United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
HONORABLE RONALD A. WHITE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Plaintiffs filed this action on November 17, 2016, bringing
claims arising from their accident on a utility task vehicle
(hereinafter “UTV”) allegedly caused by Defendant
Officer Hyler's police pursuit of them following a minor
traffic violation. Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint on
January 27, 2017. Now before the court are the motions for
summary judgment filed by Officer Hyler [Docket No. 106] and
by the City of Webbers Falls (hereinafter “Webbers
Falls”) on its own behalf and on behalf of the
Defendants Ruiz and Ross in their official capacities
(hereinafter “Supervisory Defendants”). [Docket
claims are as follows:
• Count I - § 1983 claims for violations of the
Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments against Officer Hyler;
• Count II - § 1983 claims for violations of the
Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments against Webbers Falls and
the Supervisory Defendants based on their policies, practices
• Count III - claims for violations of the Oklahoma
Constitution against Officer Hyler;
• Counts V state law claims of assault, battery, false
arrest and/or imprisonment, defamation, and the tort of
outrage against Officer Hyler in his individual capacity; and
• Count VI - malicious prosecution against Officer Hyler
in his individual capacity.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment will be granted if there is no genuine issue 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's function
is not “to weigh the evidence and determine the truth
of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine
issue for trial.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). In applying the summary
judgment standard, the court views the evidence and draws
reasonable inferences therefrom in the light most favorable
to the nonmoving party. Burke v. Utah Transit
Auth. & Local 382, 462 F.3d 1253, 1258 (10th
Cir. 2006). At this stage, however, Plaintiffs may not rely
on mere allegations, but must have set forth, by affidavit or
other evidence, specific facts in support of their Amended
allegations that are unsubstantiated do not create an issue
of fact and are insufficient to oppose summary
judgment.” Harvey Barnett, Inc. v. Shidler,
338 F.3d 1125, 1136 (10th Cir. 2003) (citation omitted).
A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely
disputed must support the assertion by: (A) citing to
particular parts of materials in the record, including
depositions, documents, electronically stored information,
affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those
made for purposes of the motion only), admissions,
interrogatory answers, or other materials; or (B) showing
that the materials cited do not establish the absence or
presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party
cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1). “[A]ffidavits must be based
upon personal knowledge and set forth facts that would be
admissible in evidence; conclusory and self-serving
affidavits are not sufficient.” Hall v.
Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1111 (10th Cir. 1991). The court
disregards “inadmissible hearsay statements
contained in affidavits, as those statements could
not be presented at trial in any form.” Argo v.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, Inc., 452 F.3d
1193, 1199 (10th Cir. 2006) (emphasis in original).
Similarly, “[t]estimony which is grounded on
speculation does not suffice to create a genuine issue of
material fact to withstand summary judgment.” Bones
v. Honeywell Int'l, Inc., 366 F.3d 869, 876 (10th
movant is not always required to come forward with affidavits
or other evidence to obtain summary judgment; once the movant
points out an absence of proof on an essential element of the
nonmovant's case, the burden shifts to the nonmovant to
provide evidence to the contrary.” Hall, 935
F.2d at 1111, n. 5. Additionally, “the court need
consider only the cited materials, but it may consider other
materials in the record.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3).
affirmative defense of qualified immunity “gives
government officials breathing room to make reasonable but
mistaken judgments about open legal questions.”
Ashcroft v. alKidd, 563 U.S. 731, 743 (2011).
“When properly applied, it protects ‘all but the
plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the
law.'” Id. (citing Malley v.
