Edmond v. Lafayette Consolidated Government et al
MEMORANDUM RULING re 40 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by Jim Craft, Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government, Melvin Riddell. Signed by Chief Judge S Maurice Hicks, Jr on 1/9/2018. (crt,McDonnell, D)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
LIZA EDMOND, on Behalf of
M.B. and X.B.
CIVIL ACTION NO. 16-0045
JUDGE S. MAURICE HICKS, JR.
GOVERNMENT, ET AL.
MAGISTRATE JUDGE HANNA
Before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment (Record Document 40) filed
by Defendants, Officer Melvin Riddell (“Officer Riddell”), Chief of Police Jim Craft (“Chief
Craft”), and Lafayette Consolidated Government (“Lafayette”). Plaintiff Liza Edmond
(“Edmond”), on behalf of Xzavien Broussard and Malik Broussard, opposed the Motion for
Summary Judgment. See Record Document 44. For the reasons set forth below, the
Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED and all of Edmond’s claims are
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Edmond, on behalf of Xzavien Broussard and Malik Broussard, filed the instant
lawsuit pursuant to Title 42, United States Code, Section 1983 and Louisiana state law
regarding two separate incidents occurring in October 2015. The defense filed Rule 12
(b)(6) motions which were granted in part and denied in part. See Record Documents 13,
19, 23, 28, 29, and 30. At the conclusion of the Rule 12(b)(6) motion practice, Edmond’s
Section 1983 individual capacity claims against Chief Craft and Officer Riddell for
excessive force remained and her municipal liability claim against Lafayette remained. Her
state law claims of assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and
negligent infliction of emotional distress likewise remained.
Defendants have now filed a Rule 56 dispositive motion seeking the dismissal of all
of Edmond’s remaining claims. See Record Document 40. Officer Riddell and Chief Craft
have both invoked qualified immunity. See id. at 25-43. Defendants contend that
Edmond’s municipal liability claim against Lafayette fails because no constitutional rights
were violated and, alternatively, no policy of Lafayette was the moving force behind the
alleged constitutional violations. See id. at 43. Defendants seeks dismissal of Edmond’s
state law claims as a matter of law. See id. at 43-46.
The first incident occurred between Xzavien Broussard and Officer Riddell, the
School Resource Officer at Northside High School, during the week of October 5, 2015.
See Record Document 22 at ¶ 4.1 Xzavien Broussard was utilizing the restroom on the
campus of Northside High School. See id. In his deposition, Xzavien Broussard admitted
that he did not have the required “clipboard” pass to be excused from the classroom to go
to the restroom. Record Document 40-4 at 32-33. Xzavien Broussard heard someone
knock on the bathroom door and eventually learned it was Officer Riddell. See Record
Document 22 at ¶ 5. Edmond alleges that as Xzavien Broussard opened the door to the
restroom, Officer Riddell physically pulled Xzavien Broussard out of the restroom and
pushed him into the hallway. See id. at ¶ 6. More specifically, in his deposition, Xzavien
In his deposition, Xzavien Broussard could not recall the specific day or the month
of this incident. See Record Document 40-4 at 4. Officer Riddell does not recall the
incident with Xzavien Broussard. See Record Document 40-8 at 1. For purposes of the
instant Memorandum Ruling, the Court will assume that the incident took place as
described by Xzavien Broussard.
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Broussard stated that as Officer Riddell pushed him, his chest hit the door in the stall. See
Record Document 40-4 at 36. Xzavien Broussard stated in his deposition that he had one
bruise above his nipple on his chest as a result of this incident. See id. at 18. He did not
take any pictures of the bruise. See id. He did not report the bruising to anyone at school,
but stated that he told his mother. See id. Edmond alleges that Officer Riddell used
“unnecessary physical force” against Xzavien Broussard during this encounter. Record
Document 22 at ¶¶ 6-7.
The second incident occurred on or about October 14, 2015 and is unrelated to the
first incident. See Record Document 22 at ¶ 9. Portions of this incident were recorded on
Northside High School’s surveillance camera; yet, the quality of the video is questionable
as the video skips during certain times of the incident. See Record Document 40-24
(Manual Attachment of October 14, 2015 Surveillance Video). Xzavien Broussard had
been involved in a fight and was placed in the rear seat of Officer Riddell’s police unit on
the campus of Northside High School. See id. Malik Broussard, Xzavien Broussard’s
brother, left class without permission to locate his brother. See Record Document 40-14
at 3. Malik Broussard eventually saw Xzavien Broussard being placed in the police unit.
