United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Huntington Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. CHAMBERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
pro se, Plaintiff, Harry Quigley, commenced this
suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging, in relevant part,
violations of his rights under the Fourth Amendment and the
Fourteenth Amendment. Comply ECF No. 2, at ¶
27-30. Per standing order, the case was referred to
Magistrate Judge Eifert for Proposed Findings and
Recommendations ("PF&R"). Standing
Order, ECF No. 3, at 2. Magistrate Judge Eifert issued
her PF&R on September 22, 2017. In her PF&R, Judge
Eifert recommends that this Court grant, in part, and deny,
in part, Defendants' Motions to Dismiss (ECF Nos. 14,
24). PF&R, ECF No. 38, at 27-28. As explained
below, the Court will adopt Judge Eifert's findings and
recommendations, consistent with this Memorandum Opinion and
Order. Therefore, the Court grants, in part, and denies, in
part, Defendants' Motions to Dismiss.
filed objections to the PF&R on October 6, 2017, which
the Court will address under de novo review.
Although Magistrate Judge Eifert made a number of factual and
legal findings, Plaintiff only objects to two of Magistrate
Judge Eifert's findings and recommendations. 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(C). The Court rejects Plaintiffs objections.
claims arise out of interactions he had with City of
Huntington police officers. On March 17, 2017, a Huntington
police officer arrested Plaintiff and charged him with
brandishing, a misdemeanor offense. Second Am.
Comply ECF No. 33, at ¶ 8-21; PF&R, at
2. The arrest occurred after a Cabell County Deputy Sheriff
witnessed a part of an altercation during which Plaintiff
produced a knife in self-defense. Id. at If 20-23;
PF&R, at 3.
evening, Plaintiff had been en route to Kroger to purchase a
few items. Id. at If 17; PF&R, at 3. As
Plaintiff had voluntarily relinquished ownership of a car,
Plaintiff usually walked to the store on foot. Id.
at If 15-17; PF&R, at 3. Only one block
separated his home from Kroger. Id. In the one block
between Plaintiffs residence and Kroger is the home of Jason
David Blankenship. Id. During three or four of
Plaintiff s previous trips to Kroger, Mr. Blankenship,
apparently intoxicated on each occasion, had
"interrupted" Plaintiffs walks. Id.
Plaintiff kept interactions with Mr. Blankenship brief and
roughly 7:30pm on March 17, 2017, Mr. Blankenship once again
reached out to Plaintiff as he was walking to Kroger.
Id. This time, however, Mr. Blankenship had two male
friends with him. Id. Mr. Blankenship called out to
Plaintiff, wanting Plaintiff to purchase beer for he and his
two friends. Id. at If 18; PF&R, at 3.
Believing that the men were intoxicated, Plaintiff rebuffed
Mr. Blankenship's proposal. Id. Apparently
unhappy with Plaintiffs response, the three men descended
from the porch on which they had been standing, and
aggressively surrounded Plaintiff, insisting that he satisfy
their request. Id. at If 18-20; PF&R,
the ensuing exchange of words, one of Mr. Blankenship's
intoxicated friends punched Plaintiff in his right eye.
Id. Fearing the increasingly physical nature of the
disagreement, Plaintiff stood back and pulled a roughly
six-inch long, unsheathed straight blade from his waistband.
Id. The three aggressors, while staring beyond
Plaintiff, began to back up simultaneously with the
production of the knife. Id.
turning to see what held the aggressors' attention, saw a
Cabell County deputy on one knee, with his pistol aimed at
Plaintiff, who instructed him to drop the knife. Id.
at If 21-22; PF&R, at 3. The deputy, who had
been conducting his regular patrol of the Kroger parking lot,
was roughly 20 feet away from the scuffling group when he saw
the knife. Id.
thereafter, several Huntington Police Department cruisers had
arrived at Mr. Blankenship's house. Id. While
the police officers spoke with Mr. Blankenship and his two
friends, officers handcuffed and frisked Plaintiff, then
ordered him to sit in the back of a cruiser.
PF&R, at 3. An officer took a photo of Plaintiff
s black eye, but at no point did any officer interview
Plaintiff about what happened. Second Am. Compl., at
If 25-26; PF&R, at 3. Officers then transported
Plaintiff back to the Huntington police station. Id.
at If 23; PF&R, at 3. Officers told Plaintiff
that they did not see anything for which they could arrest
Mr. Blankenship's group. Id. However, officers
did notify Plaintiff that Mr. Blankenship had asked officers
not to arrest Plaintiff. Id.; PF&R, at 4.
was presented before a county magistrate, who questioned the
Huntington police officer about the arrest. Compl.,
at If 24; PF&R, at 4. The officer told the
county magistrate that all the men involved in the
confrontation were drunk, despite the fact that Plaintiff was
not intoxicated. Id. Plaintiff was not given an
opportunity to correct the inaccurate account given by the
officer because the magistrate never elicited Plaintiffs
version of events. Id. The magistrate advised
Plaintiff that he was being charged with misdemeanor
brandishing, that he would be assigned a public defender, and
that the magistrate had to send Plaintiff to jail.
Comply at If 25; PF&R, at 4. The
magistrate set Plaintiffs bond at $5, 000, a sum that
Plaintiff could not afford. Plaintiff remained in jail for
ten days, only gaining release when his 89-year-old aunt
drove 80 miles to post Plaintiffs bond. Comply at If
27; PF&R, at 4.
originally set for March 20, 2016, Plaintiffs preliminary
hearing was rescheduled for May 19, 2016 because Mr.
Blankenship and his cohort of friends initially failed to
appear. Comply at If 28; PF&R, at 4. At
the May 19, 2016 preliminary hearing, Mr. Blankenship finally
appeared and notified the magistrate that he did not wish to
proceed with the charge against Plaintiff. Id. Upon
this notification, the magistrate dismissed the charge.
Standard of Review
Court conducts a de novo review of those portions of
the magistrate judge's proposed findings and
recommendations to which a party objects. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(C) ("A judge of the court shall make a de
novo determination of those portions of the report or
specified proposed findings or recommendations to which
objection is made. A judge of the court may accept, reject,
or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations made by the magistrate."). The Court,
however, is not required to review, under a de novo
or any other standard, the factual or legal conclusions of