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.

Brown v. Belt

United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Charleston

April 15, 2019

DAN BROWN, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT BELT, Deputy Sheriff, Clay County Sheriff's Office; GARRETT SAMPLES, JR., Sheriff, Clay County Sheriff's Office; TYLER CARUTHERS, Deputy Sheriff, Clay County Sheriff's Office; CLAY COUNTY COMMISSION; COLONEL C.R. “JAY” SMITHERS, Superintendent, WV State Police; STEVEN DEMASKE, Trooper, WV State Police; and TYLER DANA MCFEELEY, Trooper, WV State Police, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN T. COPENHAVER, JR SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending is the joint motion for summary judgment, filed March 6, 2019 by defendants Tyler McFeeley (“Trooper McFeeley”) and C.R. “Jay” Smithers (“Colonel Smithers”) (collectively, the “State Defendants”).

         I. Background

         In the companion order this day entered granting the joint motion for summary judgment by the County Defendants, [1] the court set forth the factual allegations and legal claims in the plaintiff's First Amended Complaint as well as much of the procedural history of this case.

         In the court's March 21, 2019 memorandum opinion and order, the court granted in part and denied in part the State Defendants' motion to dismiss. ECF No. 76. The court dismissed the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment claims against Colonel Smithers in Count 5, the state law wrongful arrest claim against Trooper McFeeley in Count 10, the 42 U.S.C. § 1983 retaliation claim against Trooper McFeeley and Colonel Smithers in Count 15, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”) claim in Count 16 against Trooper McFeeley and Colonel Smithers, but only to the extent the claim relates to the July 23, 2016 arrest. Id. at 31.

         In the plaintiff's First Amended Complaint, he brings claims against the West Virginia State Police, not named as a party to this action and for whom the plaintiff has not issued a summons. Accordingly, the court does not address claims against that entity, but does treat the reference to the West Virginia State Police as an indication that the named state defendants are being sued in their official capacity. The plaintiff also asserts claims against Trooper Steven Demaske and issued summons as to him on April 19, 2018, after being made aware of the lack of service upon Demaske in the court's order of March 21, 2018; but there is no proof that service has been perfected.

         The seven surviving counts against one or more of Trooper Demaske, Trooper McFeeley or Colonel Smithers are as follows: Count 2, discrimination and failure to provide reasonable accommodations under Title II of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12132, and § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794, during the second DUI traffic stop, on May 22, 2015, against Trooper Demaske and Colonel Smithers, who is a supervising officer of the West Virginia State Police, and naming the West Virginia State Police; Count 4, negligent supervision and/or training arising from the May 22, 2015 DUI arrest against Colonel Smithers and naming the West Virginia State Police; Count 5, violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 arising from the May 22, 2015 DUI arrest against Colonel Smithers and Trooper Demaske, and naming the West Virginia State Police; Count 7, wrongful arrest for DUI on May 22, 2015 against Trooper Demaske; Count 8, wrongful arrest for burglary, destruction of property and providing false information to state police on January 15, 2016 against Trooper McFeeley; Count 12, retaliation under the First and Fourteenth Amendments and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for “targeting” Mr. Brown in the DUI arrest on May 22, 2015 against Trooper Demaske and Colonel Smithers, and naming the West Virginia State Police; Count 13, retaliation under the First and Fourteenth Amendments and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for wrongful arrest for burglary, destruction of property, and providing false information to state police on January 15, 2016 against Trooper McFeeley; and Count 16, IIED against Trooper Demaske, Trooper McFeeley, and Colonel Smithers arising out of the arrests on May 22, 2015 and January 15, 2016.

