United States District Court, M.D. Alabama
H. THOMPSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Merrill Todd names the following as defendants in this
lawsuit: Officers Jerome Bailey, Larry Clark, Terry Woods,
and Steve Smith and the City of LaFayette, Alabama. The first
count in his lawsuit claims that Bailey, Clark, and Woods
violated his constitutional right by using excessive force
against him. The second count claims that the City of
LaFayette violated his constitutional right by negligently
hiring, retaining, and failing to supervise the individual
defendants. For both counts, Todd relies on 42 U.S.C. §
1983. The final count is a state-law battery claim against
Bailey, Clark, Woods, and Smith. Jurisdiction for the federal
claims is proper under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 (federal
question) and 1343 (civil rights), and the state-law claim is
properly before the court under supplemental jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
case is currently before the court on a motion for summary
judgment filed by the City of LaFayette. For reasons that
will be discussed, the motion will be granted and summary
judgment entered in favor of the city.
party may move for summary judgment, identifying each claim
or defense--or the part of each claim or defense--on which
summary judgment is sought. The court shall grant summary
judgment 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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The
court must view the admissible evidence in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of that party. Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587
(1986). “Where the evidence is circumstantial, a court
may grant summary judgment when it concludes that no
reasonable jury may infer from the assumed facts the
conclusion upon which the non-movant's claim
rests.” Mize v. Jefferson City Bd. of Educ.,
93 F.3d 739, 743 (11th Cir. 1996).
August 7, 2010, Todd and family members held a party at Club
Blaze in LaFayette. The party was thrown in honor of
Todd's deceased sister and also to celebrate a
arrived at the club between four and five o'clock on
August 7 to help set up for the party. The event had been
advertised on a Facebook page.
from the enforcement wing of the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage
Control Board learned of the party and staged an undercover
operation to determine if alcohol was being sold there
without a liquor license. That night two undercover agents
entered the club and were able to purchase alcohol. Based on
this information, law enforcement then decided to sweep the
party in a large-scale enforcement action. A joint
county-city task force convened, with law enforcement
officers from LaFayette and Chambers County.
to Todd, he was in the club's parking lot when the
officers arrived. As he had two days left on parole, he
decided to leave the scene of the raid rather than risk being
charged with violating the terms of his parole. He and one of
his cousin went towards the back of club. As he went around
the corner of the club, he saw the headlights of a truck
approaching from the opposite side of the building. He
started running in the direction of the woods. There was no
one in the back of the club except him, his cousin, and
does not, however, remember what occurred between the moment
he saw the truck's headlights and woke up in the
hospital. He has, however, presented evidence that he
contends directly and circumstantially support the conclusion
that one of the defendants, Officer Smith, hit him with the
truck and that the defendants beat him without provocation.
He suffered a number of physical injuries.
the incident Todd has had a marked drop in memory. During his
deposition he had difficulty remembering what month during
the past year he was married in. He stated that he can
remember many things before the incident, but he has to try
very hard to remember things that happened after it, and it
hurts when he tries to do so. Three months after the incident
he underwent surgery to relieve pressure resulting from a
“intracranial hemorrhage, ” Med. Records (Doc.
No.53-33) at 2, which he described as a brain bleed. He
suffers from blurred vision and fears he may go blind in his
stated, the City of LaFayette contends that it is entitled to