United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
CORTEZ N. MEADOWS, Plaintiff,
CITY OF OKLAHOMA CITY et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
CHARLES B. GOODWIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant City of Oklahoma
City's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 66).
Plaintiff has responded in opposition to the Motion (Doc. Nos.
83, 88-1), and Defendant City has replied (Doc. No. 85).
Having considered the parties' arguments, the relevant
record, and the governing law, the Court grants Defendant
civil rights action arises out of Plaintiff's arrest and
subsequent twenty-hour detention for allegedly driving under
the influence of alcohol. Plaintiff filed his suit under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, asserting violations of his Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as pendant state-law
claims. See Compl. (Doc. No. 1). Plaintiff brings
these claims against Defendant City of Oklahoma City (the
“City”) and Oklahoma City Police Department
(“OCPD”) officer Kristopher Gellenbeck in both
his individual and official capacities. See Id. at
2. On June 6, 2017, the Court granted Defendant City's
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's official-capacity claims
against Defendant Gellenbeck and all state-law claims against
Defendant City insofar as they were alleged solely under the
Oklahoma Constitution rather than pursuant to the Oklahoma
Governmental Tort Claims Act (“GTCA”).
See Order of June 6, 2017 (Doc. No. 18)
judgment is a means of testing in advance of trial whether
the available evidence would permit a reasonable jury to find
in favor of the party asserting a claim. The Court must grant
summary judgment when “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). “An
issue is ‘genuine' if there is sufficient evidence
on each side so that a rational trier of fact could resolve
the issue either way.” Adler v. Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc., 144 F.3d 664, 670 (10th Cir. 1998). “An
issue of fact is ‘material' if under the
substantive law it is essential to the proper disposition of
the claim.” Id.
that moves for summary judgment has the burden of showing
that the undisputed material facts require judgment as a
matter of law in its favor. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). If the movant carries
this initial burden, the nonmovant must then “go beyond
the pleadings and ‘set forth specific facts' that
would be admissible in evidence in the event of trial from
which a rational trier of fact could find for the
nonmovant.” Adler, 144 F.3d at 671 (citation
omitted). The Court must then determine “whether the
evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require
submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one
party must prevail as a matter of law.” Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986). Parties may
establish the existence or nonexistence of a material
disputed fact by:
• citing to “depositions, documents,
electronically stored information, affidavits or
declarations, stipulations . . ., admissions, interrogatory
answers, or other materials” in the record; or
• demonstrating “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)-(B). While the Court views the
evidence and the inferences drawn from the record in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party, see
Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of Pittsburg, Inc. v. PepsiCo,
Inc., 431 F.3d 1241, 1255 (10th Cir. 2005), “[t]he
mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the
[nonmovant's] position will be insufficient; there must
be evidence on which the [trier of fact] could reasonably
find for the [nonmovant].” Anderson, 477 U.S.
Motion, Defendant City set out the following eleven material
facts related to Plaintiff's arrest and three material
facts related to OCPD officer training. See Mot.
Summ. J. (Doc. No. 66) at 1-5. Plaintiff did not present any
additional facts that he contends are preclusive of judgment
as a matter of law. See LCvR 56(c).
March 26, 2016, the OCPD 911 call center received a call that
a female was being held against her will in a hotel room by a
male with a gun. See Mot. Summ. J. at 1-2 (citing
Doc No. 32-7). At approximately the same time, the OCPD 911
call center received a call that a male carrying an AK-47 had
left the hotel with a woman and that they had gotten into a
red Honda Accord with tag number 352LFO or 352LFD. See
Id. at 2 (citing Doc. No. 47-2). Plaintiff does not
dispute that the 911 call center received these two calls but
objects that the Court should disregard the calls as
inadmissible in evidence. See Pl.'s Resp. at
1-4; Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2) (“A party may object that
the material cited to support or dispute a fact cannot be
presented in a form that would be admissible in
evidence.”). Plaintiff also disputes that the second
caller saw Plaintiff leave the hotel with a gun. See
Pl.'s Resp. at 4.
Officer Maldonado observed the vehicle on the highway and
made a traffic stop. See id.; Doc. No. 47-3 at 4.
