United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
MORALES HOWARD United States District Judge.
CAUSE is before the Court on Defendant Bill
Leeper's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 34; Motion),
filed on May 19, 2017. Plaintiffs David John Scheider and
Chris Scheider filed a response in opposition to the
Motion on May 31, 2017. See Plaintiffs' Response
and Objection to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. 36; Response). On July 31, 2017, at the Court's
request, Defendant Leeper filed the exhibits to the
Deposition of Detective Cedric Arline (Motion, Ex. 2; Arline
Dep.), the Deposition of Deputy Brian Blackwell
(id., Ex. 3; Blackwell Dep.), and the Deposition of
David John Scheider (id., Ex. 4; Scheider Dep.).
See Defendant's Notice of Filing Additional
Exhibits (Doc. 38). Accordingly, the Motion is ripe for
November 6, 2013, Detective Anthony Green of the Nassau
County Sheriff's Office (NCSO) videotaped a confidential
informant's illegal purchase of hydrocodone, a controlled
substance, in a mobile home on Hawk Drive in Hilliard,
Florida. See Motion Ex. 1: Deposition of Detective
Anthony Green (Green Dep.) at 6, 9-13. The surveillance was
taken from inside the mobile home. Id. at 13. The
video shows a white male with visible tattoos smoking a
cigarette, walking without assistance, and engaging in a drug
transaction. Id. at 17; Arline Dep. at 12-13;
Blackwell Dep. at 13-15, 20; Scheider Dep. at II. Scheider is
a white male and disputes that he bears any resemblance to
the person on the video. See Scheider Dep. at 10.
Notably, Scheider does not have any tattoos, is a non-smoker,
and walked with a cane at the time of the sale. Id.
Detective Green nor the confidential informant knew the
identity of the seller. See Blackwell Dep. at 14;
Green Dep. at 19. As such, Detective Green showed the video
to other members of the NCSO Narcotics Unit and asked if
anyone recognized the seller. See Green Dep. at 8-9;
Arline Dep. at 16. Detective Cedric Arline stated that the
seller looked like “Westside Pork Chop, ”
referring to Scheider by his nickname. See
Arline Dep. at 13-14, 16. In his deposition, Detective Arline
explained he believed that he recognized Scheider from
surveillance that he conducted in 2007 and 2008 involving an
illegal drug transaction. Id. at 10. Although the
NCSO could have used additional measures to confirm the
seller's identity, the officers did not undertake further
efforts. See Green Dep. at 15-16, 20, 26; Blackwell
Dep. at 20-21; Arline Dep. at 19.
after Detective Arline's identification, the NCSO removed
Detective Green from the investigation of the November 6,
2013 drug transaction to enable him to complete his field
training. See Green Dep. at 14-15. Sergeant Brian
Blackwell took over the case. Id. at 7-8. On June
26, 2014, Sergeant Blackwell obtained a warrant for
Scheider's arrest based on Detective Arline's
identification. See Blackwell Dep. at 20, Ex 9:
Arrest Warrant. Later that night, at 10:00 PM, Deputy
Reynolds arrested Scheider at his home for sale of a
controlled substance in violation of Florida Statute section
893.13(1)(a). See Blackwell Dep. at 8, Ex. 2: Arrest
& Booking Report; Scheider Dep. at 5. Scheider posted a
bond of approximately $2, 500.00 and was released the next
morning. See Scheider Dep. at 6-8. He also retained
an attorney at a cost of approximately $7, 000.00.
Id. On July 28, 2017, the State Attorney's
Office filed an information against Scheider. See
Blackwell Dep. at 29, Ex. 8: Information.
September 9, 2014 the State Attorney's Office filed a
nolle prosequi dropping all charges against Scheider
based upon the realization that Scheider had been
misidentified as the seller on the video. See
Complaint ¶¶ 16, 27; Green Dep. at 14; Blackwell
Dep. at 37. Although Scheider's Arrest and Booking Report
reflected that Scheider did not have any tattoos,
see Arrest and Booking Report, the NCSO officers had
no knowledge of whether Scheider was a smoker or walked with
a cane at the time of the drug transaction, see
Scheider Dep. at 11. As of the date of Detective Arline's
deposition, the actual perpetrator had not been identified.
