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Hastings v. City Fort Myers

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division

June 27, 2018

DAVID SCOTT HASTINGS, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY FORT MYERS, DOUGLAS BAKER, STEPHEN RUSSELL, DENNIS EADS, MIKE SCOTT, EMILY DESTEPHANIS, JUSTIN TRASK, RICHARD ERRETT and STEPHANIE RUSSELL, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER [1]

          SHERIPOLSTER CHAPPELL JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants City of Fort Myers and Douglas Baker's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 30) filed on November 6, 2017. Hastings filed a Response in Opposition to multiple motions to dismiss (Doc. 33) on January 9, 2018. The Motion is now ripe for the Courts review.

         BACKGROUND[2]

         On July 13, 2013, a Marital Settlement Agreement was executed between Hastings and his estranged wife. On July 30, 2013, Hastings contacted the Fort Myers Police Department (FMPD) to escort him to retrieve property from the marital residence. (Doc. 1 at 5). Two uniformed FMPD officers, including Defendant Trask, arrived at the residence to accompany him. (Doc. 1 at 5). Hastings entered the residence and obtained his personal belongings and six file drawers of business records. (Doc. 1 at 5). His estranged wife returned to the marital residence while he was present. An argument ensued. (Doc. 1 at 5).

         The next day, Hastings' estranged wife filed for a temporary restraining order (TRO) in Lee County Court. On August 2, 2013, a verbal altercation occurred between FMPD Officers Trask and Errett when they served Hastings with the TRO. (Doc. 1 at 6). The following night, Hastings was arrested for violating the TRO and booked into the Lee County Jail. (Doc. 1 at 6). He suffered atrial defibrillation and received medical treatment. The next day he posted a $10, 000 bond. (Doc. 1 at 6). Hastings left the State of Florida, travelled to Austin, Texas, and eventually returned home to Indian Wells, California. On August 23, 2013, attorney Joe Viacava sent Hastings an e-mail stating that his case had been dismissed. (Doc. 1 at 7).

         Hastings contacted FMPD and spoke with Captain Dennis Eads alleging that his estranged wife had hacked his e-mail account. After an investigation into the alleged hacking by Captain Melvin Perry, the FMPD found no evidence of wrong doing. (Doc. 1 at 7).

         In September 2014, Hastings started receiving “Private Number Blocked Calls” on his cell phone from his estranged wife. (Doc. 1 at 8). That same month, he was told that he needed open heart surgery to correct his heart issues. In October of 2014, he was diagnosed with cancer and had surgery to remove the melanoma. (Doc. 1 at 8).

         While Hastings was recuperating from his surgery, he was contacted by representatives from the Dr. Phil Show because of his estranged wife's contact with them. On November 1, 2013, Stephanie Granander forwarded him a waiver of the TRO sent by his estranged wife so they could appear together on the program. And, his estranged wife told him he could start telephone and Skype contact with his twelve-year-old daughter. (Doc. 1 at 8). Hastings and his daughter began Skyping daily. (Doc. 1 at 8). He states the blocked calls continued in November 2013.

         The Dr. Phil Show also contacted Hastings' minor daughter to entice her to appear on a daddy/daughter reunion birthday show if he would appear with her on November 29, 2013. (Doc. 1 at 10). Hastings returned to Austin, Texas on November 17, 2013, his daughter's birthday. He states he received about seventeen private blocked phone calls from an unknown party. Hastings returned to Fort Myers, Florida, to pack up his manufacturing plant. He saw his estranged wife's car in a bar's parking lot with a flat tire at approximately 8:00am on Sunday morning. Hastings returned to Indian Wells, California on November 26, 2013.

         On December 5, 2013, Hastings informed the Dr. Phil Show he was not interested in any attempt to reconcile his marriage. On December 31, 2013, Hastings' estranged wife cancelled his health insurance after his preauthorization for open-heart surgery. On January 4, 2014, Hastings filed an ethics complaint with the American Dietetic Association, alleging that his estranged wife purchased a bogus masters and doctorate degree.

         On January 14, 2014, Defendant DeStephanis filed an affidavit and request for an arrest warrant before a Lee County Court Judge, for Hastings' violation of the final injunction order for protection from November 1, 2013 through January 4, 2014. Two days later, Hastings was arrested in New Port Beach, California. (Doc. 1 at 12). He was booked into the Orange County California Jail and was given a $15, 000.00 bond as the no bond warrant could not be located in the system. (Doc. 1 at 12).

         On January 24, 2014, Hastings left a message on State Attorney Steven Russell's cell phone. He informed Russell that his arrest and the allegations that led to it were due to his estranged wife's retaliation for his decision not to reconcile their marriage. Hastings was scheduled to appear in Orange County California Court on March 20, 2014. After he was informed that Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott had a Governor's warrant for his arrest, he went into atrial fibrillation. (Doc. 1 at 12). Hastings was taken to Western Medical Center where they ran tests on his heart valve. He was denied any surgical procedures and returned to the jail's medical unit. (Doc. 1 at 13).

         On April 5, 2014, Hastings was discharged from the Orange County California Jail and turned over to a transport company hired by Sheriff Mike Scott to return him to Lee County. While in route through Denver, Colorado, he began hemorrhaging blood in the transportation vehicle. (Doc. 1 at 13). While in upstate New York he suffered chest pains and heart issues and was transported to St. Mary's Hospital in New York. After being given an EKG, nitroglycerin, and beta blockers, Hastings was transported to Lee County, Florida. He lost thirty-six pounds during the transport from California to Florida.

         On April 21, 2014, Hastings had his first appearance on charges of stalking his minor daughter. (Doc. 1 at 14). The State Court set a bond of $100, 000.00 on the stalking charge and an additional $50, 000 bond ...


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