Vines v. McGrady et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER For the reasons discussed within, the court GRANTS the Defendants' Partial Motion for Summary Judgement. Specifically, the court GRANTS the Defendants' motion as to all claims against the City, all claims agains t Chief McGrady, all claims asserted against "FNU Warren" and other improperly identified or factitious parties, and all official capacity claims. The court also GRANTS the motion as to Ms. Vines' conspiracy, false arrest, and false imprisonment claims against Officer Murphy. This case will proceed only as to Plaintiff's claims in Counts V, VI, VIII related to Officer Murphy's alleged use of force against Edwards. Signed by Chief Judge Karon O Bowdre on 7/7/16. (SAC )
2016 Jul-07 PM 02:22
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
ROBIN VINES, ON BEHALF OF
QUINDASIA EDWARDS, A
LAYTON McGRADY, individual
and official capacity; TYLER
MURPHY, individual and official
capacity; CITY OF ANNISTON,
ALABAMA, et al.,
CASE NO.: 1:14-cv-00351-KOB
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This matter comes before the court on the “Defendants’ Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment.” (Doc. 31). Plaintiff Robin Vines, on behalf of her minor
daughter Quindasia Edwards, sued the City of Anniston, and Police Chief Layton
McGrady, Officer Tyler Murphy, and Officer “FNU Warren” in their official and
individual capacities following the arrest and detention of Quindasia Edwards on
March 2, 2012. The Defendants filed a partial motion for summary judgment as to
certain claims against the Defendants. However, Officer Murphy does not seek
summary judgment as to Vines’ claims based on his alleged use of force. For the
reasons discussed below, the court GRANTS Defendants’ motion.
I. Material Facts1
This case stems from the arrest and detention of Quindasia Edwards
following a fist fight between Edwards and LaSharon Denise Jenkins in March of
2012. On March 2, 2012, shortly after 12:00 p.m., Anniston police dispatch
reported a large fight in progress in Anniston, Alabama. Defendant Officer Tyler
Murphy was the first police officer to arrive at the scene. When Officer Murphy
arrived at the scene, Edwards and Jenkins had been fighting for approximately
three minutes. Officer Murphy tackled both Edwards and Jenkins while both were
holding one another, and Officer Murphy separated them. While he was
attempting to handcuff Jenkins, Edwards kicked Jenkins in the face and ran.
Other officers on the scene stopped and handcuffed Edwards. After Officer
Murphy finally handcuffed Jenkins, Edwards alleges that Officer Murphy kicked
her in the face and injured her. The officers arrested Edwards, Jenkins, and
Jenkins’ mother for disorderly conduct. Another officer, Officer Wade transported
Edwards from the fight scene to the Anniston Police Department. Edwards was
In response to the Defendants’ partial motion for summary judgment, Ms. Vines only
opposes entry of summary judgment as to the false imprisonment claim against Officer Murphy.
Accordingly, the court will only discuss the facts necessary for context and the facts material to
Ms. Vines’ false imprisonment claim. Additionally, the court notes that these are the facts
viewed in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff and may not the facts established at trial.
taken to the booking area, where she informed the officers that she was suffering
from a headache after being kicked by Officer Murphy.
After Edwards’ arrest, she was booked at the Anniston Police Department;
Officer Murphy called juvenile probation; and the juvenile probation officer
instructed him to release Edwards to her parents. (Doc. 31-1 at 69-72). When
Edwards’s mother, Robin Vines, arrived at the Anniston Police Department, she
asked to speak with an officer, and someone directed her to speak with a sergeant.
(Doc. 31-4 at 33).2 The sergeant informed Ms. Vines that he had to talk with
“juvenile detention,” he was waiting on a response, and he had not yet gotten a
call from juvenile detention. (Doc. 31-4 at 33). Ms. Vines talked with the juvenile
probation officer and learned that the probation officer had already told Officer
Murphy to release the children. (Doc. 31-4 at 33). After Ms. Vines called on a
councilman and a reverend to assist her in securing Edwards’ release, Edwards
was eventually released from detention around 6:00 p.m., after spending
approximately two hours in a jail cell.
