United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
ANTOON II United States District Judge.
Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 27), Plaintiff Hattie Mae
Reynolds brought claims of false arrest under federal and
Florida law against Defendants City of Daytona Beach (the
City) and Officers Austin Clayton and Thomas Goble in their
individual and official capacities. The City moved to dismiss
all claims against it, (Mot. to Dismiss, Doc. 31), and the
Court granted the motion, (Order, Doc. 38). Clayton and Goble
now move for summary judgment on the remaining claims. (Doc.
50). For the reasons set forth below, the motion is due to be
5, 2018, Clayton and Goble arrived at Reynolds's home in
response to two 911 calls placed by Reynolds in which she
reported that her granddaughter, Janeen Williams, was
"sassing her," "cussing at her," and
refusing to leave. (Clayton Dep. at 30-31; Reynolds Dep. at
7; Charging Aff. at 1). When Clayton and Goble interviewed
Williams regarding the altercation, Williams repeatedly
alleged that Reynolds made physical contact with
Williams's face using a shoe. (Goble Dep. at 13). Per
Daytona Beach Police Department policy and Florida law,
Clayton and Goble completed an investigation and arrested
Reynolds for battery. (Clayton Dep. at 41; Goble Dep. at 39;
Charging Aff. at 1).
was 95 years old at the time of the incident. (Charging Aff.
at 1). She now brings claims for false arrest pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and Florida law against Clayton and Goble
in their individual and official capacities.
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."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The Court must construe the facts and all
reasonable inferences therefrom in the light most favorable
to the nonmoving party. Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing
Prods.. Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000). "However,
we draw these inferences only 'to the extent supportable
by the record." Penley v. Eslinger, 605 F.3d
843, 848 (11th Cir. 2010) (quoting Scott v. Harris,
550 U.S. 372, 381 n.8 (2007)). "Thus, the requirement to
view the facts in the nonmoving party's favor extends to
genuine disputes over material facts and not where all that
exists is 'some metaphysical doubt as to material
facts.'" id, (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus.
Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986).
"Essentially, the inquiry is 'whether the evidence
presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to
the jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must
prevail as a matter of law.'" Sawyer v.
Southwest Airlines Co., 243 F.Supp.2d 1257, 1262 (D.
Kan. 2003) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby. Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986)).
Official Capacity Claims
initial matter, because Reynolds's claims against the
City have already been dismissed and the claims against
Clayton and Goble in their official capacities are equivalent
to claims against the City, the claims against Clayton and
Goble in their official capacities also must be dismissed.
See Busby v. City of Orlando, 931 F.2d 764, 776
(11th Cir. 1991) ("Because suits against a municipal
officer sued in his official capacity and direct suits
against municipalities are functionally equivalent, there no
longer exists a need to bring official-capacity actions
against local government officials, because local government
units can be sued directly . . ..").
State Law Claim & Florida Immunity (Individual
Count I, Reynolds alleges false arrest under Florida law.
Clayton and Goble argue that they are immune from liability
under section 768.28(9)(a), Florida Statutes, because
Reynolds has not produced facts showing Clayton and Goble
acted in bad faith.The Court agrees that the record is devoid
of indicia of bad faith.
officer, employee, or agent of the state or of any of its
subdivisions shall be held personally liable in tort or named
as a party defendant in any action for any injury or damage
suffered as a result of any act, event, or omission of action
in the scope of her or his employment or function, unless
such officer, employee, or agent acted in bad faith or with
malicious purpose or in a manner exhibiting wanton and
willful disregard of human rights, safety, or property."
§ 768.28(9)(a), Fla. Stat. The parties do not dispute
that the officers were acting within the scope of their
employment when they arrested Reynolds. "Courts
construing the bad faith prong of section 768.28 use the
actual malice standard, which means the conduct must be
committed with ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil
intent." Eiras v. State Dep't of Bus. &
Prof'l Reg. Div. of Alcoholic Bevs. & Tobacco,
239 F.Supp.3d 1331, 1343 (M.D. Fla. 2017) (internal citations
and quotations omitted). Allegations of such behavior
"may not be stated as mere legal conclusions, but
instead must be supported by facts." Duquesne v.
City of Miami Beach, No. 12-20575-CIV-HUCK/BANDSTRA,
2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 103993, at *35 (S.D. Fla. July 26,
cites the Charging Affidavit as evidence of Clayton and
Goble's bad faith, claiming that Clayton and Goble
falsified the affidavit to try to support probable cause that
did not otherwise exist. Clayton-an officer new to the police
force and still in training at the time of the arrest-wrote
the affidavit, ...