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Dean v. Bryan

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

January 15, 2019

DEDRIC JAMAR DEAN, #197 053, Plaintiff,
v.
LT. MICHAEL BRYAN, et al., Defendants.

          RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          STEPHEN M. DOYLE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Dedric Jamar Dean [“Dean”] brings this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against Chief Marlos Walker, Michael Chadwick, Michael Bryan, and Chris Juneau, officers with the Ozark Police Department, for actions associated with his arrest on November 9, 2015. Dean complains Defendants subjected him to an unlawful arrest and search and seizure and to malicious prosecution. Dean further alleges Defendant Walker failed to adequately train and supervise his subordinate officers which resulted in their deliberate indifference to his constitutional rights. Dean seeks restoration of his “liberty” in the form of release from confinement, monetary damages and the federal criminal prosecution of the defendants.[1] Doc. 14 at 2-7.

         Defendants filed an answer, special report, supplemental special report, and supporting evidentiary materials addressing Dean's claims for relief. See Docs. 28, 65. In their supplemental special report Defendants argue they are entitled to summary judgment on Dean's claims challenging his arrest in November of 2015 and his prosecution on the related criminal charges because these claims are barred from review by this court under the doctrine set forth in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). Doc. 65 at 8-19. Defendants also argue that Dean's failure to train/supervisory liability claim against Defendant Walker and his request for criminal prosecution of Defendants provides no basis for relief in this action. Id. at 5-8, 21-23, 34-35. The court entered an order which provided Dean an opportunity to file a response to Defendants' special report. Doc. 30. This order advised Dean his response should be supported by affidavits or statements made under penalty of perjury and other evidentiary materials. Doc. 19 at 2. This order further cautioned Dean that unless “sufficient legal cause” is shown within ten days of entry of this order “why such action should not be undertaken, the court may at any time [after expiration of the time for his filing a response to this order] and without further notice to the parties (1) treat the special report[s] and any supporting evidentiary materials as a [dispositive] motion . . . and (2) after considering any response as allowed by this order, rule on the motion in accordance with law.” Doc. 19 at 2. The court granted Dean an opportunity to respond to Defendants' supplemental report in accordance with the directives of the court's April 26, 2017, order. See Doc. 64. Dean filed no response to Defendants' supplement special report. Pursuant to the court's April 26, 2017, order, the court now treats Defendants' supplemental special report as a motion for summary judgement and finds summary judgment is due to be granted in favor of 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. Bell South Telecomm., Inc., 498 F.3d 1258, 1263 (11th Cir. 2007) (per curiam); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) (“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 [dispute] of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The movant may meet this burden by presenting evidence indicating there is no dispute of material fact or by showing the non-moving party has failed to present evidence to support some element on which it bears the ultimate burden of proof. Id. at 322-324.

         Defendants have met their evidentiary burden. Thus, the burden shifts to Dean 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 v. Sarasota White Sox, Inc., 64 F.3d 590, 593-594 (11th Cir. 1995) (holding that, once the moving party meets its burden, “the non-moving party must then go beyond the pleadings, and by its own affidavits [or sworn statements], or by depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, ” demonstrate there is a genuine dispute of material fact) (internal quotations omitted). This court will also consider “specific facts” pled in a Dean's sworn amended complaint when considering his opposition to summary judgment. Caldwell v. Warden, FCI Talladega, 748 F.3d 1090, 1098 (11th Cir. 2014). A genuine dispute of material fact exists when the non-moving party produces evidence that would allow a reasonable fact-finder to return a verdict in its favor. Greenberg, 498 F.3d at 1263; Allen v. Bd. of Public Educ., 495 F.3d 1306, 1313 (11th Cir. 2007). The evidence must be admissible at trial, and if the nonmoving party's evidence “is merely colorable . . . or is not significantly probative . . . summary judgment may be granted.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). “A mere ‘scintilla' of evidence supporting the opposing party's position will not suffice . . . .” Walker v. Darby, 911 F.2d 1573, 1577 (11th Cir. 1990) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252). Only disputes involving material facts are relevant, materiality is determined by the substantive law applicable to the case. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.