After being released from police custody, Edwards was admitted to
Stringfellow Hospital and released on the same day. At the hospital, Edwards was
Although Plaintiff cites this page of her deposition for her proposition that “without
reasonable justification, the jail delayed in releasing Edwards,” (doc. 38 at 12), the court notes
that Plaintiff’s assertion is a conclusion, not a fact.
diagnosed with a concussion, brain injury, and a contusion on the brain.
II. Standard of Review
Summary judgment is an integral part of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Summary judgment allows a trial court to decide cases when no
genuine issues of material fact are present and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56. When a district court reviews
a motion for summary judgment, it must determine two things: (1) whether any
genuine issues of material fact exist; and if not, (2) whether the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Id.
The moving party “always bears the initial responsibility of informing the
district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of ‘the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any,’ which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine
issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986)
(quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56). The moving party can meet this burden by offering
evidence showing no dispute of material fact or by showing that the non-moving
party’s evidence fails to prove an essential element of its case on which it bears
the ultimate burden of proof. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322–23. Rule 56, however,
does not require “that the moving party support its motion with affidavits or other
similar materials negating the opponent’s claim.” Id.
Once the moving party meets its burden of showing the district court that no
genuine issues of material fact exist, the burden then shifts to the non-moving
party “to demonstrate that there is indeed a material issue of fact that precludes
summary judgment.” Clark v. Coats & Clark, Inc., 929 F.2d 604, 608 (11th Cir.
1991). Disagreement between the parties is not significant unless the disagreement
presents a “genuine issue of material fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 251–52 (1986).
In responding to a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party
“must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the
material fact.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574,
586 (1986). The non-moving party must “go beyond the pleadings and by [its]
own affidavits, or by the ‘depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions
on file,’ designate ‘specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.’”
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324 (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)) (emphasis added); see
also Advisory Committee Note to 1963 Amendment of Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e) (“The
very mission of summary judgment procedure is to pierce the pleadings and to
assess the proof in order to see whether there is a genuine need for trial.”). The
nonmoving party need not present evidence in a form admissible at trial;
“however, he may not merely rest on [the] pleadings.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. If
the evidence is “merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary
judgment may be granted.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249–50 (citations omitted).
In reviewing the evidence submitted, the court must “view the evidence
presented through the prism of the substantive evidentiary burden,” to determine
whether the nonmoving party presented sufficient evidence on which a jury could
reasonably find for the nonmoving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 254. The court
must refrain from weighing the evidence and making credibility determinations,
because these decisions fall to the province of the jury. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at
255; see Stewart v. Booker T. Washington Ins. Co., 232 F.3d 844, 848 (11th Cir.
2000). “Even if a district court ‘believes that the evidence presented by one side is
of doubtful veracity, it is not proper to grant summary judgment on the basis of
credibility choices.’” Feliciano v. City of Miami Beach, 707 F.3d 1244, 1252 (11th
Cir. 2013) (citing Miller v. Harget, 458 F.3d 1251, 1256 (11th Cir. 2006)).
Furthermore, all evidence and inferences drawn from the underlying facts
must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. See Graham
v. State Farm Mut. Ins. Co., 193 F.3d 1274,1282 (11th Cir. 1999). The nonmoving
party “need not be given the benefit of every inference but only of every
reasonable inference.” Id. The evidence of the non-moving party “is to be believed
and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in [its] favor.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at
255. After both parties have addressed the motion for summary judgment, the
court must grant the motion only if no genuine issues of material fact exist and if
the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56.
