontroverted at trial.’”39 If the
moving party fails to carry this burden, the motion must be denied. If the moving party
successfully carries this burden, the burden of production then shifts to the nonmoving
party to direct the Court’s attention to something in the pleadings or other evidence in the
record setting forth specific facts sufficient to establish that a genuine issue of material
fact does indeed exist.40
If the dispositive issue is one on which the nonmoving party will bear the burden
of persuasion at trial, the moving party may satisfy its burden of production by either (1)
submitting affirmative evidence that negates an essential element of the nonmovant’s
claim, or (2) demonstrating there is no evidence in the record to establish an essential
element of the nonmovant’s claim.41 When proceeding under the first option, if the
nonmoving party cannot muster sufficient evidence to dispute the movant’s contention
Smith v. Amedisys, Inc., 298 F.3d 434, 440 (5th Cir. 2002).
Int’l Shortstop, Inc. v. Rally’s, Inc., 939 F.2d 1257, 1263–64 (5th Cir. 1991) (quoting Golden Rule Ins. Co.
v. Lease, 755 F. Supp. 948, 951 (D. Colo. 1991)).
40 Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322–24.
41 Id. at 331–32 (Brennan, J., dissenting); see also St. Amant v. Benoit, 806 F.2d 1294, 1297 (5th Cir. 1987)
(citing Justice Brennan’s statement of the summary judgment standard in Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322–24 (1986), and requiring the movants to submit affirmative evidence to negate an essential
element of the nonmovant’s claim or, alternatively, demonstrate the nonmovant’s evidence is insufficient
to establish an essential element); Fano v. O’Neill, 806 F.2d 1262, 1266 (citing Justice Brennan’s dissent in
Celotex, and requiring the movant to make an affirmative presentation to negate the nonmovant’s claims
on summary judgment); 10A CHARLES ALAN WRIGHT, ARTHUR R. MILLER & MARY KAY KANE, FEDERAL
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE §2727.1 (2016) (“Although the Court issued a five-to-four decision, the majority
and dissent both agreed as to how the summary-judgment burden of proof operates; they disagreed as to
how the standard was applied to the facts of the case.” (internal citations omitted)).
that there are no disputed facts, a trial would be useless, and the moving party is entitled
to summary judgment as a matter of law.42 When, however, the movant is proceeding
under the second option and is seeking summary judgment on the ground that the
nonmovant has no evidence to establish an essential element of the claim, the nonmoving
party may defeat a motion for summary judgment by “calling the Court’s attention to
supporting evidence already in the record that was overlooked or ignored by the moving
party.”43 Under either scenario, the burden then shifts back to the movant to demonstrate
the inadequacy of the evidence relied upon by the nonmovant.44 If the movant meets this
burden, “the burden of production shifts [back again] to the nonmoving party, who must
either (1) rehabilitate the evidence attacked in the moving party’s papers, (2) produce
additional evidence showing the existence of a genuine issue for trial as provided in Rule
56(e), or (3) submit an affidavit explaining why further discovery is necessary as provided
in Rule 56(f).”45 “Summary judgment should be granted if the nonmoving party fails to
respond in one or more of these ways, or if, after the nonmoving party responds, the court
determines that the moving party has met its ultimate burden of persuading the court that
there is no genuine issue of material fact for trial.”46
“[U]nsubstantiated assertions are not competent summary judgment evidence.
The party opposing summary judgment is required to identify specific evidence in the
record and to articulate the precise manner in which that evidence supports the claim.
First National Bank of Arizona v. Cities Service Co., 391 U.S. 253, 288–89 (1980);
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249–50 (1986).
43 Celotex, 477 U.S. at 332–33.
45 Celotex, 477 U.S. at 332–33, 333 n.3.
46 Id.; see also First National Bank of Arizona, 391 U.S at 289.
‘Rule 56 does not impose upon the district court a duty to sift through the record in search
of evidence to support a party’s opposition to summary judgment.’”47
Intentional Inflection of Emotional Distress
Professor Dotson asserts a state-law claim for intentional inflection of emotional
distress against Defendants McCartney, Anderson, Journee, and Bodet in their individual
capacities.48 The basis for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress under
Louisiana law is Louisiana Civil Code article 2315.49 To recover for intentional infliction
of emotional distress, a plaintiff must establish three elements: “‘(1) that the conduct of
the defendant was extreme and outrageous; (2) that the emotional distress suffered by
the plaintiff was severe; and (3) that the defendant desired to inflict severe emotional
distress or knew that severe emotional distress would be certain or substantially certain
to result from his conduct.’”50
Defendants present the following undisputed facts in support of their motion for
summary judgment. First, Professor Dotson heard his son say “whoa,” and then the call
was disconnected.51 Second, Professor Dotson attempted to call his son back, but received
no answer.52 Third, Professor Dotson was not at the scene of Lyle Dotson’s arrest, and did
not see or speak to his son until he visually witnessed Lyle on the bench in the Eighth
Ragas v. Tenn. Gas Pipeline Co., 136 F.3d 455, 458 (5th Cir. 1998) (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324;
Forsyth v. Barr, 19 F.3d 1527, 1537 (5th Cir. 1994) and quoting Skotak v. Tenneco Resins, Inc., 953 F.2d
909, 915–16 & n.7 (5th Cir. 1992)).
