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Anderson v. Hamblen County

February 25, 2008

CORTEZ ANDERSON
v.
HAMBLEN COUNTY, TENNESSEE, ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Ronnie Greer United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

The plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint*fn1 is before the Court on the Defendant David Purkey's" Motion to Dismiss and/or for Summary Judgment," [Doc. 51],*fn2 and Defendants Hamblen County, Tennessee, Otto Purkey, Ron Inman, Scott Purkey, James Coffrey,*fn3 and Jesse Dixon's Motion for Summary Judgment, [Doc. 59]. Plaintiff has responded, [Doc. 63], oral argument was heard on January 16, 2008, and supplemental pleadings have been filed by both parties, [Docs. 129, 130]. The matter is now ripe for disposition.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Before setting forth the facts, this Court notes that paragraph 5(a) of the Scheduling Order states that any motion for summary judgment "must be accompanied by a separate concise statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue for trial." The facts must be in separate numbered paragraphs with citations to the record. Any party opposing must file a response to each fact either "(1) agreeing that the fact is undisputed, (2) agreeing that the fact is undisputed for purposes of ruling on the motion for summary judgment only, or (3) demonstrating that the fact is disputed." Each disputed fact must be supported by citation to the record. The defendants initially failed to comply with the scheduling order.

On December 11, 2007, this Court issued a Show Cause Order giving the parties an opportunity to comply with the Scheduling Order. On December 18, 2007, the defendants filed their Statements of Material Facts, [Docs. 120 and 121]. The Statement of Material Facts relating to Defendant David Purkey's Motion for Summary Judgment, [Doc. 120], stated:

1. The only time that David Purkey is mentioned in the Complaint is when the Plaintiff states: "Paragraph 4-Defendant, County Mayor, David Purkey 511 W. 2nd North St., Morristown, TN 37814, solely in his official capacity and is available for service of process at 511 W. 2nd North St, Morristown, TN 37814." "Paragraph 71-Defendant Hamblen County, Tennessee is liable under the Governmental Tort Liability Act "GTLA" for the negligence of its employees and agents for actions, including but not limited to defendant, Scott Purkey, Sheriff Otto Purkey, Jailer Ron Inman, Mayor David Purkey, Corrections Officers James Coffrey and Jesse Dixon that are not specifically excluded from the act." See Complaint, Exhibit A to Doc. 1, paragraphs 4 & 71.

2. David Purkey is not even mentioned in the Plaintiff's Amended Complaint. See Amended Complaint, Doc. 27.

3. The Plaintiff was under the influence of alcohol at the time of his arrest. See Deposition of Cortez Anderson 21:9 -- 13 (July 23, 2007)[Doc. 65].

4. The Plaintiff did not mention David Purkey in any of his responses when asked to name all the instances in which he felt like his civil rights had been violated. See Deposition of Cortez Anderson, Exhibit 1 to Doc. 59; see also Doc. 65.

5. Plaintiff has alleged no specific act of negligence, no specific intentional act, nothing to support any unconstitutional behavior, and in fact no act whatsoever that would subject the county mayor to liability in this case.

See Complaint [Doc. 1], Amended Complaint [Doc. 27], and excerpts from Deposition of Cortez Anderson [Docs. 59, 65].

The Statement of Material Facts for the other defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, [Doc. 121], stated:

1. The Plaintiff was under the influence of alcohol at the time of his arrest. See Deposition of Cortez Anderson 21:9 -- 13 (July 23, 2007)[Doc. 65].

2. The plaintiff acknowledges that Defendant Ron Inman was not on duty at any time when the alleged incidents happened. See Doc. 59-2, Deposition of Cortez Anderson 60:13-19 (July 23, 2007). See also Deposition of Ron Inman 62:19 --63:1 (July 25, 2007).

3. In the plaintiff's own words, "Officer Dixon did not play a part in doing anything to me whatsoever. He did not violate me in no matter whatsoever." See Doc. 59-2, Deposition of Cortez Anderson 47:18-21.

4. In the plaintiff's own words, he admits that Officer Coffrey took no part in any incident except for the alleged mace spraying incident. See Doc. 59-2, Deposition Anderson 50:4-6.

5. Defendant Otto Purkey was not present at any time material to the lawsuit now before the Court. See Deposition of Otto Purkey 3:18 -- 4:5 (August 10, 2007).

6. The Plaintiff pled guilty to assaulting Officer Scott Purkey. See Defendants' Proposed Stipulations, paragraph 2 [Doc. 114] and Plaintiff's Response to Show Cause [Doc. 117]; See also Depo. Anderson 55:19 -- 56:2.

The plaintiff responded by stating, "Plaintiff states that he has no objections to the documents filed," [Doc. 122].

Despite the fact that all three filings are grossly inadequate, viewing the facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff,*fn4 this Court sets forth the following facts, which it gleaned from the rather meager record filed in this case. The plaintiff was arrested on August 14, 2004, and charged with driving under the influence, and he was intoxicated when taken to the Hamblen County Detention Facility. During the course of his detention, Defendants David Purkey, Otto Purkey, and Inman were neither on duty nor present at the detention facility. Defendants Scott Purkey, Dixon, and Coffrey were present at the facility.

While being booked, the plaintiff engaged in a verbal exchange with Defendant Scott Purkey, and Defendant Scott Purkey attempted to choke the plaintiff.*fn5 Then the plaintiff was taken to a holding cell where Defendant Scott Purkey told him to remove his clothes down to his underwear and socks, and other inmates were removed from the cell. Defendant Scott Purkey returned sometime later with a pepper ball gun, fired three to four shots at the plaintiff, and left the holding cell. The plaintiff knocked on the holding cell door*fn6 , and Defendant Scott Purkey returned to the cell, instructed the plaintiff to spread his arms and legs and to face a wall, and shot the plaintiff several times with the pepper ball gun. The plaintiff sustained a total of approximately 27 shots. After the shooting, the plaintiff fled the cell into the hallway, where all doors leading elsewhere were locked. Another officer then escorted the plaintiff back to the holding cell.*fn7 Throughout the night, someone poured cold water under the holding cell's door.

As a result of this incident, the plaintiff was charged with and pled guilty to assaulting Defendant Scott Purkey in the General Sessions Court of Hamblen County. The plaintiff attached the Incident Report to their Response. It states,

[The plaintiff] struck officer in face [and] ran out of cell--in escape attempt. Was caught [and] refused orders to step and get down. [The plaintiff] refused officers['] orders and was combative--so pepper ball gun was used and took 15 rounds to gain compliance from [the ...


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