United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Middle Division
ROBIN L. MANNOR, Plaintiff,
CHRISTOPHER J. PEARCE, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
G. CORNELIUS U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
court has before it the January 13, 2017 motion for summary
judgment filed by Defendant Christopher J. Pearce. (Doc. 14).
Pursuant to the court's initial order, the motion is
fully briefed and under submission as of February 16, 2017.
(Docs. 10, 15-19). After consideration of the briefs and
evidence, the motion is due to be granted for the following
STATEMENT OF FACTS
night of August 19, 2013, Plaintiff Robin L. Mannor and her
husband were at home near Scottsboro, Alabama, in Marshall
County. (Doc. 16-3 at 7). Plaintiff had two or three bourbon
and cokes and then got into an argument with her husband over
finances. (Id. at 7, 14). During the argument,
Plaintiff's husband told Plaintiff he was moving out and
began packing his belongings. (Doc. 16-4 at 4). At some
point, Plaintiff bit her husband and struck him repeatedly
with a picture frame, breaking the glass. (Doc. 16-3 at 8-9;
Doc. 16-4 at 4-5). When he realized the glass was broken,
Plaintiff's husband thought the situation was becoming
dangerous and called 911. (Doc. 16-4 at 5). While he was on
the phone with 911, Plaintiff retreated to the bathroom and
called a friend. (Doc. 16-3 at 10). Plaintiff remained in the
bathroom for approximately forty-five minutes and assumed her
husband left the house. (Id.).
dispatch notified Defendant, Marshall County Deputy
Christopher Pearce, of the domestic fight call, and he
arrived at Plaintiff's house at approximately 12:30 a.m.
(Doc. 16-1 at 10). Grant Police Officer Thomas Sorrell
arrived shortly thereafter as a backup unit. (Id.).
Plaintiff's husband was waiting outside when the officers
arrived. (Doc. 16-4 at 5). His belongings were packed inside
his truck, and he was ready to leave. (Id.).
Plaintiff's husband told Pearce and Sorrell everything
was okay, Plaintiff was inside the house, and he was leaving.
(Id. at 6; Doc. 16-1 at 10-11). Pearce observed a
bite mark and scratches on Plaintiff's husband. (Doc.
16-1 at 11).
Pearce was talking to Plaintiff's husband, Sorrell
entered the home to locate Plaintiff and found her in a
locked bathroom. (Id. at 10; Doc. 16-2 at 5).
Plaintiff would not unlock the door and come out of the
bathroom. (Id.). Sorrell went back outside and
informed Pearce, and both Sorrell and Pearce entered the
house to talk to Plaintiff. (Doc. 16-1 at 11). The officers
knocked on the bathroom door and “gave her loud, verbal
commands” to come out of the bathroom so they could
speak with her. (Id. at 12). Plaintiff told the
officers she was not coming out of the bathroom.
(Id.). The officers explained they were there to
investigate a domestic violence report and by law they had to
talk to her. (Id.). After approximately five to
seven minutes, Plaintiff came out of the bathroom.
Plaintiff exited the bathroom, Pearce and Sorrell observed
the “strong smell of alcohol, slurred speech, [and]
bloodshot eyes” and believed Plaintiff was “very
inebriated.” (Id.; Doc. 16-2 at 5). She
refused to hang up on her phone call. (Doc. 16-3 at 10).
After hearing her version of events, Pearce told Plaintiff
she was under arrest for domestic violence and instructed her
to turn around with her hands behind her back. (Doc. 16-1 at
12; Doc. 16-2 at 5). Plaintiff testified she told Pearce she
did not want to hang up her telephone but eventually put it
down and complied with Pearce's instructions. (Doc. 16-3
at 11). According to Pearce and Sorrell, Plaintiff did not
comply, Pearce had to physically turn her around,
Perace needed Sorrell's assistance to place her in
handcuffs. (Doc. 16-1 at 12-13; Doc. 16-2 at 5). Plaintiff
was not aggressive toward the officers. (Doc. 16-1 at 13).
officers then escorted Plaintiff out of the house in
handcuffs. (Id.; Doc. 16-4 at 6-7). As they led her
out of the house, Plaintiff saw her husband and began to yell
and curse at him. (Doc. 16-3 at 12; Doc. 16-1 at 13). Pearce
placed Plaintiff in his patrol car and began to write a
report about the incident. (Doc. 16-1 at 13). Plaintiff's
husband told Pearce he did not want Plaintiff arrested and
refused to sign the report. (Doc. 16-1 at 13; Doc. 16-4 at
7). Plaintiff continued to yell while in the police car and
shouted for someone to call DHR to take care of her minor
(Doc. 16-2 at 5; Doc. 16-4 at 8). Pearce testified Plaintiff
banged against the glass, and he was scared she would kick
the window out. (Doc. 16-1 at 13).
opened the car door, and Plaintiff exited the car without
assistance. (Doc. 16-3 at 13). Pearce instructed her to sit
on the ground and cross her legs, and Plaintiff complied.
