Brooks et al v. Doughtie et al
ORDER granting 36 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 8/31/2017. (Briggeman, N.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
LINC OSHEABROOKS, and
APRIL GLADNEY BROOKS,
J.D. DOUGHTIE, et al.,
On May 1, 2015, Line Oshea Brooks ("Line") and April Gladney Brooks ("April") filed a
complaint against Dare County SheriffJ.D. Doughtie and Dare County Deputy SlieriffKevinDuprey
in their individual and official capacities, the Ohio Casualty Insurance Company ("OCIC") and
Liberty Mutual Group, Inc., as sureties, and John Doe 1 Surety Company and John Doe 2 Surety
Company [D.E. 1]. The complaint alleged a state-law claim for intentional infliction of emotional
distress, a statutory-bond claim, and federal claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See id.
On September 14, 2015, the parties filed a joint stipulation of dismissal of all sureties other than
OCIC [D.E. 26]. On October 31, 2016, defendants moved for summary judgment [D.E. 36].
Plaintiffs responded in opposition [D.E. 47-49], and defendants replied [D.E. 50]. As explained
below, the court grants defendants' motion for summary judgment.
Plaintiffs' complaint arises out of a traffic stop and detention that occurred in February 2014.
On February 13,2014, "[p]laintiffs were traveling eastbound on Virginia Dare Hwy, driving a silver
2008 Mercedes Benz CLS 550, when the[y] experienced a tire malfunction on the rear driver side."
Compl. [D.E. 1] ~ 13; see L. Brooks Dep. 25-26 [D.E. 39-8] 9-10. Line was driving, and slowed
down to 25 miles per hour and activated the flashers. See Compl. ~~ 13-14. SBI Special Agent R.
Jason Godfrey passed plaintiffs' car while driving on the same road, "and because traffic usually runs
at about 70 mph or more, ... was concerned about the safety of this situation." Godfrey Aff. [D.E.
39-5] ~ 4. Godfrey "slowed down to allow the vehicle to pass ... so that [he] could r~ad the license
plate," and "checked the license plate number in an offic~allaw enforcement database." Id.; cf. L.
Brooks Dep. 34-37 [D.E. 39-8] 12. Godfrey learned that the car was registered to a man much
younger than Line (and later learned that the car's registered owner was Line's son). Godfrey Aff.
Godfrey then ''traveled past the vehicle and turned into a rest stop at the end of the bridge near
Manteo to further observe the vehicle and the occupants once the vehicle was off the bridge." Id.;
cf. Compl. ~~ 16-17 (alleging that Godfrey pulled ahead of plaintiffs' car and ''veered off the road
onto what appeared to be a wooded area," only to again pull up to and around plaintiffs' car and tum
left at an intersection). Although plaintiffs' car had a flat tire, plaintiffs drove past a rest stop and
a gas station. Godfrey Aff.
Godfrey ''then called Deputy Shaun Barrera, who [Godfrey] knew was on duty as a'patrol
officer for the Dare County Sheriff's Office, and informed him that a motorist with a flat tire in a
silver Mercedes might need help between the bridge and Nags Head." Godfrey Aff. ~ 4; see Barrera
Aff. [D.E. 39-4]
4. Barrera "pulled up behind Plaintiff and initiated a traffic stop on Plaintiff,
illuminating blue lights. Plaintiff responded to the lights by pulling into a parking lot and stopping
his car." Compl. ~~ 18-19; see BarreraAff. ~ 4; L. Brooks Dep. 41 [D.E. 39-8] 13; A. Brooks Dep.
25-26 [D.E. 39-9] 8-9. Barrera identified himself to Line. Line responded that he was "a retired
Rocky Mount Police Officer trying to make it to a store where his wife could use a restroom, and
informed Barrera that he had a firearm in his vehicle." Compl. ~~ 20--21; see Barrera Aff. ~ 4; L.
