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.

Reynolds v. Clayton

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division

December 23, 2019

HATTIE MAE REYNOLDS, Plaintiff,
v.
AUSTIN CLAYTON and THOMAS GOBLE, Defendants.

          ORDER

          JOHN ANTOON II United States District Judge.

         In her 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 granted.

         I. Background

         On May 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).[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).

         Reynolds 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.

         II. Legal Standard

         "The 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)).

         III. Discussion

         A. Official Capacity Claims

         As an 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 . . ..").

         B. State Law Claim & Florida Immunity (Individual Capacities)

         In 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.[2]The Court agrees that the record is devoid of indicia of bad faith.

         "No 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, 2012).

         Reynolds 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, ...


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.