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Mercer v. Vega

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division

April 24, 2019

GREGORY S. MERCER, Plaintiff,
v.
E.A. VEGA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Liam O'Grady, United States District Judge.

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. Dkt. 19. For the following reasons the Motion is granted.

         I. Background

         The present case was set in motion by a 2006 arrest. On June 9, 2006, Trooper Kenneth Houtz approached four cars that were pulled over on the shoulder of Interstate 66. The driver of one of these cars was Plaintiff, Gregory Mercer. As Houtz was issuing a summons to Mercer for improperly stopping on the highway, Mercer struck Houtz and called Houtz an asshole. Seeking to deescalate the situation, Houtz went to issue summonses to the three other drivers to give Mercer a chance to calm down. When Houtz returned to Mercer, Mercer was still upset and asked for Houtz's name and badge number.

         Houtz then called his Division Headquarters and spoke to Sergeant Kerry Allander about the situation with Mercer. After speaking to Allander, Houtz arrested Mercer and subsequently obtained and served a warrant on Mercer for assault and battery of a law enforcement officer.

         After his arrest, Mercer went to the Division VII, Area 9 Office to speak with Allander. Mercer told Allander Houtz's story about what happened on the side of Interstate 66 was not true and that Mercer had been unjustly arrested. Allander informed Mercer he was not Houtz's supervisor and gave him the information for Houtz's supervisor.

         On November 30, 2006, Mercer was convicted of misdemeanor assault and battery in Fairfax County General District Court. Mercer appealed to the Fairfax County Circuit Court, was convicted there as well and sentenced on June 1, 2007.

         After his conviction, Mercer did not seek to put this incident behind him, but instead remained fixated on his allegedly unjust arrest. Soon after the conviction Mercer and Houtz spoke on the phone. Mercer accused Houtz of committing perjury, Houtz denied this accusation, and Mercer hung up the phone. Mercer then appealed his conviction to the Virginia Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of Virginia, and the United States Supreme Court. All appeals were denied. Approximately a year and a half later, on January 4, 2011, Mercer filed complaints against all the judges involved in his case - the Circuit Court judge, the Court of Appeals judges, and the Supreme Court of Virginia justices - with the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Commission informed Mercer it did not have the authority to address the complaints.

         On March 3, 2015, over four years after he filed his judicial complaints, and nearly nine years after the 2006 arrest occurred. Mercer called the Division VII, Area 9 Office and asked to speak to Allander. When Mercer was unable to speak to Allander he asked for information on Allander and Houtz. After this phone call Mercer went to the Division VII, Area 9 Office in person, falsely identified himself as a George Mason University student, and spoke to Allander, asking him for further information about Houtz.

         Three days later, on March 6, 2015, Mercer filed a lawsuit in this Court against Fairfax County Child Protective Services and two of its employees, the Fairfax County Department of Code Compliance and three of its employees, Allander, Houtz, and all the judges and justices mentioned above.

         After filing his lawsuit, Mercer began making efforts to serve Allander and Houtz. On March 11, 2015, Mercer called Division VII, stating he needed to serve subpoenas on Allander and Houtz. The person Mercer spoke to informed Mercer that he could serve Allander and Houtz at their work addresses. Two days after this phone call, Mercer emailed Allander and Houtz asking for their home addresses so he could serve them. Allander and Houtz forwarded the emails to their supervisors per department policy and the supervisors forwarded the emails to the Office of Legal Affairs.

         Between March 16 and 20, 2015, the Office of Legal Affairs contacted Mercer, informed him that Virginia State Police does not give out officers' home addresses, and that the Office of Legal Affairs could serve Allander and Houtz. The Office of Legal Affairs also instructed Mercer not to contact the officers directly as they were being represented by the Office of the Attorney General. After this conversation Mercer again emailed Allander and Houtz asking for their home addresses so he could serve them.

         Two months later, on May 14, 2015, Mercer came to the Division VII Area 10 Office and asked for Houtz and Houtz's home address. The sergeant Mercer talked to told him Houtz was not in the office and that they did not give out officers' home addresses. Mercer left, but as he left the sergeant noticed Mercer and a companion writing down the license plate numbers of the cars in the parking lot.

         On May 15, 2015 at approximately 12:30 a.m. Mercer called Division VII State Police Communications, falsely identified himself as Ibrahim Fetterolf, and indicated he was meeting Allander at the Division VII Office that night. When the office contacted Allander to confirm ...


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