United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division
LISA GODBEY WOOD, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is Defendant Jeff Williams'
("Defendant") Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No.
21) . The motion has been fully briefed and is now ripe for
decision. For the reasons stated below, the Defendant's
Motion (Dkt. No. 21) is GRANTED.
action arises from the alleged excessive force used by
Defendant in apprehending Plaintiff. On January 1, 2016, the
theft of a Sony Playstation 4 ("Playstation") was
reported to the Glynn County Police Department. Dkt. No. 21-4
p. 25:21-24. During their investigation of the theft, Glynn
County Police Investigators identified Plaintiff as having
put that same Playstation up for sale on Facebook.
Id. The investigators sent a message to Plaintiff to
arrange for purchase of the Playstation 4. Id. On
January 2, 2016, Plaintiff agreed to meet Defendant and other
investigators at a nearby gas station. Dkt. No. 21-5 p.
24:18-20. Defendant and another investigator waited at the
gas station for Plaintiff. After a few minutes, Plaintiff
arrived with the Playstation. Id. 25:2-4. The
Playstation was verified as the one that had been reported
stolen-easily identified by the custom artwork on its outer
cover. Dkt. No. 21-4 p. 26:12-22.
identified himself as a Glynn County Police officer and
informed Plaintiff that he was under arrest for receiving
stolen property. Id. p. 33:6-12. As a third
investigator arrived at the parking lot, Plaintiff took off
running. Dkt. No. 21-5 p. 25:7-10. Defendant shows that the
attempt to evade arrest constituted obstruction of law
enforcement officers. O.C.G.A. § 16-10-24; Dkt. No. 21-2
p. 6. Defendant chased after Plaintiff, ordering him to stop.
Dkt. No. 21-4 p. 33:6-12. Plaintiff did not stop; instead, he
raced to a nearby alleyway, with Defendant in pursuit.
Id. p. 34:10-15. Defendant yelled "taser"
and fired a handheld tasing device, striking Plaintiff with
two electrified barbs: the first in the back, the other in
the head. Id. p. 35:4-15. Plaintiff collapsed to the
ground, injuring his face on the pavement. Dkt. No. 1 p. 3');">21 p. 3.
¶¶ 17-18. Plaintiff was immediately arrested and
given medical treatment. Id. p. 3 ¶ 21.
brings a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983")
claim for excessive force against Defendant, as well as
state-law claims for aggravated assault and battery. Dkt. No.
1. Defendant now moves for summary judgment on all claims.
Dkt. No. 21.
party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of
demonstrating the basis for its motion for summary judgment
and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions which it believes
demonstrate absence of any genuine issue of material fact.
Taylor v. Espy, 816 F.Supp. 1553, 1556 (N.D.Ga.
1993) (citation omitted). If it shows that there is
insufficient evidence supporting the nonmoving party's
case, the moving party has satisfied its burden. Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986).
burden then shifts to the nonmovant to demonstrate a genuine
issue of material fact for trial. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 257 (1986). The nonmovant may
meet this burden by showing that the record contains
"supporting evidence, sufficient to withstand a directed
verdict motion, which was 'overlooked or ignored' by
the moving party." Fitzpatrick v. City of
Atlanta, 2 F.3d 1112, 1116 (11th Cir. 1993) (quoting
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 332 (Brennan, J., dissenting)).
Alternatively, the nonmovant "may come forward with
additional evidence sufficient to withstand a directed
verdict motion at trial based on the alleged evidentiary
deficiency." Id. at 1117. But should the
nonmovant instead attempt to carry this burden with nothing
more "than a repetition of his conclusional allegations,
summary judgment for the defendants [is] not only proper but
required." Morris v. Ross, 663 F.2d 1032,
1033-34 (11th Cir. 1981).
summary judgment stage, it is the Court's responsibility
"not to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of
the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue
for trial." Tolan v. Cotton, 134 S.Ct. 1861,
1866 (2014) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986)) (internal quotation
marks omitted). When, as here, the parties have filed
cross-motions for summary judgment, the applicable Rule 56
standard is not affected. See Gerling Glob. Reinsurance
Corp. of Am. v. Gallagher, 267 F.3d 1228, 1233-34 (11th
Cir. 2001). "[T]he facts are viewed in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party on each motion."
Chavez v. Mercantil Commercebank, N.A., 701 F.3d
896, 899 (11th Cir. 2012).
asserts both that he is entitled to qualified immunity and
that the amount of force used to subdue Plaintiff was
reasonable given the circumstances. Dkt. No. 21. The Court
addresses each assertion in turn.
Plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Claims Do Not
qualified immunity defense offers "complete protection
for government officials sued in their individual capacities
if their conduct Moes not violate clearly established
statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable
person would have known.'" Vinyard v.
Wilson, 311 F.3d 1340, 1346 (11th Cir. 2002) (quoting
Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982)).
When properly applied, the doctrine protects "all but
the plainly incompetent or one who ...