United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION (GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT)
E. HUDSON SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Owen Wilson, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se,
filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action. Wilson's claims
flow from his interaction with Defendant David Woods,
Richmond City Police Officer ("Officer Woods"), on
October 21, 2015. The following claims remain before the
Claim One: Officer Woods unlawfully detained and searched
Wilson on October 21, 2015 in violation of the Fourth
Amendment. (Compl. 6, ECF No. 1).
Claim Two: Officer Woods falsely arrested Wilson on October
21, 2015 in violation of the Fourth Amendment when he,
"without probable cause [and] against protest [and] by
force, placed [Wilson] in restraints [or] cuffs."
Claim Three: On December 15, 2015, "when [Officer Woods]
([in the] absence of probable cause [and] [in] sheer malice)
obtained a warrant for [Wilson's] arrest for
forgery," he (a) falsely arrested Wilson and (b)
maliciously prosecuted him. (Id.)
Claim Four: On October 21, 2015, Officer Woods "us[ed]
excessive force" against Wilson in violation of the (a)
Fourth Amendment, and (d) "committed the tort of assault
[and] battery." (Id.)
seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief. (Id.
matter is before the Court on Wilson's Motion for Summary
Judgment (ECF No. 63), and Officer Woods's Motion for
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 68). Officer Woods responded to
Wilson's Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 67.)
Despite the provision of notice pursuant to Roseboro v.
Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), Wilson has not
responded to Officer Woods's Motion for Summary Judgment.
For the reasons set forth below, Officer Woods's Motion
for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 68) will be granted, and
Wilson's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 63) will be
STANDARD FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
judgment must be rendered "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 party seeking summary judgment bears
the responsibility to inform the court of the basis for the
motion, and to identify the parts of the record which
demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
(1986). "[W]here the nonmoving party will bear the
burden of proof at trial on a dispositive issue, a summary
judgment motion may properly be made in reliance solely on
the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file." Id. at 324 (internal
quotation marks omitted). When the motion is properly
supported, the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings
and, by citing affidavits or "'depositions, answers
to interrogatories, and admissions on file,' designate
'specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.'" Id. (quoting former Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c) and 56(e) (1986)).
reviewing a summary judgment motion, the court "must
draw all justifiable inferences in favor of the nonmoving
party." United States v. Carolina Transformer
Co., 978 F.2d 832, 835 (4th Cir. 1992) (citing
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255
(1986)). However, a mere scintilla of evidence will not
preclude summary judgment. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251
(citing Improvement Co. v. Munson, 81 U.S. (14
Wall.) 442, 448 (1872)). "[T]here is a preliminary
question for the judge, not whether there is literally no
evidence, but whether there is any upon which a jury could
properly proceed to find a verdict for the party... upon whom
the onus of proof is imposed." Id. (quoting
Munson, 81 U.S. at 448). Additionally, "Rule 56
does not impose upon the district court a duty to sift
through the record in search of evidence to support a
party's opposition to summary judgment." Forsyth
v. Barr, 19 F.3d 1527, 1537 (5th Cir. 1994) (quoting
Skotak v. Tenneco Resins, Inc., 953 F.2d 909, 915
n.7 (5th Cir. 1992)); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(3)
("The court need consider only the cited
"[w]hen faced with cross-motions for summary judgment,
the Court must review each motion separately on its own
merits 'to determine whether either of the parties
deserves judgment as a matter of law.'"
Rossignol v. Voorhaar, 316 F.3d 516, 523 (4th Cir.
2003) (quoting Philip Morris Inc. v. Harshbarger,
122 F.3d 58, 62 n.4 (1st Cir. 1997)). In considering each
individual motion, the Court must again resolve factual
disputes and rational inferences drawn therefrom in the light
most favorable to the party opposing that motion.
support of Officer Woods's Motion for Summary Judgment,
he submits: (1) his own declaration ("Woods Decl.,"
ECF No. 70-1); (2) copies of two warrants of arrest for
Wilson (ECF No. 70-2); (3) the declaration of Richard E.
Hill, Jr. ("Hill Decl," ECF No. 70-3), declaring
that "[t]o the best of my knowledge, the video that is
attached as Exhibit D is a true and accurate copy of the
video posted on YouTube......."; and, (4) a compact disc
depicting Wilson's video recording of the October 21,
did not file a response to Officer Woods's Motion for
Summary Judgment; however, Wilson filed his own Motion for
Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 63.) Wilson's Motion for
Summary Judgment addresses his belief that, in Officer's
Woods's previously filed Motion to Dismiss, Officer Woods
did "not den[y] any of Plaintiff s verified claims"
and "has failed to contest the monetary damages of $600,
000.00." (Id. at 1.)
support of Wilson's Motion for Summary Judgment, he
submits an affidavit in which he states that he is the
"affiant," however, it is unclear whether Wilson
signed the affidavit because the signature line indicates
that the affidavit is signed by his "Authorized
Representative POA on behalf of CLAUDE OWEN WILSON
TRUST." (ECF No. 64, at 1, 3.) Even considering the
affidavit as properly sworn, the affidavit makes no mention
of Wilson's interaction with Officer Woods on October 21,
2015, and instead addresses the amount of damages owed to
Wilson by Officer Woods. (See Id. at 1-2.) Thus, the
affidavit does not impact the resolution of the Motion for
Summary Judgment. Wilson, however, did swear under penalty of
perjury to the truth of his statements in his Complaint.
