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Powell v. Jackson

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

August 5, 2015



RICHARD W. STORY, District Judge.

This case comes before the Court on Defendant Theodore Jackson's Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 16].

I. Factual Background

Plaintiff Jennifer Powell was arrested on February 7, 2012, by Glynn County, Georgia, law enforcement officers [Doc. No. 17-1, ¶ 1, admitted]. Plaintiff was arrested because the Georgia Crime Information Center ("GCIC") database indicated there was an outstanding arrest warrant against her for forgery [Doc. No. 17-1, ¶ 2, admitted].

Plaintiff was arrested when she went to a pawn shop in Glynn County that she had done business with in the past [Doc. No. 17-1, ¶ 3, admitted]. In connection with a pawn transaction involving a firearm, the pawn shop did a criminal history search on the Plaintiff, which reflected that there was a warrant from the Fulton County Sheriff's Office against her [Doc. No. 17-1, ¶ 4, admitted]. The pawn shop called the Glynn County Police Department, who dispatched an officer to the scene [Doc. No. 17-1, ¶ 5, admitted]. Plaintiff was subsequently arrested and taken to the Glynn County Detention Center [Id.].

The Law Office of Robert Crowe attempted to help Plaintiff rectify the situation, but the Fulton County Sheriff's Office refused to provide any information about the warrant [Doc. No. 17-1, ¶ 6, admitted]. There is no evidence in the record that Plaintiff, Plaintiff's attorney, or Plaintiff's designee directly contacted Defendant Theodore Jackson, who is the Fulton County Sheriff [Id.; Doc. No. 17-1, ¶ 8, admitted]. Plaintiff was not released until after Fulton County checked its records and learned that the warrant was actually against a black female named Jennifer McNair (Plaintiff is Caucasian) [Doc. No. 17-1, ¶ 7, admitted].

On February 6, 2014, Plaintiff filed this action arguing that Defendant violated her rights secured by 42 U.S.C. § 1983 [Doc. No. 1]. On July 28, 2014, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint in which she asserted claims for: (1) deprivation of rights secured by 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (2) negligence under Georgia law; (3) wrongful arrest under Georgia law; and (4) false imprisonment under Georgia law [Doc. No. 6]. Plaintiff seeks actual damages, punitive damages, and attorney's fees/costs [Id.].

II. Legal Standard

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 requires that summary judgment be granted "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 moving party bears the initial responsibility of informing the... court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.'" Hickson Corp. v. N. Crossarm Co., 357 F.3d 1256, 1259 (11th Cir. 2004) (quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (internal quotations omitted)). Where the moving party makes such a showing, the burden shifts to the non-movant, who must go beyond the pleadings and present affirmative evidence to show that a genuine issue of material fact does exist. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 257 (1986).

The applicable substantive law identifies which facts are material. Id. at 248. A fact is not material if a dispute over that fact will not affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Id . An issue is genuine when the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Id. at 249-50.

In resolving a motion for summary judgment, the court must view all evidence and draw all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Patton v. Triad Guar. Ins. Corp., 277 F.3d 1294, 1296 (11th Cir. 2002). But, the court is bound only to draw those inferences which are reasonable. "Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue for trial." Allen v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 121 F.3d 642, 646 (11th Cir. 1997) (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)). "If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50 (internal citations omitted); see also Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586 (once the moving party has met its burden under Rule 56(a), the nonmoving party "must do more than simply show there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts").

III. Analysis

Defendant contends that Plaintiff's claims should be dismissed in their entirety. Defendant's ...

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