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Seay v. Rowland

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

November 21, 2017

CLANT M. SEAY, Plaintiff,
v.
BUCKY ROWLAND, et al., Defendants.

          CRENSHAW CHIEF JUDGE

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JOE B. BROWN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Pending before the Court are the following motions: Defendant Jerry W. Harris's motion to dismiss (Docket Entry No. 63), Defendant David Sisk's motion to dismiss (Docket Entry No. 66), and Defendant Callaway Dial's motion to dismiss (Docket Entry No. 69). The Magistrate Judge RECOMMENDS that these motions be DENIED without prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, Clant M. Seay, proceeding pro se, originally filed this action on August 23, 2016. (Docket Entry No. 1). The District Judge referred the case to the Magistrate Judge for decision on all pretrial, nondispositive motions, and a report and recommendation on any dispositive motions. (Docket Entry No. 5). The Magistrate Judge later granted Plaintiff leave of the Court to file an amended complaint. (Docket Entry No. 52). In his amended complaint[1], Plaintiff asserts violations of his civil rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments against Defendants Bucky Rowland, Sheriff of Maury County, Tennessee; Jerry W. Harris; David Sisk; and Callaway Dial. (Docket Entry No. 53). Plaintiff asserts that Defendants conspired to deny him from exercising his “First and Fourteenth Amendment constitutional rights to take photos and videos at 2016 Columbia Spring Jubilee Horse Show on June 3, 2016, and post them on the internet and social media.” Id. at ¶ 27. Plaintiff's allegations are based upon the following.

         Plaintiff is a journalist and welfare advocate associated with “the Citizens Campaign Against ‘Big Lick' Animal Cruelty” (“CCABLC”), who protests animal cruelty at Tennessee Walking Horses competitions. Id. at ¶¶ 15-17. Plaintiff attends horse shows to gather news, take photographs and make videos to publish on his website, www.billygoboy.com. Id. at ¶ 18. Plaintiff's claims stem from events that allegedly occurred on June 3, 2016, during the Columbia Spring Jubilee Horse Show that was being held at the public Maury County Park. Id. at ¶ 19.

         On or around June 1, 2016, David Sisk, the Jubilee Horse Show manager, and Jerry W. Harris, a videographer with Peahead Productions, Inc. and producer of the TV show, “What a Horse, ” entered into an agreement where Sisk agreed to sell Harris the exclusive video rights for commercial reproduction of the Columbia Jubilee Horse Show. Id. at ¶¶ 12-13, 19, 28; Docket Entry No. 53-1, at 46. On June 3, 2016, Plaintiff and his “journalistic associates and animal welfare advocates” attended the Columbia Jubilee Horse Show with the intention of taking videos and photographs at the show for the purpose of putting them on the internet and social media to “inform the public and for the world to see the ‘Big Lick' Animal Cruelty to Tennessee Walking Horses.” Id. at ¶¶ 19, 22. Sheriff Bucky Rowland instructed Plaintiff to stop videoing “events taking place at the Columbia Spring Jubilee Horse Show . . . or there could/would be civil and criminal consequences if they did not do so.” Id. at ¶ 19. In doing so, Sheriff Rowland referenced the video rights agreement between Sisk and Harris. Id. at ¶¶ 19, 21.

         Plaintiff alleges the following:

19. On Friday, June 3, 2016, Bucky Rowland, as Sheriff of Maury County, after conspiring with, Columbia Spring Jubilee Horse Show Chairman Mr. David Sisk and Mr. Jerry W. Harris, and their agents, Sheriff Rowland, and his Deputies, under color of law, approached Seay, his journalistic associates and animal welfare advocates with the Citizens Against “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty and intimidated, threatened and interfered with Seay and his journalistic associates/animal welfare advocates in the exercise of their constitutional rights and instructed Seay to turn off their video cameras and stop videoing events taking place at the Columbia Spring Jubilee Horse Show at the Maury County Park (Columbia, TN), or there could/would be civil and criminal consequences if they did not do so. By doing these things, Mr. Bucky Rowland, as Sheriff, referenced an alleged Agreement entered into by Columbia Spring Jubilee Horse Show Chairman Mr. David Sisk which forbid citizens or Seay acting as a journalist from making videos of what was going on at the Columbia Spring Jubilee at the public Maury County Park and providing them to the public. By doing this, Sheriff Bucky Rowland intimidated, threatened and interfered with and attempted to deprive Seay, and his journalistic associates, who were attending the horse show of their First Amendment constitutional rights. . . .
20. Additionally, Maury County Sheriff Bucky Rowland, at the behest, insistence and assistance of fellow state actors, Mr. David Sisk, Mr. Jerry W. Harris, and Mr. Callaway Dial, instructed his Deputy Sheriffs to instruct persons to not make videos and put them on the internet. . . .
. . . .
22. The plaintiff alleges that Defendants Mr. David Sisk, and Mr. Jerry Harris maliciously, intentionally, recklessly and outrageously schemed, colluded and conspired as state actors, along with Maury County Sheriff Bucky Rowland, and his Deputies, all acting under color of state law, to injure, oppress, threaten, intimidate and deprive the plaintiff (publisher of www.billygoboy.com publication) and his journalistic associates/animal welfare activists from being able to freely exercise their First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment constitutional rights to take videos and photos at the Columbia Spring Jubilee Horse Show in Maury County Park on June 3, 2016, for the purpose of putting them on the internet and social media [to] inform the public and for the world to see the “Big Lick” Animal Cruelty to Tennessee Walking Horses.
. . . .
27. Plaintiff alleges that Mr. David Sisk, Mr. Jerry W. Harris, Mr. Callaway Dial and Maury County Sheriff Bucky Rowland, and his Deputies, allegedly conspired in an organized effort to deny the plaintiff and his journalistic associates/animal welfare advocates from exercising their First and Fourteenth Amendment constitutional rights to take photos and videos at 2016 Columbia ...

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