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Lunsford v. City of Goodlettsville

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

November 14, 2019

RESHAWN MONTA LUNSFORD, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF GOODLETTSVILLE, et al., Defendants.

          Eli J. Richardson Judge

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          ALISTAIR E. NEWBERN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This civil rights action stems from pro se and in forma pauperis Plaintiff Reshawn Monta Lunsford's arrest on September 18, 2018. (Doc. No. 1.) Lunsford alleges that, during his arrest, Defendant Goodlettsville Police Officer George Forbes shocked him with a Taser eight times, leaving Lunsford with sixteen burn marks on his back and neck. (Id.) Lunsford asserts a claim against Forbes under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for excessive use of force. (Id.) Lunsford has moved for summary judgment on that claim (Doc. No. 16) and has filed a motion to amend his complaint to add a claim that, after his arrest, his blood was drawn at Metro General Hospital without his consent and without a warrant in violation of the Fourth Amendment (Doc. No. 22). The Court stayed briefing of Lunsford's motion for summary judgment pending resolution of Lunsford's motion to amend. (Doc. No. 26.) For the reasons that follow, Lunsford's motion to amend is futile and his motion for summary judgment is procedurally improper. Accordingly, Lunsford's motion to amend will be denied and his motion for summary judgment will be administratively terminated without prejudice to refiling in compliance with this Court's Local Rules.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         Lunsford filed this action pro se on January 16, 2019. (Doc. No. 1.) According to the allegations of Lunsford's complaint, which are taken as true at this stage of the litigation, Lunsford had an argument with his ex-girlfriend at the Rodeway Inn Hotel in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, and she called the police. (Id.) Forbes questioned Lunsford outside the hotel while Defendant Officer Wright separately questioned Lunsford's ex-girlfriend in her hotel room. (Id.) Wright exited the room and ordered Lunsford to get out of his car and place his hands behind his back. (Id.) Lunsford stated that he would place his hands on top of the car and asked why he was being arrested. (Id.) Suddenly, Lunsford was surrounded by five officers, four of whom grabbed him by his arms. (Id.) Lunsford told the officers that that he had a shoulder injury and was worried that they were going to be rough with him. (Id.) The officers ordered Lunsford to put his hands behind his back. Forbes threatened to tase Lunsford, who responded that Forbes could go ahead and tase him because he was protected by God. (Id.) Forbes tased Lunsford eight times. (Id.) An officer hit Lunsford over the top of the head, bringing him to the ground. (Id.)

         After he was handcuffed and placed in a police car, Lunsford demanded medical attention. (Id.) Forbes accompanied Lunsford to the hospital in an ambulance. (Id.) The altercation left Lunsford with sixteen Taser burn marks on his back and neck, a split lip, a black eye, and cuts on his wrists from the handcuffs. (Id.) Lunsford's complaint asserts claims of excessive force against Forbes, Wright, the City of Goodlettsville Police Department, and the City of Goodlettsville under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and seeks $1, 750, 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. Nos. 4, 5.) The Court dismissed Lunsford's claim against the City of Goodlettsville Police Department, finding that the Department is a division of the City of Goodlettsville and is not subject to suit under § 1983 as a separate legal entity. (Id.) The Court then dismissed Lunsford's claim against the City of Goodlettsville, concluding that Lunsford did not identify any City of Goodlettsville policy that had caused him harm. (Id.) The Court also dismissed Lunsford's claim against Wright, finding that Lunsford had not alleged that Officer Wright took any particular action against him that constituted excessive force. (Id.) Lunsford's excessive force claim against Forbes was allowed to proceed.[1] (Id.)

         Lunsford has filed a motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 16) but has not filed a memorandum of law or a statement of undisputed material facts in support of that motion. Lunsford has also filed a motion to amend his complaint to add a claim asserting that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated at Metro General Hospital after his arrest when his blood was drawn without his consent and without a warrant. (Doc. No. 22.)

         On August 6, 2019, the Court entered an order staying briefing of Lunsford's motion for summary judgment until the motion to amend is resolved. (Doc. No. 26.) The Court also found that Lunsford's motion to amend did not comply with this Court's Local Rule 15.01 because it was not accompanied by a proposed signed amended complaint that restates the entirety of the complaint with amendments incorporated. (Id. (citing M.D. Tenn. R. 15.01(a)(1) (supporting papers), 15.01(b) (form of amended pleading)).) The Court gave Lunsford until August 20, 2019, to file a motion to amend and a proposed amended complaint that complies with the Local Rules. (Id.)

         On August 14, 2019, Lunsford filed an amended complaint that repeats his excessive force allegations and adds allegations regarding events that took place after his arrest. (Doc. No. 27.) Lunsford alleges that Forbes did not offer him first aid after his arrest and Lunsford had to demand medical attention. (Id.) At Metro General Hospital, a nurse told Lunsford that his blood would be drawn whether or not he consented, leaving him “under the impression that [he] had no choice for the blood test.” (Id. at PageID# 126.) Lunsford states that his amended complaint asserts claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 “for being excessively tased, . . . [n]ot being offered first aid by Officer Forbes[, ]” and for “drawing [his] blood without a warrant or cause.” (Id.) The amended complaint names the City of Goodlettsville and Forbes as defendants. (Doc. No. 27.)

         Forbes responded in opposition to Lunsford's motion to amend, arguing that Lunsford failed to comply with the Court's August 6, 2019 order and that amendment of the complaint is futile because Lunsford has failed to allege that any delay in receiving medical attention harmed him or that Forbes was responsible in any way for the drawing of Lunsford's blood. (Doc. No. 29.) Lunsford filed a reply conceding that “Forbes may not have ordered the blood draw, ” but asserting that one of Forbes's superiors did and that the City of Goodlettsville should be held liable as that officer's employer. (Doc. No. 30, PageID# 138.)

         II. Motion to Amend

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2) provides that district courts should “freely” grant a motion for leave to amend a pleading “when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). The Supreme Court has explained that,

[i]n the absence of any apparent or declared reason-such as undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment, futility of the amendment, ...

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