United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CRITES-LEONI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Mitchell Wood filed this action against Defendant Justin
Wooten under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for unreasonable seizure
in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. Presently
pending before the Court is Defendant Justin Wooten's
Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 27.) Also pending is the
Defendant's Motion to Exclude the Expert Testimony of
Kevin Reaves and Lynda Hartwick. (Doc. 18.) For the reasons
set forth below, the Motion for Summary Judgment will be
taken from Wooten's Statement of Uncontroverted Material
Facts (Doc. 29), and Wood's Response to such (Doc. 31),
the facts relevant to the motion are as follows:
Wooten was employed as a deputy sheriff of Scott County,
Missouri, at all relevant times. On October 22-23, 2016,
Plaintiff Wood was driving an automobile in Scott County.
Scott County Deputy Sheriff Toby Haynes initiated a traffic
stop on the vehicle Wood was driving due to an inoperable
headlight. Wood confirmed the next day that the vehicle had a
headlight out and he changed it. Haynes pulled Wood's
vehicle over after midnight, at around 1:34 a.m. Wood
produced his license and insurance card to Haynes. Haynes
went back to his patrol vehicle to have communications run
Wood's identification for driving status.
at the Scott County Sheriff's Department told Haynes that
Wood had a warrant for a City of Dexter ticket. Dispatch
verified the warrant upon Haynes' request. Wood does not
contest that there was a warrant outstanding for his arrest
when Haynes stopped him. Haynes called Wooten on his cell phone
from the site of the traffic stop to advise him that Wood was
Shawn Wood's husband and that Wood had an outstanding
warrant on a traffic ticket from Dexter. Wooten told
Haynes that he would call the Sheriff and then call Haynes
back. Wooten contacted the Sheriff, who told Wooten to treat
Wood like anyone else and bring him in if he has a warrant.
Wooten called Haynes back and told him to bring Wood in on
never told Wood that he was under arrest and Wood did not
believe he was under arrest at that time. Haynes did not
handcuff Wood. Wood rode in the front seat of Haynes'
patrol car during the fifteen-minute ride from the location
of the stop to the jail.
arriving at the Scott County Sheriff's Department in the
early morning of October 23, 2016, Wood and Haynes were met
by Wooten in the parking lot. Haynes and Wooten talked about
the headlight being out and the warrant for Wood's
arrest. Wooten handcuffed Wood and told him that he was under
arrest for driving while intoxicated
Complaint, Wood asserts a single cause of action against
Wooten in his individual capacity pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Wood alleges that Wooten unlawfully arrested him
without probable cause for DWI. He claims that Wooten, in
arresting and jailing Wood and causing a mug shot to be taken
of Wood without a warrant or probable cause, made an
unreasonable seizure in violation of Wood's Fourth
Amendment right to be free from unlawful arrest and seizures.
Wood claims that, as a direct result of Wooten's actions,
he suffered emotional harm and distress and monetary loss.
Specifically, Wood alleges that he was forced to resign from
his job as Superintendent of Schools and suffered humiliation
and ridicule. He seeks compensatory damages, punitive
damages, and attorney's fees.
Summary Judgment Standard
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), a district court
may grant a motion for summary judgment if all of the
information before the court demonstrates that “there
is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
The burden is on the moving party. City of Mt. Pleasant,
Iowa v. Associated Elec. Co-op. Inc., 838 F.2d 268, 273
(8th Cir. 1988). After the moving party discharges this
burden, the nonmoving party must do more than show that there
is some doubt as to the facts. Matsushita Elec.
Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586
(1986). A genuine issue of material fact is not the
“mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between
the parties.” State Auto. Ins. Co. v.
Lawrence, 358 F.3d 982, 985 (8th Cir. 2004).
“Instead, the dispute must be outcome determinative
under prevailing law.” Mosley v. City of
Northwoods, 415 F.3d 908, 910-11 (8th Cir. 2005)
(internal quotations omitted). A fact is material when it
“might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
nonmoving party bears the burden of setting forth specific
facts showing that there is sufficient evidence in his favor
to allow a jury to return a verdict for him.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249; Celotex, 477
U.S. at 324. “If ‘opposing parties tell two
different stories,' the court must review the record,
determine which facts are material and genuinely disputed,
and then view those facts in a light most favorable to the
nonmoving party - as long as those facts are not ‘so
blatantly contradicted by the record . . . that no reasonable
jury could believe' them.” Reed v. City of St.
Charles, Mo., 561 F.3d 788 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting
Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007)).
Self-serving, conclusory statements without support are not
sufficient to defeat summary judgment. Armour and Co.,
Inc. v. Inver Grove Heights, 2 F.3d 276, 279 (8th Cir.
ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must
review the facts in a light most favorable to the nonmoving
party and give that party the benefit of any inferences that
logically can be drawn from those facts. Matsushita,
475 U.S. at 587; Woods v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., 409
F.3d 984, 990 (8th Cir. 2005). The Court may not “weigh
the evidence in the summary judgment record, decide
credibility questions, or determine the truth of any factual
issue.” Kampouris v. St. Louis Symphony Soc.,
210 F.3d 845, 847 (8th Cir. 2000). The court is required,
however, to resolve all conflicts of evidence in favor of the
nonmoving party. Robert Johnson Grain Co. v. Chemical
Interchange Co., 541 F.2d 207, 210 (8th Cir. 1976).