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Oglesby v. Lesan

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

July 3, 2019

Robert Oglesby Plaintiff- Appellant
Amy Lesan; Chad Hein Defendants - Appellees

          Submitted: May 15, 2019

          Appeal from United States District Court for the District of Nebraska - Lincoln

          Before COLLOTON, MELLOY, and SHEPHERD, Circuit Judges.


         Robert Oglesby appeals the district court's[1] adverse grant of summary judgment on his Fourth Amendment claims against law enforcement officers Amy Lesan and Chad Hein for unlawful seizure, unlawful arrest, and excessive force. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we affirm.


         On January 28, 2013, around 11:00 P.M., Deputy Amy Lesan of the Lancaster County, Nebraska Sheriff's Department responded to a citizen's report about a woman with luggage loitering in the parking lot outside of a Casey's General Store in Hickman, Nebraska.[2] Around the same time, an acquaintance of the woman, Robert Oglesby, arrived to pick the woman up. Deputy Lesan recognized Oglesby from Oglesby's prior encounters with the sheriff's department, which included instances where Oglesby made threats against law enforcement. Deputy Lesan was also aware of reports that Oglesby had access to weapons. She approached Oglesby and asked for his license and registration, which he provided. Deputy Lesan then told him to "wait here."

         After returning to her car and checking Oglesby's documents, Deputy Lesan discovered that the Lincoln, Nebraska Police Department (LPD) had a broadcast[3] out for him due to a disturbance that had occurred within the Lincoln city limits. The broadcast indicated that any LPD officer who encountered Oglesby should issue a citation to him. Deputy Lesan returned Oglesby's documents and told him that LPD had a broadcast out for him. She did not provide Oglesby with any details about the broadcast.

         Oglesby told Deputy Lesan that LPD staff could call him if they wished to talk to him. He asked if he was under arrest and Deputy Lesan told him he was not. Oglesby then asked if he could leave. Deputy Lesan told him that he could but that she would follow him. Oglesby got in his car and drove home. Deputy Lesan followed him, calling dispatch on the way to make certain an LPD officer would meet her at Oglesby's residence.

         LPD dispatched Officer Chad Hein to take care of the LPD broadcast for Oglesby. Officer Hein, who knew of Oglesby as a dangerous individual who had made threats against law enforcement in the past and had access to weapons, determined, based on existing police reports, that he had probable cause to cite Oglesby for the Lincoln disturbance. He reached Oglesby's residence, which is outside the Lincoln city limits, and completed the citation while waiting for Oglesby and Deputy Lesan to arrive.

         Oglesby arrived first, parked in the driveway, and walked toward the house. Officer Hein followed him up the driveway and asked Oglesby to stop and talk. Oglesby asked if Officer Hein had a warrant. Officer Hein replied that he did not need a warrant. Oglesby asked Officer Hein if he was under arrest, and Officer Hein replied, "No." At this point Officer Hein pulled out a stun gun, pointed it at Oglesby, and tased him, with the electrodes becoming embedded in his chest.[4] Oglesby then entered his residence. Officer Hein followed him to the porch and radioed for assistance. Oglesby and his mother began arguing with Officer Hein through the open door to the porch. Oglesby refused to step outside to sign the citation, and Oglesby's mother attempted to close the door.

         Oglesby states that Officer Hein then burst through the door, knocking Oglesby's mother to the floor, and rushed him. Officer Hein states that he placed his foot between the door and the door frame to prevent the door from closing on Oglesby's mother and injuring her. When Oglesby used his full body weight to attempt to close the door, Officer Hein asked him to let go because his foot was painfully wedged between the door and the door frame. After 10 to 15 seconds, Officer Hein deployed his Taser, which had little effect on Oglesby due to the heavy winter coat he was wearing but did cause him to stop pushing on the door.

         The parties agree that Oglesby ran farther into the house. Officer Hein followed and tackled him. The two struggled and Officer Hein deployed his Taser once or twice. Deputy Lesan then entered the home and, after more struggling, the officers handcuffed Oglesby, walked him outside, and turned him over to other LPD officers who had arrived on scene. As a result of these events, Oglesby was charged in state court with hindering, delaying, or obstructing arrest in violation of the Lincoln Municipal Code. See Lincoln, Neb., Mun. Code § 9.08.030 ("It shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly . . . physically hinder, delay, interrupt, or in any manner physically oppose any police officer of the city, or any peace officer, in making an arrest."). Oglesby pled no contest, was sentenced to a $500 fine, and did not appeal his conviction or sentence.

         Oglesby then filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit in United States District Court against Officer Hein and Deputy Lesan in their individual capacities, alleging that the officers violated his Fourth Amendment rights by unlawfully seizing him on the Hickman street, unlawfully arresting him at his residence, and using unreasonable force against him. Officer Hein and Deputy Lesan moved for summary judgment based on qualified immunity. Oglesby filed a 111-page single-spaced brief in opposition to the motion for summary judgment, in which he objected to ...

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