See id. at 4. Malik Broussard stated in his deposition that he started crying and got upset
when he saw Xzavien Broussard in the police unit. See id. As Officer Riddell was walking
toward him, Malik Broussard questioned why Xzavien Broussard was being arrested and
“threw [his] jacket” as he was coming towards the police car. Id. at 4, 8, 10. Malik
Broussard described his interaction with Officer Riddell as follows:
He was like, “What you doing? Go to class. Get back to class.” And
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I’m like, “I just want to know what’s going on with my little brother. I
want to find out what going on with my brother.” And like he just kept
telling me, “Just go to class. Go to class.”
After he asked me, I’m just standing there. Like I can’t go to class
until I find out what’s going on. I can’t go to class.
And so, what happened next?
That’s when he swung me by my arm. He grabbed me by the jacket2
like this (indicating). And he had pushed - - like pushed me on the car
with force. And he was asking me like, “Do you want to be like your
little brother? Do you want to go with your little brother?”
After he had put me to the car, that’s when he told me like, “Do you
want to be like your brother? Do you want to go with your brother?”
And I told him, “No, sir.” And it’s like that’s when he let me go. So
like he let me go. . . . [H]e went that way and like I went to sit down .
. . outside. I had just sat down. Like I just started crying.
Id. at 9, 18.
Malik Broussard admitted that he was “really upset,” “hollering,” using a loud voice,
and was visibly pulling his own hair during the encounter. Id. at 12-13. As to his distance
from the car when Officer Riddell laid a hand on him, Malik Broussard testified:
I would say a good bit of feet - - like a good bit of inches . . . - - like a good
couple of inches away from the car.
Id. at 13. Edmond alleges that Officer Riddell used “excessive force” against Malik
Broussard by recklessly and unnecessarily grabbing him and slamming him into the police
Malik Broussard later clarified that he should have said his shirt, as he had thrown
his jacket. See Record Document 40-14 at 10.
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unit. Record Document 22 at ¶¶ 17-21.3
In his arrest report narrative, Officer Riddell stated that he was interrupted from
securing the other student involved in the fight with Xzavien Broussard because Malik
Broussard was irate while walking toward the police unit. See Record Document 40-9 at
21. Officer Riddell stated that he told Malik Broussard at least three times to return to class
and he refused. See id. Officer Riddell further recalled that Malik Broussard had thrown
his jacket and that he “placed Malik on the rear of [his] patrol unit.” Id.
In an Internal
Affairs Recorded Statement, Officer Riddell described the encounter with Malik Broussard:
Okay, so uh it was in the morning two students got into a fight. I was able to
do an investigation and I began making arrest. So I handcuffed one subject.
He was compliant. I put him in the back seat of my unit. As I’m going to
finish the investigation and deal with the other subject I get stopped by Malik
Broussard and he becomes irate from the beginning of the incident. . . . I’m
like look go back to class. You can’t help your brother right now. . . . He
ignored me. He walked to the back of my police unit. He’s at this time he’s
pulling his hair and screaming. . . . I told him several times to back away
from my car, go to class. He didn’t listen. So at this time I got him to the
In her complaint, Edmond further alleges that Officer Riddell illegally and unlawfully
seized Malik Broussard. See Record Document 22 at ¶¶ 19, 27. There is no factual
allegation of the unlawful arrest of either Xzavien Broussard or Malik Broussard in the
Amended Complaint. See id.
On January 4, 2018, the parties filed their proposed Pretrial Order. See Record
Document 49. Under Claims and Responses, the proposed Pretrial Order provides:
Plaintiff, Liza Edmond, on behalf of Malik and Xzavien Broussard, claim that
Officer Melvin Riddell utilized excessive force against them by forcing Plaintiff
out of a bathroom and utilizing excessive enforce in accomplishing this task
and also by proceeding towards the Plaintiff and slamming the Plaintiff
against his vehicle causing injuries.
Record Document 49 at 2. Thus, this Court concludes that Edmond has abandoned the
unlawful seizure claim as to Malik Broussard. See Valley Ranch Dev. Co. v. F.D.I.C., 960
F.2d 550, 554 (5th Cir. 1992).