48 R. Doc. 1 at 27.
49 LA. CIV. CODE ANN. art. 2315 (1999). Nicholas v. Allstate Ins. Co., 765 So. 2d 1017, 1021 (La. 2000);
Hamilton v. Powell, No. 13-2702, 2014 WL 6871410, at *7 (W.D. La. Dec. 2, 2014).
50 Rice v. ReliaStar Life Ins. Co., 770 F.3d 1122, 1137 (5th Cir. 2014) (quoting White v. Monsanto Co., 585
So. 2d 1205, 1209 (La. 1991)).
51 R. Doc. 78 at ¶ 4; R. Doc. 107 at ¶ 4.
52 R. Doc. 78 at ¶ 5; R. Doc. 107 at ¶ 6; R. Doc. 84-1 at ¶5-6.
District Police Station.53 Defendants assert these facts establish they are entitled to
judgment as matter of law on Plaintiff’s article 2315 claim because, even making all
reasonable inferences in favor of Professor Dotson, the troopers’ conduct was not extreme
Plaintiffs have the burden of proof at trial that Defendants’ conduct was extreme
and outrageous. Defendants, as movants, argue there is no evidence in the record to
establish this essential element of Plaintiffs’ claim. The Plaintiffs may defeat summary
judgment by “calling the Court’s attention to supporting evidence already in the record
that was overlooked or ignored by the moving party.”55 In their response in opposition,
Plaintiffs submit the following facts. First, Professor Dotson called his son’s phone three
times with no answer after he heard Lyle says “whoa” and the call was disconnected.56
Second, Trooper McCartney had possession of Lyle’s phone for the majority of the stop
and detention.57 Third, Trooper McCartney had Lyle’s phone in a place that was visible
and allowed Defendant troopers to see if phone calls were made to Lyle’s phone and who
was calling.58 Fourth, Professor Dotson’s phone calls to his son’s phone were observed by
Trooper McCartney.59 Fifth, Professor Dotson’s phone calls to his son’s phone never
received a verbal answer by Trooper McCartney.60 Sixth, Professor Dotson’s phone calls
to his son’s phone were answered and then immediately disconnected by Trooper
R. Doc. 78 at ¶ 6-7; R. Doc. 107 at ¶ 6; R. Doc. 84-1 at ¶ 8.
White, 585 So. 2d at 1209 (discussing the outrageous quality of conduct necessary to create liability under
55 Celotex, 477 U.S. at 332–33.
56 R. Doc. 84-1 at ¶ 1; R. Doc. 107 at ¶ 5.
57 R. Doc. 84-1 at ¶ 2.
58 Id. at ¶ 3.
59 Id. at ¶ 4.
60 Id. at ¶ 5.
61 Id. at ¶ 6.
Based on this evidence, Plaintiffs have failed to create a genuine dispute of material
fact with respect to whether Defendants McCartney, Anderson, Journee, and Bodet
engaged in extreme or outrageous conduct. Louisiana law sets a very high bar for
establishing a claim under article 2315.62 The defendant’s conduct must be atrocious,
outrageous, or utterly intolerable.63 Indeed, the alleged conduct “must be so outrageous
in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency,
and to be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.”64 The
defendant’s actions must be intended or calculated to cause severe emotional distress;
“some lesser degree of fright, humiliation, embarrassment, worry, or the like” is
insufficient.65 As the Fifth Circuit has explained, “Louisiana courts, like courts in other
states, have set a very high threshold on conduct sufficient to sustain an emotional
distress claim, and the Louisiana Supreme Court has noted that courts require truly
outrageous conduct before allowing a claim even to be presented to a jury.”66
Plaintiffs argue that by purposely disconnecting the call each time Professor
Dotson called during Lyle’s detention, Trooper McCartney “intentionally den[ied] a
clearly worried ‘Dad’ access to information about his son’s well-being.”67 The Court finds,
however, that Trooper McCartney’s conduct regarding Professor Dotson’s calls does not
rise to the level of “truly outrageous conduct.” Indeed, it seems eminently reasonable that
a police officer conducting an investigatory stop would decline to answer a suspect’s
phone, even if he knew that the suspect’s parents were calling. Conduct within the bounds
White, 585 So. 2d at 1209 (defining requirements for liability under LA. CIV. CODE ANN. art. 2315).
