United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
HONORABLE KEVIN H. SHARP, CHIEF DISTRICT JUDGE
REPORT AND RECOMENDATION
BARBARA D. HOLMES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Order entered September 16, 2011 (Docket Entry No. 5), this
action was referred to the Magistrate Judge to manage
pretrial activity in the action under 28 U.S.C. §§
636(b)(1)(A) and (B), Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure, and the Local Rules of Court. By Order
entered February 2, 2012, the Court consolidated the instant
action (“Freeman I”) with another action
filed by Plaintiff, Antonio L. Freeman v. Dee David Gay,
et al., 3:11-1094 (“Freeman II”).
See Docket Entry No. 11 in Freeman
before the Court are the motion for summary judgment of
Defendant Jack Babbitt (Docket Entry No. 255) and the motion
for summary judgment of Defendants James Stinson and Gregory
Washburn (Docket Entry No. 258). For the reasons set out
below, the Court recommends that the motions be granted and
the consolidated actions be dismissed.
Freeman (“Plaintiff”) is currently an inmate
confined within the Tennessee Department of Correction
(“TDOC”). In 2011, he filed the two now
consolidated actions pro se and in forma
pauperis seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
based upon events that occurred when he was both a
non-incarcerated citizen in Sumner County, Tennessee, and a
pretrial detainee at the Sumner County Jail
(“Jail”), where he was confined prior to becoming
a TDOC inmate. In lengthy pleadings, Plaintiff brought claims
against numerous individuals based upon multiple events that
occurred during the time span of 2008 to 2011. As noted by
the Court in a prior Order,
In this consolidated civil rights action, which arose after
Plaintiff was arrested for driving under the influence in
Gallatin, Tennessee on September 14, 2008, Plaintiff, pro
se, has sued virtually everyone he had contact with
since, including police officers, sheriff deputies, jailers,
judges, a city mayor, bail bondsmen, defense lawyers,
disciplinary counsel, prosecutors, court employees, and even
a grand jury foreperson. Plaintiff seeks declaratory and
injunctive relief and millions of dollars in damages for a
host of alleged constitutional and state law violations.
See Order entered September 28, 2012 (Docket Entry
No. 157) (“”September 28 2012 Order”) at
The full procedural and factual history of the consolidated
action need not be recounted herein because all but two of
Plaintiff's claims have been dismissed as a result of
previous pretrial proceedings. See Report and
Recommendation entered June 7, 2012 (Docket Entry No. 120),
adopted by September 28, 2012 Order, for a complete summary
of Plaintiff's allegations and claims.
surviving claims were raised in Freeman I.
Plaintiff's first claim is against James Stinson
(“Stinson”) and Gregory Washburn
(“Washburn”). Defendants Stinson and Washburn
were police officers with the Gallatin Police Department who
made a traffic stop of Plaintiff on June 26, 2011, and
arrested him on charges of possession of a Schedule II Drug,
evading arrest, driving on a suspended license, and reckless
endangerment. Plaintiff alleges that he was wrongfully
arrested and that Defendants used excessive force against him
during the course of the arrest. See Complaint
(Docket Entry No. 1), at 9, 12 and 29. Claims against
Defendant Stinson and Washburn in their official capacities
and claims against them under state law were dismissed.
See September 28, 2012 Order at 5.
second claim is against Jack Babbitt (“Babbitt”),
who worked as an officer at the Jail during Plaintiff's
confinement there in 2011. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
Babbit wrongfully placed Plaintiff in segregation at the Jail
and discriminated against him because Plaintiff is an
African-American and also used excessive force against him on
August 20, 2011. See Complaint at 33.
it was not apparent that the criminal charges brought against
Plaintiff as a result of the June 26, 2011, arrest had been
resolved, the Court stayed the action on September 28, 2012,
until the conclusion of the relevant state criminal
proceedings, in accordance with Younger v. Harris,
401 U.S. 37, 91 S.Ct. 746, 27 L.Ed.2d 669 (1971) and
Michel v. City of Akron, 272 Fed.Appx. 477, 2008 WL
2077868 (6th Cir. May 15, 2008). See September 28,
2012 Order at 5. Upon receiving information from Defendants
that the charges had been resolved, the stay was lifted on
June 17, 2015, see Order (Docket Entry No. 225), and
a scheduling order was entered providing for a period of
discovery and other pretrial activity. See Docket
Entry No. 229.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTIONS
Babbitt asserts that there are no facts supporting a claim
that he violated Plaintiff's First Amendment rights or
his Fourteenth Amendment equal protection rights.
See Memorandum in Support (Docket Entry No. 256).
Defendant Babbitt further argues that Plaintiff's
excessive force claim warrants dismissal because it was
brought under the wrong constitutional provision.
Id. In support of his motion, Defendant Babbitt
relies upon the declaration of Sonya Troutt, the Jail
Administrator in 2011 (Docket Entry No. 255-1), excerpts from
Plaintiff's deposition transcript (Docket Entry No.
255-2), and a statement of undisputed material facts (Docket
Entry No. 257).
their motion for summary judgment, Defendants Stinson and
Washburn raise the defense of qualified immunity and argue
that the undisputed facts show that Plaintiff was arrested on
June 28, 2011, after he attempted to flee from a traffic stop
and that he was subsequently handcuffed and taken into
custody without incident. See Memorandum in Support
(Docket Entry No. 263). They argue that there are no facts
supporting either Plaintiff's claim that he was
unlawfully arrested or his claim that unreasonable force was
used against him during his arrest. Id. In support
of their motion, Defendants rely upon excerpts from
Plaintiff's deposition transcript (Docket Entry No.
259-1), the affidavit of ...