Brooks Dep. 42 [D.E. 39-8] 14. Barrera quickly ended the traffic stop, but when Line got back on
the road, "his tire collapsed, forcing him to pull into the parking lot of [a restaurant],just down the
street from a store." Compl. ,-r 24; see Barrera Aff. ,-r 4 ("The entire stop lasted less than three
minutes."); A. Brooks Dep. 28 [D.E. 39-9] 9. 1
Barrera called Godfrey back "and let him know that everything was fme and that the man was
a retired police officer and did not need help." Barrera Aff. ,-r 4; see Godfrey Aff. ,-r 6. Godfrey,
however, "became more curious" and called another SBI agent, Albert Ray Summerlin to "ask
Agent Summerlin ifhe knew of someone who was a retired Rocky Mount Police officer and matched
·the physical description of the driver." Godfrey Aff. ,-r 6; see Summerlin Aff. [D.E. 39-6] ,-r 6. In
2013, Summerlin had interviewed a prisoner who "positively identified Mr. Brooks by photographD"
and "said that Mr. Brooks was a former police officer in Rocky Mount, drove a silver Mercedes, and
was involved in the drug trade and the racing business." Summerlin Aff. ,-r 5 & Ex. A [D.E. 39-6]
11-12 (DEA interview report). Summerlin also was aware of another 2013 interview with a federal
prisoner in which ''the prisoner said that Line Books [sic] had sold him 16 to 18 kilos of cocaine
since 2006." Summerlin Aff. ,-r 7. Summerlin called the Rocky Mount Police Department and spoke
with a captain "who told [Summerlin] that Brooks had retired from the department on medical
disability and that police there believed he was involved in drug trafficking." Id. ,-r 6. Summerlin
"reported this information immediately to Special Agent Godfrey." Id.; see Godfrey Aff. ,-r 6;
cf. Duprey Aff., Ex. A [D.E. 39-1] 7 (incident report indicating that Duprey spoke to Summerlin,
who ''advised [Duprey] that there were debriefs on Line Brooks that tied him into dealing large
Plaintiffs' complaint alleges that they pulled into the parking lot of Basnight's Restaurant.
Compl. ,-r 24. However, plaintiffs apparently pulled into the parking lot of Stone Oven Pizza.
See Duprey Aff. ,-r 4; Henderson Aff. [D.E. 39-2] ,-r 4; Barrera Aff. ,-r 5; L. Brooks Dep. 40, 45, 90
[D.E. 39-8] 13-14,26.
amounts of cocaine"); Pls.' Ex. 1 [D.E. 49-1] 3 (same). Godfrey "immediately called Captain Kevin
Duprey, the chief narcotics investigator for the Dare County Sheriffs Office, and told him all this
information." Godfrey Aff.
6; see Duprey Aff. [D.E. 39-1]
4 & Ex. A [D.E. 39-1] 7; Pls.' Ex.
1 [D.E. 49-1] 3.
Meanwhile, Line walked with April to the nearby store and then returned to their car. Compl.
25; see A. Brooks Dep. 38 [D.E. 39-9] 12. While sitting in their car with the engine running, a
Nags Head police officer pulled into the parking lot behind them, activated his blue lights, demanded
to see Line's license and registration, placed a phone call, then returned Line's license and
registration to him and left. See Compl. ~~ 27-33; L. Brooks Dep. 47-49 [D.E. 39-8] 15; A. Brooks
Dep. 38-40 [D.E. 39-9] 12; Pls.' Ex. 6 [D.E. 49-6] (event report).
Captain Duprey was on patrol searching for plaintiffs, located them in the restaurant parking
lot, and began to observe them. Compare Compl. ~ 26; L. Brooks Dep. 50 [D.E. 39-8] 16 with
Henderson Aff. ~ 5 ("Duprey had been observing Mr. and Mrs. Brooks in the parking lot for several
minutes when we pulled up."); Duprey Aff., Ex. A [D.E. 39-1] 7; Pls.' Ex. 1 [D.E. 49-1] 3. At some
point, an individual named Marshall Gallop arrived to assist plaintiffs with their flat tire in response
to a phone call Line had placed to Gallop's brother Mike. Compare Compl. ~ 36; L. Brooks Dep.
26--29,52-55 [D.E. 39-8] 10, 16--17; A. Brooks Dep. 40-41 [D.E. 39-9] 12; Gallop Aff. [D.E. 49-'
10] 2, with Duprey Aff., Ex. A [D.E. 39-1] 7; Pls.' Ex. 1 [D.E. 49-1] 3; Henderson Aff.
Marshall Gallop was familiar to several officers on the scene, including Captain Duprey, based on
his criminal record for drug trafficking, and Mike Gallop ''was fired from a law enforcement agency
amid rumors that he too was involved in the illegal drug trade." Duprey Aff. ~ 4 & Ex. A [D.E. 391] 7; Pls.' Ex. 1 [D.E. 49-1] 3; see HendersonAff. ~ 7.
