United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Albany Division
J. ABRAMS, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
the Court are Defendant Karla Stowe's Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc. 14) and Defendant ACCG-IRMA's Motion to
Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim (Doc. 20). For the
following reasons, Stowe's Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. 14) and ACCG-IRMA's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 20) are
Noel Lee Wilson is a licensed private detective and
investigator. (Doc. 14-1, ¶ 6). Defendant Karla Stowe
has been employed by the Crisp County Sheriff as an
investigator since 2000. Id. at ¶ 1. As an
investigator, Stowe is responsible for the investigation of
allegations regarding the commission of crimes, and Stowe is
authorized to seek warrants for the arrest of individuals
believed to have committed crimes. Id. at ¶ 2.
Defendant ACCG-IRMA is a governmental entity that serves as a
surety for the Sheriff's Department of Crisp County,
Georgia. (Doc. 20-1 at 2). H W Billy Hancock is the Sheriff
of Crisp County, and Mark Casteel is a Crisp County citizen.
Id. at ¶¶ 9, 56. Hancock and Casteel were
named Defendants, but were subsequently dismissed from the
Linville hired Plaintiff to investigate Amy Lane Linville and
determine whether she was using illegal drugs or was
otherwise unfit to raise a minor child. (Doc. 14-1 at ¶
8). On the night of July 6, 2013 and the early morning hours
of July 7, 2013, Plaintiff conducted surveillance of and made
video recordings of Mark Casteel and Ms. Linville on a dock
in front of Mr. Casteel's house, on a pontoon boat, and
at the back of Mr. Casteel's house. Id. at
¶ 19. Plaintiff observed the activities of Mr. Casteel
and Ms. Linville for approximately three hours, but Plaintiff
did not video record their activities the entire time.
Id. at ¶ 20. Plaintiff claims he was located on
the neighbor's property the entire time that he
surveilled Ms. Linville and Mr. Casteel. Id. at
Plaintiff was conducting surveillance, Mr. Casteel's dog
began to bark. Id. at ¶ 27. When Mr. Casteel
looked in the direction of the dog, he saw a red light
emitting from the bushes, which he thought looked like the
laser sight for a gun. Id. at ¶¶ 28-29.
After seeing the red light, Ms. Linville went inside the
house and Mr. Casteel retrieved a rifle and flashlight from
the shed, which he pointed toward Plaintiff while telling him
not to move. Id. at ¶¶ 30-32. Plaintiff
started running, and then Mr. Casteel fired a shot into the
air. Id. at ¶¶ 33-34. At that point,
Plaintiff stopped running and Mr. Casteel held him at
gunpoint until law enforcement arrived. Id. at
¶ 35. Deputy Sheriffs Daryl Smallwood and Cole Eason
arrived at the scene approximately ten minutes after
Plaintiff was apprehended by Mr. Casteel. Id. at
¶ 36. Smallwood and Eason briefly detained Plaintiff,
but released him after he provided identification.
Id. at ¶ 42.
8, 2013, Stowe spoke with Mr. Casteel about the incident via
telephone and Mr. Casteel told Stowe that Plaintiff's
presence had terrified him and affected his ability to sleep.
Id. at ¶ 43. On July 9, 2013, Stowe met with
Mr. Casteel and Ms. Linville at the Casteel Property. (Doc.
14-3, ¶ 17). During that visit, Stowe says that Mr.
Casteel told her he had seen Plaintiff pull into his driveway
on two prior occasions, that he was afraid of Plaintiff, and
that, on the night in question, he discovered Plaintiff on
his property. Id. at ¶¶ 18-19. After her
visit, Stowe contacted the district attorney, Cheri Nichols,
and subsequently sought warrants for the arrest of Plaintiff
for the charges of criminal trespass and stalking. (Doc.
14-1, ¶¶ 48-49).
avers that, before she sought the warrants, she believed
that: 1) Plaintiff entered the property of another without
consent; 2) while on said property, Plaintiff secretly
observed and video recorded Mr. Casteel and Ms. Linville
while they were in a private place out of public view; 3)
neither Mr. Casteel nor Ms. Linville consented to being
observed or recorded; and 4) Mr. Casteel and Ms. Linville
were terrified by the presence of Plaintiff on the Casteel
property. (Doc. 14-3, ¶ 28). Stowe knew that Plaintiff
was a licensed private investigator and was investigating Ms.
Linville in relation to a custody dispute over Ms.
Linville's son. (Doc. 22-4, at 30:14-20).
the warrants were issued, Stowe telephoned Plaintiff to
advise him of the warrants. (Doc. 14-1, ¶ 52). On July
15, 2013, Plaintiff turned himself in at the Crisp County
Sheriff's Office and was placed under arrest.
Id. at ¶ 53. Following his arrest, Plaintiff
remained in custody for approximately six hours. Id.
at ¶ 54. The warrants were dismissed on August 5, 2013.
Id. at ¶ 55. Stowe admits that she failed to
proofread the warrants, and that the warrant for criminal
trespass should have said that Mr. Wilson entered on the
property for an unlawful purpose rather than without an
authorized representative's permission. (Doc. 22-4, at
1, 2015, Plaintiff commenced this action against Defendants
Hancock, Stowe, Casteel, and the ACCG-IRMA. (Doc. 1). On
April 26, 2016, Defendants Hancock and Casteel were
terminated from the case when the Court granted their Motion
for Voluntary Dismissal of Defendants (Doc. 13). On July 13,
2016, Defendant Stowe filed a Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. 14). Plaintiff responded on August 11, 2016 (Doc. 22),
and Defendant Stowe replied on August 31, 2016 (Doc. 27). On
July 25, 2016, Defendant ACCG-IRMA filed a Motion to Dismiss
for Failure to State a Claim (Doc. 20). Plaintiff responded
on August 11, 2016 (Doc. 22), and Defendant ACCG-IRMA replied
on September 8, 2016 (Doc. 28). As such, Defendant
Stowe's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 14) and
Defendant ACCG-IRMA's Motion to Dismiss are both ripe for
review. See M.D. Ga. L.R. 7.3.
Rule 56 requires that a respondent attach to the response
“a separate and concise statement of material facts,
numbered separately, to which the respondent contends there
exists a genuine dispute to be tried.” M.D. Ga. L.R.
56. The Rule specifically requires that “response shall
be made to each of movant's numbered material facts,
” and warns that “all material facts contained in
the movant's statement which are not specifically
controverted by specific citation to particular parts of
materials shall be deemed to have been admitted.”
Id. Although Plaintiff attached a Statement of
Material Facts (Doc. 22-1), Plaintiff failed to respond to
each of movant's numbered material facts. As such, those
of Defendant Stowe's facts which have not been
controverted by specific citations to the record are deemed
to have been admitted. See Mason v. George, 24
F.Supp.3d 1254, 1260 (M.D. Ga. 2014).
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 allows a party to move for summary
judgment when the party contends no genuine issue of material
fact remains and the party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. “Summary judgment is appropriate if the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
show there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and
that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Maddox v. Stephens, 727 F.3d 1109, 1118
(11th Cir. 2013). “A genuine issue of material fact
does not exist unless there is sufficient evidence favoring
the nonmoving party for a reasonable jury to return a verdict
in its favor.” Grimes v. Miami Dade Cnty., 552
F. App'x 902, 904 (11th Cir. 2014) citing Chapman v.
AI Transp., 229 F.3d 1012, 1023 (11th Cir. 2000).
“An issue of fact is ‘material' if it is a
legal element of the claim under the applicable substantive
law which might affect the outcome of the case.”
Allen v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 121 F.3d 642, 646 (11th
Cir. 1997) citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, ...