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Huddleston v. Pohlman

January 10, 2007


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jeanne E. Scott, U.S. District Judge


This matter is before the Court on Defendant Phillip D. Pohlman's Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in Support (d/e 12) (Motion for Summary Judgment). Plaintiff Randy Huddleston filed the pending Complaint (d/e 1) against Pohlman, a Sergeant with the Illinois State Police, after Pohlman arrested Huddleston for criminal trespass to Pohlman's real property. Huddleston brings his suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, asserting that the arrest violated his Constitutional rights. Pohlman moves for summary judgment. As set forth below, Pohlman's Motion is denied.


Plaintiff was previously married to Nancy Huddleston (Nancy). They were divorced in 1994. Plaintiff and Nancy have one child, Rachyl Huddleston (Rachyl), who was born in 1991. Nancy has custody of Rachyl, and Plaintiff has visitation rights. Nancy owns a single family house located at #17 Briarwyck, Jacksonville, Illinois, with Defendant Pohlman. Pohlman resides in the house with Nancy and Rachyl.

On Friday, December 31, 2004, Plaintiff had a scheduled visitation with his daughter that was to begin at 6:30 p.m. on December 31st and to conclude at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 1, 2005. Pursuant to the Huddleston's marital settlement agreement, Plaintiff is responsible for picking up his daughter for visitations. By letter dated September 2, 2003, Nancy informed Plaintiff that, from September 12, 2003, forward, Rachyl would be available at #17 Briarwyck "for visitation pick up and delivery." Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Motion to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (d/e 15) (Plaintiff's Memorandum), Ex. 2. After Pohlman and Nancy moved into #17 Briarwyck, Plaintiff would typically pick his daughter up there for scheduled visitations.

By letter dated November 19, 2004, Nancy informed Plaintiff that she and Rachyl would be traveling to Nancy's parents' home in Texas from December 27, 2004, until December 31, 2004. Plaintiff's Memorandum, Ex. 3. The letter states that Nancy was enclosing a copy of the flight schedule and information for Plaintiff. On the return trip, Nancy and Rachyl were scheduled to fly from Texas to Memphis, Tennessee and then to St. Louis, Missouri. Motion for Summary Judgment, Ex. E, Deposition of Phillip D. Pohlman (Pohlman Dep.), p. 20. Pohlman was to pick the pair up at the airport in St. Louis and transport them back to Jacksonville. According to the flight schedule, Nancy and Rachyl were supposed to arrive in St. Louis at approximately 3:30 p.m. Motion for Summary Judgment, Ex. A, State of Illinois v. Huddleston, Morgan County, Illinois Case No. 05-CM-35, Transcript of Jury Trial held April 14, 2005 (Criminal Trial Transcript), p. 40.

Around 3:00 p.m. on December 31, 2004, Pohlman was at the St. Louis airport waiting for Nancy and Rachyl when he received a cell phone call from Nancy. Nancy told Pohlman that they were delayed in Memphis and would not arrive in St. Louis until approximately 6:00 p.m. that day. Pohlman testified that, after hearing from Nancy, he attempted to contact Plaintiff by telephone, but was unable to reach Plaintiff or to leave a message for him. Pohlman Dep., p. 23-24. Around 6:00 or 7:00 p.m., Pohlman received another call from Nancy informing him that she and Rachyl were delayed further. Id. at 25.

At approximately 6:30 p.m. on December 31, 2004, Plaintiff arrived at #17 Briarwyck to pick up Rachyl for the scheduled visitation. No one was present when he arrived at the residence. After waiting approximately ten to fifteen minutes, Plaintiff began making phone calls. He called Rachyl's cell phone, and there was no answer. He called the residence, and again no one answered. Plaintiff then called Nancy's cell phone. Nancy answered and stated that she and Rachyl were in Memphis with a flight delay. Nancy informed Plaintiff that they were expected to arrive in Jacksonville at approximately 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. Plaintiff testified that, prior to the telephone conversation with Nancy, he had not received any indication that there would be a problem with the scheduled visit. Criminal Trial Transcript, p. 41. Plaintiff further asserts that, during the telephone conversation, Nancy did not request that the visitation be cancelled. Id. at 41-42. Nancy maintains that Plaintiff became irate on the telephone and that she concluded the conversation by telling Plaintiff that she would call him when she got home. She hung up on him. Motion for Summary Judgment, Ex. C, Deposition of Nancy Huddleston (Nancy Huddleston Dep.), p. 8-9. Plaintiff left #17 Briarwyck at this point.

