United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Harrison Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY L. BROOKS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Currently before the Court are:
• a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 29), Brief in
Support (Doc. 30), and Statement of Indisputable Material
Facts in Support (Doc. 31), all filed by Defendants Kimberly
Flowers, Mark Bailey, Randy Mayfield, and Carroll County
(collectively, "Carroll County Defendants"); and a
Response (Doc. 41), Brief in Support of Response (Doc. 42),
and Response to Defendants' Statement of Indisputable
Material Facts (Doc. 43), all filed by Plaintiff Desire
Kristin Brown; and
• a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 32), Statement of
Undisputed Material Facts (Doc. 33), and Brief in Support
(Doc. 34), all filed by Defendant Rebecca Novak; and a
Response (Doc. 44), Brief in Support of Response (Doc. 45),
and Statement of Disputed Facts (Doc. 46), all filed by Ms.
For the reasons given below, both Motions are
January 6, 2017, Plaintiff Desire Brown's husband, Billy
Brown, called the police and reported that during an argument
with Ms. Brown earlier that day, she had pointed a gun at him
and at one of their children. After interviewing Mr. Brown in
a parking lot, deputies from the Carroll County Sheriffs
Department (including Kimberly Flowers and Mark Bailey) went
to the Browns' residence, along with an investigator from
the Arkansas Department of Human Services ("DHS")
named Rebecca Novak. There, while interviewing Ms. Brown,
they found several unsecured and easily accessible guns
throughout the house. At the conclusion of this interview,
Ms. Brown was arrested and taken to the Carroll County jail
for aggravated assault on a family member, endangering the
welfare of a minor, obstructing governmental operations, and
terroristic threatening. Mr. Brown was also arrested for
endangering the welfare of a minor and for being a felon in
possession of a firearm.
protective hold was placed on the Browns' children by
DHS, and on January 9, 2017, Ms. Novak submitted an affidavit
to the Carroll County Circuit Court in support of a DHS
petition for emergency custody. That Court issued an ex parte
order granting the petition two days later; and then,
following a hearing on February 23, 2017, where all parties
were present and represented by counsel, it found that the
children were dependent-neglected.
Brown's initial appearance on her criminal charges also
occurred on January 9, at which time a judge set her bond at
$75, 000. Ms. Brown was unable to post that bond. On February
3, an Information was filed formally charging her with
accomplice liability for Mr. Brown's unlawful possession
of a firearm, and with aggravated assault on a family member,
terroristic threatening, and endangering the welfare of a
minor. Three days later, she was released from jail after her
bond was reduced to $5, 000. Four and a half months after
that, the State of Arkansas moved for nolle prosequi of the
Information. The State's motion was granted, and the
charges against Ms. Brown were dismissed.
Brown filed the instant lawsuit on February 9, 2018. Her
Amended Complaint styles her claims against these Defendants
as six counts: (1) malicious prosecution; (2) cruel and
unusual treatment during her incarceration in violation of
the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution; (3)
civil conspiracy; (4) violation of substantive due process;
(5) outrage; and (6) punitive damages. Ms. Novak and the
Carroll County Defendants filed their respective motions for
summary judgment on December 28, 2018, seeking dismissal of
all claims. Ms. Brown responded to both motions on January
25, 2019. No. replies were filed in support of either motion.
Both motions are now ripe for decision.
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 Court must view the facts in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party, and give the
non-moving party the benefit of any logical inferences that
can be drawn from the facts. Canada v. Union Elec.
Co., 135 F.3d 1211, 1212-13 (8th Cir. 1997). The moving
party bears the burden of proving the absence of any material
factual disputes. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87
(1986). If the moving party meets this burden, then the
non-moving party must "come forward with 'specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.'" Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587
(quoting then-Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)) (emphasis removed).
These facts must be "such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Allison
v. Flexway Trucking, Inc., 28 F.3d 64, 66 (8th Cir.
1994) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). "The nonmoving party must do more
than rely on allegations or denials in the pleadings, and the
court should grant summary judgment if any essential element
of the prima facie case is not supported by specific facts
sufficient to raise a genuine issue for trial."
Register v. Honeywell Fed. Mfg. & Techs., LLC,
397 F.3d 1130, 1136 (8th Cir. 2005) (citing Celotex Corp
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986)).
Court will begin its analysis with Ms. Brown's
constitutional claims. Then, the Court will discuss ...