United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS'
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
L. PARKER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment filed on April
12, 2017 (ECF No. 25), by Defendants, Former Memphis Police
Officer Brett A. Murphy and Memphis Police Officer Jason W.
Williford (individually referred to as “Murphy”
and “Williford, ” and collectively as
“Defendants”). For the following reasons, the
Motion is GRANTED.
September 19, 2014, pro se Plaintiff Marico Tremayne
Rossell (“Plaintiff”), who, until recently was an
inmate at the South Central Correctional Facility in Clifton,
Tennessee, filed his pro se Complaint against
Defendants, Retired Memphis Police Chief Toney Armstrong, and
a “John Doe” Memphis Police Internal Affairs
Officer Defendant, claiming violations of his constitutional
rights and seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF
No. 1.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendants, Williford in
particular, used excessive force in effecting Plaintiff's
arrest on September 17, 2013, and that Defendants denied
Plaintiff adequate medical treatment after his arrest, which
violated his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the
U.S. Constitution. (Id. at PageID 7.) The Court
granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis
(ECF No. 5), and subsequently dismissed portions of the
Complaint and directed that process be served on Murphy and
Williford, the remaining Defendants. (ECF No. 7.) Murphy is
no longer employed with MPD, but Williford is. (ECF Nos.
25-3, 25-4.) Williford filed his Answer on April 28, 2016,
and Murphy filed his Answer on December 5, 2016. (ECF No.
April 12, 2017, Defendants jointly filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment (“Motion”), arguing that Defendants did
not violate Plaintiffs constitutional rights and that
Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity from suit. (ECF
No. 25.) There was no further activity in this case until it
was transferred to the Undersigned on February 26, 2018 (ECF
No. 26), and this Court issued a Writ of Habeus Corpus ad
testificandum ordering that Plaintiff appear on March
22, 2018 for a Status Conference with Defendants. (ECF Nos.
28, 29.) At the Status Conference, the Court ordered
Plaintiff to file a response to Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment by April 3, 2018. (ECF No. 33.)
March 29, 2018, Plaintiff filed a “Show Cause Order,
” purportedly as his response to Defendants' Motion
for Summary Judgment (hereinafter referred to as Plaintiffs
“Response”). (ECF No. 34.) Plaintiffs Response
expands Plaintiffs account of Defendants' alleged conduct
during the course of Plaintiff s arrest on September 17,
2013, but it fails to cite any law or rebut material facts
introduced through the sworn statements attached to
Court draws the following facts from Williford and
Murphy's Affidavits and those contained in Plaintiffs
September 17, 2013, Williford observed Plaintiff driving
without his seatbelt on and attempted to initiate a traffic
stop. (ECF No. 25-3 at PageID 116.) Plaintiff did not stop when
Williford activated his blue lights and sirens; instead, he
drove slowly for a distance, turned on Tunica Street, and
pulled into the driveway of 1439 Tunica Street, Memphis,
Tennessee. (ECF No. 25-3 at PageID 116; ECF No. 34 at PageID
141.) Plaintiff was unable to produce a driver's license
and smelled strongly of alcohol, so Williford asked him to
step out of his vehicle to be detained in order for Williford
to identify him and investigate the source of the smell. (ECF
No. 25-3 at PageID 116; ECF No. 34 at PageID 142.)
Williford was patting down Plaintiff and checking his
pockets, Plaintiff reached into his pocket, pulled out a bag
of cocaine, and tried to throw it onto the vehicle's
windshield. (ECF No. 25-3 at PageID 116; ECF No. 34 at PageID
141.) Plaintiff does not dispute Defendants' sworn
statements that, at this time, Plaintiff began resisting
Williford's attempts to detain him and tried to flee.
(ECF No. 25-3 at PageID 117; ECF No. 25-4 at PageID 121.)
Plaintiff's attempts to flee involved turning toward
Williford and placing his arms around his waist, at which
time Williford punched Plaintiff in the face three times with
his closed fist. (ECF No. 25-3 at PageID 117; ECF No. 34 at
PageID 142.) Immediately following this struggle, Murphy
assisted Williford by placing Plaintiff in an arm lock in
order to subdue Plaintiff and place him under arrest. (ECF
No. 25-4 at PageID 121.) Plaintiff sustained a bloody lip
during the struggle but did not request medical transport.
(ECF No. 25-3 at PageID 117; ECF No. 34 at PageID 142.)
Plaintiff was then transported to the Shelby County Jail
located at 201 Poplar Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. (ECF No.
25-3 at PageID 117.)
court shall grant summary judgment if the movant 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 also Chapman v. UAW Local
1005,670 F.3d 677, 680 (6th Cir. 2012). “A fact
is material for purposes of summary judgment if proof of that
fact would establish or refute an essential element of the
cause of action or defense.” Bruederle v.
Louisville Metro Gov 't,687 F.3d 771, 776 (6th Cir.
2012) (internal quotation marks omitted). “A dispute
over material facts is ‘genuine' ‘if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.'” Id.
(quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)). “When
the non-moving party fails to make a sufficient showing of an
essential element of his case on which he bears the burden of
proof, the moving parties are entitled to ...