United States District Court, S.D. Florida
DALE L. PICARDAT, JR., Plaintiff,
CITY OF MIAMI, et al., Defendants.
P. GAYLES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CAUSE comes before the Court on the Motion for Final
Summary Judgment [ECF No. 76] filed by Defendants City of
Miami (the “City”) and three City police
officers: Tashara Alleyne, John Askew, and Daniel Mogro
(collectively, the “Officers”). In this action,
Plaintiff Dale L. Picardat, Jr., who proceeds in this action
pro se, brings claims against the
Defendantsalleging unreasonable seizure, false
arrest, excessive force, failure to intervene, unreasonable
vehicle search and seizure, and failure to train, all in
violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, arising from a traffic
stop and subsequent arrest that took place on October 27,
2013. The Court has reviewed the parties' briefs, the
record in this case, and the applicable law and is otherwise
fully advised in the premises.For the reasons that follow, the
Defendants' motion shall be granted.
I. LEGAL STANDARD
judgment, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a),
“is appropriate only if the movant shows that there is
no genuine issue as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Tolan v.
Cotton, 572 U.S. -, -, 134 S.Ct. 1861, 1866 (2014) (per
curiam) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)) (internal quotation
marks omitted); see also Alabama v. North Carolina,
560 U.S. 330, 344 (2010). “By its very terms, this
standard provides that the mere existence of some alleged
factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an
otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the
requirement is that there be no genuine issue of
material fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986).
issue is “genuine” when a reasonable trier of
fact, viewing all of the record evidence, could rationally
find in favor of the nonmoving party in light of his burden
of proof. Harrison v. Culliver, 746 F.3d 1288, 1298
(11th Cir. 2014). And a fact is “material” if,
“under the applicable substantive law, it might affect
the outcome of the case.” Hickson Corp. v. N.
Crossarm Co., 357 F.3d 1256, 1259-60 (11th Cir. 2004)
(citations and internal quotation marks omitted).
“Where the material facts are undisputed and all that
remains are questions of law, summary judgment may be
granted.” Eternal Word Television Network, Inc. v.
Sec'y of U.S. Dep't of Health & Human
Servs., 818 F.3d 1122, 1138 (11th Cir. 2016).
Court must construe the evidence in the light most favorable
to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in
that party's favor. SEC v. Monterosso, 756 F.3d
1326, 1333 (11th Cir. 2014). However, to prevail on a motion
for summary judgment, “the nonmoving party must offer
more than a mere scintilla of evidence for its position;
indeed, the nonmoving party must make a showing sufficient to
permit the jury to reasonably find on its behalf.”
Urquilla-Diaz v. Kaplan Univ., 780 F.3d 1039, 1050
(11th Cir. 2015). Although pro se filings must be
liberally construed, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007), “a pro se litigant does not
escape the essential burden under summary judgment standards
of establishing that there is a genuine issue as to a fact
material to his case in order to avert summary judgment,
” Brown v. Crawford, 906 F.2d 667, 670 (11th
proceeding further, the Court instructs that it “places
great emphasis upon, and implores the parties to be mindful
of, the fact that local rules have ‘the force of
law.'” State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v.
B&A Diagnostic, Inc., 145 F.Supp.3d 1154, 1158 (S.D.
Fla. 2015) (quoting Hollingsworth v. Perry, 558 U.S.
183, 191 (2010)). Southern District of Florida Local Rule
56.1 requires that “[a] motion for summary judgment and
the opposition thereto shall be accompanied by a statement of
material facts as to which it is contended that there does
not exist a genuine issue to be tried or there does exist a
genuine issue to be tried, respectively, ” S.D. Fla.
L.R. 56.1(a). Both the statement and the opposition shall,
inter alia, “[b]e supported by specific
references to pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, admissions, and affidavits on file with the
Court.” Id. R. 56.1(a)(2). Local Rule 56.1(b),
which governs the effect of a nonmovant's failure to
controvert a movant's statement of undisputed facts,
provides: “All material facts set forth in the
movant's statement filed and supported as required above
will be deemed admitted unless controverted by the
opposing party's statement, provided that the Court finds
that the movant's statement is supported by evidence in
the record.” Id. R. 56.1(b) (emphasis added).
This rule “serves a vital purpose in ‘help[ing]
the court identify and organize the issues in the
case.'” B&A Diagnostic, 145 F.Supp.3d
at 1158 (quoting Mann v. Taser Int'l, Inc., 588
F.3d 1291, 1303 (11th Cir. 2009)). “It also preserves
scarce judicial resources by preventing a court from
‘having to scour the record and perform time-intensive
fact searching.'” Id. (quoting Joseph
v. Napolitano, 839 F.Supp.2d 1324, 1329 (S.D. Fla.
the purpose that these rules serve, “litigants ignore
them at their peril.” Caban Hernandez v. Philip
Morris USA, Inc., 486 F.3d 1, 7 (1st Cir. 2007). Here,
the Defendants filed a Statement of Undisputed Material Facts
in support of their motion for summary judgment. See
Defs.' Mot. at 2-6, which the Court finds is supported as
required and substantially complies with all requirements of
Local Rule 56.1. And while Picardat did file a response to
this statement in conjunction with the filing of his
opposition, see Pl.'s Opp'n at 1-11,
of his purported refutations (and all but one of his
purported affirmative disputed material facts) rely on (1)
allegations from his Complaint, see Pl.'s
Statement ¶¶ 1, 8-10, 13-15, 18-19, 21, 27, 34, 50,
76; (2) documents that are so poorly digitized and copied as
to be practically illegible, see Id. ¶¶
12, 18, 20-21, 25, 27, 29, 31-34, 41-43, 45-46, 48-49, 78; or
(3) nothing from the record whatsoever, see Id.