See Arline Dep. at 14.
result of his arrest, Scheider suffered out of pocket losses,
including the cost of the bond and attorney's fees, as
well as emotional injuries. See Scheider Dep. at
14-15. Scheider experienced embarrassment when his family
members and neighbors learned about his arrest from various
local newspapers. Id. at 14-16, 19-20. Further, the
incident aggravated his pre-existing anxiety and depression
and caused him to seek treatment at Wekiva Springs, a
psychiatric facility, for ten days. Id. at 33-35,
Ex. 1: Plaintiff's, David Scheider's Notice of
Answering Interrogatories (Interrogatory Answers) at 6.
Additionally, Chris Scheider, Scheider's wife, took time
off work to care for Scheider. Id. at 18-19.
initiated this lawsuit on March 24, 2015, by filing a
three-count Complaint against Defendant Angela Corey, in her
official capacity as the State Attorney for the Fourth
Judicial Circuit of Florida (the State Attorney), and
Defendant Bill Leeper, in his official capacity as the
Sheriff of Nassau County, Florida (the Sheriff). See
generally Complaint for Damages (Doc. 1; Complaint). On
March 10, 2016, the Court entered an order dismissing all
claims brought against Defendant Corey. See
generally Order (Doc. 22). As such, only Count I and
Count III of the Complaint are relevant to the instant
Motion. In Count I, Scheider asserts a claim against Sheriff
Leeper pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Section 1983) and
42 U.S.C. § 1988 (Section 1988) based on the violation
of his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable
searches and seizures arising out of his false arrest.
See Complaint ¶¶ 8-19. In Count III, Chris
Scheider alleges a loss of consortium claim. Id.
¶¶ 31-34. Plaintiffs seek compensatory damages and
attorney's fees and costs. Id. ¶ 6.
Standard of Review
Rule 56, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Rule(s)),
“[t]he court shall grant summary judgment if the movant
shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Rule 56(a). The record to be considered on a
motion for summary judgment may include “depositions,
documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or
declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes
of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or
other materials.” Rule 56(c)(1)(A). An issue is
genuine when the evidence is such that a reasonable jury
could return a verdict in favor of the non-movant. See
Mize v. Jefferson City Bd. of Educ., 93 F.3d 739, 742
(11th Cir. 1996) (quoting Hairston v. Gainesville Sun
Publ'g Co., 9 F.3d 913, 919 (11th Cir. 1993)).
“[A] mere scintilla of evidence in support of the
non-moving party's position is insufficient to defeat a
motion for summary judgment.” Kesinger ex rel.
Estate of Kesinger v. Herrington, 381 F.3d 1243, 1247
(11th Cir. 2004) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2512, 91
L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)).
party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of
demonstrating to the court, by reference to the record, that
there are no genuine issues of material fact to be determined
at trial. See Clark v. Coats & Clark, Inc., 929
F.2d 604, 608 (11th Cir. 1991). “When a moving party
has discharged its burden, the non-moving party must then go
beyond the pleadings, and by its own affidavits, or by
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, designate specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.” Jeffery v. Sarasota White
Sox, Inc., 64 F.3d 590, 593-94 (11th Cir. 1995)
(citations and quotation marks omitted). Substantive law
determines the materiality of facts, and “[o]nly
disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit
under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of
summary judgment.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248,
106 S.Ct. at 2510. In determining whether summary judgment is
appropriate, a court “must view all evidence and make
all reasonable inferences in favor of the party opposing
summary judgment.” Haves v. City of Miami, 52
F.3d 918, 921 (11th Cir. 1995) (citing Dibrell Bros.
Int'l, S.A. v. Banca Nazionale Del Lavoro, 38 F.3d
1571, 1578 (11th Cir. 1994)).
Scheider's § 1983 Claim Against Leeper in ...