United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
THOMAS ANDERSON, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendant Tony M. Byrd's Motion for Summary
Judgment (ECF No. 79) filed on November 20, 2015. Plaintiff
Dawn Alexander has responded in opposition, and Defendant has
filed a reply brief. On March 24, 2017, the case was
transferred to the undersigned for all further proceedings.
For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment is GRANTED.
filed a Complaint on January 28, 2014, alleging the violation
of her constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 as
well as claims under Tennessee law. Plaintiff brought §
1983 claims for the infringement of her Fourth and Eighth
Amendment rights to be free from arrest, imprisonment, the
unreasonable use of force, and prosecution without probable
cause. Plaintiff also alleged claims for malicious
prosecution, false arrest/imprisonment, assault and battery,
and the intentional infliction of emotional distress, all
under Tennessee common law. The Complaint named as Defendants
Gibson County, Tennessee; the Gibson County Sheriffs
Department; the City of Medina, Tennessee; Tony M. Byrd, a
Gibson County deputy sheriff in his individual capacity
("Deputy Byrd"); Chad Lowery, the chief of police
for the City of Medina ("Chief Lowery"); and Jason
McCallister, a Medina police officer ("Officer
McCallister"). On October 24, 2014, the Court dismissed
all of Plaintiff s § 1983 claims against Gibson County
and the Gibson County Sheriffs Department and declined to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs state law
claims against any Defendant. However, the Court denied
Deputy Byrd's motion to dismiss (ECF No. 32) the §
1983 claims against him in his individual capacity. The
parties subsequently filed stipulations of dismissal (ECF
Nos. 36, 48) as to the City of Medina, Chief Lowery, and
Officer McCallister, as to all claims, leaving only
Plaintiffs § 1983 claims against Deputy Byrd for trial.
1, 2015, counsel for Deputy Byrd filed a suggestion of death
(ECF No. 64) reporting the death of Deputy Byrd, and the
Court granted Plaintiffs motion to substitute the
administrator ad litem for Deputy Byrd's estate on
February 15, 2016. Deputy Byrd now seeks judgment as a matter
of law on Plaintiffs § 1983 claims against him. Pursuant
to Local Rule 56.1(a), Defendant has prepared a statement of
facts "to assist the Court in ascertaining whether there
are any material facts in dispute." Local R. 56.1(a). A
fact is material if the fact "might affect the outcome
of the lawsuit under the governing substantive law."
Baynes v. Cleland, 799 F.3d 600, 607 (6th Cir. 2015)
(citing Wiley v. United States, 20 F.3d 222, 224
(6th Cir. 1994) and Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986)). A dispute about a material fact
is genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party."
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. For purposes of summary
judgment, a party asserting that a material fact is not
genuinely in dispute must cite particular parts of the
materials in the record and show that the materials fail to
establish a genuine dispute or that the adverse party has
failed to produce admissible evidence to support a fact.
non-moving party at summary judgment is required to respond
to each of the moving party's statements of fact "by
either (1) agreeing that the fact is undisputed; (2) agreeing
that the fact is undisputed for the purpose of ruling on the
motion for summary judgment only; or (3) demonstrating that
the fact is disputed." Local R. 56.1(b). Additionally,
the non-moving party may "object that the material cited
to support or dispute a fact cannot be presented in a form
that would be admissible in evidence." Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c)(2). Where the non-moving asserts that a genuine dispute
of material fact exists, the non-moving must support his or
her contention with a "specific citation to the
record." Local R. 56.1(b). If the non-moving fails to
demonstrate that a fact is disputed or simply fails to
address the moving party's statement of fact properly,
the Court will "consider the fact undisputed for
purposes" of ruling on the Motions. Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(e)(2); see also Local R. 56.1(d) ("Failure
to respond to a moving party's statement of material
facts, or a non-moving party's statement of additional
facts, within the time periods provided by these rules shall
indicate that the asserted facts are not disputed for
purposes of summary judgment."). Under Rule 56 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court "need
consider only the cited materials" but has discretion to
"consider other materials in the record."
