Warmack v. Larpenter, et al
ORDER granting 21 Motion for Summary Judgment. The Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government is granted, as set forth in document. Signed by Judge Greg Gerard Guidry on 09/10/2020. (ko)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
DAVID E. WARMACK
JERRY LARPENTER, in his official
Capacity as the Sheriff of Terrebonne
Parish, and TERREBONNE PARISH
as the political entity that owns the
Terrebonne Parish Criminal Justice
Before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Terrebonne Parish
Consolidated Government (“TPCG”).1 David Warmack (“Plaintiff”) has filed an opposition.2 For
the following reasons, the Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.
On July 3, 2019, Plaintiff initiated this action against Jerry Larpenter, in his official
capacity as Sheriff of Terrebonne Parish (“Sheriff Larpenter”) and TPCG for alleged violations of
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12131 et seq. (“ADA”) and Section
504 of the rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794 (“RA”).3 On May 12, 2020, the Court
granted Sheriff Larpenter’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed Plaintiff’s claims against
Sheriff Larpenter with prejudice. On July 23, 2020, TPCG filed a motion for summary judgment
contending it is in the same position as Sheriff Larpenter and that summary judgment dismissing
Plaintiff’s claims against TPCG is, therefore, appropriate.
R. Doc. 21.
R. Doc. 24.
R. Doc. 1.
Plaintiff is a deaf individual who communicates primarily in American Sign Language
(“ASL”) and has limited proficiency in written English.4 On July 3, 2018, Plaintiff was arrested in
Terrebonne Parish after he was stopped for a traffic violation and was suspected of driving while
intoxicated and for a drug related offense. 5 Plaintiff was subsequently incarcerated at the
Terrebonne Parish Criminal Justice Complex (“TPCJC”) while awaiting his trial and sentencing.
After his trial and sentencing, Plaintiff remained at TPCJC as a Louisiana Department of
Corrections inmate until November 13, 2018. He was then transferred to the Louisiana State
Penitentiary at Angola where he served the remainder of his sentence and was released on March
Plaintiff alleges that during his incarceration at the TPCJC, “He sought medical
treatment….[on seven occasions]. No ASL interpreter or any effective auxiliary aids and services
were provided at any time during these medical encounters.”6 Plaintiff further alleges that TPCG
failed to provide ASL interpreters or any effective auxiliary aids and services to facilitate adequate
communication between Plaintiff and the staff. Although the TPCJC was equipped with regular
telephones for use by the general inmate population, Plaintiff alleges TPCJC refused to provide a
video phone for Plaintiff to use. Plaintiff alleges the TPCJC staff ignored Plaintiff’s requests
regarding his communication needs, that he received services that were objectively substandard,
and that he was subjected to discriminatory treatment because of his disability. Plaintiff contends
these actions caused him to endure loss of liberty, humiliation, fear, anxiety, isolation, guilt and
R. Doc. 1.
R. Doc. 1.
R. Doc. 1, p.4.
TPCG has moved for summary judgment contending that Plaintiff has no evidence to
support any of the factual allegations cited or that any of the alleged violations of the ADA and
RA are likely to recur because Plaintiff is no longer incarcerated at the TPCJC. Additionally,
TPCG claims Plaintiff has no evidence to support his claim for “compensatory” or “exemplary”
damages, or for attorney’s fees and costs, under either the ADA or the RA. Therefore, TPCG
contends it is entitled to judgment dismissing Plaintiff’s claims.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
Summary judgment is proper where “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.”7 When assessing
whether a dispute as to any material fact exists, the court considers “all of the evidence in the
record but refrains from making credibility determinations or weighing the evidence.” 8 All
reasonable inferences are drawn in favor of the nonmoving party, but “unsupported allegations or
affidavits setting forth ‘ultimate or conclusory facts and conclusions of law’ are insufficient to
either support or defeat a motion for summary judgment.”9 The party seeking summary judgment
bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.10 “Once the
movant does so, the burden shifts to the nonmovant to establish an issue of fact that warrants
To recover under either Section 504 of the RA or Title II of the ADA on a claim of
disability–based intentional discrimination by a public entity, a plaintiff must prove: (1) he is a
qualified individual with a disability; (2) he is being denied the benefits of a public entity’s
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a).
Delta & Pine Land Co. v. Nationwide Agribusiness Ins. Co., 530 F.3d 395, 398–99 (5th Cir. 2008).
Galindo v. Precision Am. Corp., 754 F.2d 1212, 1216 (5th Cir. 1985); Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069,
1075 (5th Cir. 1994).
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 2553, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265 (1986).
Smith v. Reg'l Transit Auth., 827 F.3d 412, 420 n.4 (5th Cir. 2016).
services, programs or activities, or otherwise suffers intentional discrimination by the entity; and
(3) the discrimination or denial of benefits was because of his disability.12 Plaintiff contends he
has established he is a deaf individual who communicates primarily though ASL.13 TPCG does
not dispute that Plaintiff is a deaf individual. Instead, TPCG contends that Plaintiff cannot establish
that he was denied the benefits of services, programs, or activities or otherwise discriminated
against while in the custody of the TPCJC or that he was subjected to intentional discrimination.
Plaintiff’s answers to Sheriff Larpenter’s interrogatories and the affidavits of Warden Bergeron
and Richard Neal with the exhibits attached thereto show that TPCG, through the medical
department, at all times relevant, provided a reasonable accommodation of Plaintiff’s disability.
Therefore, the Court finds that the competent summary judgment shows that Plaintiff will be
unable to prove that he was denied the benefits of services, programs, or activities or was otherwise
discriminated against while in the custody of the TPCJC.
The affidavit of Warden Bergeron establishes the chronology of how and when a video
relay service was added to the existing means of written communication at the TPCJC to
accommodate Plaintiff. Although the installation of the video relay service system was not
accomplished until November 13, 2018, the date Plaintiff was transferred from the TPCJC to the
Elayne Hunt Correctional facility, Defendants still attempted to provide Plaintiff with
accommodations. Additionally, Plaintiff was able to communicate with the TPCJC staff without
the need for an ASL-qualified interpreter during his entire incarceration. The undisputed facts
show that Plaintiff will not be able to establish that he was denied the benefits of a public entity’s
services, programs or activities, or otherwise suffered intentional discrimination by the TPCG.
Doe v. ColumbiaBrazoria Indep. Sch. Dist. by & through Bd. of Trs., 855 F.3d 681,690 (5th Cir. 2017).
R. Doc. 24, p.4.
Additionally, TPCG contends that the evidence does not support any factual link between
Plaintiff’s alleged injuries and any action or inaction by TPCG and the TPCJC medical staff that
qualifies as deliberate indifference or intentional discrimination. Because the summary judgment
evidence shows that Plaintiff was at all times able to effectively communicate with the medical
staff during his incarceration, the Court finds that Plaintiff will not be able to establish that
Plaintiff’s injuries were caused by TPCG.
Finally, TPCG claims Plaintiff has no standing to seek injunctive relief because there is no
evidence of a real or immediate threat that the alleged injury will be repeated. Plaintiff concedes
that under applicable law he no longer has standing to seek injunctive relief, as he is no longer
incarcerated at TPCJC.14 Because Plaintiff is no longer incarcerated, the Court finds Plaintiff has
failed to establish that any alleged wrongful behavior is likely to recur against him.
Accordingly, for the foregoing reasons, IT IS ORDERED that the Motion for Summary
Judgment filed by Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government15 is GRANTED.
New Orleans, Louisiana, on this 10th day of September, 2020.
GREG GERARD GUIDRY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
R. Doc. 24, p.8.
R. Doc. 21.
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