Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Johnson v. City of Nashville

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division

November 23, 2016

CARL JOHNSON and JUSTIN JOHNSON, PLAINTIFFS
v.
CITY OF NASHVILLE, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, et al., DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Susan O. Hickey United States District Judge

         Before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants City of Nashville, Arkansas; Billy Ray Jones; Mike Reese; Freddy Brown; Matt Smith; Jackie Harwell; Nick Davis; Monica Clark; Vivian Wright; Jimmie Lou Kirkpatrick; Kay Gathright; James Parker; Carol Mitchell; Andy Anderson; Mike Milum; and Jerry Harwell. ECF No. 15. Plaintiffs have filed a response. ECF No. 18. The Court finds this matter ripe for consideration.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On March 24, 2016, Defendants filed the present Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 15. The Complaint names the following defendants: (1) The City of Nashville, a municipal corporation; (2) Jerry Harwell, Fire Marshal; (3) Mike Reese, former mayor of the City of Nashville, (4) Billy Ray Jones, Mayor of the City of Nashville; (5) Freddy Brown, Matt Smith, Jackie Harwell, Nick Davis, Monica Clark, Vivian Wright, Jimmie Lou Kirkpatrick, Kay Gathright, James Parker, Carol Mitchell, Andy Anderson, and Mike Milum "in their official capacity" as city council members for the City of Nashville; and (6) Tomco, Inc.[1]

         Plaintiffs are co-owners of a business formerly located at 216 N. Main Street in Nashville, Arkansas. ECF No. 1, p. 3. Plaintiff Carl Johnson has operated a business at that location since 2008. ECF No. 1, p. 3. On the afternoon of August 26, 2010, a fire started in a neighboring store and spread to the building owned by Plaintiffs. ECF No. 1, p. 3. Numerous fire departments responded and eventually extinguished the fire. ECF No. 1, p. 3. Plaintiffs allege that once Carl Johnson was given notice of the fire, he called the Nashville Fire Department and was told his building would not be demolished. ECF No. 1, p. 4. After the fire was extinguished, Defendant Jerry Harwell, in his role as Fire Chief and Fire Marshal for the City of Nashville, ordered that Plaintiffs' building be demolished. ECF No. 1, p. 4. Plaintiffs' building was subsequently demolished and the inventory located inside was destroyed or damaged. ECF No. 1, p. 4. Plaintiffs were in San Antonio, Texas, at the time of the fire and demolition and were neither given notice of the decision nor provided an opportunity to respond. ECF No. 1, p. 4.

         Plaintiffs allege and have provided supporting evidence that multiple individuals questioned and protested the necessity of demolishing 216 N. Main Street and that at least one person was prepared to board up the doors and windows of the premises after the fire was extinguished. ECF No. 1, p. 4, ECF Nos. 18-1 & 18-2. Plaintiffs have also provided supporting affidavits for their argument that it was not necessary to demolish 216 N. Main Street as a means of protecting public safety, health, or welfare. ECF Nos. 18-1 & 18-2. Plaintiffs allege that the demolition of 216 N. Main Street constitutes a violation of "Plaintiffs' due process and equal protection rights, in accordance with the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and to Plaintiffs' right against 'unreasonable searches and seizure [sic]' under the Fourth Amendment." ECF No. 1, p. 5.

         Plaintiffs seek relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiffs pray for "[(1)] a Declaratory Judgment that the demolition of Plaintiffs' building and destruction of the building's contents without prior notice and an opportunity to be heard is a violation of due process and equal protection and was deliberately indifferent in violation to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments and constitutes a 'seizure' with [sic] the meaning of the Fourth Amendment; [(2)] for an Injunction Prohibiting future perpetuation of the Policies and Customs complained of; . . . [(3)] judgment against Defendants ... in the amount of $224, 985.00 as the replacement costs of the building and $927, 320.00 as the fair market value of Plaintiffs' inventory; [and (4) an award of] attorney's fees and costs and for such other relief as the Court deems proper." ECF No. 1, pp. 6-7.

         In their Answer, Defendants state that Defendant Jerry Harwell was one of the individuals who made the decision to demolish the building, but claim that he acted pursuant to the International Fire Code ("Fire Code") as adopted by the State of Arkansas in 2007, not pursuant to a standing policy or custom of the City of Nashville. ECF No. 8, p. 3. Defendants further state that none of Plaintiffs' friends or family would have been permitted to enter the building after the fire was extinguished. ECF No. 8, p. 3.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         The 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). 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., Inc., U.S. 242, 250 (1986); see also Agristor Leasing v. Farrow, 826 F.2d 732 (8th Cir. 1987); Niagara of Wis. 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.