Gregory v. Gentry et al
ORDER denying without prejudice 60 Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Billy Roy Wilson on 7/31/2012. (jct)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
JAMES C GREGORY
CODY GENTRY, et al.
Pending is Plaintiff’s pro se Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 60). Defendants
have responded,1 and Plaintiff has replied. For the reasons set out below, Plaintiff’s Motion is
DENIED without prejudice.
In late 2010, Plaintiff was a candidate for public office in the city of Blytheville,
Arkansas.2 Around 3:00 a.m. on November 2, 2010, Plaintiff was placing his campaign signs in
the area of Willow Street in Blytheville. Defendant Cody Gentry (“Gentry”) apparently saw
Plaintiff walking down the street with campaign signs in hand. Plaintiff alleges that Gentry
stopped him and demanded identification, in response to which Plaintiff explained that he was
the candidate whose name was on the campaign sign. Gentry then asked for a photo ID, and
Plaintiff refused to produce one. Gentry arrested Plaintiff, took him to the police station, and
charged him with loitering and obstructing governmental operations. Plaintiff alleges that he
was in custody from about 3:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m., when he was escorted to the courtroom in
handcuffs. After Plaintiff’s initial appearance, he was released from custody.
Doc. No. 72.
Doc. No. 1.
Plaintiff sued Gentry for violation of his right to free speech; violation of his right to be
free from unreasonable seizures; false arrest; and false imprisonment. Plaintiff sued Ross
Thompson, the chief of police for the city of Blytheville (“Thompson”), for false imprisonment
and failure to supervise and train. Plaintiff also asserts that the city of Blytheville is liable
because of its policy or custom of allowing constitutional violations. Plaintiff asked that
summary judgment be entered on his claims.3 Defendants maintain that genuine issues of
material fact remain in dispute, making summary judgment inappropriate.4 I agree.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
Summary judgment is appropriate only when there is no genuine issue of material fact, so
that the dispute may be decided on purely legal grounds.5 The Supreme Court has established
guidelines to assist trial courts in determining whether this standard has been met:
The inquiry performed is the threshold inquiry of determining whether there is the
need for a trial -- whether, in other words, there are any genuine factual issues that
properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be
resolved in favor of either party.6
The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has cautioned that summary judgment is an
extreme remedy that should be granted only when the movant has established a right to the
judgment beyond controversy.7 Nevertheless, summary judgment promotes judicial economy by
Doc. No. 60.
Doc. Nos. 72, 73.
Holloway v. Lockhart, 813 F.2d 874 (8th Cir. 1987); Fed. R. Civ. P. 56.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986).
Inland Oil & Transport Co. v. United States, 600 F.2d 725, 727 (8th Cir. 1979).
preventing trial when no genuine issue of fact remains.8 I must view the facts in the light most
favorable to the party opposing the motion.9 The Eighth Circuit has also set out the burden of
the parties in connection with a summary judgment motion:
[T]he burden on the party moving for summary judgment is only to demonstrate,
i.e.,“[to point] out to the District Court,” that the record does not disclose a genuine
dispute on a material fact. It is enough for the movant to bring up the fact that the
record does not contain such an issue and to identify that part of the record which
bears out his assertion. Once this is done, his burden is discharged, and, if the record
in fact bears out the claim that no genuine dispute exists on any material fact, it is
then the respondent’s burden to set forth affirmative evidence, specific facts,
showing that there is a genuine dispute on that issue. If the respondent fails to carry
that burden, summary judgment should be granted.10
Only disputes over facts that may affect the outcome of the suit under governing law will
properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.11
Defendants note that Plaintiff did not file a statement of undisputed facts in support of his
motion for summary judgment.12 Defendants responded to Plaintiff’s Addendum of Supporting
Evidence,13 which contains legal argument and discussion, but not a statement of facts not in
dispute. Defendants point out material facts in dispute -- Plaintiff’s assertion that Gentry
arrested him only because he was walking down the street and that Gentry already knew
Id. at 728.
Id. at 727-28.
Counts v. MK-Ferguson Co., 862 F.2d 1338, 1339 (8th Cir. 1988) (quoting City of Mt.
Pleasant v. Associated Elec. Coop., 838 F.2d 268, 273-74 (8th Cir. 1988) (citations omitted)).
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
Doc. Nos. 72, 73.
Doc. No. 62.
Plaintiff’s identity when he asked Plaintiff for identification, for example. Because there are
facts in dispute, summary judgment on Plaintiff’s claims is inappropriate. Accordingly,
Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 60) is DENIED without prejudice.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 31st day of July, 2012.
/s/Billy Roy Wilson
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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