Captain Duprey contacted Barrera and asked him to come to the restaurant parking lot with
Barrera's K9 police dog. Barrera Aff.
5; see Duprey Aff., Ex. A [D.E. 39-1] 7, 17; Pis.' Ex. 1
[D.E. 49-1] 3; Godfrey Aff. ~ 7. Several officers arrived on the scene, including Henderson, Barrera,
and Godfrey. See Compl. ~~ 40-41; HendersonAff. ~~ 4-5; Godfrey Aff. ~ 7; Duprey Aff., Ex. A
[D.E. 39-1] 11. Although a tow truck had arrived to tow plaintiffs' vehicle, Captain Duprey
informed plaintiffs that he intended to run a K9 dog around plaintiffs' vehicle. See Compl.
38-39, 42-45; Duprey Aff., Ex. A [D.E. 39-1] 7, 11; Pis.' Ex. 1 [D.E. 49-1] 3, L. Brooks Dep.
55-56 [D.E. 39-8] 17;A. BrooksDep. 63--64 [D.E. 39-9] 18. Plaintiffs did not consent. SeeCompl.
Duprey Aff., Ex. A [D.E. 39-1] 7; Henderson Aff.
7; L. Brooks Dep. 56 [D.E. 39-8] 17;
Gallop Aff. [D.E. 49-,10] 2. Defendants assert that the K9 alerted to the presence of a controlled
substance odor, which plaintiffs dispute. Compare Compl. ~~ 46, 49, 51-52; L. Brooks Dep. 56-57,
63--66 [D.E. 39-8] 17, 19-20; Gallop Aff. [D.E. 49-10] 2, with Duprey Aff., Ex. A [D.E. 39-1] 7,
17; HendersonAff. ~ 6; BarreraAff. ~~ 6-7.2
At plaintiffs' request, Captain Duprey summoned SheriffDoughtie to the scene. See Compl.
Doughtie Aff. [D.E. 39-3]
3; L. Brooks Dep. 58-59 [D.E. 39-8] 18; A. Brooks Dep.
64--65 [D.E. 39-9] 18. Doughtie told Line that one of the officers had spoken with someone who
"did not have anything good to say about" Line, but Doughtie asserts that the conversation remained
"courteous." Compare Compl. ~ 60; L. Brooks Dep. 5~0 [D.E. 39-8] 18, with Doughtie Aff. ~ 3.
Either Sheriff Doughtie or Captain Duprey informed plaintiffs ''that they were not being arrested or
detained but that we were taking their car back to the sheriffs office [to search it further] and they
were free to return with us or leave as they saw fit." Doughtie Aff.
4; see Compl. ~ 63; Duprey
The K9 also alerted on Marshall Gallop's car. See Duprey Aff., Ex. A [D.E. 39-1] 7;
Barrera Aff. ~ 5; cf. L. Brooks Dep. 62 [D.E. 39-8] 19; Gallop Aff. 2. "That vehicle was searched
and nothing located. They were allowed to leave." Duprey Aff., Ex. A [D.E. 39-1] 7; seeL. Brooks
Dep. 62 [D.E. 39-8] 19; cf. Gallop Aff. 2.
Aff., Ex. A [D.E. 39-1] 8; Henderson Aff.
8; L. Brooks Dep. 60-61 [D.E. 39-8] 18. "Plaintiff
verbally opposed the planned action, asking SheriffDoughtie what right they had to take Plaintiffs'
car and move it to the Sheriffs Office without a search warrant, but the Sheriff maintained that they
were going to do a more thorough search of the car in a lighted area before they release it." Compl.
64; see L. Brooks Dep. 60-61 [D.E. 39-8] 18.
Plaintiffs and the officers went to the sheriffs office. See Compl. ~~ 65-68; Duprey Aff.,
Ex. A [D.E. 39-1] 8; Henderson Aff. ~ 8; Doughtie Aff. ~ 4. The parties dispute whether plaintiffs
were in custody at this point, although plaintiffs admit that they had not been formally arrested.
66-67; L. Brooks Dep. 66-67 [D.E. 39-8] 20, with Henderson Aff.
