United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
O. Hickey United States District Judge
the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant
Leslie Jessup. ECF No. 38. Plaintiff Donald Stephens has
responded. ECF. No. 44. Jessup has filed a reply. ECF No. 45.
This matter is ripe for the Court's consideration.
action arises out of an incident in which Plaintiff Donald
Stephens was accused of theft at Oaklawn Jockey Club in Hot
Springs, Arkansas. On February 6, 2010, Stephens claims that
he won a sum of money playing slot machines, cashed out his
ticket, and left the casino. Stephens returned later that
evening and purchased another gaming ticket for use in a slot
playing the ticket, Defendant Leslie Jessup, a uniformed Hot
Springs policeman, and other Oaklawn security personnel
approached Stephens as he played the ticket. Jessup and the
security personnel accused Stephens of stealing the
cashed-out ticket from another patron who had been playing
the slot machine. They detained Stephens for approximately
twenty minutes while other Oaklawn employees reviewed
surveillance footage to determine whether the ticket was
stolen. Stephens denied stealing the ticket. Jessup told
Stephens to be quiet and asked him if he understood his
rights. Jessup also told Stephens that he could either go to
jail or pay back the money that he received from cashing the
stolen ticket. Stephens replied that he had $300 in his
vehicle. Jessup escorted Stephens to his vehicle, and he
retrieved the money. Stephens handed the money over to
Oaklawn personnel. Jessup waited with Stephens for
approximately forty-five minutes while Oaklawn employees
searched for the patron whose ticket had allegedly been
stolen. Jessup then told Stephens that he could go home.
November 4, 2010, Stephens filed suit against Oaklawn in the
Circuit Court of Pulaski County, Arkansas, alleging that
Oaklawn, through its "agents, servants and employees . .
. acting within the scope and course of their employment,
" committed false imprisonment, conversion, defamation,
violation of civil rights, and intentional infliction of
emotional distress. ECF No. 38-2, p. 5. The court granted
summary judgment in favor of Oaklawn on the civil rights
claim, and the remaining tort claims proceeded to
trial. A jury returned a verdict in favor of
Oaklawn. Jessup was not a party to the state court action.
February 6, 2013, Stephens filed the present action against
Jessup,  alleging the same causes of action that
were alleged in state court: false imprisonment, conversion,
defamation, violation of civil rights, and intentional
infliction of emotional distress. Jessup moved the Court to
dismiss the Complaint against him, arguing that
Stephens's claims were barred by the doctrine of res
judicata. The Court granted the motion. On appeal, the
Eighth Circuit reversed, finding that the record before it
"[d]id not conclusively show that the issues raised in
the present action were actually litigated and determined in
the 2010 case." Stephens v. Jessup, 793 F.3d
941, 944 (8th Cir. 2015). The case was remanded back to this
Court for further proceedings. Jessup argues that he is
entitled to summary judgment on all five causes of action.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that when a party
moves for summary judgment:
The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); Krenik v. County of LeSueur,
47 F.3d 953 (8th Cir. 1995). The Supreme Court has issued the
following guidelines for trial courts to determine whether
this standard has been satisfied:
The inquiry performed is the threshold inquiry of determining
whether there is a need for trial-whether, in other words,
there are 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.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250
(1986); see also Agristor Leasing v. Farrow, 826
F.2d 732 (8th Cir. 1987); Niagara of Wisconsin Paper
Corp. v. Paper Indus. Union-Mgmt. Pension Fund, 800 F.2d
742, 746 (8th Cir. 1986). A fact is material only when its
resolution affects the outcome of the case.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. A dispute is genuine if
the evidence is such that it could cause a reasonable jury to
return a verdict for either party. Id. at 252.
Court must view the evidence and the inferences that may be
reasonably drawn from the evidence in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party. Enter. Bank v. Magna
Bank, 92 F.3d 743, 747 (8th Cir. 1996). The moving party
bears the burden of showing that there is no genuine issue of
material fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. Id. The nonmoving party must then
demonstrate the existence of specific facts in the record
that create a genuine issue for trial. Krenik, 47
F.3d at 957. A party opposing a properly supported motion for
summary judgment ...