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back of my police unit, closer to the rear light and I tired to reason with him
cause I understand he was outta control and I don’t believe in just to arrest
everybody because they’re having a bad day. So I asked him I said well so
you wanna go to jail with him. He said no. At the time the school safety
officer, Paul Taylor, he’s standing in the front of my unit. I said Paul Taylor
can you assist me with him.
I was able to gain control with him by grabbing the back of his pants and
pushing the back of his torso to lean on the back of my hood.
Record Document 40-10 at 3-4, 5.
Officer Paul Taylor, the school safety officer at Northside High School, likewise
recalled Malik Broussard screaming, hollering, and crying and going “to the [police] car to
open the car door.” Record Document 40-18 at 8, 44. He testified that Officer Riddell
physically put his hands on Malik Broussard and applied him on the car and tried to get him
to settle down. See id. at 8. Officer Paul Taylor further stated in his deposition that he did
not believe Officer Riddell used excessive force and that Malik Broussard could have been
validly arrested for interfering with an arrest. See id. at 11. While the surveillance video
does skip, it does show that Malik Broussard approached the police unit and was ultimately
placed against Officer Riddell’s car for less than five seconds. See Record Document 4024.
As to injuries, Malik Broussard stated that he felt a “little like sharp little pain” in his
leg as he hit the car. Id. at 19. He stated that it was nothing serious, just a “little pinch,”
and “no pain right then and there.” Id. He had no bruising on his leg. See id. at 30. Malik
Broussard did go to the emergency room the day of the incident because his leg hurt. See
id. at 29, 33. He was treated and released. See id. at 29. Malik Broussard stated that he
did not tell the ER doctor about leg pain, but rather about back pain. See id. at 34-35. He
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stated he did not mention the leg pain because he thought it would go away. See id. He
stated that he did not see a counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist, or any other mental
health professional with regards to this incident. See id. at 37.
The medical records from Malik Broussard’s October 14, 2015 emergency room visit
indicate lumbar pain and extremity pain in the right leg. See Record Document 40-15 at
3-4. Malik Broussard was diagnosed with sciatica and prescribed oral steroids, an antiinflammatory, and a muscle relaxer. See id. at 8-10.
On October 27, 2015, Malik Broussard went to Moss Street KidMed, complaining
of lower back pain and right leg pain. See Record Document 40-16 at 2. He was
prescribed physical therapy and ibuprofen and instructed to limit his activities for fourteen
days. See id. at 2-4.
On November 16, 2015, Malik Broussard saw Dr. Keith Mack, complaining of right
leg pain since “his right lower extremity hit the police car.” Record Document 40-17 at 2.
A physical examination of the right lower extremity revealed pain in the thigh area (a
burning type sensation); no radiating type symptoms; no numbness or tingling; and no
bruising, heat, swelling, or discoloration or no bony abnormalities. See id. at 3. Malik
Broussard was discharged on April 25, 2016, at which time he reported to the doctor that
his right lower extremity had improved to the point where it no longer bothered him and has
not bothered him in the past several weeks. See id. at 10.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
Summary Judgment Standard.
Summary 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
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entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Quality Infusion Care, Inc. v. Health Care Serv.
Corp., 628 F.3d 725, 728 (5th Cir.2010). “A genuine issue of material fact exists when the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
See id. “Rule 56[(a)] 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).
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 issue for trial.” Gen. Universal Sys., Inc. v. Lee, 379 F.3d 131, 141 (5th
Cir.2004). A nonmovant cannot meet the burden of proving that a genuine issue of
material fact exists by providing only “some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts,
by conclusory allegations, by unsubstantiated assertions, or by only a scintilla of evidence.”
Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994). Where critical evidence is so
weak or tenuous on an essential fact that it could not support a judgment in favor of the
nonmovant, then summary judgment should be granted. See Boudreaux v. Swift Transp.
Co., 402 F.3d 536, 540 (5th Cir.2005).
In reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the court is to view “the facts and
inferences to be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.”
Tubos de Acero de Mexico, S.A. v. Am. Int’l Inv. Corp., Inc., 292 F.3d 471, 478 (5th Cir.