4. Plaintiffs contend that they were instructed to accompany the officers to the
station. See L. Brooks Dep. 66-67 [D.E. 39-8] 20. Although no one formally questioned plaintiffs,
Sheriff Doughtie ''was trying to interview [Line] . . . in his slick way" by "starting to ask . . .
questions about what [plaintiffs] planned to do when [they] were down there, did [plaintiffs] know
anybody down there, things of that nature." L. Brooks Dep. 69-70 [D.E. 39-8] 20-21.
At the sheriffs office, Barrera ran the K9 around the car again, and the K9 again alerted to
the presence of a controlled substance odor on both the passenger and driver's sides of the vehicle,
and on the floorboards of the front seats. See Duprey Aff., Ex. A [D.E. 39-1] 8, 13, 17; Henderson
8; cf. Compl.
68-69 (alleging that the K9 "ftound] nothing"). For approximately two
hours, Duprey "and other officers used micro cameras to search in hard to reach areas of the car,
raised and searched under the hood on the car and in the trunk, and used wrenches to take the car
apart." Compl. ~~ 69-70; see Duprey Aff., Ex. A [D.E. 39-1] 8, 13-14; Henderson Aff. ~~ 9-10.
Plaintiffs allege that"[a]fter more than two hours ofwatching the destruction ofhis car with nothing
being found to justify it, [Line] pleaded with Sheriff Doughtie to stop, saying that this has gone on
for too long" and "requested that the Sheriff end this situation and have his car put back together."
Compl. ,-r,-r 70-71; see L. Brooks Dep. 74-75 [D.E. 39-8] 22. "Sheriff Doughtie said that he agreed,
but that, ' ... the way this car is tom to pieces there's no way we can get it put back together
tonight'." Compl. ,-r 72 (alteration in original).
During the course ofthe search, Henderson "found six air fresheners in a compartment under
the driver's side seat and another one under the rear seat," which "drug dealers often use ... in an
attempt to mask the odor of illegal drugs and throw off the scent of police drug dogs." Henderson
Aff. ,-r 9; see Duprey Aff. ,-r 4 & Ex. A [D.E. 39-1] 14; cf. L. Brooks Dep. 143-45 [D.E. 39-8] 39; A.
Brooks Dep. 90-91 [D.E. 39-9] 25. Henderson also found ''tiny white powder specks" that tested
positive for cocaine when tested with "a Nark Swipe, a moist towelette that is pink but turns bright
blue when it comes into contact with cocaine." Henderson Aff. ,-r 10; see Duprey Aff. ,-r 4 & Ex. A
[D.E. 39-1] 8, 18; DoughtieA:ff. ,-r 4; cf. Compl. ,-r,-r74-77; L. Brooks Dep. 74-79 [D.E. 39-8] 22-23
(disputing the validity of the swipe); A. Brooks Dep. 91-93 [D.E. 39-9] 25.
"At that time the search was stopped and it was determined that the search would continue
the following morning after obtaining a Search Warrant." Duprey Aff., Ex. A [D.E. 39-1] 8; see
Compl. ,-r 77; Henderson Aff. ,-r 10. "Lt. Duprey released Plaintiffs with their luggage (which was
never searched), and . . . . told Plaintiffs that they could meet him at the Sheriff's Office in the
morning around 9:00 a.m. to watch them conduct a more complete search of Plaintiffs' car for
hidden compartments, after they obtain a search warrant." Compl. ,-r,-r 80-81; see Duprey Aff., Ex.
A [D.E. 39-1] 8-9, 14; Pls.' Ex. 1 [D.E. 49-1] 4-5; Pls.' Ex. 3 [D.E. 49-3]; L. Brooks Dep. 76 [D.E.
The following morning, Duprey applied for and obtained a search warrant. See Duprey Aff.,
Ex. A [D.E. 39-1] 20-25 (search warrant and application); Pls.' Ex.
2 [D.E. 49-2] (search warrant
application); cf. Compl. ~ 86; L. Brooks Dep. 99 [D.E. 39-8] 28. The sheriff?s office had plaintiffs'
vehicle towed to a municipal garage in Kill Devil Hills to conduct the search. See Duprey Aff., Ex.
A [D.E. 39-1] 9, 14; Pls.' Ex. 1 [D.E. 49-1] 5; Pls.' Ex. 3 [D.E. 49-3] 6; Henderson Aff.
cf. Compl. ~~ 82-83; L. Brooks Dep. 97 [D.E. 39-8] 27. "Lt. Duprey ... brought in an interdiction
team from Raleigh NC to conduct the search along with D.E.A. Agent Bubba Summerlin." Compl.