(Id.; Doc. 16-2 at 5; Doc. 16-4 at 8). She remained
handcuffed. (Doc. 16-3 at 14). Sorrell contacted DHR,
explained the situation, and held the phone to
Plaintiff's ear so she could speak with DHR.
(Id. at 13; Doc. 16-4 at 8; Doc. 16-2 at 5). DHR
decided to allow Plaintiff's son to remain with
Plaintiff's husband. (Doc. 16-4 at 8).
then instructed Plaintiff to stand. (Doc. 16-1 at 17; Doc.
16-3 at 16). Plaintiff replied she could not stand because of
her position on the ground and because she was handcuffed.
(Id.). Pearce told Plaintiff how to stand from that
position, but Plaintiff again stated she could not and
refused to stand. (Doc. 16-1 at 14). Pearce then attempted to
pick her up, but she “tensed up” and pulled
herself down as he tried to pull her to a standing
position. (Id.; Doc. 16-2 at 6). Plaintiff
scratched Pearce on his arms as he attempted to lift her.
(Doc. 16-1 at 14-15; Doc. 16-9 at 2; Doc. 16-10 at 2). Pearce
released Plaintiff because he believed he could injure her if
he continued. (Doc. 16-1 at 18). Pearce decided the only
way to prevent an injury to Plaintiff was to force her to
stand on her own will. (Id.).
then used “pressure point control tactics” to
force Plaintiff to stand. (Doc. 16-1 at 15). Plaintiff's
husband urged Plaintiff to stand, stating Pearce would use
pepper spray on her. (Doc. 16-3 at 16). Plaintiff replied it
would probably be worse and he would probably use a baton.
(Id.). In response, Pearce stated, “No, taser,
” and briefly tased her on the back of her neck without
any warning. (Id. at 16, 23; Doc. 16-4 at
10). It is undisputed the taser was in drive stun mode. Drive
stun mode creates pain at the point of contact, does not
immobilize a person, and is used as a “pain
compliance” technique. (Doc. 16-1 at 16).
testified she fell over as a result of being tased the first
time and Pearce helped her back into a seated
position. (Doc. 16-3 at 16). She did not stand, and Pearce
continued to instruct Plaintiff to stand. (Doc. 16-1 at 16;
Doc. 16-4 at 10). Pearce tased her again on her neck for the
full five seconds allowed by the device and repeated his
instruction to stand. (Doc. 16-1 at 16; Doc. 16-2 at 7; Doc.
16-3 at 16). Pearce testified Plaintiff continued to fight
against him, scratched him,  and did not stand. (Doc. 16-1
at 16-17; Doc. 16-2 at 7). Pearce tased Plaintiff for a third
time for the full five seconds. (Id.). Plaintiff
testified Pearce tased her in quick succession, causing her
to jump away from the pain, yell, and urinate on herself.
(Doc. 16-3 at 16). After the third time, Plaintiff stood
without assistance. (Doc. 16-1 at 17; Doc. 16-2 at 7). Pearce
and Sorrell placed her inside Pearce's patrol car, and
there were no further issues. (Doc. 16-1 at 17).
was charged with domestic violence in the third degree,
resisting arrest, assault in the second degree, and
disorderly conduct. (Doc. 16-8 at 2-3). The Marshall County
grand jury returned a no bill, and her case was closed. (Doc.
result of the tasing, Plaintiff had burn marks on the back of
her neck. (Doc. 16-3 at 23). The marks remained on her neck
for a few weeks but did not leave a scar. (Id.).
Plaintiff testified she suffered psychological trauma from
the incident. (Id. at 19). She stated she did not
leave the house for the next couple of months because she was
scared she would encounter Pearce. (Id.). She booked
appointments to be seen by a mental care physician, but she
continually rescheduled them because she was scared to leave
her house. (Id.).
was seen by a mental care provider on September 9, 2013, less
than a month after the incident. (Id.; Doc.16-11 at
2). The records do not reflect any psychological trauma and
detail the “presenting problem” as: (1) the need
for a new psychiatrist; and (2) a worsening of her depression
because of her recent move, lack of employment, and lack of
child support and because she did “not feel independent
with several life situations.” (Doc. 16-11 at 2). Under
a heading entitled “LEGAL, ” Plaintiff described
the incident with Pearce and Sorrell as follows:
[S]he brought ETOH into the home about 4-6 weeks ago; she
states that she was intoxicated at the time and bit her
husband during a verbal altercation; currently has domestic
violence 3rd degree charge, police were called and involved
during this time; additional charges “because [she] was
running [her] mouth” should be dropped. . . . [S]he is