2002); see also Harris v. Serpas, 745 F.3d 767, 771 (5th Cir. 2014). However, when there
is video evidence available in the record, the court is not bound to adopt the nonmoving
party’s version of the facts if it is contradicted by the record, but rather should “review[ ] the
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facts in the light depicted by the videotape.” Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 381, 127 S.Ct.
1769, 1776 (2007); see also Carnaby v. City of Houston, 636 F.3d 183, 187 (5th Cir.2011)
(“Although we review evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, we
assign greater weight, even at the summary judgment stage, to the facts evident from
video recordings taken at the scene.”). Further, the court should not, in the absence of any
proof, presume that the nonmoving party could or would prove the necessary facts. See
Little, 37 F.3d at 1075.
“Qualified immunity protects officers from suit unless their conduct violates a clearly
established constitutional right.” Mace v. City of Palestine, 333 F.3d 621, 623 (5th Cir.
2003). Once the defendant raises the qualified immunity defense, “the burden shifts to the
plaintiff to rebut this defense by establishing that the official's allegedly wrongful conduct
violated clearly established law.” Brumfield v. Hollins, 551 F.3d 322, 326 (5th Cir. 2008).
“Claims that law enforcement officers used excessive force are analyzed under the Fourth
Amendment.” Mace, 333 F.3d at 624, citing Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 395, 109
S.Ct. 1865, 1871 (1989).
The court applies a two-step analysis to determine whether a defendant is entitled
to summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity. See Freeman v. Gore, 483 F.3d
404, 410 (5th Cir. 2007). First, the court must determine whether the defendant violated
the plaintiff’s constitutional rights. See id. “If so, [the court] next consider[s] whether the
defendant’s actions were objectively unreasonable in light of clearly established law at the
time of the conduct in question.” Id. at 410-411. Even on summary judgment, courts can
not ignore that qualified immunity “gives ample room for mistaken judgments by protecting
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all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law.” Poole v. City of
Shreveport, 691 F.3d 624, 627 (5th Cir. 2012).
Section 1983 Claims Against Officer Riddell.
Edmond has alleged that Officer Riddell used excessive force against Xzavien
Broussard and Malik Broussard. The Court will analyze Edmond’s Section 1983 excessive
force claims under the Fourth Amendment. See Curran v. Aleshire, 800 F.3d 656 (5th Cir.
2015). The Court must also consider additional factors when applying Fourth Amendment
standards in school settings. See Thomas v. City of New Orleans, 883 F.Supp.2d 669, 687
(E.D. La. 2012), citing Milligan v. City of Slidell, 226 F.3d 652, 654-655 (5th Cir.2000) (“But
‘[t]he [Supreme] Court [has] indicated that although the Fourth Amendment applies in
schools, the nature of those rights is what is appropriate for children in school.’”). “Fourth
Amendment rights . . . are different in public schools than elsewhere; the ‘reasonableness’
inquiry cannot disregard the schools’ custodial and tutelary responsibility for children.”
Thomas, 883 F.Supp.2d at 687, citing Vernonia Sch. Dist. 47J v. Acton, 515 U.S. 646, 656,
115 S.Ct. 2386 (1995). Generally, when a plaintiff brings a claim under federal law
contending that a police officer used excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment,
the plaintiff show that he suffered “(1) an injury that (2) resulted directly and only from the
use of force that was excessive to the need and that (3) the force was objectively
unreasonable.” Goodson v. City of Corpus Christi, 202 F.3d 730, 740 (5th Cir.2000). The
injury must be more than de minimis, evaluated in the context in which the force was
deployed. See Tarver v. City of Edna, 410 F.3d 745, 751-752 (5th Cir.2005); Kennedy v.
City of Shreveport, No. CIV.A. 07-1049, 2008 WL 2437043, at *3 (W.D. La. June 13,
2008). Only substantial psychological injuries are sufficient to satisfy the injury element of
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a claim for excessive force under the Fourth Amendment. See Flores v. City of Palacios,
381 F.3d 391, 397-398 (5th Cir.2004).
Officer Riddell has asserted the defense of qualified immunity. Once a defendant
has invoked the defense of qualified immunity, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to show that
the defense is unavailable. See Collier v. Montgomery, 569 F.3d 214, 217-218 (5th
Cir.2009) (“Although nominally an affirmative defense, the plaintiff has the burden to
negate the assertion of qualified immunity once properly raised”); see also McClendon v.