Obee v. Xerox Corp., No. 99-470, 1999 WL 717637, at *2 (E.D. La. Sept. 14, 1999).
64 White, 585 So. 2d at 1209.
65 White, 585 So. 2d at 1210.
66 Morris v. Dillard Dep’t Stores, Inc., 277 F.3d 743, 756–57 (5th Cir. 2001).
67 R. Doc. 84 at 11.
of reasonableness cannot, as a matter of law, constitute “extreme and outrageous”
behavior sufficient for an article 2315 claim.68 Accordingly, Plaintiffs have not created a
disputed issue of fact as to whether Defendants engaged in conduct that creates liability
under article 2315.
Because a plaintiff has to prove all three elements of a claim for intentional
infliction of emotional distress in order to recover under article 2315,69 the lack of a
material dispute as to whether Defendants’ conduct was severe and outrageous entitles
the Defendants to summary judgment on the claim.
Professor Dotson asserts two bystander negligence claims under Louisiana Civil
Code article 2315.6.70 First, he claims he suffered emotional distress when he “aurally”
witnessed the encounter between the troopers and his son and “believed his son had been
injured or abducted for over an hour.”71 Second, he claims he suffered distress when he
visually observed his son “chained to a bench” at the police station.72
Louisiana Civil Code article 2315.6 provides that persons “who view an event
causing injury to another person, or who come upon the scene of the event soon
thereafter, may recover damages for mental anguish or emotional distress that they suffer
as a result of the other person’s injury.”73 There are four basic requirements to recover
“bystander” damages, or damages for mental anguish or emotional distress suffered as a
result of another person's injury. These requirements are: (1) the claimant must have a
Thomas v. Town of Jonesville, 2013 WL 265235 *8 (W.D. La. 2013).
White, 585 So. 2d at 1209.
70 Id. at 27-28. LA. CIV. CODE ANN. art. 2315.6 (1991).
71 R. Doc. 1 at 27.
72 R. Doc. 84-2, Deposition of Olon Dotson at 31-32.
73 LA. CIV. CODE art. 2315.6.
specifically enumerated relationship with the injured person; (2) the claimant must have
viewed an event causing injury to the injured person or have come upon the scene of the
event soon thereafter; (3) the harm to the injured person must have been severe enough
that one could reasonably expect the observer to suffer serious mental distress; and (4)
the claimant must suffer emotional distress that is severe, debilitating, and foreseeable.74
Each of the four requirements is dispositive. 75
Claim One: “Aurally” Witnessing the Initial Encounter
Defendants present the following facts in support of their motion for summary
judgment. First, at the time of the initial encounter, Professor Dotson heard his son say
“whoa,” and then the call was disconnected.76 Second, Professor Dotson was not at the
scene of Lyle’s arrest and did not see or speak to his son until Professor Dotson arrived at
the Eighth District police station.77 Defendants argue that these facts entitle them to
judgment as a matter of law on Professor Dotson’s bystander negligence claim, because
he did not “view” the events which allegedly caused injuries to his son, and there is no
evidence in the record to establish this essential element.78 Plaintiffs do not dispute the
facts above, but instead argue there is a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether this
“contemporaneous sensory perception” of his son’s encounter with the troopers is
tantamount to “viewing,” entitling Professor Dotson to relief under article 2315.6.79
Analyzing Plaintiffs’ claim according to the requirements outlined above, the Court finds
Cooper v. Patra, 51,182 (La. App. 2 Cir. 2/15/17), 215 So. 3d 889, 892, writ denied, 2017-0476 (La.
5/12/17), 219 So. 3d 1104.
75 Kipps v. Caillier, 197 F.3d 765 (5th Cir. 1999) (discussing elements for liability under article 2315.6).
76 R. Doc. 78 at ¶ 4.
77 Id. at ¶ 5-7; R. Doc. 84-1 at ¶ 8.
78 R. Doc. 67-1 at 6.
79 R. Doc. 84 at 12. See LA. CIV. CODE ANN. art. 2315.6.
that Plaintiffs have not created a genuine issue of material fact sufficient to survive
Under article 2315.6, a claimant must “view an event causing injury to another
person, or come upon the scene of the event soon thereafter.”80 Here, the undisputed facts
show that Professor Dotson did not view an event. He alleges only that he heard the event.
