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Lunsford v. Davidson County Sheriffs Office

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

November 14, 2019

RESHAWN M. LUNSFORD, Plaintiff,
v.
DAVIDSON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, et al., Defendants.

          Eli J. Richardson Judge

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          ALISTAIR E. NEWBERN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         In this civil rights action, pro se and in forma pauperis Plaintiff Reshawn M. Lunsford brings excessive force claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 arising out of an alleged assault that took place while he was being booked into the Davidson County Jail. (Doc. No. 1.) Defendants Officers Marvin Ramsey and Kimetha Jones have filed a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing that qualified immunity protects them from Lunsford's claims. (Doc. Nos. 10, 11.) The other defendants have answered Lunsford's complaint. (Doc. Nos. 7-9.) All defendants have filed a motion to stay discovery pending resolution of Ramsey and Jones's motion to dismiss. (Doc. No. 21.)

         Lunsford did not respond directly to the motion to stay and instead filed a motion to compel discovery. (Doc. No. 27.) Lunsford has also filed a motion for summary judgment that is not accompanied by a memorandum of law or a statement of undisputed material facts. (Doc. No. 20.) For the following reasons, the defendants' motion to stay discovery will be granted; Lunsford's motion to compel discovery will be found moot; and Lunsford's motion for summary judgment will be administratively terminated without prejudice to refiling in compliance with the Court's Local Rules.

         I. Background

         Lunsford filed this action on January 15, 2019, against the Davidson County Sheriff's Office and Davidson County Jail Officers Ramsey, Jones, Corrice Thompson, Jorge Torres, and Scott Satterlee. (Doc. No. 1.) According to the allegations of Lunsford's complaint, which the Court assumes to be true at this phase of the litigation, Lunsford was booked into the Davidson County Jail on September 18, 2018. (Id.) During booking, Lunsford's blood pressure registered as “extremely high” and he demanded to be taken to the hospital. (Id. at PageID# 7.) Thompson told Lunsford not to yell and threatened to put him in segregation. (Id.) Lunsford objected that he was merely expressing concern about his health. (Id.) Thompson pushed Lunsford against a wall and ordered him to remove his shoes. (Id.) Torres then blindsided Lunsford, slamming him headfirst into the ground and kicking him in the eye. (Id.) While Lunsford was in handcuffs and leg irons and pinned down by Torres, Satterlee discharged pepper spray less than an inch from Lunsford's face, spraying Lunsford's eyes, nose, and mouth. (Id.) Lunsford was then placed in a holding cell. (Id.) Lunsford alleges that Ramsey and Jones were involved in the assault, but he does not know what role they played. (Doc. No. 1.) Lunsford suffered a black eye, a deep bruise to his left eye socket, and chemical burns in his nose and mouth. (Id.) He seeks $500, 000.00 in damages. (Id.)

         The Court granted Lunsford's application to proceed in forma pauperis and screened his complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). (Doc. No. 5.) The Court dismissed Lunsford's claim against the Davidson County Sheriff's Office but found that he had stated colorable claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the other defendants for excessive use of force. (Doc. Nos. 4, 5.) On March 6, 2019, Satterlee, Thompson, and Torres answered the complaint (Doc. Nos. 7-9).

         The Defendants' Motion to Stay Discovery.

         Defendants Ramsey and Jones have filed a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), arguing that they are entitled to qualified immunity because Lunsford's allegations that they were involved in the incident, without more, is not enough to show that they violated Lunsford's constitutional rights (Doc. Nos. 10, 11). All defendants have filed a motion to stay discovery pending the Court's resolution of that qualified immunity issue claim. (Doc. Nos. 21, 22.) Lunsford has not responded to the motion to stay.

         Lunsford's Motion for Summary Judgment.

         Lunsford has filed a motion for summary judgment, which also reiterates the allegations of his complaint. (Doc. No. 20.) That motion does not contain any citation of legal authority and is not accompanied by a statement of undisputed material facts. The defendants responded in opposition to Lunsford's motion, arguing that Lunsford failed to comply with the Court's Local Rules concerning summary judgment motions and that his motion is premature. (Doc. No. 24.)

         Lunsford's Motion to Compel Discovery.

         Lunsford has also filed a motion to compel discovery asking the Court to order the defendants to produce responses to unspecified written questions and surveillance video footage of the September 18, 2018 incident, which, Lunsford claims, are “critical to prove [his] case.” (Doc. No. 27, PageID# 117.) The defendants responded in opposition, arguing that the motion should be denied as premature because their time to respond to Lunsford's discovery requests had not expired when it was filed.[1] (Doc. No. 28.) The defendants further argue that, for the reasons stated in their motion to stay discovery, they should not have to respond to Lunsford's discovery requests until after the Court rules on Ramsey and Jones's motion to dismiss. (Id.)

         II. The Defendants' ...


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