Court finds that the following facts are undisputed for
purposes of Deputy Byrd's Rule 56 Motion, unless
otherwise noted. On January 28, 2013, Plaintiff arrived at
her son's home at 21 Sitka Road in Gibson County,
Tennessee. (Def's Statement of Undisputed Fact ¶ 1.)
Upon her arrival, Plaintiff noticed police cars parked in the
driveway of her sister's house at 19 Sitka Road.
(Id.) Plaintiff parked her vehicle and walked over
to her sister's house to see what was happening. (Id.
¶ 2.) As Plaintiff walked up her sister's
driveway, she saw four men huddled behind her sister's
vehicle. (Id. ¶ 3.) The four men were Deputy
Byrd of the Gibson County Sheriffs Department and Chief
Lowery, Officer McCallister, Officer Don Burress of the
Medina Police Department. (Id. ¶ 4.) Plaintiff
disputes this fact and argues that a police dashcam video
recording shows that the fourth man was Hayden Green,
Plaintiffs nephew, and not Officer McCallister. (Pl's
Resp. to Def.'s Statement ¶ 4.) The dashcam video is
an exhibit to Deputy Byrd's Rule 56 Motion.
to Plaintiffs arrival on the scene, Officer Burress had
pulled over Plaintiffs nephew Hayden Green on suspicion that
Green was driving under the influence and that Green had been
involved in a hit-and-run auto accident in the Medina city
limits. (Def.'s Statement of Undisputed Fact ¶
Shortly after Officer Burress stopped Green, Chief Lowery and
Officer McCallister arrived on the scene. (Id.
¶ 6.) The parties disagree over whether the Medina
Police Department had the authority to stop Green outside of
the Medina city limits. Deputy Byrd arrived on the scene
after Chief Lowery and Officer McCallister. (Id.
¶ 7.) The parties agree that Deputy Byrd had no
authority over Chief Lowery, Officer Burress, or Officer
McCalister, in that Deputy Byrd did not supervise or control
Medina Police officers. The parties disagree over whether
Deputy Byrd had the legal authority to stop Medina Police
officers acting outside of the scope of their employment and
beyond the limits of their lawful jurisdiction. (Id.
¶¶ 8, 9.) According to Defendant, Deputy Byrd was
not involved in making the traffic stop and was present at
the scene simply to provide assistance to the Medina Police
if necessary. (Id. ¶ 10.) Plaintiff cites the
fact that Officer Burress requested his dispatcher to send a
"county unit" out because the stop had occurred in
the county, and not in the City of Medina. (Pl's Resp. to
Def's Statement ¶ 10.) Plaintiff argues that Officer
Burress needed Deputy Byrd to effectuate an arrest in the
making the stop, Officer Burress interviewed Green and
conducted field sobriety tests to determine whether Green had
been driving under the influence. (Def's Statement of
Undisputed Fact ¶ 11.) Officer Burress concluded that
Green was intoxicated and was the driver involved in the
hit-and-run accident. (Id. ¶ 12.) The City of
Medina officers placed Green under arrest. (Id.)
When Green refused to comply with the officers'
instructions, Chief Lowery and Officer McCallister assisted
Officer Burress in handcuffing Green. (Id. ¶
Upon her arrival in the driveway, Plaintiff recognized that
her nephew was in the middle of the group of officers.
(Id. ¶ 14.) Chief Lowery, Deputy Byrd, and
Officer Burress ordered Plaintiff to return to her vehicle,
and Plaintiff refused. (Id. ¶ 16.) Plaintiff
asked "what is going on?" to which her nephew
responded, "I don't know, Mama Dawn, they are
arresting me for nothing." (Id. ¶¶
Officer McCallister asked Plaintiff to leave the scene,
Plaintiff answered, "No, this is my nephew, this is all
of our properties." (Id. ¶ 19.) The video
shows Officer McCallister again asking Plaintiff to leave;
Plaintiff took one step back and then said she wanted to ask
her nephew some questions. (Id. \ 20.) Officer
McCallister put his hand on Plaintiffs right arm and again
told her to go back to her car. (Id. ¶ 21.)