City of Columbia, 305 F.3d 314, 323 (5th Cir.2002).
This Court will assume for purposes of the instant ruling that Officer Riddell did push
Xzavien Broussard in the bathroom at Northside High School. Even with that assumption,
the summary judgment record does not support a constitutional violation, as Xzavien
Broussard’s injuries were, at most, de minimis. By his own admission, Xzavien Broussard
stated that he had a bruise on his chest. See Record Document 40-4 at 18. Xzavien
Broussard did not seek medical attention for any chest pain until after he got into a fight
with another student on October 14, 2015. See id. at 20-23. During such fight, the other
student sat on Xzavien Broussard’s chest. See id. at 21. Medical records from Keith R.
Mack, M.D. further provide:
This 16-year-old male presents to the clinic on 11/16/2015 accompanied by
his mother reporting that approximately 6 weeks ago he was the victim of
police brutality. The patient reports he was in the bathroom at school when
the police officer asked the patient what he was doing and asked that he
return back to class. When the patient started walking back to class, the
police officer pushed him in the back and neck area apparently trying to push
him along back to class. The patient reports that he did not suffer any
injuries from this altercation with the police officer. A week later the
patient was involved in an altercation with another student at school. He was
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placed on the ground and on the table and did suffer some hits to the chest,
and he reports this is when his chest began to bother him.
Record Document 40-7 at 2 (emphasis added). In his deposition, Xzavien Broussard
testified that he is “nervous” that Officer Riddell could “do it again” when he thinks about
the bathroom incident. See Record Document 40-4 at 32. He also stated that he could
not remember if he had ever seen a doctor for any kind of depression, sought any kind of
counseling for anything to do with mental health, or ever gone to a doctor because he was
having trouble dealing with things in his life. See id. at 27.
In Campbell v. McAlister, 162 F.3d 94, 1998 WL 770706, *4 (5th Cir. 1998), the Fifth
Circuit stated that “minor bruising as a result of school discipline has never been sufficient
harm to establish a constitutional injury.” Moreover, scratches, bruises, and soreness are
generally held to be nothing more than de minimis injuries and are not enough to raise a
genuine issue of material fact to support the first element of an excessive force claim. See
Houston-Hines v. Houston Indep. Sch. Dist., No. 04-3539, 2006 WL 870459, *5 (S.D.Tex.
April 5, 2006). “Only substantial psychological injuries are sufficient to satisfy the injury
element of a [Section] 1983 claim for excessive force under the Fourth Amendment.”
Martin v. City of Alexandria Municipality Police Dep’t, No. CIV A 03-1282, 2005 WL
4909292, at *11 (W.D. La. Sept. 16, 2005), aff’d sub nom. Martin v. City of Alexandria, 191
F. App’x 272 (5th Cir. 2006), citing Flores v. City of Palacios, 381 F.3d 391, 400-401 (5th
The Court finds that Officer Riddell is entitled to qualified immunity, as the summary
judgment record does not show that Officer Riddell’s conduct violated Xzavien Broussard’s
right to be free from excessive force under the Fourth Amendment and considering the
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school setting. The claimed bruise on Xzavien Broussard’s chest is nothing more than a
de minimis injury.
Xzavien Broussard’s nervousness is likewise not a substantial
psychological injury. Xzavien Broussard did not receive more than de minimis injuries as
a result of the bathroom incident; thus, Edmond has failed to raise a genuine dispute of
material fact that Officer Riddell acted unreasonably and violated his constitutional right to
be free from excessive force.
Even if this Court were to assume the first prong of the qualified immunity analysis,
that is, Officer Riddell violated Malik Broussard’s constitutional rights,4 this Court holds that
Officer Riddell’s actions were objectively reasonable in light of clearly established law at
the time of the conduct in question. See Freeman, 483 F.3d at 410. It is uncontested that
at the time of the incident involving Malik Broussard, Officer Riddell was in the middle of
detaining and arresting two students involved in a fight. There is no dispute that Malik
Broussard was visibly upset and ignored verbal orders, all while Officer Riddell was in the
middle of an ongoing investigation. Officer Riddell’s use of force, more specifically a soft
empty hand control method, to restrain a disruptive student who failed to follow orders and
was interfering with a criminal investigation was reasonable under the circumstances and
was not a use of force that was excessive to the need as required. Moreover, this is not
an area of clearly established law, as noted by the Thomas court:
If the Fifth Circuit has declined to recognize school children’s claims under
the Fourth Amendment for school officials’ use of restraining techniques, it
While there was a diagnosis of sciatica, the medical records fail to note any
objective signs of injury. Malik Broussard’s own deposition testimony indicates that his
injuries were de minimis and thus insufficient to constitute a constitutional violation.
