The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mills, District Judge:
VanHouten brings a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that
Officer Baughman, while acting under color of state law, deprived
him of his constitutional rights protected by the Fourth and
We are here on the officer's motion for summary judgment.
Allowed in part and denied in part.
The Court has gleaned the facts from the sworn deposition
testimony of both parties to this action. The two versions of the
incident conflict in some key portions. At these junctures, the
Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
106 S.Ct. 2505, 2513, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).
Defendant, Tom Baughman, is and was at the time of the incident
in question a police officer employed by the City of Springfield.
He was acting under color of state law when the alleged
deprivation of Plaintiff's constitutional rights occurred.
See e.g., Monroe v. Pape, 365 U.S. 167, 81 S.Ct. 473, 5 L.Ed.2d
During his patrol on July 10, 1981, Officer Baughman pulled
over a vehicle driven by Kate Beasley and attempted to issue her
a citation for running a red light. Plaintiff, James VanHouten,
had observed the traffic stop and believed that Ms. Beasley had
proceeded through a yellow rather than a red light. Seeking to
intervene on her behalf, VanHouten pulled his vehicle in front of
the area where Officer Baughman had stopped Ms. Beasley's auto.
VanHouten then talked to Ms. Beasley and confirmed that she was
receiving a citation for running a red light. VanHouten informed
Officer Baughman that he witnessed the event and that she had not
gone through a red light.
At this point, there are some discrepancies between the
parties' description of the event. VanHouten's version reveals
that at this time he was told by Baughman that "it is none of
your damn business" and directed him to return to his car.
Instead, VanHouten returned to Ms. Beasley's car to inquire about
leaving his name and address. He then went back to the officer's
car where he was again told to leave the scene and threatened
with arrest if he failed to do so. VanHouten then went to his
car. When he began to write down a description of Ms. Beasley's
car, Officer Baughman came over to his car and asked if he was
attempting to interfere with the arrest. VanHouten replied that
he was not, whereupon Officer Baughman asked him to leave.
VanHouten requested Officer Baughman's name. Officer Baughman
pointed to his badge and VanHouten read it. Officer Baughman
started back toward his car, but then returned to VanHouten's
auto, asked him to get out, and placed him under arrest for
interfering with a police officer. VanHouten was handcuffed by
Officer Baughman and taken to the police station by another
officer who was called as a backup. VanHouten stated that he
believed the handcuffs were placed on too tightly but did not
complain at the time. VanHouten exhibited no physical force
against Baughman, nor was there any verbal abuse directed toward
Officer Baughman's story is essentially the same except for two
key points. Although not entirely clear from Officer Baughman's
deposition, it appears that at the time just prior to the arrest,
VanHouten voluntarily got out of his car. On the other hand,
VanHouten maintains that he was ordered out of his car and then
arrested. Officer Baughman also claims, contrary to VanHouten's
version, that VanHouten "got irate and got right up in my face"
in the course of their discussion.
II. Summary Judgment Standard
Under Rule 56(c), summary judgment should enter "if the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show
that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that
the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Unquestionably, in determining whether a
genuine issue of material fact exists, the evidence is to be
taken in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Adickes
v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158-59, 90 S.Ct. 1598, 1609,
26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970). Nevertheless, the rule is also well
established that the mere existence of some factual dispute will
not frustrate an otherwise proper summary judgment. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91
L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). Thus, the "preliminary question for the judge
[is] not whether there is literally no evidence, but whether
there is any upon which a jury could properly proceed to find a
verdict for the party producing it, upon whom the onus of proof
is imposed." Id. at 2511, quoting Improvement Co. v. Munson, 14
Wall. 442, 448, 20 L.Ed. 867 (1872); see also Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2553, 91 L.Ed.2d 265
(1986). In other words, the Court must consider the evidence
"through the prism of the substantive evidentiary burden" in
deciding Defendants' motion. Anderson, 106 S.Ct. at 2513; Carson
v. Allied News Co., 529 F.2d 206, 210 (7th Cir. 1976). Applying
this standard, the Court now turns to the case at bar.