¶¶ 2-6, 11-12, 16-17, 22-24, 26, 28, 30, 35-38, 44,
51-72, 74.He has failed to properly controvert the
Defendants' Statement and, therefore, pursuant to Local
Rule 56.1(b), all facts contained within that Statement are
hereby deemed admitted.
pro se status does not alter this determination.
“[A]lthough [courts] are to give liberal construction
to the pleadings of pro se litigants, ” those
litigants are “nevertheless . . . required . . . to
conform to all procedural rules.” Albra v. Advan,
Inc., 490 F.3d 826, 829 (11th Cir. 2007) (citation and
internal quotation marks omitted); see also Smith v.
Mercer, 572 F. App'x 676, 678 (11th Cir. 2014) (per
curiam) (affirming a district court's decision to deem
admitted the moving party's facts under that
district's analog to S.D. Fla. Local Rule 56.1(b) where
the pro se nonmoving party's response failed to
comply with that district's analog to S.D. Fla. Local
Rule 56.1(a)). Because Picardat “has failed to comply
with Local Rule 56.1-the only permissible way for him to
establish a genuine issue of material fact at [this]
stage-the [C]ourt has before it the functional analog of an
unopposed motion for summary judgment.” Mann,
588 F.3d at 1303; see also B&A Diagnostic, 145
F.Supp.3d at 1158 (“Although a failure to comply with
the local rules can often result in harsh, if not fatal,
outcomes for a party, such results are ‘not by
calculated choice of t[he] Court.'” (quoting
Gossard v. JP Morgan Chase & Co., 612 F.Supp.2d
1242, 1246 (S.D. Fla. 2009))).
said, the Court “cannot base the entry of summary
judgment on the mere fact that the motion was unopposed,
” United States v. 5800 S.W. 74th Ave., 363
F.3d 1099, 1101 (11th Cir. 2004), because “[e]ven in an
unopposed motion [for summary judgment], . . . ‘the
movant is not absolve[d] . . . of the burden of showing that
it is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law, '”
and the Court “must still review the movant's
citations to the record to determine if there is, indeed, no
genuine issue of material fact, ” Mann, 588
F.3d at 1303 (quoting Reese v. Herbert, 527 F.3d
1253, 1268 (11th Cir. 2008)). To that end, the Court must
“consider the merits of the motion” and
“review all of the evidentiary materials submitted in
support of the motion, ” 5800 S.W. 74th Ave.,
363 F.3d at 1101-02, in order to “satisfy itself that
the [movant's] burden has been satisfactorily discharged,
” Reese, 527 F.3d at 1268.
the above discussion in mind, the following facts are
undisputed and supported by the record before this Court.
October 27, 2013, at approximately 1:00 a.m., Officer Tashara
Alleyne was traveling westbound on N.W. 40th Street within
the City of Miami in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Defs.'
Statement ¶ 1. Officer Alleyne was in her full police
uniform with a badge and service weapon and drove a fully
marked City of Miami police car. Id. ¶ 2. The
officer observed a vehicle stopped on N.W. 6th Avenue facing
eastbound with its lights off. Id. ¶ 3. As she
got closer to the vehicle, she noticed the
driver-Picardat-wearing a large pair of black headphones.
Id. ¶ 4. The officer made a U-turn and began
traveling eastbound behind Picardat on N.W. 40th Street.
Id. ¶ 5. Picardat made a left turn on N.W. 5th
Avenue and began traveling north towards N.W. 41st Street.
Id. Officer Alleyne conducted a traffic stop by
activating her overhead police lights, and Picardat pulled
his vehicle over to the right side of the roadway on N.W.
43rd Street and N.W. 5th Avenue. Id. ¶ 6.
Picardat was driving a 2000 blue four-door Mercury Grand
Marquis bearing Michigan license plate number BNX7876.
Id. ¶ 7.
advising of the traffic stop over the police radio, Officer
Alleyne ordered Picardat, over her vehicle's public
address system, to step out of his vehicle with his
driver's license and vehicle registration in hand.
Id. ¶ 8. Picardat did not comply with the
officer's request and began moving excessively inside his
vehicle. Id. ¶ 9. Officer Alleyne then
requested a back-up officer to respond to the scene.
Id. Officer Alleyne repeated her request for
Picardat to step out of his vehicle over her vehicle's