Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Shearon v. Womack

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

November 13, 2017

DAVID SHEARON, Plaintiff,
v.
COLEMAN WOMACK et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         After David Shearon was rear-ended on Gallatin Road, Officer Coleman Womack arrested Shearon for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and commenced a criminal prosecution that was ultimately dismissed when Shearon's blood alcohol level was confirmed to be 0%. From that incident, Shearon brings the instant civil rights action under 28 U.S.C. § 1983 against Womack and the Metropolitan Government of Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee (“Metro”). (Doc. No. 1.) Before the Court is Womack's Motion for Summary Judgment.[1] (Doc. No. 52.) For the following reasons, Womack's Motion is denied.

         I. UNDISPUTED FACTS

         On October 15, 2014, Eric Jennings rear-ended Shearon at the intersection of Gallatin Road and Seymour Avenue in Nashville, Tennessee. (Doc. No. 63 at 1.) Shearon called 9-1-1 and the operator asked if there were any injuries during the accident, to which Shearon responded that there were not. (Doc. No. 63 at 1; Ex. 32.) The 9-1-1 operator then instructed Shearon to call the Metro Police Department's non-emergency phone number. (Doc. No. 63 at 1.) Shearon also asked if he could move his car to the side of the road, and the 9-1-1 operator said he could if he could do so safely. (Ex. 32.) Shearon then moved his car to the Burger King side of Seymore Avenue next to the grassy area of Gallatin Road, and Jennings moved his car the opposite side of Seymore Avenue. (Doc. No. 48-1 at 5-6.) Shearon was in possession of two firearms, one on his person and another in his car. (Doc. No. 63 at 3.)

         Shearon then called the non-emergency phone number. (Doc. No. 63 at 2; Ex. 33.) The operator again asked if there were any injuries, to which Shearon responded that there were none. (Doc. No. 63 at 2; Ex. 33.) The operator stated that she would dispatch an officer to the scene to make a report. (Ex. 33.)

         After waiting for a long period of time, Womack arrived at the scene of the accident. (Doc. No. 48-1 at 4.) Upon arrival, Jennings began talking to Womack. (Doc. No. 48-1 at 5.) Shearon was “stunned and shocked” that the officer spoke with Jennings before Shearon because he was the one who was rear-ended. (Doc. No. 48-1 at 6.) He started walking across Seymore Avenue and told Womack that he should to talk with Shearon first because he got hit. (Doc. No. 48-1 at 6.) Womack told Shearon to get out of the middle of the street. (Doc. No. 48-1 at 6.) Womack recorded Jennings' information and told him that he was free to go. (Doc. No. 48-1 at 7.)

         Shearon was upset that Womack allowed Jennings to leave without giving him a ticket, and he felt he could not communicate with Womack about it because of the officer's attitude. (Doc. No. 48-1 at 7.) Shearon told Womack that he is the Master Mason in the Masonic Lodge, Metro Police Department Sergeant Kevin Shearon is his nephew, and he owns millions of dollars in real estate around the area. (Doc. No. 48-1 at 7.) Womack observed that Shearon had dilated pupils and droopy and watery eyes. (Doc. No. 48-6.) Womack then told Shearon to go to the Burger King parking lot. (Doc. No. 48-1 at 8.)

         Womack asked Shearon if he had taken any drugs that day, to which Shearon replied that he had not. (Doc. No. 48-1 at 9.) Womack then had Shearon go through two field sobriety tests for driving under the influence. (Doc. No. 63 at 2-3.) Shearon informed Womack that he had an injured foot, but he was willing to do the tests. (Doc. No. 48-1 at 9.) During the “Walk and Turn” test, where Shearon had to walk along a straight line and then turn around and walk back, Shearon stepped off the line once, maybe twice. (Doc. No. 48-1 at 10.) During the “One Leg Stand” test, Shearon was able to stand on each leg for twenty seconds. (Doc. No. 68-19 at 40-41.) He may have raised his arms during both tests in order to maintain his balance. (Doc. No. 68-19 at 43.) After the tests, Womack arrested Shearon and drove him to the Nashville General Hospital for a blood draw. (Doc. No. 68-19 at 55.) Womack then drove Shearon to the Criminal Justice Center, where Womack charged Shearon with Driving Under the Influence, in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated § 55-10-401, and Possession of a Handgun While Under the Influence, in violation of Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-1321. (Doc. No. 48-8 at 1-2.) After two hours, Shearon was released for $35 on a Pretrial Release Agreement. (Doc. No. 48-9.)

         Shearon attended one or two court hearings per month. (Doc. No. 68-19 at 68.) At each court hearing, the District Attorney would ask to continue the case until the test results came back from the blood draw. (Doc. No. 68-19 at 68.) On June 2, 2015, once the blood results confirmed that Shearon did not have any drugs in his system, the District Attorney dismissed the case. (Doc. No. 68-19 at 69.)

         II. QUALIFIED IMMUNITY ANALYSIS

         Womack moves for summary judgment on both the false arrest and malicious prosecution claims on the basis of qualified immunity. (Doc. No. 54.) Qualified immunity is an “immunity from suit” available to government officials performing discretionary functions, Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 237 (2009) (quoting Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511, 526 (1985)), protecting them “from liability for civil damages insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.” Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982). Womack argues he is entitled to qualified immunity on both counts because there was probable cause to arrest Shearon for both charges, and additionally on the malicious prosecution claim because he was not deprived any liberty. (Doc. No. 54.)

         A. Standard

         The Supreme Court set forth the standard for qualified immunity suits:

In [Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 121 S.Ct. 2151 (2001)], this Court mandated a two-step sequence for resolving government officials' qualified immunity claims. First, a court must decide whether the facts that a plaintiff has alleged (see Fed. Rules Civ. Proc. 12(b)(6), (c)) or shown (see Rules 50, 56) make out a violation of a constitutional right. 533 U.S.___, at 201, 121 S.Ct. 2151. Second, if the plaintiff has satisfied this first step, the court must decide whether the right at issue was “clearly established” at the time of defendant's alleged misconduct. Ibid. ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.