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seems that school children’s claims against police officers responding to a
school’s request for back-up cannot be analyzed in a way that is divorced
from the school context. This is particularly so when Fourth Amendment
reasonableness analyses are so context-driven. The fact that this Court
even has to speculate as to what standard to apply to the police officers’
conduct toward a student here in order to determine if their conduct was
constitutionally permissible seems determinative of the qualified immunity
analysis: clearly established law does not put the constitutionality of the
police officers’ conduct beyond debate.
Thomas, 883 F.Supp.2d at 688. Thus, Officer Riddell’s use of force to gain control of the
situation and restrain Malik Broussard was objectively reasonable and was not a violation
of clearly established rights.
Section 1983 Claims Against Chief Craft.
As to Chief Craft, Edmond alleges that he implemented unconstitutional policies that
causally resulted in constitutional injuries to both Xzavien Broussard and Malik Broussard.
See Record Document 22 at ¶¶ 28-41. More specifically, Edmond maintains that Chief
Craft failed to adequately train and supervise his employees, namely Officer Riddell, in
various ways regarding excessive force and failed to discipline Officer Riddell for his
See id. at ¶ 30.
Edmond further alleges that Chief Craft was
deliberately indifferent as to the reckless behavior of Officer Riddell. See id. at ¶¶ 32, 35.
Supervisory officials, such as Chief Craft, may not be held liable under Section 1983
for the actions of subordinates on any vicarious liability or respondeat superior theories.
See Estate of Davis ex rel. McCully v. City of North Richland Hills, 406 F.3d 375, 381 (5th
Cir.2005). Instead, Edmond must show that the conduct of a supervisor such as Chief
Craft denied the constitutional rights of Xzavien Broussard and Malik Broussard. See id.
This Court has previously held that no constitutional violations occurred in the instant
Hence, there is no underlying constitutional violation to which any alleged
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unconstitutional policy; failure to train; failure to discipline; or deliberate indifference could
be causally linked. See Kennedy, 2008 WL 2437043, at *6 (“As to the second prong,
Kennedy has not shown an underlying constitutional violation to which any the failure to
train, monitor, supervise, or punish could be causally linked.”); Whitley v. Hanna, 726 F.3d
631, 648 (5th Cir. 2013) (“All of Whitley’s inadequate supervision, failure to train, and
policy, practice, or custom claims fail without an underlying constitutional violation.”);
Billizone v. Jefferson Par. Corr. Ctr., No. CIV.A. 14-1263-SS, 2014 WL 7139636, at *5
(E.D. La. Dec. 15, 2014) (“Because there was no underlying constitutional violation, the
Court must dismiss any claims asserted against Llovet in her individual capacity based
either on her own actions or on her purported failure to properly supervise or train her
subordinates.”). Accordingly, Edmond’s Section 1983 claims against Chief Craft must be
Section 1983 Claims Against Lafayette.
Edmond has alleged a Section 1983 municipal liability claim against Lafayette based
on unconstitutional practices, policies, customs and usages. See Record Document 22
at ¶¶ 28-40. Under Section 1983, municipal liability generally requires proof of three
elements: (1) a policymaker; (2) an official policy; and (3) a violation of constitutional rights
whose moving force is the policy or custom. See Piotrowski v. City of Houston, 237 F.3d
567, 578 (5th Cir.2001), citing Monell v. Dep’t of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 98 S.Ct. 2018
(1978). Municipal liability shall not be predicated on respondeat superior. See id. “The
three attribution principles identified here - a policymaker, an official policy and the ‘moving
force’ of the policy - are necessary to distinguish individual violations perpetrated by local
government employees from those that can be fairly identified as actions of the
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government itself.” Id.
