United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
K. DuBOSE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on defendant Timothy Trent
Dennis' motion for summary judgment, memorandum in
support, and relevant exhibits. (Docs. 82, 83, & 84).
Also before the Court are plaintiff Daniel Wade Hails'
response in opposition (Doc. 87) and Dennis' reply. (Doc.
88). Hails' amended complaint, brought pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, alleges three claims: (1) false arrest,
(2) false imprisonment, and (3) malicious prosecution. As the
Court will explain, Dennis' motion is due to be granted
with respect to Hails' malicious prosecution claim and
denied with respect to Hails' false arrest and false
original complaint, filed on June 9, 2017, included numerous
defendants. (Doc. 1). Each defendant filed a motion to
dismiss. (Docs. 27 & 29). United States Magistrate Judge
Katherine P. Nelson granted each defendants' motion to
dismiss, except Dennis'. (Docs. 57 & 58). This Court
adopted Judge Nelson's Report and Recommendation. (Doc.
result, the sole remaining defendant is Officer Dennis, a
Silverhill Police Department Officer. Hails amended complaint
alleges that Dennis violated his Fourth Amendment rights.
(Doc. 63 (Amended Complaint) at ¶ 2).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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). Rule 56(c) provides as follows:
(1) Supporting Factual Positions. A
party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely
disputed must support the assertion by:
(A) citing to particular parts of materials
in the record, including depositions, documents,
electronically stored information, affidavits or
declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes
of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or
other materials; or
(B) showing that the materials cited do not
establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or
that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to
support the fact.
(2) Objection That a Fact Is Not Supported by
Admissible Evidence. A party may object that
the material cited to support or dispute a fact cannot be
presented in a form that would be admissible in evidence.
(3) Materials Not Cited. The court
need consider only the cited materials, but it may consider
other materials in the record.
(4) Affidavits or Declarations. An
affidavit or declaration used to support or oppose a motion
must be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would
be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant or
declarant is competent to testify on the matters stated.
Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 56(c).
as the party seeking summary judgment, bears the
“initial responsibility of informing the district court
of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions
of ‘the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any,' which it believes demonstrate the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Clark
v. Coats & Clark, Inc., 929 F.2d 604, 608 (11th Cir.
1991) (quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 323 (1986)). If the nonmoving party fails to make
“a sufficient showing on an essential element of her
case with respect to which she has the burden of proof,
” the moving party is entitled to summary judgment.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. “In reviewing
whether the nonmoving party has met its burden, the court
must stop short of weighing the evidence and making
credibility determinations of the truth of the matter.
Instead, the evidence of the non-movant is to be believed,
and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his
favor.” Tipton v. Bergrohr GMBH-Siegen, 965
F.2d 994, 998-999 (11th Cir. 1992) (internal quotation marks
and citations omitted) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255).
resolve a summary judgment motion based on qualified
immunity, the Eleventh Circuit has stated courts should
approach the facts from the plaintiff's perspective
because “[t]he issues appealed here concern not which
facts the parties might be able to prove, but, rather,
whether or not certain given facts showed a violation of
clearly established law.” Sheth v. Webster,
145 F.3d 1231, 1236 (11th Cir. 1998). As this Court has
repeatedly stressed, the “facts, as accepted at the
summary judgment stage of the proceedings, may not be the
actual facts of the case.” Priester v. City of
Riviera Beach, 208 F.3d 919, 925 n. 3 (11th Cir. 2000).
Nevertheless, for summary judgment purposes, our analysis
must begin with a description of the facts in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff. See Skrtich v. Thornton,
280 F.3d 1295, 1299 (11th Cir. 2002).
McCullough v. Antolini, 559 F.3d 1201, 1202 (11th
Cir. 2009) (quoting Lee v. Ferraro, 284 F.3d 1188,
1190 (11th Cir. 2002)). “In order to overcome summary
judgment because of qualified immunity, ‘the facts in
dispute must raise a genuine issue of fact material to the
determination of the underlying issue.'”
Terrell v. Smith, 668 F.3d 1244, 1250 (11th Cir.
2012) (quoting McCullough, 559 F.3d at 1205).
lives outside Silverhill, Alabama, a sparsely populated area
of Baldwin County. (Doc. 85-1 at 23). Hails lives just barely
within Silverhill Police Department's jurisdiction. (Doc.
85-1 at 6). Dozens of trees and a large live oak tree
populate his front yard. (Doc. 85-1 at 23). His home is
positioned “almost all the way in the back of the
property.” (Doc. 85-1 at 5).
front porch is located approximately 180 feet from the gate
on his property. (Doc. 85-1 at 15). The fence at the front of
the property is approximately 30 to 40 feet from the
pavement, (Doc. 85-1 at 27), where the gate is located. (Doc.
85-3 at 2).
owns many firearms and target practices often. (Doc. 85-1 at
4; id. at 7). Hails “always” shoots
“going forward.” (Doc. 85-1 at 5). Specifically,
he shoots towards a milk jug positioned in front of a
“great big dead pine stump” that is located in
front of his home. (Doc. 85-1 at 5).
is not the only person in the vicinity of his home who enjoys
target practicing. He testified that gunfire occurs around
his home daily and nightly, and that hearing gunshots is
“[e]xtremely common.” (Doc. 85-1 at 6).
events giving rise to Hails' lawsuit occurred on June 9,
2015. (Doc. 85-1 at 8). On that evening, Hails fired two
rounds. (Doc. 85-1 at 8). Dennis responded to Hails'
residence twice. (Doc. 85-3 at ¶ 4 & 5). He first
responded at 8:30 p.m., after receiving a report of a man
firing shots at Hails' residence. (Doc. 85-3 at ¶
3). He did not make contact with Hails on his first visit.
(Doc. 85-3 at ¶ 4). In fact, Hails did not know Dennis
first responded at 8:30 that evening. (Doc. 85-1 at 10).
Dennis responded to Hails' residence again at 10:30 p.m.
that same night after another report ...