Roy v. Monroe
MEMORANDUM RULING re Claims of False Arrest and Malicious Prosecution contained in 23 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by James Booth, City of Monroe. Signed by Judge Robert G James on 11/9/2017. (crt,Crawford, A)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
CLARENCE DEAN ROY
CIVIL ACTION NO. 16-1018
JUDGE ROBERT G. JAMES
CITY OF MONROE AND JAMES BOOTH
MAG. JUDGE KAREN L. HAYES
This is a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff Clarence Dean Roy (“Roy”) against Defendants
City of Monroe (“the City”) and James Booth (“Sergeant Booth”). On October 19, 2017, the Court
issued a Ruling and Judgment [Doc. Nos. 33 & 34] granting in part and denying in part Defendants’
Motion for Summary Judgment.
In its Ruling, the Court considered Roy’s claims of false arrest and malicious prosecution.
The Court determined that Roy’s claims appeared to fail as a matter of law because they arise under
the Fourth Amendment, and he is unable to show that he was subjected to a deprivation of a liberty
interest. The Court gave the parties notice of its intent to dismiss Roy’s claims of false arrest and
malicious prosecution based on this sua sponte analysis. Prior to intended dismissal, however, the
Court gave the parties an opportunity to file memoranda addressing this analysis.
The parties timely filed memoranda. [Doc. Nos. 35 & 36]. In his memorandum, Roy cites
McLin v. Ard, 866 F.3d 682 (5th Cir. 2017), for the proposition that “‘[p]hysical force is not required
to effect a seizure,’ but submission to authority is necessary.” [Doc. No. 35 (quoting McLin, 866 F.3d
at 691 (emphasis and other citations omitted))]. Based on the reasoning of McLin, Roy argues that
he was “seized” because he was not free to leave while under questioning by Sergeant Booth and was
then issued a summons. Speculating on what would have happened if he stepped away, Roy
contends that he was required to submit to authority, and thus, he has raised a genuine issue of
material fact for trial that the Fourth Amendment is implicated by Sergeant Booth’s actions. Roy
also distinguishes cases from outside the Fifth Circuit.
Defendants contend that this Court correctly reasoned that Roy’s claims of false arrest and
malicious prosecution are subject to dismissal because Roy was not deprived of a liberty interest.
While Defendants do not dispute the statement of law cited by Roy, they argue that the facts of
McLin are inapplicable in this case. According to Defendants, McLin stands only for the proposition
that “[v]oluntary submittal to arrest warrants [has] been found to be a ‘seizure’ in the context of the
Fourth Amendment.” [Doc. No. 36, p. 2 (citation omitted)]. No arrest warrant issued for Roy, and
McLin does not address a misdemeanor summons. Defendants, agree, however, that McLin is
applicable in one way: its qualified immunity analysis. In addition to Roy’s lack of liberty interest,
Defendants argue that Sergeant Booth’s issuance of the summons is protected by the qualified
immunity doctrine because Roy cannot show that all reasonable officials would have understood they
were violating the law by issuing the summons.
The Court has reviewed McLin and considered the arguments of the parties. The Court
agrees with Defendants that the McLin case does not change the analysis for Roy’s claims. Contrary
to the plaintiff in McLin, Roy did not have any outstanding warrants, but merely received a summons
from Sergeant Booth. “No court has held that a summons alone constitutes a seizure, and we
conclude that a summons alone does not equal a seizure for Fourth Amendment purposes.”
Bielanski v. Cty. of Kane, 550 F.3d 632, 642 (7th Cir. 2008); see also Martinez v. Carr, 479 F.3d
1292, 1299 (10th Cir. 2007); McLin, 866 F.3d at 693-94 n.7 (citing same). In Evans v. Ball, 168
F.3d 856 (5th Cir.1999), the Fifth Circuit noted that a “summons, coupled with . . . additional liberty
restrictions . .. , may constitute a seizure under the Fourth Amendment.” Id. at 861. However, as
the Eastern District has noted, “the obvious implication of this language is that without additional
liberty restrictions, a summons may not constitute a seizure, though the Circuit has never explicitly
stated so.” Gonzales v. Brazley, No. CIV A 09-137, 2009 WL 2411800, at *6 (E.D. La. Aug. 4,
2009) (emphasis added). To the extent that Roy argues that his limited conversation with Sergeant
Booth implicates the Fourth Amendment, such a conversation, held in the presence of his friends,1
also does not constitute the exercise of authority pursuant to which “no reasonable person would
have believed he was . . . free to leave.”2 McLin, 866 F.3d at 693 (citation and internal quotation
marks omitted); see also United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544 (1980).
Further, even if Roy could show that he was seized, Sergeant Booth is entitled to qualified
immunity protection because the law was not clearly established that he was violating Roy’s Fourth
Amendment rights by issuing a summons. See Morgan v. Swanson, 659 F.3d 359, 372 (5th Cir.
2011) (“Where no controlling authority specifically prohibits a defendant’s conduct, and when the
federal circuit courts are split on the issue, the law cannot be said to be clearly established.”).
Under these circumstances, Roy has not raised a genuine issue of material fact for trial that
he was “seized” for purposes of the Fourth Amendment. Even if he could show a violation, Sergeant
Booth is entitled to the protection of qualified immunity. Therefore, Roy’s claims of false arrest and
malicious prosecution fail. These claims are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
Monroe, Louisiana, this 8th day of November, 2017.
[Doc. No. 23-3, Exh. 3, Roy Depo., p. 20 ( “So he came and spoke to you and were y’all
with your group of friends at the time? A. Yes, m’am.”).
Presumably, any time a summons is issued in person, the issuing official would have at
least a minimal conversation with the person to whom it is issued.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?