         The County Defendants filed their joint motion for summary judgment on March 6, 2019, along with a motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute. The State Defendants filed their motion for summary judgment later that same day. Instead of filing any response in opposition, plaintiff's counsel filed, on March 20, 2019, a motion to withdraw as counsel. The court held a hearing on March 28, 2019, on plaintiff's counsel's motion to withdraw, at which hearing the plaintiff, though directed by order to appear in person, failed to appear. At the hearing the court deferred judgment on the motion to withdraw and informed plaintiff's counsel that it would consider the plaintiff's response to the above-listed dispositive motions, if such responses were filed, though late, by March 29, 2019. No. response has been provided by plaintiff to any of the pending dispositive motions.

         II. Standard of Review

         A party is entitled to summary judgment “if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Material facts are those necessary to establish the elements of a party's cause of action. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

         A genuine issue of material fact exists if, in viewing the record and all reasonable inferences drawn therefrom in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, a reasonable fact-finder could return a verdict for the non-movant. Id. The moving party has the burden of showing -- “that is, pointing out to the district court -- that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986). If the movant satisfies this burden, then the non-movant must set forth specific facts as would be admissible in evidence that demonstrate the existence of a genuine issue of fact for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Id. at 322-23. A party is entitled to summary judgment if the record as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find in favor of the non-movant. Williams v. Griffin, 952 F.2d 820, 823 (4th Cir. 1991).

         Conversely, summary judgment is inappropriate if the evidence is sufficient for a reasonable fact-finder to return a verdict in favor of the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. Even if there is no dispute as to the evidentiary facts, summary judgment is also not appropriate where the ultimate factual conclusions to be drawn are in dispute. Overstreet v. Ky. Cent. Life Ins. Co., 950 F.2d 931, 937 (4th Cir. 1991).

         A court must neither resolve disputed facts nor weigh the evidence, Russell v. Microdyne Corp., 65 F.3d 1229, 1239 (4th Cir. 1995), nor make determinations of credibility. Sosebee v. Murphy, 797 F.2d 179, 182 (4th Cir. 1986). Rather, the party opposing the motion is entitled to have his or her version of the facts accepted as true and, moreover, to have all internal conflicts resolved in his or her favor. Charbonnages de France v. Smith, 597 F.2d 406, 414 (4th Cir. 1979). Inferences that are “drawn from the underlying facts . . . must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion.” United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962).

         III. Discussion

         A. Count 2 (ADA and Rehabilitation Act claims for the May 22, 2015 DUI arrest)

         In the companion memorandum opinion and order entered on the County Defendants' motion for summary judgment, the court found that the plaintiff had failed to establish that he had a disability and was therefore not entitled to the protection of the ADA and Rehabilitation Act.

         The court incorporates that same reasoning herein and finds that Colonel Smithers' motion for summary judgment on Count 2 is granted.[2]

         B. Count 4 (negligent supervision and training arising from the May 22, 2015 DUI arrest)

         Here, the plaintiff asserts that Colonel Smithers failed to train and supervise officers on the requirements of the ADA to prevent plaintiff from being discriminated against based on his disabilities. First Am. Compl. (“Compl.”), ECF No. 30, at ¶¶ 61, 71.

         To the extent Count4 is a failure-to-trainclaim brought under Title II of the ADA, such a claim failsfor the same reasons that plaintiff'so ther ADA claims fail -he has not established that he meets the statutory definition of disabled.

         To the extent that the claims in Count 4 are grounded in negligence, the court applies West Virginia law.

         Under West Virginia law, claims of negligent training and supervision are governed by general negligence principles. See Pruitt v. W.Va. Dep't of Pub. Safety, 664 S.E.2d 175, 179, 181-83 ( W.Va. 2008) (allowing claims of negligent failure to train and supervise to proceed to trial); Neiswonger v. Hennessey,601 S.E.2d 69, 73, 73 n.3 ( W.Va. 2004) (recognizing negligent hiring, training, and supervising as a cause of action grounded in state law and distinct from claims asserted under § 1983); Taylor v. Cabell Huntington Hosp., Inc., 538 S.E.2d 719, 725 ( W.Va. 2000) (“The appellant's claim of negligent supervision must rest upon a showing that ...


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.