Ms. Vines asserts seven counts against the Defendants in this case: Count
1– a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 “negligence” claim against the City for failure to supervise;
Count 2 – a § 1983 conspiracy claim against “the Defendants”; Count III – a §
1983 false arrest claim against Officer Murphy, Officer “William,” and other
fictitious parties 3; Count V4– a § 1983 and “29 U.S.C. § 2679(2)(a)”5 claim
related to assault and battery (excessive force) against Officers Murphy,
“William,” and “Warren” and other fictitious parties; Count VI – a state law
Assault and Battery claim against Officer “Warren,” Officer Murphy, and
fictitious parties; Count VII– a state law false imprisonment claim against the
“Defendants”; and Count VIII – a state law negligence claim against the
As explained below, Ms. Vines’ claims against Officers “FNU Warren,” “William” and
other fictitious parties are due to be dismissed.
Plaintiff’s complaint does not contain a “Count IV.” However, for purposes of this
Opinion, the court will keep the same numbering used in Plaintiff’s complaint.
The statute cited by the Ms. Vines does not exist.
Defendant Officers. (Doc. 1).
Although Defendants’ partial motion for summary judgment asserts that
summary judgment is due to be granted as to a number of Plaintiff’s claims,
Officer Murphy does not pursue summary judgment on “force claims” asserted
against him in Counts V, VI, VIII. Further, the Plaintiff only opposes the entry of
summary judgment as to her claims against Officer Murphy for false
imprisonment. (See doc. 8).
A. Unopposed Claims
In response to the Defendants’ partial motion for summary judgment, Ms.
Vines concedes that the Defendants’ motion is due to be granted as to her claims
against Officer Murphy for false arrest in Count III, claims for conspiracy against
the Defendants in Count II, and claims in Count I against the City and Chief
McGrady for inadequate training and supervision. (Doc. 38 at 13- 15).
In her complaint, Ms. Vines asserts claims against “FN Warren” and also
appears to assert claims against an Officer “William.” Although she states in the
Complaint that she will amend her complaint after sufficient discovery permits her
to properly identify the true name and locate defendant Warren, (Doc. 1 at 3), Ms.
Vines has not amended her complaint as to any officer, other than Officer Murphy.
Additionally, Plaintiff offers no opposition to the Defendants’ arguments that
Plaintiff’s claims against Officer “FNU Warren” and/or “William” should be
dismissed. Accordingly, the Plaintiff’s claims against Officer “FNU Warren” or
“William” are abandoned. See Davis v. Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Consol, 516 F.3d
955, 971 n. 36 (11th Cir. 2008) (“[Plaintiff] did not defend the claim on summary
judgment; thus he abandoned it.”); Road Sprinkler Fitters Local Union No. 669 v.
Indep. Sprinkler Corp., 10 F.3d 1563, 1568 (11th Cir. 1994) (holding that claims
not addressed in response to motion for summary judgment are deemed
abandoned); Wilkerson v. Grinnell Corp., 270 F.3d 1314, 1322 (11th Cir. 2001)
(finding claim abandoned when argument not presented in initial response to
motion for summary judgment).
Similarly, Plaintiff did not respond to the Defendants’s arguments regarding
Plaintiff’s official capacity claims against the Defendant officers; therefore, she
has abandoned them. Even if her claims were not abandoned, Vines’ official
capacity claims fail for the same reason as her claims against the City, as described
subsequently. A § 1983 action against a governmental official in his official
capacity is deemed a suit against the entity that he represents” and is “essentially a
complaint against the City.” Ludaway, 245 Fed App’x at 951 (emphasis in original
and internal quotation marks and citations omitted). However, Plaintiff admits that
his basis for holding the City liable – inadequate supervision and training– is not
supported by the evidence. Because Plaintiff’s official capacity suit against the
Defendant Officers is functionally the equivalent of her claims against the City
that she now concedes is not supported by the evidence, the Defendants’ motion
for summary judgment as to all official capacity claims is due to be granted.
