Shannon v. Weakley et al
ORDER denying 44 defendant's motion for summary judgment. Signed on 11/18/13 by Chief District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr. (Enss, Rhonda)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
MICHAEL T. WEAKLEY,
Case No. 12-1179-CV-W-FJG
Currently pending before the Court is defendant Michael Weakley’s Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. # 44).
On Saturday, September 10, 2011, plaintiff Spencer Shannon was at a
neighbor’s house with friends. Later that evening, Mr. Shannon drove himself and five
passengers in his utility vehicle to his home which was a half-mile away from his
neighbor’s house. At some point during the drive, one of the passengers, Brett Warner
fell out of the utility vehicle. After Mr. Warner fell, the others discussed whether to call
an ambulance or whether Mr. Shannon should drive the utility vehicle to his house and
drive back in his truck to take Mr. Warner to the hospital. Mr. Shannon decided to go
get his truck and take Mr. Warner to the hospital. However, when Mr. Shannon
returned to the scene of the accident, he learned that an ambulance had been called
and it was no longer necessary for him to drive Mr. Warner to the hospital. Mr.
Shannon decided to return home and phone his wife so that she could accompany him
to the hospital. Mr. Shannon also phoned his mother to ask her to come over to baby-sit
his children. Mr. Shannon’s mother and step-father, Leah and Allen Eiserer arrived at
plaintiff’s home shortly thereafter. After talking with his mother and step-father, plaintiff
decided to shower, change clothes and rest in his bedroom before going to the hospital.
Plaintiff’s mother and step-father decided to wait on the porch for plaintiff’s wife and
children to return home.
After the accident occurred, Trooper Weakley was called to investigate. After
speaking with witnesses, Trooper Weakley tentatively identified a person named
Shannon as the driver who had left the scene. Trooper Weakley, along with two
sheriff’s deputies, drove to plaintiff’s residence and saw tire tracks leading into the
driveway appearing to match the type of vehicle that was involved in the accident.
Upon arrival, Trooper Weakley approached the front porch of plaintiff’s house and told
the Eiserers that he needed to speak with Mr. Shannon. When Trooper Weakley asked
if he could enter the home to talk with Mr. Shannon, Mrs. Eiserer stated, “[T]his is not
our house. I’m his mother.” Mrs. Eiserer then walked into the house through the front
door, closing the storm door, but leaving the interior door open and sat down on the
couch. Trooper Weakley then continued to talk with Mr. Eiserer and reiterated that he
wanted to talk with Mr. Shannon. Mr. Eiserer told Trooper Weakley that Mr. Shannon
was upstairs in bed and that if he wanted to talk to him, Trooper Weakley would have to
get a search warrant. Trooper Weakley responded that if he had to leave to get a
warrant, no one would be allowed to enter or leave and the sheriff’s deputies would
block the driveway. He also informed Mr. Eiserer that last time he had gotten a warrant
on a weekend, it had taken five hours. Mr. Eiserer then turned and walked into the
house. Trooper Weakley and the two sheriff’s deputies followed him into the house.
Mr. Eiserer walked up two or three steps leading to the home’s upper level and called
out saying, “Spencer, you know, there’s some policemen here or officers here to talk to
you.” (Allen Eiserer Depo., p.19). Mr. Shannon responded “okay.” (Shannon Depo. p.
29). Trooper Weakley and the deputies then stepped past Mr. Eiserer and continued up
the stairs and into Mr. Shannon’s bedroom. In the bedroom, Trooper Weakley
confirmed Mr. Shannon’s identity and that he had been driving the utility vehicle.
Trooper Weakley then arrested Mr. Shannon for leaving the scene of a motor vehicle
accident. Trooper Weakley handcuffed plaintiff and escorted him out of the house and
drove him to the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, where he conducted three field sobriety
tests. After plaintiff passed the field sobriety tests, he was returned home by one of the
On August 24, 2012, plaintiff filed a petition in Carroll County Circuit Court. The
case was removed to federal court on September 14, 2012. Plaintiff filed a Second
Amended Complaint on May 3, 2013, alleging illegal entry and search of plaintiff’s
home (Count II), illegal arrest (Count III) and false imprisonment and false arrest (Count
IV). Plaintiff had initially named the two Sheriff’s deputies in his Complaint, but plaintiff
subsequently dismissed his claims against defendants Southard and Rhodes, on June
A moving party is entitled to summary judgment on a claim only if there is a
showing that Athere is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party
is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.@ Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). A[T]he substantive law
will identify which facts are material. Only disputes over facts that might affect the
outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary
judgment.@ Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91
L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). If the moving party meets this requirement, the burden shifts to the
non-moving party to Aset forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.@ Anderson, 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). In Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986), the
Court emphasized that the party opposing summary judgment Amust do more than
simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts@ in order to
establish a genuine issue of fact sufficient to warrant trial. In reviewing a motion for
summary judgment, the court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party, giving that party the benefit of all inferences that may be reasonably
drawn from the evidence. Matsushia, 475 U.S. 574, 588; Tyler v. Harper, 744 F.2d 653,
655 (8th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1057 (1985).
Trooper Weakley argues that Mr. Eiserer validly consented to his initial entry into
the Shannon home. Weakley argues that consent may be obtained from a third party
who has apparent authority to give consent. Trooper Weakley states that he knew that
Mr. Eiserer was Mr. Shannon’s stepfather and that Mr. Eiserer had permission to freely
enter the home without asking for permission. Weakley also states that Mr. Eiserer
allowed him entry to the home and did not object or tell him to leave. Weakley also
argues that he did not coerce or threaten Mr. Eiserer in order to obtain his consent.
Weakley also argues that Mr. Shannon consented to his continuing presence in his
home, because he did not tell Weakley and the Sheriff’s deputies to leave or stay
downstairs. Weakley also argues that probable cause supports Mr. Shannon’s arrest
and defeats his claims of false arrest and false imprisonment.
Plaintiff argues that qualified immunity does not shield Weakley from liability
because his conduct was not reasonable in light of the clearly established law. Plaintiff
states that even if Weakley arguably obtained consent from Mr. Eiserer, this consent
was coerced. Plaintiff also argues that even if consent was given to enter the home, no
one gave Weakley consent to walk up the stairs and into plaintiff’s bedroom.
After reviewing defendant=s motion for summary judgment and plaintiff’s
response, the Court finds that there are disputed issues of material fact which prevent
the Court from granting summary judgment. Accordingly, the Court hereby DENIES
defendant=s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. #44).
For the reasons stated above, the Court hereby DENIES defendant=s Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. # 44).
Date: November 18, 2013
Kansas City, Missouri
S/ FERNANDO J. GAITAN, JR.
Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr.
Chief United States District Judge
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