United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Howell (“Howell”) brought this action against the
Government of Fairview, Tennessee (“Fairview”)
and Officer Joseph Cox (“Cox”), pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and the First and Fourth Amendments to the
U.S. Constitution, arising out of an arrest on July 25, 2012,
and subsequent prosecution. (Doc. No. 1.) Before the Court is
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 30);
Plaintiff's Response in Opposition (Doc. No. 37);
Defendants' Reply (Doc. No. 40); Defendants'
Statement of Undisputed Material Facts (Doc. No. 34);
Plaintiff's Response to Defendants' Statement of
Undisputed Material Facts and Additional Proposed Facts (Doc.
No. 38); Defendants' Response to Plaintiff's
Statement of Additional Proposed Facts (Doc. No. 41); and
numerous exhibits. The Motion is ripe for decision. For the
following reasons, the Defendants' motion will be
25, 2012, Fairview police officers were dispatched to a bar
to respond to a report of a possible fight in progress. (Doc.
No. 32-1 at 1-2.) Cox arrived and saw two men walking away
from the bar. (Id. at 2.) He stopped them and asked
whether they were engaged in a fight. (Id.) Howell
had been drinking. (Doc. No. 31-1 at 25, 43, 87, 95-96,
101-02.) Howell confirmed to Cox that he had been in a verbal
altercation with someone at the bar. (Id. at 88,
96-97, 99; Doc. No. 32-1 at 2.) According to Cox, Howell was
acting aggressively and using foul language. (Doc. No. 32-1 at
arrested Howell, transported him to the police station, gave
him a citation for public intoxication, and released him to a
sober ride. (Doc. Nos. 31-3; 31-1 at 131; 32-1 at 2.)
Howell's preliminary hearing was scheduled for August 17,
2012, at which time Howell waived the hearing and was
released on his own recognizance. (Doc. Nos. 32-1 at 2;
31-3.) On September 10, 2012, a grand jury indicted Howell on
the charge of public intoxication. (Doc. No. 31-4.)
case was tried by a jury in the Williamson County Criminal
Court on July 11, 2013. (Doc. No. 31-5.) However, during the
proceedings, Howell was hospitalized and the judge declared a
mistrial. (Id.) The court rescheduled the case for
“review” on February 6, 2015. (Doc. No. 31-6.)
Howell failed to appear. (Doc. Nos. 32-1 at 3; 31-7.) The
court issued a Capias for Howell's arrest. (Doc. No.
March 17, 2015, Cox was on patrol and spotted Howell. (Doc.
No. 32-1 at 3.) Cox detained Howell until the Williamson
County Sheriff's Office could arrive with the Capias,
arrest Howell pursuant to it, and transport Howell to jail.
(Id.) Howell remained in jail without bail for
fourteen days, until April 1, 2015. (Id.; Doc. Nos.
31-1 at 151; 31-8.) During that intervening time, Howell
filed an emergency motion to set bond, and it was denied.
(Doc. No. 31-1 at 151.) On April 1, 2015, the Court set aside
the Capias and reinstated Howell's release on his own
recognizance. (Doc. No. 31-8.) According to Howell's
declaration, the judge and court clerk acknowledged to Howell
that they had not properly notified him of the court date he
missed. (Doc. No. 39-5 at 1-2.)
court retried the case to a jury on June 10, 2015. (Doc. No.
31-9.) Howell was acquitted. (Id.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
reviewing a motion for summary judgment, this Court will only
consider the narrow question of whether there are
“genuine issues as to any material fact and [whether]
the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). A motion for summary judgment
requires that the Court view the “inferences to be
drawn from the underlying facts . . . in light most favorable
to the party opposing the motion.” Matsushita Elec.
Ind. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)
(quoting United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S.
654, 655 (1962)). The opponent, however, has the burden of
showing that a “rational trier of fact [could] find for
the non-moving party [or] that there is a ‘genuine
issue for trial.'” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at
587. “The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in
support of plaintiff's position, however, ] will be
insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could
reasonably find for the plaintiff.” Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986). If the
evidence offered by the nonmoving party is “merely
colorable, ” “not significantly probative,
” or not enough to lead a fair-minded jury to find for
the nonmoving party, the motion for summary judgment should
be granted. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 479-52. “A
genuine dispute between the parties on an issue of material
fact must exist to render summary judgment
inappropriate.” Hill v. White, 190 F.3d 427,
430 (6th Cir. 1999) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at
brings two § 1983 causes of action against Fairview and
Cox: one under the Fourth Amendment and one under the First
Amendment. (Doc. No. 1.) The Defendants move for summary
judgment on all claims. (Doc. No. 30.)
preliminary matter, the Court is satisfied that Defendants
had sufficient notice that the Complaint, however inartfully
worded, is brought against Cox in his individual and official
capacities. See Moore v. City of Harriman, 272 F.3d
769, 772 (6th Cir. 2001) (stating that the failure to
“explicitly state whether a defendant is sued in his or
her ‘individual capacity'  is not fatal if the
course of proceedings otherwise indicates that the defendant
received sufficient notice”); Shepherd v.
Wellman, 313 F.3d 963, 968 (6th Cir. 2002) (stating that
the court considers the nature of the plaintiff's claims,
including requests for compensatory or punitive damages).
Here, Howell brought claims and requested punitive damages,
which are not available in official capacity suits or suits
against municipalities. Furthermore, in response to the
instant motion, Howell clarified the nature of his claims.
See Moore, 272 F.3d at 772 (“We have also
looked to later pleadings, such as a response to a motion for
summary judgment, to determine whether proper notice had been
given.”) (citing Abdur-Rahman v. Mich. Dept. of
Corr., 65 F.3d 489, 491 (6th Cir. 1995)). The Court will
analyze Howell's claims accordingly.
Section 1983 Fourth Amendment Malicious ...