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Williams v. Franklin

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division

January 31, 2019

JERMAINE D. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
JEFFREY FRANKLIN, CARLA FUTCH, JOHN DOE No. ONE, and JOHN DOE No. TWO, in their Individual and Official Capacities as Officers of the Brunswick Police Department, and THE CITY OF BRUNSWICK, GEORGIA, Defendants.

          ORDER

          HON LISA GODBEY WOOD, JUDGE

         Plaintiff filed this action seeking damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Dkt. No. 1. Before the Court is Defendants Jeffrey Franklin, in his individual and official capacities, Carla Futch, in her individual and official capacities, and the City of Brunswick's Motion for Summary Judgment, dkt. no. 34, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. The Motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for review.[1] For the reasons stated below, Defendants' Motion is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         All material facts set forth in Defendants' Statement of Undisputed Material Facts, dkt. no. 34-1, are deemed admitted for the purpose of this Motion because Plaintiff has not controverted them by filing his own statement of facts (or any other materials in opposition of Defendants' Motion). LR 56.1, S.D. Ga. ("All material facts set forth in the statement required to be served by the moving party will be deemed to be admitted unless, controverted by a statement served by the opposing party.").

         The Brunswick Exchange Club (the "Exchange Club") is a nonprofit, local, civic organization, that holds an annual Brunswick Exchange Club Fair. Dkt. No. 34-1 ¶ 2. The Exchange Club owns the real estate where the fair is conducted-none of the property where the fair is conducted is owned by the City of Brunswick-and the Exchange Club determines who can and cannot enter the fair. Id. ¶¶ 6-8. Patrick Browning, as the "Fair Manager," coordinates the Brunswick Exchange Club Fair and has done so for approximately 22 years. Id. ¶ 1. Pursuant to these duties, Browning coordinates with the City of Brunswick Police Department to have the department's officers work the fair. Id. ¶ 5. For the 2015 fair, the Exchange Club instructed the officers working the fair that gang members, suspected gang members, and persons associated with gang members were not permitted to enter the fair. Id. ¶ 9.

         On October 30, 2015, Plaintiff and his minor daughter entered the Exchange Club fairgrounds and attempted to get in the ticket line to buy tickets to enter the fair itself but were approached by Defendant Officers Franklin and Futch. Id. ¶¶ 11, 12. In 2015, Defendant Officer Franklin was the gang investigator for the City of Brunswick Police Department. Id. ¶ 14. At that time, Defendant Officer Futch was also an officer with the City of Brunswick Police Department. Dkt. No. 31 at 4, 5. Officers Franklin and Futch had arrested Plaintiff on a prior occasion, and Plaintiff had been arrested on other prior occasions by the City of Brunswick Police Department. Dkt. No. 34-1 ¶¶ 13, 19. Further, Officer Franklin was aware that Plaintiff was on a list as a known gang member. Id. ¶ 15. In fact, Officer Franklin had created that list and had surveilled Plaintiff prior to the October 30, 2015 encounter. Id. ¶ 16.

         When Officers Franklin and Futch approached Plaintiff, they told him that he was a known "gang banger" and was not allowed to enter the fair. Id. ¶ 28. The officers then told Plaintiff to wait where he was, and the officers went and talked to a third-person. Id. The officers and the third-person then approached Plaintiff again and told him that he could not enter the fair because he was a gang member. Id. After that, Plaintiff was free to go and left the Exchange Club fairgrounds. Id. At that time, Plaintiff believed he could go anywhere in the world other than the_Exchange Club fairgrounds. Id.

         Plaintiff filed this action to recover damages and other compensation, which Plaintiff claims is owed to him under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Summary judgment is required where "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). A fact is "material" if it "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." FindWhat Inv'r Grp. v. FindWhat.com, 658 F.3d 1282, 1307 (11th Cir. 2011) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). A dispute is "genuine" if the "evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. In making this determination, the court is to view all of the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Johnson v. Booker T. Washington Broad. Serv., Inc., 234 F.3d 501, 507 (11th Cir. 2000).

         The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The movant must show the court that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case. Id. at 325. If the moving party discharges this burden, the burden shifts to the nonmovant to go beyond the pleadings and present affirmative evidence to show that a genuine issue of fact does exist. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 257.

         The nonmovant may satisfy this burden in two ways. First, the nonmovant "may show that the record in fact contains supporting evidence, sufficient to withstand a directed verdict motion, which was 'overlooked or ignored' by the moving party, who has thus failed to meet the initial burden of showing an absence of evidence." Fitzpatrick v. City of Atlanta, 2 F.3d 1112, 1116 (11th Cir. 1993) (quoting Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 332 (Brennan, J., dissenting)). Second, 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. Where the nonmovant attempts to carry this burden instead with nothing more "than a repetition of his conclusional allegations, summary judgment for the [movant is] not only proper but required." Morris v. Ross, 663 F.2d 1032, 1033-34 (11th Cir. 1981) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)).

         DISCUSSION

         Even though Defendants' Motion is unopposed, the Court must address the Motion on its merits. See United States v. 5800 SW 74th Ave., 363 F.3d 1099, 1101 (11th Cir. 2004) ("[A] district court cannot base the entry of summary judgment on the mere fact that the motion ...


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