88; see Duprey Aff., Ex. A [D.E. 39-1] 9, 14; Summerlin Aff. ~ 8. Summerlin encouraged Line
to cooperate with law enforcement. See Compl. ~ 90; Summerlin Aff. ~ 8; L. Brooks Dep. 102-04
[D.E. 39-8] 29. The officers did not find any narcotics in the vehicle, and they changed plaintiffs'
flat tire beforereturningthevehicleto Line. See Compl. ~96; Duprey Aff., Ex. A [D.E. 39-1] 9, 15;
Henderson Aff. ~ 11.
Summary judgment is appropriate when, after reviewing the record as a whole, no genuine
issue of material fact exists and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter oflaw. Fed. R.
Civ. P. 56(a); Anderson v. Libeey Lobby. Inc., 477 U.S. 242,247-48 (1986). The party seeking
summary judgment initially must demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact or the
absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 4 77 U.S. 317,
325 (1986). Once the moving party has met its burden, the nonmoving party may not rest on the
allegations or denials in its pleading, Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248-49, but "must come forward with
specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (emphasis and quotation omitted). A trial court reviewing
a motion for summary judgment should determine whether a genuine issue ofmaterial fact exists for
trial. Anderso!!, 477 U.S. at 249. In making this determination, the court must view the evidence
and the inferences drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007).
Count four seeks relief against all defendants for unlawful search and seizure in violation of
the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments.
Count six challenges
defendants' warrantless seizure and "repeated warrantless searches" of plaintiffs' vehicle.
Id. ~~ 160--67.
"Temporary detention of individuals during the stop of an automobile by the police, even if
only for a brief period and for a limited purpose," constitutes a Fourth Amendment seizure. Whren
v. United States, 517 U.S. 806, 809-10 (1996); see Brendlin v.
551 U.S. 249, 254-56
(2007). The court evaluates plaintiffs' detention under Terzy v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 19-20 (1968).
Under Im:ry, defendants' actions must be ''justified at [the] inception," and their subsequent
questioning and search "reasonably related in scope to the circumstances which justified the
interference in the first place." Im:ry, 392 U.S. at20; United States v. Green, 740 F.3d275, 279 (4th
An automobile stop is a reasonable seizure if''the police have probable cause to believe that
a traffic violation has occurred." Whren, 517 U.S. at 810. Probable cause that a traffic violation has
occurred "exists if, given the totality of the circumstances, the officer had reasonably trustworthy
information sufficient to warrant a prudent person in believing that the [seized person] had
committed or was committing an offense." United States v. Sowards, 690 F.3d 583, 588 (4th Cir.
2012) (alterations and quotation omitted); see United States v. Branch, 537 F.3d 328,335 (4th Cir.
2008). "Because a traffic stop is more analogous to an investigative detention than a custodial
arrest," a court analyzes the validity of a traffic stop by asking if the stop ''was justified at its
inception" and if ''the police officer's subsequent actions were reasonably related in scope to the
circumstances that justified the stop." United States v. Digioyanni, 650 F.3d 498,506 (4th Cir.
2011) (quotation omitted); see lllinois v. Caballes, 543 U.S. 405,407-09 (2005).
"Observing a traffic violation provides sufficient justification for a police officer to detain
the offending vehicle for as long as it takes to perform the traditional incidents of a routine traffic
stop." United States v. Branch, 537 F.3d 328, 335 (4th Cir. 2008). During a traffic stop, an officer
may order the driver to getoutofthe car.
Pennsylvania v. Mimms, 434 U.S. 106, 108-11
(1977) (per curiam). An officer may extend a traffic stop if the officer has "reasonable suspicion of
a serious crime." United States v. Brugal, 209 F.3d 353, 358 (4th Cir. 2000) (en bane) (quotation
omitted). An officer has reasonable suspicion of a crime if the officer can point to specific
articulable facts that suggest criminal activity. The officer need not have probable cause. See
lllinois v. Wardlow, 528 U.S. 119, 123-24 (2000). "[W]hen an officer acts on an instruction from
another officer, the act is justified ifthe instructing officer had sufficient information to justify taking
such action herself; in this very limited sense, the instructing officer's knowledge is imputed to the
acting officer." United States v. Massenburg, 654 F.3d 480,492 (4th Cir. 2011); see United States
v. Hensley. 469 U.S. 221, 223, 232 (1985); Whiteley v. Warden, Wyo. State Penitentiary. 401 U.S.