Plaintiff returned to #17 Briarwyck at approximately 9:30 p.m. He pulled his vehicle into the driveway and sat in the car waiting for his daughter to return. Plaintiff maintains that he parked his car, a Chevy Blazer, to the right side of the driveway. Criminal Trial Transcript, p. 42-43. Plaintiff estimates that the driveway is approximately twenty-four feet wide. Id. at 42. He asserts that his car was taking up only approximately one-third of the width of the driveway. Id. at 43.

Plaintiff asserts that he waited in his car for approximately half an hour before Pohlman, Nancy, and Rachyl arrived home. Motion for Summary Judgment, Ex. B, Deposition of Randy Huddleston (Randy Huddleston Dep.), p. 11. Pohlman asserts that he, Nancy, and Rachyl arrived at #17 Briarwyck at approximately 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. Criminal Trial Transcript, p. 18. Pohlman maintains that as he turned his car onto Briarwyck he could see that someone was parked "in the middle of [his] driveway." Id. As he approached the house, Pohlman was able to see that it was Plaintiff who was parked in the driveway. Id. As they approached the house, Rachyl stated "that's my dad" or "that's my dad's car." Nancy Huddleston Dep., p. 9; Pohlman Dep., p. 30-31. Pohlman testified that Rachyl stated that she did not want to go with her father, but rather wanted to go to bed. Pohlman Dep., p. 31. Nancy testified that she was surprised to see Plaintiff at the house because it was late, and she had told Plaintiff she would call him when she arrived at home. Nancy Huddleston Dep., p. 9.

Pohlman and Nancy assert that when their vehicle approached the driveway, Pohlman activated the turn signal to let Plaintiff know that Pohlman wanted to pull into the driveway. Pohlman thought that Plaintiff would see Pohlman's vehicle and back out of the driveway so Pohlman could pull into it. Pohlman Dep., p. 32-33. Pohlman testified that he was driving a large Lincoln Navigator and that there was no way that Pohlman could pull into the driveway unless Plaintiff pulled out. Id. at 40-41. When Plaintiff did not respond to the turn signal, Pohlman angled his car into the driveway and flipped the bright lights on and off. Id. Pohlman maintains that after doing this, he backed his car out of the driveway and parked it, a little to the east of the driveway. Criminal Trial Transcript, p. 18-20. Pohlman asserts that, at this point, his vehicle was not impeding Plaintiff from backing out of the driveway. Id. at 20.

Plaintiff asserts that he observed Pohlman's vehicle pull up behind him, "[d]irectly kind of behind me at an angle but out in the street." Id., p. 43-44. Plaintiff testified that all he could see was the glare of headlights in his car's mirrors. Plaintiff maintains that he does not think that he could have safely backed his car up to pull out of the driveway without hitting Pohlman's vehicle. Id., p. 44. Plaintiff further maintains that Pohlman had room to pull his car into the driveway next to Plaintiff's Blazer. Id. at 43.

The parties' accounts of what transpired next diverge; however, in analyzing Defendant's Motion, the Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. Plaintiff asserts that, approximately five to ten seconds after Pohlman's vehicle arrived at #17 Briarwyck, Pohlman walked up to the driver's side of Plaintiff's car and asked Plaintiff what he was doing there. Randy Huddleston Dep., p. 12. Plaintiff responded that he was there to pick up Rachyl and that he would leave as soon as she got into the car. Id.; Criminal Trial Transcript, p. 44. Pohlman ordered Plaintiff to get off Pohlman's property. Randy Huddleston Dep., p. 12; Criminal Trial Transcript, p. 44-45. Plaintiff told Pohlman that he had a court order that allowed him to be there to pick up his daughter. Randy Huddleston Dep., p. 12. At this point, Pohlman turned and walked away from Plaintiff's vehicle. Plaintiff concedes that he did not take any action to back his car out of the driveway after Pohlman ordered him to leave, explaining: "I thought I was being blocked in. I mean, from where I sat, it looked like I didn't have enough room." Randy Huddleston Dep., p. 14.

Pohlman testified that, when he left Plaintiff's vehicle, he walked back to the Lincoln Navigator, retrieved the keys to his squad car, walked to the squad car that was parked on the street in front of his house, retrieved a set of handcuffs from the squad car, and returned to Plaintiff's vehicle. Criminal Trial Transcript, p. 24. Plaintiff asserts that when Pohlman returned he stated: "you're not going to fuckin' manipulate me. I'm a mother fucking state cop, get out of the car, you're under arrest." Randy Huddleston Dep., p. 15; see also Criminal Trial Transcript, p. 47. Plaintiff exited his vehicle. Pohlman placed Plaintiff in handcuffs and patted him down for weapons. Plaintiff asserts that the ...

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