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.

Stanberry v. Morrison

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

October 4, 2013

TARA STANBERRY, Plaintiff,
v.
KIM MORRISON, Defendant.

OPINION

SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, District Judge.

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, pursues a Fourth Amendment challenge to her arrest and subsequent patdown. Before the Court is Defendant Quincy Police Officer Kim Morrison's Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment (d/e 12). The Court has reviewed the evidence, which demonstrates that Defendant Morrison had probable cause as a matter of law to arrest Plaintiff. The patdown of Plaintiff following the valid arrest constitutes a reasonable search under the Fourth Amendment. Furthermore, Defendant is entitled to qualified immunity because no reasonable officer in Defendant's position would have thought the arrest and patdown of Plaintiff violated Plaintiff's clearly established statutory or constitutional rights. Therefore, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (d/e 12) is GRANTED.

I. BACKGROUND

On February 12, 2013, Plaintiff filed a pro se Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 (d/e 1). In the Complaint, Plaintiff states that while grocery shopping at County Market in Quincy, Illinois, Plaintiff left four chicken tenders on a shelf after determining those pieces were bad. Upon paying for her other groceries, Plaintiff proceeded to her car. On her way out of the store, a security officer followed Plaintiff and took pictures of her license plate. On July 14, 2012, Defendant, Officer Morrison of the Quincy Police Department, arrived at Plaintiff's home at 2504 Crescent Lane, Quincy, Illinois and arrested Plaintiff. Defendant performed a patdown of Plaintiff before taking Plaintiff to a police car for transport to the Quincy Police Department. Following her arrest, Plaintiff was adjudged guilty of a Class A Misdemeanor in Adams County, Illinois Circuit Court for retail theft of an amount under $300. See Case No. 2012-cf-420.

Plaintiff now alleges that Officer Morrison lacked probable cause to arrest or seize Plaintiff and that Officer Morrison searched Plaintiff or her property without a warrant or probable cause. In Response, Defendant Morrison has filed a Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment. In the Motion, Defendant argues that Plaintiff's Complaint should be dismissed because Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and because Defendant is entitled to qualified immunity. Alternatively, Defendant argues that summary judgment should be granted because Defendant had probable cause to arrest Plaintiff and because a patdown following a valid arrest constitutes a reasonable search under the Fourth Amendment. Defendant also contends that summary judgment should be granted because she is entitled to qualified immunity.

On April 22, 2013, Notice of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment (d/e 15, 16) was sent to the address Plaintiff listed in the Complaint as her mailing address. Plaintiff has not responded.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate where "the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett , 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986); Spath v. Hayes Wheels Int'l-Ind., Inc. , 211 F.3d 392, 396 (7th Cir. 2000). "A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by... citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations, admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials...." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). Once the moving party makes an initial showing that the movant is entitled to judgment, the non-moving party must set forth facts, supported by evidence, showing that a genuine issue for trial exists. Celotex Corp. , 477 U.S. at 324. Here, Plaintiff's failure to respond to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is deemed an admission to the truth of Defendant's factual account of the incident at issue. Terrell v. American Drug Stores, 65 Fed.Appx. 76, 77 (7th Cir. 2003) ("[W]hen a party fails to respond to a motion for summary judgment, its failure constitutes an admission... that there are no disputed issues of genuine fact warranting a trial.").

III. ANALYSIS

In the Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment, Defendant moves for summary judgment based on the presence of probable cause to perform an arrest and the fact that a patdown following a valid arrest constitutes a reasonable search under the Fourth Amendment. Defendant also moves for summary judgment because Defendant is entitled to qualified immunity.

A. Defendant Had Probable Cause To Arrest Plaintiff, and the PatDown Following a Valid Arrest Constitutes a Reasonable Search Under the Fourth Amendment

Defendant's investigation began on June 29, 2012 when Mr. Bruce Baker, a former Quincy police officer and at that time a loss prevention agent at County Market, Quincy, Illinois, reported a retail theft. In connection with the investigation, Defendant prepared an original case report and two supplemental reports at or near the time of the events recorded in each report. See d/e 14 at 29-31, 41-42, 69-72. Defendant also prepared an Arrest Warrant Affidavit and a Phase One Arrest Report and Certificate of Arresting Officer Regarding Probable Cause for Detention of Person Arrested without a Warrant. See d/e 68, 73. The documents prepared by Defendant are kept in the course of regularly conducted activities of the Quincy Police Department.

These documents and Defendant's Affidavit state that she spoke with Mr. Baker about the retail theft incident involving Plaintiff. Mr. Baker explained that he first saw Plaintiff sitting in the liquor aisle of County Market in a motorized wheelchair. The wheelchair had a basket on the front. A box of hot chicken tenders sat in the basket.

Mr. Baker told Defendant that Plaintiff took the box of chicken tenders out of the basket, took a few bites, and then put the box of chicken tenders back in the basket. Suspicious, Mr. Baker followed Plaintiff and watched her take additional bites of the chicken tenders. Later, in aisle 7, Mr. Baker saw Plaintiff put the box of chicken tenders on a shelf and push the box to the back of the shelf. Once Plaintiff left aisle 7, Mr. Baker retrieved the box of partially-eaten chicken tenders. Mr. Baker also spoke with Plaintiff outside of the store where Mr. ...


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.