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Dean v. Chadwick

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Southern Division

September 20, 2018

DEDRIC JAMAR DEAN, AIS #197053, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL CHADWICK, et al., Defendants.

          RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          Susan Russ Walker, United States Magistrate Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         In this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action, Dedric Jamar Dean, a frequent federal litigant, challenges the constitutionality of the search of his residence on September 15, 2017, his resulting arrest on controlled substance offenses, and his prosecution on two of these charges. Doc. 1 at 3. Dean names officers Michael Chadwick, Michael Bryan and Chris Juneau of the Ozark Police Department as defendants. Dean seeks restoration of his liberty in the form of release from confinement, monetary damages and the federal criminal prosecution of the defendants. Doc. 1 at 4.

         The defendants filed a special report, supplemental special report and relevant evidentiary materials addressing the claims for relief raised by Dean. In these filings, the defendants deny they violated Dean's constitutional rights. The defendants assert they are entitled to summary judgment, as the claims presented by Dean with respect to the search and arrest in September of 2017 and his prosecution on the related criminal charges are barred from review by this court under the doctrine set forth in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). Doc. 18 at 55-56; Doc. 40 at 3-26. In addition, the defendants argue that Dean's request for criminal prosecution of the defendants provides no basis for relief. Doc. 40 at 30.

         After reviewing the defendants' supplemental special report and, in particular, their assertion that under the current circumstances of this case Heck serves as a bar to all of Dean's claims arising from the search and arrest on September 15, 2017, the court issued an order directing Dean to file a response, supported by appropriate evidentiary materials, to each of the arguments presented by the defendants in the supplemental report. Doc. 41 at 2-3. The order specifically cautioned that “unless within fifteen (15) days from the date of this order a party … presents sufficient legal cause why such action should not be undertaken … the court may at any time [after expiration of the time for the plaintiff filing a response to this order] and without further notice to the parties (1) treat the special report and any supporting evidentiary materials as a motion for summary judgment and (2) after considering any response as allowed by this order, rule on the motion for summary judgment in accordance with the law.” Doc. 41 at 3. Dean filed no response to this order.

         Pursuant to the aforementioned order, the court now treats the defendants' supplemental special report as a motion for summary judgement, and it finds that summary judgment is due to be granted in favor of the defendants.

         II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         “Summary judgment is appropriate if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show there is no genuine [dispute] as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Greenberg v. BellSouth Telecomm., Inc., 498 F.3d 1258, 1263 (11th Cir. 2007) (internal quotation marks omitted); Rule 56(a), Fed.R.Civ.P. (“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.”).[1] The party moving for summary judgment “always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the [record, including pleadings, discovery materials and affidavits], which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue [dispute] of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986); Jeffery v. Sarasota White Sox, Inc., 64 F.3d 590, 593 (11th Cir. 1995) (holding that moving party has initial burden of showing there is no genuine dispute of material fact for trial). The movant may meet this burden by presenting evidence indicating there is no dispute of material fact or by showing that the nonmoving party has failed to present appropriate evidence in support of some element of its case on which it bears the ultimate burden of proof. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-24; Moton v. Cowart, 631 F.3d 1337, 1341 (11th Cir. 2011) (holding that moving party discharges his burden by showing the record lacks evidence to support the nonmoving party's case or the nonmoving party would be unable to prove his case at trial).

         When the defendants meet their evidentiary burden, as they have in this case, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to establish, with appropriate evidence beyond the pleadings, that a genuine dispute material to his case exists. Clark v. Coats & Clark, Inc., 929 F.2d 604, 608 (11th Cir. 1991); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324; Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(3); Jeffery, 64 F.3d at 593-94 (holding that, once a moving party meets its burden, “the non-moving party must then go beyond the pleadings, and by its own affidavits [or statements made under penalty of perjury], or by depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, ” demonstrate that there is a genuine dispute of material fact). In civil actions filed by inmates, federal courts “must distinguish between evidence of disputed facts and disputed matters of professional judgment. In respect to the latter, our inferences must accord deference to the views of prison authorities. Unless a prisoner can point to sufficient evidence regarding such issues of judgment to allow him to prevail on the merits, he cannot prevail at the summary judgment stage.” Beard v. Banks, 548 U.S. 521, 530 (2006) (internal citation omitted). This court will also consider “specific facts” pled in a plaintiff's sworn complaint when considering his opposition to summary judgment. Caldwell v. Warden, FCI Talladega, 748 F.3d 1090, 1098 (11th Cir. 2014). “[M]ere conclusions and unsupported factual allegations are legally insufficient to defeat a summary judgment motion.” Ellis v. England, 432 F.3d 1321, 1326 (11th Cir. 2005). A genuine dispute of material fact exists when the nonmoving party produces evidence that would allow a reasonable fact-finder to return a verdict in its favor such that summary judgment is not warranted. Greenberg, 498 F.3d at 1263; Allen v. Bd. of Pub. Educ. for Bibb Cnty., 495 F.3d 1306, 1313 (11th Cir. 2007). “The mere existence of some factual dispute will not defeat summary judgment unless that factual dispute is material to an issue affecting the outcome of the case.” McCormick v. City of Fort Lauderdale, 333 F.3d 1234, 1243 (11th Cir. 2003) (citation omitted). “[T]here must exist a conflict in substantial evidence to pose a jury question.” Hall v. Sunjoy Indus. Group, Inc., 764 F.Supp.2d 1297, 1301 (M.D. Fla. 2011) (citation omitted). “When opposing parties tell two different stories, one of which is blatantly contradicted by the record, so that no reasonable jury could believe it, a court should not adopt that version of the facts for purposes of ruling on a motion for summary judgment.” Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007).

         Although factual inferences must be viewed in a light most favorable to the plaintiff and pro se complaints are entitled to liberal interpretation, a pro se litigant does not escape the burden of establishing by sufficient evidence a genuine dispute of material fact. See Beard, 548 U.S. at 525; Brown v. Crawford, 906 F.2d 667, 670 (11th Cir. 1990). Thus, Dean's pro se status alone does not compel this court to disregard elementary principles of production and proof in a civil case.

         The court has undertaken a thorough review of all the evidence contained in the record. After this review, the court finds that Dean has failed to demonstrate a genuine dispute of material fact in order to preclude entry of summary judgment in favor of the defendants.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. The Search, Arrest and Malicious Prosecution Claims - Heck Bar

         In their supplemental special report, the defendants argue that Dean's claims challenging the search of his residence, his arrest on controlled substance charges based on the search, and his prosecution on these charges are barred from review by the rule espoused in Heck and its progeny. Doc. 40 at 3-26. Specifically, the defendants assert “that Plaintiff's [relevant] convictions became final on May 29, 2018, that a final judgment has been entered in a related [state] proceeding involving Plaintiff's knock-and-announce claim, and that Heck and the doctrine of collateral estoppel bar” Dean's claims arising from ...


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