(See Compl. 6.)
light of foregoing submissions and principles, the following
facts are established with respect to the Motions for Summary
SUMMARY OF PERTINENT FACTS
October 21, 2015 [, ] at approximately 11:00 P.M. [Officer
Woods] was dispatched to 2400 East Main Street to a CVS for a
disorderly conduct call." (Woods Decl. ¶ 5.)
"At the time of this incident, [Officer Woods] was
employed as an officer with the City of Richmond Police
Department." (Id. ¶ 3.)
[Officer Woods] arrived on scene, [he] observed [Wilson]
speaking with the manager, Therese Germain [("the store
manager")], inside the store." (Id. ¶
6.) Officer Woods then "requested that Wilson step
outside to speak with [Officer Woods]," and
"[w]hile speaking with Wilson, [Wilson] stated that the
store would not cash his personal checks." (Id.
¶ 7; see Compl. 3.) Officer Woods asked Wilson
"to show [him] the checks to better understand the
situation." (Woods Decl. ¶ 7; see Compl.
3.) "Wilson informed [Officer Woods] that the checks
were in his pocket, but declined to show them to [Officer
Woods]." (Woods Decl. ¶ 7; see Compl. 3.)
Officer Woods "advised Wilson that [he] had no control
over CVS and could not force them to accept his checks."
(Woods Decl. ¶ 8.) Wilson then "departed the
scene." (Id; see Compl 3.)
Woods "then entered the store to speak with the [store]
manager." (Woods Decl. ¶ 9.) The store manager
"stated that Wilson wanted to cash his personal checks
and she asked to see his identification (I.D.), but Wilson
refused." (Id.) "[The store manager]
relayed that she informed Wilson it is store policy to
require I.D. prior to cashing a personal check."
(Id.) The store manager informed Officer Woods that
"Wilson became angry and wanted to see the store policy,
to which [she] refused." (Id. ¶ 10.) The
store manager also advised Officer Woods that "after she
informed Wilson she could not cash the checks, he then
requested to convert the checks to gift cards."
(Id. ¶ 12.)
to [the store manager], Wilson informed her that the address
on his I.D. differed from the address on the checks."
(Id. ¶ 10.) The store manager advised Officer
Woods that "she thought the checks were
suspicious," and "[s]he noted that the checks
appeared to be copies with the amount changed."
(Id. ¶ 11.) "One check was made out to CVS
for $1, 000 and dated for October 21, 2015. The other check
was made out to CVS for $1, 009.90." (Id.)
upon this information," Officer Woods determined that
"[he] had probable cause to believe that [Wilson]
committed or attempted to commit a check fraud felony."
(Id. ¶ 13.) Officer Woods, therefore,
"continued [his] investigation and attempted to again
make contact with Wilson." (Id.)
Woods "observed Wilson again in the 1800 block of East
Main Street," and Officer Woods "advised Wilson
that [Officer Woods] needed to speak with him, but he
continued to walk away while recording [Officer Woods] on his
cell phone." (Id; see Compl. 3-4.)
Officer Woods then "advised Wilson that he was not free
to leave due to the investigation," and "Wilson
continued to walk away, yelling and making a scene."
(Woods Decl. ¶ 14.) At that time,
since [Officer Woods] was the sole officer at the scene with
Wilson, [Officer Woods] made the decision to place [Wilson]
in cuffs due to his evasive behavior, and aggressive
posturing. Wilson was trying to leave the scene and [Officer
Woods] was concerned that [Wilson] would fight back as the
(Id. ¶ 15.)
then "continued to record on his cell phone, and
resisted [Officer Woods's] attempt to restrain him, and
place him in handcuffs. Since [Officer Woods] was the only
officer on scene, [Officer Woods] advised [Wilson] that if he
continued to resist he could be tased." (Id.
¶ 16.) Officer Woods "did not tase Wilson."
(Id.) During this interaction, "Wilson
continued to resist, but ultimately, [Officer Woods] was able
to handcuff him by bringing his wrists behind his back."
(Id. ¶ 17.) After Officer Woods handcuffed
Wilson, he "asked Wilson to identify himself, or present
an I.D. Wilson refused to cooperate." (Id.
on the results of Officer Woods's investigation,
including the "information gleaned from CVS, [Officer
Woods] believed that Wilson had attempted to commit a felony
by passing bad checks at the CVS. [Officer Woods] also
believed that Wilson resisted arrest and obstructed [Officer
Woods's] investigation." (Id. ¶ 19.)
Officer Woods then "attempted to retrieve the checks
from Wilson's pocke[t] because he informed [Officer
Woods] the checks were in his pocket at CVS, and [Officer
Woods] believed they were possible evidence of a crime."
(Id. ¶ 20.) At that time, "Wilson oriented
his body in a way to allow him to record [Officer Woods],
while holding his phone behind his back. This prevented
[Officer Woods] from retrieving the checks initially."
(Id. ¶ 21.) Because of Wilson's attempts to
evade Officer Woods, Officer Woods "took possession of
[Wilson's] cell phone, and was then able to retrieve the
checks." (Id. ¶ 22.) Upon review of the