Mayor, former chief cleared in Waveland excessive force suit
By Dwayne Bremer
Mar 12, 2013, 19:35
The city of Waveland, Mayor David Garcia and former police Chief Jimmy Varnell have all been cleared in a lawsuit which claims two former WPD officers used excessive force when arresting a man during the 2010 Nereids parade.
U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola issued a partial summary judgment last week in the case of Earl Seymour vs Clay Necaise, Jeffery Guillot, and the city of Waveland.
The judgment dismisses claims against the city, Garcia, and Varnell; however, individual claims against Necaise and Guillot are being allowed to move forward.
According to court records, Seymour was standing along the parade route in 2010, when he observed two of his friends getting into an argument with a Waveland police officer.
Seymour walked over to see what was going on and officers asked him to leave the area, the judgment said.
Seymour refused to leave the area and was eventually arrested and Necaise and Guillot Tased him.
Seymour had claimed in his lawsuit that he was falsely arrested, that the officers used excessive force, and that the city and police chief failed to properly train its officers.
Garcia was named as a defendant in the suit, despite the fact that he was not mayor at the time of the incident.
Guirola said in his judgment, neither Garcia nor Varnell could be held liable because they were not involved in the incident.
"Supervisory officials cannot be held liable under section 1983 for actions of subordinates on any theory of vicarious or respondeat superior liability,," Guirola said. "He or she must have been personally involved in the plaintiff's injury to be liable."
Guirola also ruled that the city could not be held liable because his alleged injuries were not caused by a "policy, ordinance, regulation or decision that is an officially persistent practice of city officials or employees."
Garcia said Tuesday that he is "relieved" that he and the city have been cleared in the suit.
At one point, the city had more than a dozen open lawsuits against it and the police department. There are only two suits against the city -- David Marquar vs. Christopher Allen and Blain Hobgood vs. Troy Bordelon -- remaining in federal court.
"We inherited a lot of lawsuits and we almost have all of them finished," Garcia said. "It's a relief to me personally too, because I was not mayor when these events took place."
In addition to the dismissal of claims against the city, Garcia and Varnell, Guirola also cited that Seymour could not seek recourse in state court because of the statutes of limitation has expired.
The only remaining option for Seymour now is seeking damages against Necaise and Guillot in their individual capacities.
No trial date has been set in the case yet.