United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Brunswick Division
JOE T. YOUNG, Plaintiff,
DAVID BRADY, Defendant.
LISA GODBEY WOOD, JUDGE
filed this action pro se seeking damages under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Dkt. No. 1-1 at 12-14. Before the Court
are Plaintiff's First Motion for Summary Judgment, dkt.
no. 5, and Second Motion for Summary Judgment, dkt. no. 19,
and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, dkt. no. 21.
These motions have been fully briefed and are ripe for
review. For the reasons stated below, factual disputes
preclude summary judgment in favor of either side. The
motions, at this time, are DENIED.
had an encounter with Defendant David Brady at Sidney Lanier
Park in Brunswick, Georgia. Dkt. No. 21-1 ¶ 1. Defendant
David Brady is a Game Warden in the "Law Enforcement
Division of the Georgia Division [sic] of Natural Resources
(DNR) in Region 7, based in Brunswick, Georgia."
Id. ¶ 2.
August 27, 2017, Plaintiff was sitting in his parked truck
with his windows up in a gravel parking lot in Sidney Lanier
Park. Dkt. No. 21-3 ¶ 8, 9; "Officer Brady, Body
Camera'' (Video) at 0:13. The gravel lot had no lines
designating parking spots, and there were no vehicles, other
than Plaintiff's and Defendant's, parked in that
gravel lot at the time Plaintiff was approached by Defendant.
Video at 0:13-0:32; Video at 1:10. Defendant parked his truck
near Plaintiff's and walked to Plaintiff's
driver-side window. Id. at 0:12-0:23. When Plaintiff
was approached by Defendant, he was relaxing in the
driver's seat of his truck. Dkt. No. 21-5 at
When Defendant got to Plaintiff's window, he asked
plaintiff if he was "okay" and told him to
"roll your window down." Video 0:21-0:24. Plaintiff
waived Defendant off and drove forward, dkt. no. 21-5 at 29,
video at 0:23-0:28; as soon as the truck started moving,
Defendant struck Plaintiff's window with his hand, video
at 0:24-0:25. For the time period (approximately three
seconds) that the video showed Plaintiff's truck moving,
Plaintiff's brake lights were activated. Id. at
0:25-0:27. Defendant immediately returned to his truck and
pursued Plaintiff. Id. at 0:26-0:34. The pursuit did
not last long, less than thirty seconds elapsed from the time
Defendant put his truck in drive to when he put it back into
park, behind Plaintiff's truck. Id. at
0:35-1:03. At some point, Defendant activated his
vehicle's blue emergency lights. Id. at
3:00-3:01 (showing that the vehicle's blue emergency
lights were activated).
Defendant got out of his truck and approached Plaintiff.
Id. at 1:09-1:26. Immediately after Defendant exited
his truck, Plaintiff asked Defendant "are you stopping
this truck?" Id. at 1:12. Defendant responded,
"yes sir, I am." Id. at 1:13. Defendant
then walked toward Plaintiff's driver-side window.
Id. at 1:13-1:25. When Defendant was approaching
Plaintiff, Plaintiff stated that he "didn't want to
talk" to Defendant, that he "ain't done
nothing," again that he did not "want to talk
to" Defendant, that he "remain [s] silent" and
has not "done nothing," and he requested that
Defendant "keep [his] hands off his weapon."
Id. When Defendant got to Plaintiff's truck, he
asked Plaintiff for his driver's license. Id. at
1:29. Plaintiff repeated much of what he had just said.
Id. at 1:29-1:44. Defendant then requested twice
that Plaintiff step out'of Plaintiff's vehicle.
Id. at 1:44- 1:47. Plaintiff responded by asking why
Defendant wanted to see his driver's license, and
Defendant responded, "because you're sitting over
here sleeping" before he was cut off by Plaintiff, who
stated that "sleeping's not a crime."
Id. at 1:47-1:53.
finally got Plaintiff to step out of the vehicle: Defendant
opened Plaintiff's door, and Plaintiff exited his truck
on his own power, without any assistance from Defendant.
Id. at 1:58-2:07. After about a minute of
back-and-forth between Defendant and Plaintiff, Defendant
handcuffed Plaintiff. Id. at 2:07-3:10. Defendant
contended that he was putting Plaintiff in handcuffs for
Defendant's safety. Id. at 3:06-3:10. Defendant
retrieved Plaintiff's wallet from his pants pocket and
removed his driver's license from the wallet.
