United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division
TERESA RUDD, Individually and as Administratrix of the Estate of CHAVIS CHACOBIE CARTER, deceased PLAINTIFF
THE CITY OF JONESBORO, et al . DEFENDANTS
OPINION AND ORDER
Kristine G. Baker United States District Judge
September 9, 2016, the Court entered an Opinion and Order
granting defendants Ronald Marsh, Keith Baggett, Michael
Yates, and the City of Jonesboro's motion for summary
judgment and dismissing most of plaintiff Teresa Rudd's
claims (Dkt. No. 50). The Court did not dismiss Ms.
Rudd's claims under the Fourth Amendment, as they were
not explicitly addressed by the defendants' motion for
summary judgment or Ms. Rudd's response, though the
defendants did assert that they were entitled to qualified
immunity (Dkt. No. 43, at 11). The parties have submitted
supplemental briefing on Ms. Rudd's remaining claims
(Dkt. Nos. 54; 55). For the following reasons, the Court
grants judgment in favor of defendants on these remaining
comprehensive recitation of the factual background of this
case is provided in the Court's earlier Opinion and Order
(Dkt. No. 50, at 2-5). For the purposes of Ms. Rudd's
remaining claims, these are the relevant alleged facts. These
facts are taken from Ms. Rudd's response in opposition to
defendants' statement of undisputed material facts,
unless otherwise indicated (Dkt. No. 46-1).
28, 2012, the Jonesboro Police Department received a report
that a white truck was suspiciously driving up and down
Haltom Street in Jonesboro, Arkansas, with its lights off.
Officer Keith Baggett was dispatched to investigate the
report. When he arrived at Haltom Street, he saw a white
truck parked with only its parking lights on. Officer Baggett
turned on his police cruiser's blue lights and made
contact with the occupants of the truck: two Caucasian males
and an African American male (Dkt. No. 43-1, ¶ 6).
Baggett asked the truck's occupants to identify
themselves. The driver produced a driver's license, but
the other two occupants did not have identification. Instead,
they told Officer Baggett their names, Timothy Teal and
Laryan Bowman, and dates of birth. Officer Baggett ran this
information through dispatch and only got a return on the
driver. At that point, Officer Baggett requested assistance,
and Officer Ronald Marsh radioed that he would respond to
Officer Baggett's location (Dkt. No. 43-1, ¶ 11).
Officer Baggett returned to the white truck and asked Mr.
Teal and Mr. Bowman for additional information about their
identities. Based on that information, Officer Baggett was
able to get a return through dispatch on Mr. Teal but not on
Mr. Bowman. Officer Marsh arrived at the scene, and Officer
Baggett had him take Mr. Bowman from the truck to his squad
Marsh checked Mr. Bowman's short pockets and shook his
shorts. He also asked Mr. Bowman about his name and whether
he had any drugs on him. Mr. Bowman admitted that his real
name was Chavis Chacobie Carter, and he “handed Officer
Marsh a small bag of what appeared to be marijuana, which he
had in his front shirt pocket” (Dkt. No. 46-1, ¶
Officer Marsh placed Mr. Carter in the back seat of his
police database search revealed that there was an outstanding
warrant for Mr. Carter's arrest out of Mississippi.
Officer Baggett also searched the truck that Mr. Carter had
been sitting in and discovered a set of scales under the
passenger seat where Mr. Carter had been seated. The officers
removed Mr. Carter from the police cruiser, searched him
incident to an impending arrest, and placed him under arrest
for the warrant out of Mississippi. The officers handcuffed
Mr. Carter's hands behind his back and placed him back
into Officer Marsh's police cruiser. Mr. Carter committed
suicide by shooting himself in the head while his hands were
handcuffed behind his back in the backseat of Officer
Standard of Review
judgment is proper if the evidence, when viewed in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party, shows that there is no
genuine issue of material fact and that the defendant is
entitled to entry of judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322 (1986). A factual dispute is genuine if the evidence
could cause a reasonable jury to return a verdict for either
party. Miner v. Local 373, 513 F.3d 854, 860 (8th
Cir. 2008). “The mere existence of a factual dispute is
insufficient alone to bar summary judgment; rather, the
dispute must be outcome determinative under the prevailing
law.” Holloway v. Pigman, 884 F.2d 365, 366
(8th Cir. 1989).
opposing a summary judgment motion may not rest merely upon
the allegations in their pleadings. Buford v.
Tremayne, 747 F.2d 445, 447 (8th Cir. 1984). The initial
burden is on the moving party to demonstrate the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp., 477
U.S. at 323. The burden then shifts to the nonmoving party to
establish that there is a genuine issue to be determined at
trial. Prudential Ins. Co. v. Hinkel, 121 F.3d 364,
366 (8th Cir. 2008). “The evidence of the non-movant is
to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be
drawn in his favor.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). However, one of the
“principal purposes” of Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 56, the rule pertaining to summary judgment,
“‘is to isolate and dispose of factually
unsupported claims or defenses . . . .'”
Amerinet, Inc. v. Xerox Corp., 972 F.2d
1483, 1490 (8th Cir. 1992) (quoting Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986)). Therefore, while any
inferences drawn from the underlying facts must be construed
in the light most favorable to the party opposing summary
judgment, “‘the plain language of Rule 56(c)
mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time
for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to
make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an
element essential to that party's case, and on which that
party will bear the burden at trial.'” Id.
(quoting Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322).
Count 1 of Ms. Rudd's complaint, she claims that Officers
Baggett and Marsh, “through their unlawful and
unethical conduct, deprived [Mr. Carter] of clearly
established rights and privileges as guaranteed under the
United States Constitution, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §
1983” (Dkt. No. 1, ¶ 38). She also asserts that
“[t]he acts of Defendant Baggett and Defendant Marsh,
along with the acts of Defendant City of Jonesboro,
Arkansas' employees of the Jonesboro Police Department,
were a part of a pattern of conduct at the Jonesboro Police
Department” (Id., ¶ 39). In Count 2 of
Ms. Rudd's complaint, she claims that Sheriff Yates and
the City of Jonesboro, Arkansas, “failed to properly
train the officers of the Jonesboro Police department,
including Defendants Baggett and Marsh, regarding proper
search and seizures” (Id., ¶ 53).
Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and
seizures.” United States v. Kimhong Thi Le,
474 F.3d 511, 514 (8th Cir. 2007). In her complaint, Ms. Rudd
claims that Officers Baggett and Marsh violated Mr.
Carter's Fourth Amendment rights by: (1) detaining Mr.
Carter without probable cause or any other justification; (2)
searching Mr. Carter without probable cause or any other
justification; (3) improperly ordering Mr. Carter to exit a
vehicle without legal justification; and (4) improperly
searching Mr. Carter without his consent, and doing so in a
negligent manner (Id., ¶¶ 40-43). The
Court requested additional briefing from the parties