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Blash v. City of Hawkinsville And Pulaski County

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division

May 16, 2018

JOHNNY BLASH, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF HAWKINSVILLE & PULASKI COUNTY, GEORGIA SHERIFF'S OFFICE, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT BILLY CAPE'S MOTION TO TAKE JUDICIAL NOTICE OF COURT RECORDS FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT

          TILMAN E. SELF, III, JUDGE

         Before the Court for consideration is Defendant Billy Cape's Motion to Take Judicial Notice of Court Records from the Pulaski County Superior Court [Doc. 16]. After consideration of Defendant's motion and for the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion [Doc. 16] is GRANTED.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff's Complaint [Doc. 1] states that the District Attorney for the Oconee Judicial Circuit presented Plaintiff Johnny Blash's conduct to the Pulaski County Grand Jury. [Doc. 1, at ¶ 37]. The grand jury returned an indictment against Mr. Blash (Indictment No. 2015R-11768) on September 14, 2017; however, on September 18, 2017, the Assistant District Attorney for the Superior Court of Pulaski County sought to dismiss the indictment. [Id. at ¶¶ 39, 40, 41]. Upon said motion, the court “nol prossed” the indictment. [Id. at ¶ 41].

         On October 6, 2017, Plaintiff filed the above-mentioned Complaint [Doc. 1], which articulates unlawful termination and racial harassment claims. See generally, [Doc. 1]. After Defendants filed their various individual motions to dismiss [Docs. 10, 11, 12, 13] on January 18, 2018; Defendant Cape, on January 29, 2018, filed the instant motion [Doc. 16] in connection with his individual motion to dismiss [Doc. 11]. Defendant Cape states that the purpose of his motion is to seek judicial notice of the grounds underlying Plaintiff's indictment and contends that the “Complaint [Doc. 1] alleges that the indictment and [Plaintiff's] termination are inextricably intertwined.” [Doc. 16, at 2].

         On April 5, 2018, Mr. Blash filed four Responses [Docs. 26[1], 27, 28, 29]. Even though the Court gave three extensions of time, [2] these filings were only in response to the various individual Defendants' motions to dismiss [Docs. 10, 11, 12, 13]. Plaintiff did not file any response to Defendant Cape's Motion to Take Judicial Notice of Court Records from the Pulaski County Superior Court [Doc. 16].[3]

         APPLICABLE LAW

         “The [C]ourt may judicially notice a fact that is not subject to reasonable dispute because it: (1) is generally known within the trial court's territorial jurisdiction; or (2) can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.” Fed.R.Evid. 201(b). Rule 201 further states that “a party is entitled to be heard on the propriety of taking judicial notice and the nature of the fact to be noticed.” See Fed. R. Evid. 201(e). However, it appears Plaintiff never indicated an objection or a desire to be heard on the issue of judicial notice although given many changes to do so. Therefore, despite Plaintiff's failure to file a response to Defendant Cape's Motion to Take Judicial Notice [Doc. 16], the Court takes judicial notice of the Pulaski County Superior Court indictment pertaining to Plaintiff's current litigation because it “can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.” See Fed. R. Evid. 201(b)(2). See also Redner v. Citrus County, Florida, 919 F.2d 646, 657 n.14 (11th Cir. 1990) (stating that a court may take judicial notice of a state court proceeding); Colonial Penn Ins. Co. v. Coil, 887 F.2d 1236, 1239 (4th Cir. 1989) (“We note that the most frequent use of judicial notice of ascertainable facts is in noticing the content of court records.”) (internal quotations and citations omitted); Davis v. Richland County, No. 4:12-CV-3429-RMG-TER, 2013 WL 5797739, at *2 n.1 (D.S.C. Oct. 24, 2013) (taking judicial notice of state court records concerning the plaintiff's arrest and indictment, which were maintained by the state court). See also Odion v. Google Inc., 628 Fed.Appx. 635, 638 (11th Cir. 2015) (noting that the district court could have taken judicial notice of state court records).

         CONCLUSION

         In light of Federal Rule of Evidence 201 and the above-listed cases, the Court takes judicial notice that the Grand Jury of Pulaski County, Georgia, returned a two-count indictment against Johnny Blash. [Doc. 11-1, at 1]. The Court also takes judicial notice that “[o]n motion of the District Attorney after examination in open court, it [was] ordered that a NOLLE PROSEQUI be entered” as to Indictment No. 2015R-11768. [Id. at 4].

         Therefore, the Court GRANTS[4] Defendant Cape's Motion to Take Judicial Notice of Court Records from the Pulaski County Superior Court [Doc. 16].

         SO ORDERED.

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