Brewer v. Jonesboro Police Department et al
ORDER granting 36 Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. Signed by Chief Judge Brian S. Miller on 8/26/2014. (jak)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
JERRY TODD BREWER
CASE NO. 3:12CV00315 BSM
JONESBORO POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al.
Defendant Jeremy Wheelis’s motion for partial summary judgment [Doc. No. 36] is
Plaintiff Jerry Todd Brewer filed this lawsuit claiming that Wheelis, a Jonesboro
police officer, used excessive force when he arrested Brewer. Brewer is suing Wheelis in
his individual and official capacities, and Wheelis now moves for partial summary judgment
on the official capacity claim.
Summary judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322–23 (1986). Once the moving party
demonstrates that there is no genuine dispute of material fact, the non-moving party may not
rest upon the mere allegations or denials in his pleadings. Holden v. Hirner, 663 F.3d 336,
340 (8th Cir. 2011). Instead, the non-moving party must produce admissible evidence
demonstrating a genuine factual dispute that must be resolved at trial. Id. Importantly, when
considering a motion for summary judgment, all reasonable inferences must be drawn in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Holland v. Sam’s Club, 487 F.3d 641, 643 (8th
Cir. 2007). Additionally, the evidence is not weighed, and no credibility determinations are
made. Jenkins v. Winter, 540 F.3d 742, 750 (8th Cir. 2008).
Summary judgment is granted because nothing in the record shows that the City of
Jonesboro had a policy or custom that resulted in Brewer being deprived of a constitutional
right. “A § 1983 action against a government official in his official capacity . . . is
tantamount to an action directly against the public entity of which the official is an agent.”
Clay v. Conlee, 815 F.2d 1164, 1170 (8th Cir. 1987). To support an official capacity claim,
Brewer must show that Jonesboro had a policy or custom that caused the constitutional
violation at issue. Id. Even if it is accepted that Brewer suffered a constitutional violation,
nothing supports his contention that his deprivation was caused by a policy or custom of the
City of Jonesboro. Indeed, in response to the motion for summary judgment, Brewer merely
makes the bald statement that the Joneboro Police Department has a “custom of cuffing and
searching citizens . . . before there is any threat or arrest.” This statement, without support,
does not constitute proof and is therefore not sufficient to overcome Wheelis’s motion for
“Conclusional allegations and denials, speculation, improbable
inferences, unsubstantiated assertions, and legalistic argumentation do not adequately
substitute for specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial.” TIG Ins. Co. v. Sedgwick
James of Washington, 276 F.3d 754, 759 (5th Cir. 2002)
Accordingly, Wheelis’s motion for partial summary judgment [Doc. No. 36] is
IT IS SO ORDERED this 26th day of August 2014.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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