United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
OPINION AND ORDER
LEON HOLMES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Smith brings this action against the Jacksonville Police
Department and two of its officers, Kenneth R. Harness and
Juan Matus,  alleging claims for false arrest, wrongful
detention, due process violations, false imprisonment,
defamation, and outrage. He seeks damages and release from
prison. The defendants have moved for summary judgment and
Smith has responded. For reasons that will be explained, the
defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted.
should grant summary judgment if the evidence demonstrates
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the initial burden
of demonstrating the absence of a genuine dispute for trial.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106
S.Ct. 2548, 2553, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). If the moving party
meets that burden, the nonmoving party must come forward with
specific facts that establish a genuine dispute of material
fact. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 1356, 89
L.Ed.2d 538 (1986); Torgerson v. City of Rochester,
643 F.3d 1031, 1042 (8th Cir. 2011) (en banc). A genuine
dispute of material fact exists only if the evidence is
sufficient to allow a reasonable jury to return a verdict in
favor of the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91
L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). The Court must view the evidence in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party and must give
that party the benefit of all reasonable inferences that can
be drawn from the record. Pedersen v. Bio-Med.
Applications of Minn., 775 F.3d 1049, 1053 (8th Cir.
2015). If the nonmoving party fails to present evidence
sufficient to establish an essential element of a claim on
which that party bears the burden of proof, then the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Rule 56.1 provides that a party moving for summary judgment
must annex to the motion a separate, short and concise
statement of the material facts as to which it contends that
there is no genuine issue to be tried. The rule adds that a
nonmoving party who opposes the motion must file a separate,
short and concise statement of the material facts as to which
it contends a genuine issue exists to be tried. Any material
facts stated by the moving party are deemed admitted unless
controverted by the statement filed by the nonmoving party.
Here, Smith has failed to controvert most of the facts stated
in the defendants' statement of material facts as to
which there is no genuine issue to be tried. The facts that
he has not controverted are deemed admitted.
was arrested by Harness and Matus on the evening of June 9,
2014. He was charged with refusal to submit to a breathalyzer
test, driving on a suspended license, leaving the scene of an
accident, driving while intoxicated, disorderly conduct, and
careless or prohibited driving. He pled no contest to each of
these misdemeanor charges in the District Court of
Jacksonville, Arkansas, and was found guilty on each charge.
Document #78-1. He appealed to the Circuit Court of Pulaski
County, where the State dismissed all of the charges.
Document #71-10. A docket entry indicates that the State
informed the court and the defense that Brady v.
Maryland issues surrounding a different case undermined
the principal charge of DWI. Id.
was on parole at the time of his arrest. His parole was
revoked, apparently due to his arrest. Document #2 at 5. He
alleges that Harness and Matus submitted false police reports
and testified against him falsely in his parole revocation
hearing. Id. at 6. He has not, however, provided any
evidence as to what testimony was presented against him in
the parole revocation hearing.
no evidence of the parole proceedings has been provided, the
police reports are part of the record, as are the dash-cam
video and audio recordings by the police on the evening of
arrest stemmed from a report of a hit-and-run accident in
Jacksonville, Arkansas, at approximately 9:40 p.m., on June
9, 2014. The report indicated that the perpetrator was a
black male driving a Cadillac or DeVille style automobile.
Document #71-2 at 2; Document #71-3. Moments later, Harness
saw a Cadillac similar to the one reported by the victim of
the hit-and-run accident and initiated a traffic stop. The
video from Harness's dash camera shows the Cadillac
making a right turn with the taillights visible; they were
not illuminated. After Harness turned on his blue lights, the
driver of the Cadillac, who later was identified as Smith,
drove to a nearby Sonic drive-in and stopped. Harness
approached and informed Smith that his brake lights were not
working. Harness's statement that the brake lights were
not working was a misstatement. His report correctly states
that the taillights were not working. Document #71-4 at 1.
Matus came to the scene while Harness was conducting the
traffic stop. During the course of the conversation between
Smith and Harness, Smith volunteered that his driver's
license was suspended. Smith's vehicle showed evidence of
having been in a collision. Document #71-5. Smith explained
that he had been the victim of a hit-and-run accident. When
asked why he left the scene of the accident, Smith said that
he was trying to drive to a gas station. When an officer
responded that he had driven past two gas stations, Smith
replied that he had driven past only one gas station.
complained that he had been injured in the accident, so EMTs
came to the scene, and Smith was transported to a local
hospital. At the hospital, Smith was diagnosed with a muscle
strain and released with after-care instructions, which he
refused to sign. Document #71-6. Audio recordings of events
at the hospital show that Smith was loud, belligerent and
uncooperative toward the officers and the medical personnel,
yelling and shouting profanities at them repeatedly over an
extended period of time.
attempted to perform a breathalyzer test. To ensure that
consent was knowingly given, he attempted to read to Smith
the rights form that Smith was to sign. The audio recording
indicates that the officers repeatedly told Smith that he
needed to open his eyes so that they could make sure that he
was awake, but he repeatedly closed his eyes. Eventually,
they ceased trying to read the form to him and asked him to
sign it, but he refused. While refusing to sign the form
agreeing to a breathalyzer test, Smith repeatedly shouted
that he was not intoxicated and that they should have to
prove that he was by giving him a breathalyzer test before
they could arrest him. At one point on the audio recording, a
man approached Smith and attempted to draw blood, stating
that he was a lab technician. Smith refused and insisted on
seeing a doctor. Another man came and identified himself as a
doctor, but Smith still refused to allow blood to be drawn.
Smith was released from the hospital, he was transported to
the Jacksonville Police Department. As mentioned above, he
was charged with several misdemeanor offenses. Those charges
eventually were dismissed. Smith's parole, however, was