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Denton v. Rievley

July 21, 2008

ROY L. DENTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STEVE RIEVLEY DEFENDANT.



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

Chief Judge Curtis L. Collier

MEMORANDUM

Before the Court is pro se Plaintiff Roy L. Denton's motion for partial summary judgment (Court File No. 20), along with his memorandum in support (Court File No. 21), Defendant Steve Rievley's response in opposition (Court File No. 29), and Plaintiff's reply (Court File No. 31). Having considered the parties' briefs, the evidence, and the applicable law, the Court will DENY Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment (Court File No. 20).

I. RELEVANT FACTS

On summary judgment, the Court views the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, which is the defendant.

According to Defendant's affidavit, he is a police officer, and was working an overnight shift when he was dispatched about a domestic violence incident. Defendant spoke to Plaintiff's son, Brandon Denton, who said he was attacked by his father (Plaintiff) and brother. Defendant observed red marks on Brandon's neck consistent with strangulation and abrasions on his arms and forehead. Defendant also spoke with a co-worker of Brandon who informed the officer that Brandon did not have those injuries earlier that evening. Brandon told Defendant his father and brother remained at their home.

Defendant drove to the home. He walked to the door to ask Plaintiff about Brandon. According to Plaintiff's brief, Plaintiff saw lights outside and opened his front door to investigate, at which point he saw Defendant coming to his front porch.*fn1 According to Defendant, on the front porch Defendant saw Brandon's broken eyeglasses, which were consistent with Brandon's account. He also smelled alcohol on Plaintiff. Defendant decided to arrest Plaintiff for domestic assault and informed Plaintiff he was under arrest. After a short discussion, Plaintiff "turned away from [Defendant] toward the door of his house." As Plaintiff turned away, Defendant grabbed Plaintiff's right arm, which Defendant handcuffed, and then Defendant handcuffed Plaintiff's left arm.

In his brief, Plaintiff writes that after he opened the door, Defendant asked about Plaintiff's son. Plaintiff "then turned away from [Defendant] and attempted to shut and lock his door. As [Plaintiff] was attempting to close the front door and lock it, [Defendant] handcuffed his right arm and then managed to handcuff his other arm together."

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is proper when "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c).

First, the moving party must demonstrate no genuine issue of material fact exists. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986); Leary v. Daeschner, 349 F.3d 888, 897 (6th Cir. 2003). The Court views the evidence, including all reasonable inferences, in the light most favorable to the non-movant. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574 (1986); Nat'l Satellite Sports, Inc. v. Eliadis Inc., 253 F.3d 900, 907 (6th Cir. 2001). However, the non-movant is not entitled to a trial based solely on its allegations, but must submit significant probative evidence to support its claims. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324; McLean v. Ontario, Ltd., 224 F.3d 797, 800 (6th Cir. 2000). The moving party is entitled to summary judgment if the non-movant fails to make a sufficient showing on an essential element for which it bears the burden of proof. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. In short, if the Court concludes a fair-minded jury could not return a verdict in favor of the non-movant based on the record, the Court may enter summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986); Lansing Dairy, Inc. v. Espy, 39 F.3d 1339, 1347 (6th Cir. 1994).

III. DISCUSSION

Plaintiff argues he is entitled to summary judgment because Defendant made a warrantless arrest of him inside his house without consent or exigent circumstances. Defendant argues the arrest was proper under Tennessee law.

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees: " The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated." Under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983, a plaintiff may seek money damages from a government official who ...


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