560, 568 (1971); United States v. Wells, 98 F.3d 808, 810 (4th Cir. 1996); United States v.
Laughmlm, 618 F.2d 1067, 1072-73 (4th Cir. 1980).
Defendants' actions were justified at the inception. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-122.1(a)
(requiringvehiclestohave safe tires); United Statesv. Palmer, 820 F.3d640, 651-53 &n.7 (4thCir.
2016); United States v. Branch, 537 F.3d 328, 335-40 (4th Cir. 2008); United States v.
Lopez-Moreno, 420 F.3d 420, 431-32 (5th Cir. 2005). Defendants did not improperly expand the
scope of the stop or unreasonably prolong the stop in order to conduct a canine sniff. See Caballes,
543 U.S. at410; Palmer, 820 F.3dat651; Buchanan v. Kelly, 592F. App'x 503, ~06 (7th Cir. 2014)
(per curiam) (unpublished); Digiovanni, 650 F.3d at 511-13; Neal v. Melton, 453 F. App'x 572,
579-81 (6th Cir. 2011) (unpublished). The canine alert gave defendants probable cause to seize the
vehicle and conduct a warrantless search. See Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 506 (1983); Palmer,
820 F.3d at 650-53; United States v. Kelly, 592 F.3d 586, 592 (4th Cir. 2010); cf. United States v.
Jacobsen, 466 U.S. 109, 123 (1984); United States v. Place, 462 U.S. 696, 708-10 (1983).
Moreover, plaintiffs' challenge to the validity of the canine alerts does not alter the court's analysis
that defendants had probable cause to tow the vehicle to the sheriffs office and conduct a
warrantless search of the vehicle. See Chambers v. Maroney, 399 U.S. 42, 52 (1970); United States
v. Ludwig, 641 F.3d 1243, 1251-53 (lOth Cir. 2011); United States v. Kern8, No. 2:15-cr-00217,
2016 WL 5745117, at *8 (S.D. W.Va. Sept. 30, 2016) (unpublished).
In opposition to this conclusion, plaintiffs contend that various discrepancies in the police
reports are "dominos of lies" precluding summary judgment. See Pls.' Mem. Opp'n Defts.' Mot.
Summ. J. [D.E. 47] 15-21. Plaintiffs' contentions concerning defendants' subjective motivations
and false statements do not alter the court's analysis.. See Devenpeck v. Alford, 543 U.S. 146,
153-56 (2004); Whre!l, 517 U.S. at 812-14; see also Massey v. Ojaniit, 759 F.3d 343, 354-56 (4th
Cir. 2014). Thus, the court grants summary judgment to defendants on plaintiffs' claims in count
four and six.
Count two alleges that defendants Doughtie and Duprey, "acting individually and in concert,
without probable cause initiated and continued a criminal investigation and an unconstitutional
search and seizure against the Plaintiffs" in violation of the Fourth Amendment. See Compl.
119-128. Count five alleges a claim for unlawful detention and arrest against all defendants. Id. ~~
"A seizure of the person within the meaning of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments
occurs when, taking into account all of the circumstances surrounding the encounter, the police
conduct would have communicated to a reasonable person that he was not at liberty to ignore the
police presence and go about his business." Kaupp v. Texas, 538 U.S. 626, 629 (2003) (quotation
omitted); see Florida v. Bostick, 501 U.S. 429, 436-37 (1991); California v. Hodari D., 499 U.S.
621, 625-26 (1991). Circumstances indicating that a person ''was not free to leave" include the
''threatening presence of several officers, the display of a weapon by an officer, some physic31
touching of the person of the citizen, or the use of language or tone of voice indicating that
compliance with the officer's request might be compelled." United States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S.
544, 554 (1980); see Thrry, 392 U.S. at 19 n.l6; Santos v. Frederick Cty. Bd. ofComm'rs, 725 F.3d
451,461 (4th Cir. 2013). In analyzing plaintiffs' claim, the court "first must decide if and when
[plaintiffs were] 'seized' for purposes of the Fourth Amendment," and ''then determine whether the
law enforcement officer had adequate justification to support the seizure." Santos, 725 F .3d at 460
Defendants seized plaintiffs when they instructed plaintiffs to accompany them to the
sheriff's office. See Hayes v. Flori@, 470 U.S. 811, 815-16 (1985); Santos, 725 F.3d at 462;
Hoover v. Walsh, 682 F.3d 481, 498-99 (6th Cir. 2012). The seizure was justified, however,
because defendants had probable cause to believe that plaintiffs' vehicle contained narcotics, and
thus had probable cause to arrest plaintiffs. See, M.,., Devenpeck, 543 U.S. at 152; Illinois v .
