United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville
BRANDON S. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff
BRANDON TROUTT 331 OFFICER, Defendant
HONORABLE ALETA A. TRAUGER JUDGE.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
BROWN United States Magistrate Judge.
reasons stated below, the Magistrate Judge recommends that
this case be dismissed for failure to prosecute and to obey
Court orders. Alternatively, the case should be dismissed for
failure to state an offense in view of his criminal
conviction for the drugs found on his person when the
Defendant Police Officer stopped and searched the vehicle in
which the Plaintiff was a passenger.
Magistrate Judge further recommends that any appeal from
dismissal of this case not be certified as taken in good
13, 2016, the Plaintiff filed a complaint against the
Gallatin Police Department and Officer Troutt (Docket Entry
1). On an initial review (Docket Entry 4) the Court conducted
an initial review of the Plaintiff's complaint. The
initial review stated:
The plaintiff claims that, on March 17, 2016, he was a
passenger in a car stopped by Officer Brandon Troutt of the
Gallatin Police Department. During the stop, Officer Trout
allegedly made the plaintiff get out of the car. The
plaintiff claims that he was searched three times by Officer
Troutt, who touched him in the area of his genitals. The
plaintiff claims that both the search and his subsequent
arrest were illegal.
From plaintiff's allegations, it could be inferred that
the search of his person was unreasonable. It appears,
therefore, that the plaintiff has stated a colorable claim
scheduling order was entered in the matter on July 7, 2016
(Docket Entry 15). In that scheduling order the Plaintiff was
specifically warned that he must keep the Court informed of
his current address and that failure to do so could result in
the dismissal of his case for failure to prosecute and for
failure to comply with the Court's orders.
Plaintiff next filed an amended complaint (Docket Entry 18)
on July 18, 2016. In his amended complaint he dropped claims
against the Sheriff's Department and complained only
about Officer's Troutt's search of his persons on
March 17, 2016.
the Defendant moved to stay the case (Docket Entry 32) on the
basis of Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971),
until the State criminal charges against the Plaintiff were
concluded. In their memorandum in support of the motion
(Docket Entry 34) they noted that the Plaintiff had filed
motions to dismiss the criminal charges against him on the
basis of an unconstitutional search. The Defendant argued
that it would be a better practice to stay the federal claims
pending the ruling in the criminal case, citing numerous
particular, they noted that Heck v. Humphries, 512
U.S. 477 (1974) held that a federal civil rights suit must be
dismissed if a favorable ruling in the federal case would
impinge a state criminal conviction. They pointed out that if
the Plaintiff's motion to suppress the drugs found on his
person is denied in the state criminal court, and the
Plaintiff is convicted on the criminal charges pending from
the March 17th traffic stop, then Officer Troutt
would have had probable cause to remove the Plaintiff from
his vehicle and the search was proper. They further pointed
out that a favorable ruling in this civil case would impose
upon the state court's conviction, and that is exactly
what the Heck doctrine prevents.
also cite numerous cases holding that the doctrine of
collateral estoppel or res adjudicata may also
prevent the relitigation of issues in federal court that are
litigated and decided in the state criminal proceedings.
motion was granted and the Clerk was directed to
administratively close the case subject to being reopened
upon the completion of the criminal case. Counsel for the
Defendant was directed to advise ...