Edmond’s Monell claim against Lafayette fails because there was no underlying
violation of the constitutional rights of Xzavien Broussard and Malik Broussard. See
Kennedy, 2008 WL 2437043, at *5. As set forth previously in the Court’s qualified
immunity analysis, Edmond failed to demonstrate that Officer Riddell violated clearly
established constitutional rights. Thus, there is an absence of an underlying constitutional
violation and Edmond’s Section 1983 claim against Lafayette must be dismissed.
State Law Claims.
Edmond has also asserted state law claims of assault and battery, intentional
infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”), and negligent infliction of emotional distress
(“NIED”). These state law claims arise from the excessive force allegations relating to the
two October 2015 incidents.
“Under Louisiana law, the same standard is used in analyzing a state law claim of
excessive force as a constitutional claim, namely reasonableness under the
circumstances.” Reneau v. City of New Orleans, No. 03-1410, 2004 WL 1497711, *4
(E.D.La. July 2, 2004), citing Kyle v. City of New Orleans, 353 So.2d 969, 973 (La.1977);
Mathieu v. Imperial Toy Corp., 646 So.2d 318, 323 (La .1994). The Court has granted
Officer Riddell qualified immunity. As the Court has found that Officer Riddell acted
reasonably under the circumstances, Edmond’s state law assault and battery claim must
fail as well. See id.
To recover for IIED, a plaintiff must establish (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
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severe emotional distress would be certain or substantially certain to result from his
conduct. See Nicholas v. Allstate Ins. Co., 765 So.2d 1017, 1022 (La. 2000). The
Louisiana Supreme Court in White v. Monsanto Co. stated:
The 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. Liability does not
extend to mere insults, indignities, threats, annoyances, petty oppressions,
or other trivialities. Persons must necessarily be expected to be hardened to
a certain amount of rough language, and to occasional acts that are
definitely inconsiderate and unkind. Not every verbal encounter may be
converted into a tort; on the contrary, “some safety valve must be left through
which irascible tempers may blow off relatively harmless steam.”
White v. Monsanto Co., 585 So.2d 1205, 1209 (La. 1991), quoting Restatement (Second)
of Torts § 46 (1965). Furthermore, the court in Nicholas determined that it was not enough
that a defendant acted with an intent which was tortious or even criminal in order to prove
that the conduct was extreme and outrageous. See Nicholas, 765 So.2d at 1022. Here,
in opposition to the defense Motion for Summary Judgment, Edmond argues that “a
reasonable juror could conclude that Officer Riddell’s actions against both [Xzavien
Broussard and Malik Broussard] were extreme and outrageous.” Record Document 44 at
18. This is insufficient to survive summary judgment. Moreover, this Court held supra that
Officer Riddell’s conduct was reasonable, not extreme and outrageous. Accordingly,
Edmond’s IIED claim must be dismissed.
To recover for NIED, there must be proof that the defendant violated some legal
duty owed to the plaintiff. See Haith v. City of Shreveport, No. 03-CV-2128, 2005 WL
2140583, at *6 (W.D. La. Sept. 1, 2005). The plaintiff must also meet the heavy burden
of proving outrageous conduct by the defendant. See id. at *6. As indicated supra, the
summary judgment record is devoid of facts showing that Officer Riddell’s conduct was
Page 17 of 18
outrageous. Moreover, Edmond’s negligence claim is undermined because the Court
earlier found Officer Riddell’s conduct reasonable. See Roten v. City of Minden, No.
16-CV-0381, 2017 WL 1398655, at *8 (W.D. La. Apr. 18, 2017) (“The focus of the qualified
immunity inquiry is reasonableness. By finding the actions of Engi and Young to be
reasonable under the qualified immunity analysis, Roten’s state law negligence claims are
undermined.”). Therefore, Edmond’s NIED claim must be dismissed.
The Motion for Summary Judgment (Record Document 40) filed by Defendants is
hereby GRANTED. Officer Riddell is entitled to qualified immunity as to Edmond’s Section
1983 excessive force claims. Edmond’s Section 1983 claim against Chief Craft and
Lafayette fails because there is no underlying constitutional violation. Edmond’s state law
claims fails as a matter of law. All of Edmond’s claims are hereby DISMISSED WITH
A Judgment consistent with the terms of the instant Memorandum Ruling shall issue
THUS DONE AND SIGNED, in Shreveport, Louisiana, this 9th day of January,
Page 18 of 18
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