Briggs, 475 U.S. 335, 341 (1986)).
defendant raises a qualified immunity defense in response to
a motion to dismiss or a motion for summary judgment,
burden shifts to the plaintiff and the court employs a
two-part test. Morris v. Noe, 672 F.3d 1185, 1191
(10th Cir. 2012); Brown v. Montoya, 662 F.3d 1152,
1164 (10th Cir. 2011). A plaintiff must show that: (1) the
defendant violated a constitutional right, and (2) the
constitutional right was clearly established at the time of
the defendant's alleged misconduct. Id. A
plaintiff must establish both prongs to defeat a qualified
immunity defense. Id. The court has discretion to
decide which of the two prongs to address first in light of
the circumstances of the case. Brown, 662 F.3d at
1164. Only if a plaintiff first meets this two-part test does
the defendant bear the traditional summary judgment burden to
show that there are no genuine disputes of material fact and
that he or she is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of
law. Koch v. City of Del City, 660 F.3d 1228, 1238
(10th Cir. 2011).
UNDISPUTED MATERIAL FACTS
• On the night of November 25, 2015, Plaintiff Lindsey
drove his off-road UTV from the Love's Travel Shop
parking lot onto the adjacent access road known as
“Love's Lane, ” then turned left onto State
Highway 100. Lindsey proceeded to drive on Highway 100 over
the overpass crossing Interstate 40 and continued south until
Highway 100 turns into a gravel road. Docket No. 106, Exh. 1,
Lindsey Depo., at 6-10; Exh. 2, Mann Depo., at 8-15; Exh. 3,
Hyler Depo., at 21-30.
• Plaintiff Mann was a passenger in Lindsey's UTV.
• Lindsey's UTV is a four-wheeled vehicle with a
steering wheel and seating for two. It is “an off road
vehicle not intended for use on public roads” and
contains a warning not to ride on public roads, as it
“is not designed for on-road
safety.” Docket No. 106, Exh. 7.
• The Love's Travel Shop, the adjacent access road,
and Highway 100 are and were at the relevant time within the
boundary of Webbers Falls. Docket No. 106, Exh. 5, Lively
• Lindsey's UTV did not have a slow moving vehicle
triangle affixed to the rear at the time of the incident, and
neither Lindsey nor Mann were wearing seat
belts. Docket No. 106, Exh. 1, at 2 and 10;
Exh. 2, at 17.
• At the time of the incident, Officer Hyler was a
certified peace officer, working on duty as a member of the
Webbers Falls Police Department. Officer Hyler graduated and
received his CLEET certification on November 19, 2015.
• After Lindsey turned left onto Highway 100, he
accelerated his UTV southbound to the I-40 overpass “in
a manner to drive within the bounds of the speed limit and
conditions of the road.” Docket No. 121, at 14.
• Officer Hyler testified and it is uncontroverted that
he attempted to conduct a traffic stop of Lindsey's
vehicle by turning on his emergency lights as Lindsey was
driving south toward the I-40 overpass and turning on his
sirens as Lindsey drove over the bridge.Docket No.
106, Exh. 3, at 24-26.
• Lindsey testified that he never heard a siren. Docket
No. 123, Exh. 9, at 19. Lindsey testified that he did not see
Officer Hyler's lights until after he crossed
“Dirty Creek bridge” on the gravel road. Lindsey
testified that he then “kind of bumped” Mann to
alert him to the lights. Docket No. 123, Exh. 9, at 14-16.
Mann testified that he first noticed Officer Hyler's
lights when Lindsey told him “to look back and said
there were lights back there” after they crossed Dirty
Creek. Docket No. 123, Exh. 10, at 5-7.
• Lindsey did not stop or slow his vehicle as he
approached the I-40 overpass.
• Officer Hyler notified Muskogee 911 dispatch that he
was attempting a traffic stop and that the suspect was
failing to yield.
• Shortly after Highway 100 crosses I-40, the pavement
ends and the gravel road begins. Lindsey slowed his UTV
briefly at the transition from pavement to gravel, then
resumed his normal driving speed.
• Upon reaching the gravel road, Officer Hyler's
vision was obstructed by the dust created by Lindsey's
vehicle ahead of him.
• Officer Hyler testified that because his vision was
obstructed by the dust and he had lost sight of Lindsey's
UTV, he slowed his vehicle and continued driving south
following the dust trail left ...