The statute specifically requires that the claimant “view” the event, and Plaintiffs point to
no governing case law that suggests that hearing the event suffices under article 2315.6.81
Even if hearing an event were sufficient, however, the undisputed facts show that
Professor Dotson did not hear or see his son sustain an injury. When the call was
disconnected, he was not aware of any injury to his son. All he had heard was Lyle say
“whoa.” As the Supreme Court of Louisiana has stated, article 2315.6 “allow[s] recovery
of bystander damages to compensate for the immediate shock of witnessing a traumatic
event which caused the direct victim immediate harm that is severe and apparent, but
not to compensate for the anguish and distress that normally accompany an injury to a
loved one under all circumstances.”82
Accordingly, Plaintiffs fail to create a genuine dispute of material fact with respect
to whether Professor Dotson viewed an injury. Because each of the four elements
discussed above is required to prove liability under article 2315.6,83 Defendants are
entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiffs’ claim for bystander negligence related to the
LA. CIV. CODE ANN. art. 2315.6 (1991).
Plaintiffs cite Lejeune v. Rayne Branch Hospital, 556 So. 2d 559, 570 n.11 (La. 1990) for the proposition
that a claimant may assert a claim based on a “contemporaneous sensory perception of the accident,” but
Lejeune was decided before the enactment of article 2315.6, and so cannot govern the interpretation of the
82 Trahan v. McManus, 97-1224 (La. 3/2/99), 728 So. 2d 1273, 1279–80 (emphasis added).
83 Kipps v. Caillier, 197 F.3d 765 (5th Cir. 1999) (discussing elements for liability under article 2315.6).
Claim Two: Visually Observing Lyle at the Police Station
Plaintiffs also assert a claim for bystander negligence on the grounds that Professor
Dotson experienced emotional distress at the sight of Lyle in handcuffs at the police
station. In support of their motion for summary judgment, Defendants state, and
Plaintiffs do not dispute, that Professor Dotson first saw his son at the Eighth District
police station well after Lyle had already been arrested.84 Professor Dotson testified:
I walked into the front door of the place, and there was a lot of activity. I
remember the building was all white, and I remember it being bright in
there. And I looked to my slight left and I saw like a table that looked like—
not a table but an area that looked like where you [come to a desk], I guess.
And I walked—proceeded to it; and then I approached [and] I saw Lyle
sitting on a bench. . . . And he was staring at me in a way that I’ve never seen
before. . . Like you know, here’s my son chained to a bench.85
As noted above, the claimant must “view an event causing injury to another person,
or come upon the scene of the event soon thereafter” in order to recover under article
2315.6.86 Plaintiffs have failed to create a genuine issue of material fact with respect to
whether Professor Dotson viewed an injury-causing event. It is undisputed that Lyle did
not sustain any injuries at the police station. Rather, the Plaintiffs allege that Lyle was
injured when, after arrest, the Defendants tightened his handcuffs and walked him to the
police station.87 Even assuming that this injury was “severe enough that one could
reasonably expect the observer to suffer serious mental distress,”88 Professor Dotson did
not witness the injury occur.89 The Louisiana Supreme Court has made clear that the
R. Doc. 107 at ¶ 6-7.
R. Doc. 84-3, Deposition of Olon Dotson, at 27.
86 LA. CIV. CODE ANN. art. 2315.6 (1999).
87 See R. Doc. 90-1, ¶¶ 48-49.
88 Cooper v. Patra, 51,182 (La. App. 2 Cir. 2/15/17), 215 So. 3d 889, 892, writ denied, 2017-0476 (La.
5/12/17), 219 So. 3d 1104.
89 See Daigrepont v. Louisiana State Racing Com’n, 95-0539 (La. Ct. App. 4 Cir. 10/26/95), 663 So.2d 840
(denying recovery under article 2315.6 when a father arrives upon the scene of an accident, is informed of
the accident, rushes to the hospital where his son has been taken, and later views a video tape of the
plaintiff must “actually view the event” causing the injury, or “come upon the accident
scene soon after it has occurred and before any substantial change had taken place in the
victim’s condition.”90 Professor Dotson saw his son for the first time approximately 30
minutes after the alleged injuries had occurred, in a location blocks away from the scene
of the alleged injuries. Consequently, there is no genuine issue of material fact as to
whether Professor Dotson viewed the injury-causing event. Because each of the four
elements is required to prove liability under article 2315.6,91 Defendants are entitled to
summary judgment on Plaintiffs’ claim for bystander negligence related to the encounter
at the police station.
For the above reasons, the Defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment with
regard to Plaintiff Olon Dotson’s claims is hereby GRANTED.
New Orleans, Louisiana, this 4th day of December, 2017.
______ _____________ ________
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Veroline v. Priority One EMS, 2009-1040 (La. 10/9/09), 18 So.3d 1273, 1276.
Kipps v. Caillier, 197 F.3d 765 (5th Cir. 1999) (discussing elements for liability under LA. CIV. CODE ANN.
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