United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Southern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Russ Walker, United States Magistrate Judge
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.
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.
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.
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.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
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.”). 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).
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).
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.
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.
The Search, Arrest and Malicious Prosecution Claims -
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 ...