Id. at 3:19-3:47. Defendant called in the
driver's license over his radio. Id. at
4:39-4:47. Soon after, Defendant communicated to Plaintiff
that he was "not under arrest right now" but that
he was only "being detained." Id. at
minute later, Defendant gave the second in a series of
explanations for his encounter with Plaintiff,  telling Plaintiff
that "the reason [he] pulled up to [Plaintiff] was
because you're underneath a bridge. I was checking on
your welfare." Id. at 6:20-6:25. Plaintiff
interrupted Defendant at this point, before Defendant
continued, "I walked up to the vehicle. You put it in
drive and took off." Id. at 6:26-6:34. A little
later, Defendant informed Plaintiff that his
''sleeping bag was sitting on the back of the truck,
too." Id. at 7:18-7:20. Plaintiff told
Defendant that he was letting it dry off, and Defendant
replied "okay." Id. at 7:21-7:27.
Plaintiff was soon after unhandcuffed. Id. at
8:18-8:27. Defendant then said, "if you want to roll off
that's fine, you might want to grab your sleeping
bag." Id. at 8:48-8:52. Plaintiff was free to
go and soon after drove away. Id. at 10:14.
the encounter, Plaintiff's truck bed was covered by a
tarp. Id. at 0:21. The tarp did not sit down onto
the floorboard but was flat across the truck bed and even
with the top of the truck bed's siding; it appears that
the tarp was laying on top of a hard covering. Id.
On top of the tarp was a sleeping bag that was flat and
unfurled, with the top of the sleeping bag near the back
window of the truck and the bottom near the truck's
tailgate. Id. at 0:21, 2:45, 2:57.
s Injury Allegations
August 21, 2017, six days prior to the encounter, Plaintiff
had a medical procedure to address a hernia. Dkt. No. 21-1
¶ 33. As part of the procedure, Plaintiff had sutures.
Id. ¶ 34. During the encounter with law
enforcement, at least some of the sutures came out.
Id. ¶ 35. Plaintiff testified that he suffered
a week or two of pain because the sutures pulled out during
the encounter. Dkt. No. 21-5 at 49. Plaintiff did not know
exactly when they came out, but he testified that it was
likely when he exited the truck at Defendant's
insistence. Id. at 54. Nevertheless, Plaintiff
exited his truck under his own power as Defendant did not
touch Plaintiff or aid him in anyway. Dkt. No. 21-1 ¶
16. Plaintiff also testified that he suffered from emotional
distress due to the encounter. Dkt. No. 21-5 at 52-53.
Plaintiff testified that as a result of the encounter he was
embarrassed, id. at 49, traumatized, id. at
52, and shocked, id. at 57-58, and that during the
encounter he was afraid of getting shot, id. at 54.
Clavier is the Chief of Law enforcement for the Georgia
Forestry Commission. Dkt. No. 44-2 ¶ 1. One of his
duties in this role is to coordinate with the Georgia
Department of Natural Resources investigations into the
unauthorized harvest of palmetto berries in Georgia.
Id. ¶ 2. Picking palmetto berries is not
per se illegal in Georgia; rather, unauthorized
palmetto berry pickers may violate Georgia's criminal
trespass statute (O.C.G.A. § 16-7-21) and Georgia's
statute for trespassing on DNR property (O.C.G.A. §
16-9-58). Id. ¶ 3. Trespass and theft of
berries on state property primarily occurs in Waycross,
Georgia, at Dixon State Forest, which is several miles from
Sidney Lanier Park in Brunswick. Id. ¶ 4.
Trespass and theft of berries on private property occurs
throughout the southeast region of Georgia. Id.
Palmetto-berry-harvesting season is from August to October,
and a large amount of the theft occurs in August when the
berries first appear but before the authorized harvesters
have begun to harvest.-Id. ¶ 5.
Georgia DNR publishes a weekly report for its law enforcement
division that contains "a broad sampling of events that
have taken place in the past week." Dkt. No. 44-4 at 2.
The weekly report for the week of August 13-August 19, 2017,
contains a report of one "palmetto berry bust."
Id. at 8. In Brantley/Ware County, on August 14,
2017, a DNR officer contacted another DNR officer and
complained of illegal-palmetto-berry picking that was taking
place on state property. Id. Two officers began
patrolling the area and came into contact with a passenger
van that fit the description given by the first officer.
Id. The patrolling officers initiated a traffic stop
and found approximately 1800 pounds of palmetto berries.
Id. The weekly report contains a picture of large
bags stuffed full of berries. Id.
acting pro se, filed this action to recover damages
and other compensation, which Plaintiff claims is owed to him
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
initial matter, it is well-settled that courts in this
circuit must "construe pro se pleadings
liberally." Dixon v. Hodges, 887 F.3d 1235,
1237 (11th Cir. 2018).
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