Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Pegg v. Herrnberger

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

January 4, 2017

BRANDON PEGG, Plaintiff - Appellee,
v.
GRANT HERRNBERGER, individually and in his capacity as agent and employee of the West Virginia State Police, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued: October 27, 2016

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, at Wheeling. John Preston Bailey, District Judge. (5:14-cv-00116-JPB)

         ARGUED:

          Monte Lee Williams, STEPTOE & JOHNSON PLLC, Morgantown, West Virginia, for Appellant.

          Robert G. McCoid, MCCAMIC, SACCO & MCCOID, P.L.L.C., Wheeling, West Virginia, for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          Deva A. Solomon, Robert L. Bailey, STEPTOE & JOHNSON PLLC, Morgantown, West Virginia, for Appellant.

          Paul J. Harris, HARRIS LAW OFFICES, Wheeling, West Virginia, for Appellee.

          Before NIEMEYER, KING, and AGEE, Circuit Judges.

         Reversed and remanded with instructions by published opinion. Judge Agee wrote the opinion, in which Judge Niemeyer and Judge King joined.

          AGEE, Circuit Judge

         Brandon Pegg sued West Virginia State Trooper Grant Herrnberger, alleging that Herrnberger used excessive force in effectuating the arrest of Pegg, in violation of state and federal law. Herrnberger appeals the district court's denial of his motion for summary judgment based upon that court's holding Herrnberger was not, as a matter of law, entitled to qualified immunity. For the reasons that follow, we reverse the district court's order denying Herrnberger's motion for summary judgment and remand with instructions to enter judgment in favor of Herrnberger.

         I. Factual Background

         On August 4, 2013, Herrnberger and another trooper, William Beck, were examining an abandoned vehicle on the side of the road when Brandon Pegg drove by slowly in his truck with the driver's side window open. Herrnberger noticed the truck had an expired inspection sticker and called out to Pegg to stop the vehicle. Pegg did not stop and sped away. The troopers then left in pursuit of Pegg's truck and eventually pulled him over.

         Beck approached the driver's side of Pegg's vehicle to speak with Pegg while Herrnberger approached the passenger side to speak with the front passenger, Robert Beever. When Herrnberger asked to see Beever's identification, Pegg asked why Beever needed to produce identification.

         Herrnberger contends that Pegg then reached for something between his legs, a claim Pegg denies. Herrnberger asserts that Pegg's reaching motion appeared suspicious, so he approached the driver's door and ordered Pegg out of his truck. Pegg complied and followed Herrnberger to the rear of Pegg's truck. Herrnberger then instructed Pegg to face the truck, put his hands behind his back, and lock his hands together. Before Pegg turned to face the truck, Herrnberger demonstrated how Pegg should lock his hands together.

         Pegg placed his left hand at the small of his back and began to bring his right arm behind his back, but did not interlock his hands as instructed. Herrnberger grabbed Pegg's right arm. Pegg then turned and said "Why is this happening or something along those lines" to Herrnberger and pulled his right arm away from the trooper. J.A. 46. Herrnberger then pushed Pegg against the truck with his left arm, and attempted to pull Pegg's right arm back, which Pegg resisted. Herrnberger then took Pegg to the ground, and both troopers pinned Pegg there and handcuffed him in an event that took less than forty seconds before Pegg was helped to his feet. As a result, Pegg claims he suffered minor scrapes and abrasions on his head, which he treated with peroxide and Neosporin, but did not seek medical attention.

         The troopers arrested Pegg for assaulting a police officer ( W.Va. Code § 61-2-10b(e)), obstructing an officer ( W.Va. Code § 61-5-17(a)), and driving with an expired inspection sticker ( W.Va. Code § 17C-16-9). Pegg was jailed for 8-12 hours before released. A magistrate judge dismissed the assault charge for lack of probable cause, and the prosecuting attorney dismissed the rest of the charges for reasons not apparent on the record.

         Pegg then filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia against Herrnberger, individually and in his official capacity pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The complaint alleged federal claims of unlawful arrest, retaliatory arrest, and excessive force, and state claims of outrage/intentional infliction of emotional distress and battery. Herrnberger filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the suit was barred against him in his official capacity based on sovereign immunity and in his individual capacity because of qualified immunity.

         The district court granted Herrnberger's motion for summary judgment in part and denied it in part. All claims against Herrnberger in his official capacity were dismissed as barred by sovereign immunity. Pegg does not challenge the district court's ruling as to the official capacity claims.[1] The district court denied summary judgment for the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.