. McArthur, 531 U.S. 326, 328-32 (2001); New v. Denver, 787 F.3d 895, 900 (8th Cir. 2015);
Robinson v. Cook, 706 F .3d 25, 36-37 (1st Cir. 2013); Hoover, 682 F .3d at 499; Resendiz v. Miller,
203 F.3d902, 904 (SthCir. 2000) (per curiam); Gassv. Murphy, No. 3:11-1584,2013 WL5488712,
at *7 (M.D~ Pa. Sept. 30, 2013) (unpublished). Accordingly, the court grants summary judgment to
defendantS on counts two and five.
Count one alleges that Sheriff Doughtie "as the executive officer with final policy-making
authority and supervisor and the Sheriff's agents and deputies, acting under color of law, violated
the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights ofPlaintiffs (citizens) to Privacy, Liberty, rights
against unreasonable Search and Seizure, against discrimination based on Race, Due Process rights,
andothervaluablerights." Compl. ~ 104. Count three alleges "supervisory violations of42 U.S.C.
§ 1983" against defendants Duprey and Doughtie. Compl. ~~ 129-139.
To avoid summary judgment, plaintiffs must show a genuine issue of material fact
concerning whether: (1) a constitutional injury occurred as a result of an employee's conduct; (2)
SheriffDoughtie had a policy or custom that amounted to a deliberate indifference to the deprivation
of plaintiffs' constitutional rights; and (3) this policy or custom caused the alleged constitutional
City of Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 388-92 (1989); Smith v. Atkins, 777 F.
Supp. 2d 955, 966--67 (E.D.N.C. 2011). "[T]he inadequacy of police training may serve as a basis
for [section] 1983 liability only where the failure to train amounts to deliberate indifference to the
rights of persons with whom the police come into contact." Harris, 489 U.S. at 388; see Connick
v. Thompso!1,563 U.S. 51, 60-62 (2011); Bd. ofComm'rs of Bryan Cty. v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397,
408-10(1997); Doev. Broderick, 225 F.3d440,456 (4thCir. 2000); Carterv. Morris, 164F.3d215,
220-21 (4th Cir. 1999). Thus, to establish a claim under section 1983 for failure to train law
enforcement officers, a plaintiff must show that "officers are' not adequately trained 'in relation to
the tasks that the particular officers must perform' and this deficiency is 'closely related to the
ultimate injury.'" Lytle v. Doyle, 326 F.3d 463, 473 (4th Cir. 2003) (quoting Harris, 489 U.S. at
390-91). Moreover, "[a] pattern of similar constitutional violations by untrained employees is
ordinarily necessary to demonstrate deliberate indifference for purposes of failure to train . . . .
Without notice that a course oftraining is deficient in a particular respect, decisionmakers can hardly
be said to have deliberately chosen a training program that will cause violations of constitutional
rights." Thompso!l, 563 U.S. at 62 (quotation omitted); see Doe, 225 F.3d at 456; Smith, 777 F.
Supp. 2d at 967. Only in the rarest of circumstances may "the unconstitutional consequences of
failing to train ... be so patently obvious that a city could be liable under [section] 1983 without
proofofapre-existingpatternofviolations." Thompso!l, 563 U.S. at64;
v. Tuttle, 471 U.S. 808, 824 (1985) (plurality opinion).
"Here, plaintiffs have not identified any specific training deficiencies, and there is no pattern
of unconstitutional conduct." Smith, 777 F. Supp. 2d at 967; see Schaffer v. Beringer, 842 F.3d 585,
596--97 (8th Cir. 2016), cert. denied, No. 16-1262,2017 WL 1426359 (U.S. June 26, 2017). To the
extent plaintiffs proceed against Lieutenant Duprey on a theory that he "directed other deputies to
join in committing unconstitutional violations of Plaintiffs' rights, knowing that Plaintiffs'
constitutional rights were being violated," Compl.
violated plaintiffs' constitutional rights.
133, the claim fails because no defendant
Robinson, 706 F.3d at 37-38. Thus, the court
grants summary judgment to defendants on counts one and three.