         To demonstrate a genuine dispute of material fact, the party opposing summary judgment “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts. . . . Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no ‘genuine [dispute] for trial.'” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). “The evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; see also United States v. Stein, 881 F.3d 853 (11th Cir. 2018) (holding that a plaintiff's self-serving and uncorroborated, but not conclusory, statements in an affidavit or deposition may create an issue of material fact which precludes summary judgment); Feliciano v. City of Miami Beach, 707 F.3d 1244, 1253 (11th Cir. 2013) (citations omitted) (“To be sure, [plaintiff's] sworn statements are self-serving, but that alone does not permit us to disregard them at the summary judgment stage. . . . ‘Courts routinely and properly deny summary judgment on the basis of a party's sworn testimony even though it is self-serving.'”). “Conclusory, uncorroborated allegations by a plaintiff in an affidavit or deposition will not create an issue of fact for trial sufficient to defeat a well-supported summary judgment motion.” Solliday v. Fed. Officers, 413 Fed. App'x 206, 207 (11th Cir. 2011) (citing Earley v. Champion Int'l Corp., 907 F.2d 1077, 1081 (11th Cir. 1990)); see also Holifield v. Reno, 115 F.3d 1555, 1564 n.6 (11th Cir. 1997) (holding that conclusory allegations based on subjective beliefs are likewise insufficient to create a genuine dispute of material fact).

         Although factual inferences must be viewed in a light most favorable to the non- moving party and pro se complaints are entitled to liberal interpretation by the courts, a pro se litigant does not escape the burden of establishing by sufficient evidence a genuine dispute of material fact. See Beard v. Banks, 548 U.S. 521, 525 (2006); Brown v. Crawford, 906 F.2d 667, 670 (11th Cir. 1990). Dean's pro se status alone does not compel this court to disregard elementary principles of production and proof in a civil case.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. The Challenge to Plaintiff's Convictions

          In the amended complaint, Dean alleges in a somewhat haphazard fashion that Defendants violated his constitutional rights by subjecting him to an unlawful arrest, an unreasonable search and seizure, and malicious prosecution. According to Dean, Defendants fabricated evidence, tampered with evidence, threatened and intimidated witnesses, and withheld exculpatory evidence. Dean also complains “police men” conducted an unconstitutional search of [his] personal property and filed criminal complaints against him without probable cause, and Defendant Juneau illegally seized a cell phone and searched it without a warrant. Dean further contends Defendant Walker failed to provide adequate training and supervision to the defendant law enforcement officials which caused the constitutional violations about which he complains. Finally, Dean requests federal charges be brought against Defendants. Doc. 14.

         Defendants' evidence includes an affidavit from Sgt. Chris Juneau.[2] Defendant Juneau's affidavit states:

In the early morning hours of Sunday, November 8, 2015, I was notified of a shooting that reportedly occurred at 481 Newton Avenue in Ozark, Dale County, Alabama. I responded to 481 Newton Avenue and photographed the scene.
Later that day, Lt. Michael Bryan informed me that the shooting victim, Justin Lewis, identified the shooter as Jolly. I recognized "Jolly" as the street name of Dedric Jamar Dean, who is the plaintiff in this lawsuit. For several months, Dean had been under investigation by the Ozark Police Department for drug crimes. Based upon our research, I knew that Dean had a prior murder charge for which he had been acquitted, as well as numerous prior drug charges. I also knew that Dean's driver's license was revoked. Lt. Bryan and I began to search for Dean.
At 3:34 p. m. the following day-Monday, November 9, 2015-Lt. Bryan and I were searching for Dean in the area of Newton Avenue when we saw him driving a white Chevrolet Trailblazer. According to Lt. Bryan, Justin Lewis had reported that after the shooting, Dean left in a white Chevrolet Trailblazer that belonged to a woman named Ashleigh. I saw a woman in the Trailblazer's front passenger seat. There was a second woman in the back seat, although I did not see her at the time.
Lt. Bryan and I were riding together in my assigned police vehicle, an unmarked pickup truck. I was driving. Lt. Bryan and I attempted to make a traffic stop on Dean. The stop was based upon probable cause that Dean shot Justin Lewis the day before and on the fact that Dean was driving with a revoked license. When Lt. Bryan activated the blue emergency lights on my vehicle, ...

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