Ms. Vines also does not provide any opposition to the City’s arguments that
summary judgment should be granted as to any vicarious liability claims she
asserts against the City. Therefore, to the extent she asserts any vicarious liability
claims against the City, Ms. Vines has abandoned those claims. Davis, 516 F.3d at
971 n. 36.
B. False Imprisonment – Officer Murphy
Officer Murphy argues that he entitled to summary judgment as to Ms.
Vines’ false imprisonment claims.6 Although Ms. Vines concedes that Officer
Murphy had probable cause to arrest Edwards, in response to Officer Murphy’s
motion, she now contends that Edwards was “held in custody by jailers beyond the
time she was ordered [to be] released” by a juvenile probation officer. (Doc. 38 at
Although the Defendants argue that Officer Murphy is entitled to summary judgment as
to Plaintiff’s state law and § 1983 false imprisonment claims, Plaintiff only asserts a state law
false imprisonment claim against Officer Murphy. (See doc. 1). However, even if the Plaintiff
asserted a § 1983 claim for false imprisonment, the court would grant the motion for summary
judgment as to that claim for the same reasons it is granting the motion as to the state law claim.
The Defendants contend that Plaintiff’s “over-detention” argument in
opposition to summary judgment is an impermissible attempt to amend her
complaint in response to summary judgment. The Defendants further argue that
the Plaintiff’s complaint failed to provide any notice that Plaintiff’s false
imprisonment claim was based an over-detention theory. The court has carefully
reviewed the entirety of Ms. Vines complaint and notes that it fails to mention and
asserts no fact that Edwards remained in detention after she should have been
released from the jail. At best, the complaint asserts that the officers arrested and
detained Edwards when they lacked probable cause to believe that she committed
Because the complaint only asserts that Defendants falsely imprisoned
Edwards when the officers arrested and subsequently detained her when she had
not committed any crime, and Plaintiff did not amend or request leave to amend
her complaint to assert a claim based on Edwards’ alleged “over-detention,” the
court will not consider Plaintiff’s un-pled over-detention theory when deciding
this motion. Simply put, a plaintiff may not amend her complaint “through an
argument at the summary judgment stage.” Flintlock Const. Serv., LLC v. WellCome Holdings, LLC., 710 F.3d 1221, 1228 (11th Cir. 2013) (citing
GeorgiaCarry.Org, Inc., v. Georgia, 687 F.3d 1244, 1258 n. 27 (11th Cir. 2012).
“At the summary judgment stage, the proper procedure for plaintiffs to assert a
new claim is to amend the complaint in accordance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2).”
Id. (citing Gilmour v. Gates, McDonald & Co., 382 F.3d 1312, 1315 (11th Cir.
The only claim for false imprisonment in Ms. Vines’ complaint is based on
her assertion that the officers did not have probable cause to arrest and detain
Edwards, but Ms. Vines now concedes Officer Murphy and the other officers had
probable cause to arrest Edwards. Accordingly, summary judgment is due to be
granted as to Plaintiff’s false imprisonment claim actually pled in her complaint.7
For the reasons discussed above, the court GRANTS the Defendants’
Partial Motion for Summary Judgement. Specifically, the court GRANTS the
Defendants’ motion as to all claims against the City, all claims against Chief
McGrady, all claims asserted against “FNU Warren” and other improperly
identified or factitious parties, and all official capacity claims. The court also
GRANTS the motion as to Ms. Vines’ conspiracy, false arrest, and false
imprisonment claims against Officer Murphy.
Even if the complaint can be read to plead an “over-detention” claim, Ms. Vines failed
ro provide sufficient facts that Officer Murphy played any role in that delay. See Upshaw v.
McArdle, 650 So. 2d 875, (Ala. 1994).
This case will proceed only as to Plaintiff’s claims in Counts V, VI, VIII
related to Officer Murphy’s alleged use of force against Edwards.
DONE and ORDERED this 7th day of July, 2016.
KARON OWEN BOWDRE
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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