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Clark v. Robertson

March 5, 2007


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Curtis L. Collier Chief United States District Judge


Before the Court is Defendants Deputy Doug Roberson*fn1 , Sheriff Bob Swafford, and Bledsoe County, TN's (collectively "Defendants") motion for summary judgment (Court File No. 39) and accompanying memorandum in support (Court File No. 46). Defendants also filed a supplemental memorandum of law in support of their motion (Court File No. 58). Plaintiff filed a response in opposition to Defendants' motion (Court File No. 53) and a motion requesting an extension to complete his response (Court File No. 52). The Court granted Plaintiff's request for an extension of time within which to complete his response and ordered Plaintiff to do so on or before January 10, 2007 (Court File No. 56). However, Plaintiff did not file his brief, which completed his response, until January 31, 2007 (Court File No. 61). Although Plaintiff's brief is clearly untimely, the Court will consider it.*fn2 Defendants filed a reply to Plaintiff's response (Court File No. 62).


Summary judgment is proper where "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). Initially, the burden is on the moving party to conclusively show no genuine issues of material fact exist, Leary v. Daeschner, 349 F.3d 888, 897 (6th Cir. 2003), and the Court must view the evidence and draw all reasonable inferences therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587-88, (1986). However, the nonmoving party is not entitled to a trial merely on the basis of allegations, but must come forward with some significant probative evidence to support its claim. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986). If the nonmoving party fails to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of its case with respect to which it has the burden of proof, the moving party is entitled to summary judgment. Id. at 323.

The Court determines whether sufficient evidence has been presented to make the issue of fact a proper jury question, but does not weigh the evidence, judge the credibility of witnesses, or determine the truth of the matter. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986); Weaver v. Shadoan, 340 F.3d 398, 405 (6th Cir. 2003). The standard for summary judgment mirrors the standard for directed verdict. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250. The Court must decide "whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law." Id. at 251-52. There must be some probative evidence from which the jury could reasonably find for the nonmoving party. If the Court concludes a fair-minded jury could not return a verdict in favor of the nonmoving party based on the evidence presented, it may enter a summary judgment. Id.; Lansing Dairy, Inc. v. Espy, 39 F.3d 1339, 1347 (6th Cir. 1994).


The Court is familiar with this case since it ruled on Defendants' motion for partial summary judgment a few weeks ago. In the Memorandum accompanying the Order granting partial summary judgment, the Court adopted the facts from a memorandum accompanying an order granting summary judgment in Clark v. Robertson, et. al., No. 1:03-CV-268 (E.D. Tenn. 2004), a prior action between these parties involving the same claims. The Court did so because the Court was not aware of any facts that had changed. However, to resolve this motion, the Court must point to some facts that have slightly changed since the prior action.

In the instant case, the affidavits of both Rhonda Sills ("Ms. Sills") and Deputy Roberson have been revised to reflect that after Ms. Sills spoke to Frances Clark ("Ms. Clark"), Ms. Sills met with Deputy Roberson, told him everything Ms. Clark had revealed to her,*fn3 and agreed that Plaintiff had probably injured Ms. Clark and should be questioned in such regard. (Court File No. 41, Affidavit of Rhonda Sills ("Sills Aff."), ¶ 8; Court File No. 40, Affidavit of Douglas Roberson ("Roberson Aff.", ¶ 9). Ms. Sills also told Deputy Roberson Ms. Clark was afraid of her son arriving at the hospital. Id. at ¶ 9.

Defendants have also attached the affidavit of Sandra Melton, custodian of medical records at Erlanger Bledsoe County Hospital, and Ms. Clark's medical records for the injuries that served as the basis for Plaintiff's domestic assault and abuse of adult charges. (Court File No. 45, Parts1 and 2). The nursing notes entered at the time of Ms. Clark's admission, 11:00 a.m., stated "numerous bruises noted . . .[patient]*fn4 request[s] Sheriff's office be called." Id. at part 2, p. 10. The notes go on to show the Sheriff's department arrived to speak to the patient at 3:30. Id. Soon thereafter, there is an entry stating the nurse spoke to someone from Human Protective Services and was told this was a case for the local police department. Id.

To the extent there is no conflict, the Court adopts the facts as stated in the Memorandum issued in conjunction with the Order granting Defendants' motion for summary judgment in Clark, No. 1:03-CV-268, Court File No. 19 at 2-8. However, if a conflict exists between the facts as stated in the previous action and the facts outlined in the preceding paragraphs, the facts in the preceding paragraphs prevail.

As noted above, in the instant action the Court has already granted Defendants' motion for partial summary judgment, which left Plaintiff with claims for false arrest, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution under federal statutory, state statutory, and state common law stemming from his arrest for domestic abuse of an adult. Defendants now move for summary judgment on those claims.


Plaintiff alleges, under federal statutory, state statutory and state common law, Deputy Roberson falsely arrested, falsely imprisoned, and maliciously prosecuted him for domestic abuse of an adult. He alleges Sheriff Swafford and Bledsoe County, TN are liable since they "had either actual or constructive knowledge of these problems but has [sic] failed or refused to act to prevent further harm or abuse caused by this officer." (Compl. ΒΆ 5). Defendants move for summary judgment on all of these claims, arguing this action is barred by the applicable statute of limitations, and in the alternative, Defendants possessed ...

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