Alternatively, defendants assert that they are entitled to qualified immunity. Mem. Supp.
Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. [D.E. 37] 17-21.
The doctrine of qualified immunity provides that
"government officials performing discretionary functions generally are shielded from liability for
civil damages insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional
rights of which a reasonable person would have known." Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818
(1982); see Taylor v. Barkes, 135 S. Ct. 2042, 2044 (2015) (per curiam); City & Cty. of S.F. v.
135 S. Ct. 1765, 1774 (2015); Carroll v. Carm~ 135 S. Ct. 348,350 (2014) (per curiam);
Reichle v. Howards, 132 S. Ct. 2088, 2093 (2012). Qualified immunity protects "all but the plainly
incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law." Malleyv. Briggs, 475 U.S. 335,341 (1986);
see Taylor, 135 S. Ct. at 2044; Sheehan, 135 S. Ct. at 1774; Carroll, 135 S. Ct. at 350.
The court asks two questions to determine whether qualified immunity applies: first,
''whether the facts that a plaintiff has ... shown ... make out a violation of a constitutional right,"
and second, ''whether the right at issue was clearly established at the time of [the] defendant's
alleged misconduct." Pearson v.
555 U.S. 223, 232 (2009) (quotation omitted); see
Reichle, 132 S. Ct. at2093; Brockington v. Boykins, 637 F.3d 503,506 (4th Cir. 2011); Doe exrel.
Johnson v. S.C. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 597 F.3d 163, 169 (4th Cir. 2010). Courts may decide which
question to address first. Pearson, 555 U.S. at 236. "A Government official's conduct violates
clearly established law when, at the time of the challenged conduct, the contours of a right are
sufficiently clear that every reasonable official would have understood that what he is doing violates
that right." Ashcroftv. al-K.idd, 563 U.S. 731,741 (2011) (alterations and quotations omitted). The
United States Supreme Court does "not require a case directly on point, but existing precedent must
have placed the statutory or constitutional question beyond debate." Id.; see Reichle, 132 S. Ct. at
2093. A defendant is entitled to dismissal on qualified-immunity grounds if the answer to either
question is "no."
Reichle, 132 S. Ct. at 2093; al-K.idd, 563 U.S. at 735; Miller v. Prince
George's Cty.. Md., 475 F.3d 621, 627 (4th Cir. 2007); Bostic v. Rodriguez, 667 F. Supp. 2d 591,
606 (E.D.N.C. 2009).
Plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate a constitutional violation.
Schaffer, 842 F.3d
at 592; New, 787 F.3d at 901; Hoover, 682 F.3d at 500; Resendiz, 203 F.3d at 904; Gass, 2013 WL
5488712, at *8. Thus, defendants are entitled to qualified immunity.
Count seven alleges a state-law claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress. Compl.
168-176. To survive summary judgment on this claim, plaintiffs must show that: (1) the
defendant engaged in extreme and outrageous conduct; (2) the conduct was intended to cause severe
emotional distress; and (3) the conduct in fact caused severe emotional distress. See Waddle v.
Sparks, 331 N.C. 73, 82, 414 S.E.2d 22, 27 (1992). To be considered "extreme and outrageous," the
conduct must' be "so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible
bounds ofdecency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community."
Hogan v. Forsyth Countzy Club Co., 79 N.C. App. 483,493,340 S.E.2d 116, 123 (1986) (quotation
omitted). Whether conduct qualifies as "extreme and outrageous" is a question oflaw for the court.
Lenins v. K-Mart Corp., 98 N.C. App. 590, 599, 391 S.E.2d 843, 848 (1990).
Plaintiffs have failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact concerning whether any
defendant engaged in extreme and outrageous conduct. As a matter of law, they did not.
Robinso!l, 706 F.3d at 38; Hensley v. Suttles, 167 F. Supp. 3d 753, 768--69 (W.D.N.C. 2016);
Benson v. Vance Cty. Sheriff, No. 5:05-CV-506-BR(3), 2006 WL4821431, at *4-5 (E.D.N.C. Dec.
12, 2006) (unpublished). Thus, the court grants summary judgment to defendants on count seven.
In sum, the court GRANTS defendants' motion for sumniary judgment [D.E. 36].
Defendants may file a motion for costs in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and
this court's local rules. The clerk shall close the case.
SO ORDERED. This ..3...!_ day of August 2017.
Chief United States District Judge
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