Jefferson Parish officers succeed in getting false arrest, excessive force claims dismissed in suit claiming rights violations

By Charmaine Little | May 23, 2018

Jefferson Parish law enforcement officers were partly successful in their attempt to dismiss a lawsuit that accused them of violating the constitutional rights of a man taken into custody based on a May 16 opinion in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Jefferson Parish law enforcement officers were partly successful in their attempt to dismiss a lawsuit that accused them of violating the constitutional rights of a man taken into custody based on a May 16 opinion in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Jefferson Parish sheriff’s office deputies named in the suit petitioned the court for a motion to dismiss or motion for summary judgment in response to complaints against them. They also filed a motion to dismiss as frivolous pursuant, which was unchallenged.

The suit filed by Jacob Daniel Lee accused officers Chase Denoux, Devin Dominic, Mark Monson and Shane Rivolo of violating his Fourth, Fifth, Eighth and 14th Amendment rights. The district court granted part of the officers' motion to dismiss.

In the suit, Lee maintained he was wrongfully arrested and placed in jail for 76 days. He had been accused of punching Denoux and claimed Denoux and Dominic tried to hit him with their car during an arrest because he allegedly was a narcotics and burglar suspect. The plaintiff stated the bill of information was filed 67 days after his arrest. He added he was taken into custody after Rivolo signed an affidavit for an arrest warrant and Monson signed an application.

The plaintiff pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for resisting arrest and was sentenced to three months. He later filed the lawsuit, and the defendants filed the current motion.

The defendants argued the plaintiff accused them of excessive force from the first attempted arrest in which the plaintiff allegedly fled, and a false arrest from the second that ended with him in custody. They stated both claims should be barred as the plaintiff pleaded guilty to the resisting arrest charge. The district court agreed and dismissed the excessive force and false arrest claims.

The defendants added the plaintiff’s unlawful arrest argument is not protected under the Fifth and 14th amendments and should be evaluated through the Fourth Amendment. As for the claim his Eighth Amendment rights were violated, the defendants stated the plaintiff has not provided any proof. They requested the claims related to the Fifth, Eighth, and 14th amendments be dismissed.

The district court agreed and stated the three claims of false arrest, excessive force, and illegal search and seizure fall under the Fourth Amendment. It added that the bill of information being submitted 67 days after his arrest was not a violation of his 14th Amendment due process rights as he failed to include the person who was at fault as a defendant.

The court also ordered supplemental briefings in the claim regarding the allegedly illegal seizure of Lee's car.

The motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint, or, alternatively, for summary judgment and to dismiss as frivolous was granted in part “to the extent that defendants” request the false arrest and excessive force claims be dismissed.

The defendants motion was denied in part as the plaintiff mentioned the alleged illegal search and seizure of his car that wasn’t raised in the defendants’ motion.

Both parties were granted leave to submit supplemental briefings for the issue regarding the search and seizure of the vehicle. The plaintiff was given 14 days to clarify the Fifth, Eighth and 14 Amendment claims. If he doesn’t meet the deadline, those claims will be dismissed, the court said.

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