Plaintiff told Officer McCallister to get his "hands off
me" and refused to leave. (Id. ¶ 22.) At
that point Officer McCallister put Plaintiff under arrest and
began to place her in handcuffs. (Id. ¶¶
23, 25.) Plaintiff asserts that Officer McCallister gripped
her arm and shoulder forcefully as he went to apply the
handcuffs while Deputy Byrd stood by. (Pl's Resp. to
Def.'s Statement ¶ 23.) Officer McCallister put
Plaintiff in his patrol car by forcing her to walk down the
driveway. (Def.'s Statement of Undisputed Fact ¶
While Deputy Byrd denies that he directed or assisted in any
way in the effort to arrest Plaintiff, Plaintiff asserts that
Deputy Byrd directed Officer McCallister to put Plaintiff in
his patrol car. (Pl's Resp. to Def.'s Statement
¶ 29.) Plaintiff further asserts that Deputy Byrd filed
the affidavit of complaint against her and otherwise failed
to intervene when the other officers placed her under arrest,
used excessive force, and detained her unreasonably.
sitting in the patrol car for 30 to 45 minutes, Plaintiff was
joined in the car by Officer McCallister who informed
Plaintiff she was under arrest for assaulting a police
officer. (Def.'s Statement of Undisputed Fact ¶ 30.)
Officer McCallister was the only officer on the scene to
advise Plaintiff she was under arrest. (Id. ¶
31.) Officer McCallister transported Plaintiff to the Gibson
County Jail where Plaintiff was booked into the jail.
(Id. ¶ 32.) That evening, Gibson County General
Sessions Judge Mark Agree called the jail and ordered that
Plaintiff be released on her own recognizance. (Id.
¶ 33.) Plaintiff was released at 7:18 p.m.
that night, Deputy Byrd filed two affidavits of complaint
with the Gibson County General Sessions Court, charging
Plaintiff with resisting arrest and assaulting a police
officer. (Id. ¶ 34.) The parties seem to
dispute the timing of Deputy Byrd's affidavits: Deputy
Byrd's statement of fact suggests he prepared the
affidavits after Plaintiff was released; Plaintiff maintains
she was not released until much later. It is undisputed that
Plaintiff was never served with any warrants while she was
still at the jail. (Id. ¶ 35.)
April 2, 2013, the court conducted a preliminary hearing on
the charges and dismissed them for lack of probable cause.
(Id. ¶ 36.) During the preliminary hearing, Judge
Thomas L. Moore, presiding, heard testimony and reviewed the
video recording of the episode, though he did not listen to
the audio. (Id. ¶ 37.) Judge Moore found that
there was no evidence of assault.
(Id.)The video never shows Deputy Byrd
physically touching Plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 39.)
Deputy Byrd was not involved in placing handcuffs on
Plaintiff or removing the handcuffs from Plaintiff. (Id.
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that a party is
entitled to summary judgment if the moving party "shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The Supreme Court has stated that
"[t]hough determining whether there is a genuine issue
of material fact at summary judgment is a question of law, it
is a legal question that sits near the law-fact divide."
Ashcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662, 674 (2009). In
reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the evidence must be
viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party,
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986), and the "judge may not make
credibility determinations or weigh the evidence."
Adams v. Metiva,31 F.3d 375, 379 (6th Cir. 1994).
When the motion is supported by documentary proof such as
depositions and affidavits, the nonmoving party may not rest
on his pleadings but, rather, must present some
"specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. It is not
sufficient "simply [to] show that there is some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts."
Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. These facts must be
more than a scintilla of evidence and must meet the standard
of whether a reasonable juror could find by a preponderance
of the evidence that the nonmoving party is entitled to a
verdict. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., ...