Defendant Gellenbeck arrived as Plaintiff was being
“called” from the driver's
seat. See Id. Defendant Gellenbeck
observed that Plaintiff's eyes were bloodshot and watery
and that Plaintiff's speech was slow and slurred. See
Id. (citing Doc. No. 47-3 at 2). Defendant Gellenbeck
also observed that Plaintiff was very unsteady on his feet
when he stood and walked. See Id. Defendant
Gellenbeck initiated a field sobriety test but did not
complete the test due to the cold and very windy
weather.See Id. at 3. Defendant Gellenbeck
placed Plaintiff under arrest on state charges of driving
under the influence of alcohol in violation of Okla. Stat.
tit. 47, § 11-902, as well as possession of a firearm
while intoxicated, see Okla. Stat. tit. 21, §
1289.9, transporting an open container of beer, see
Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 1220, and driving with a revoked
and suspended license, see Okla. Stat. tit. 47,
§ 6-303.B. See Mot. Summ. J. at 3; Doc. No.
47-3 at 1.
Gellenbeck prepared an affidavit of probable cause for
Plaintiff's arrest, in accordance with OCPD Procedure,
which was approved and signed by an Oklahoma County District
Court judge. See Mot. Summ. J. at 3 (citing Mot.
Summ. J. Ex. 10 (Doc. No. 66-2)). Defendant City notes that
this procedure is Defendant City's attempt to comply with
the requirements prescribed in Gerstein v. Pugh, 420
U.S. 103 (1975), and County of Riverside v.
McLaughlin, 500 U.S. 44 (1991), for the extended
detention of individuals arrested without a warrant. See
Id. While the Oklahoma County District Attorney's
Office filed charges against Plaintiff, the charges were
subsequently dismissed. See Id. at 3-4 (citing Doc.
OCPD officer training and Defendant Gellenbeck's training
pursuant to OCPD policies, Defendant City states that
Defendant Gellenbeck attended the OCPD Recruit Training
Academy from September 27, 2013, to April 23, 2014. See
Id. at 4-5. This training included the areas of
“laws of arrest” and the requirement of probable
cause. See Id. (citing Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 12 (Doc.
No. 66-4)). After completion of the training program,
Defendant Gellenback was placed in OCPD's Field Training
and Evaluation Program for four months, as are all OCPD
recruits pursuant to OCPD policy. See Id. at 5.
Finally, OCDP policy requires officers to face a Probation
Review Board at the end of ten months of employment. See
Id. The purpose of the Probation Review Board is to
evaluate the performance of new hire recruits nearing the end
of their probationary period to determine whether the recruit
should be granted permanent status, given an extended
probationary period, or terminated from employment. See
id.; id. Ex. 15 (Doc. No. 66-7).
Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment Claim Against Defendant
Complaint, Plaintiff states that he was “wrongfully
seized and imprisoned for 20 hours without probable
cause” in violation of both the Fourth and Fourteen
Amendments. Compl. at 1. Because Plaintiff's claims are
predicated solely on his arrest and his subsequent
twenty-hour detention, which occurred prior to a judge's
probable cause determination, see Compl. at 1, 4,
they implicate the Fourth Amendment, which “establishes
the minimum standards and procedures not just for arrest but
also for ensuing detention” and “governs a claim
for unlawful pretrial detention even beyond the start of
legal process.” Manuel v. City of Joliet, 137
S.Ct. 911, 917, 920 (2017) (internal quotation marks omitted)
(quoting Gerstein, 420 U.S. at 111); see also
Gadd v. Campbell, 712 Fed.Appx. 796, 799-800 (10th Cir.
2017); Young v. Davis, 554 F.3d 1254, 1257 (10th
Cir. 2009) (explaining that an individual arrested without a
warrant becomes held “pursuant to legal process”
upon the probable cause determination by a judicial
liability requires two distinct findings: that the
plaintiff's federal rights were violated and that the
municipality “is responsible for that violation.”
Collins v. City of Harker Heights, 503 U.S. 115, 120
(1992). A municipality cannot be held liable for the
unconstitutional conduct of its employees under a theory of
respondeat superior. Monell v. Dep't of Soc.
Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978); Brammer-Hoelter v.
Twin Peaks Charter Acad., 602 F.3d 1175, 1188 (10th Cir.
2010). Rather, a municipality is liable under § 1983
only where the employee's unconstitutional conduct
occurred while he was carrying out a policy or custom
established by the municipality, and there is a direct causal
link between the policy or custom and the injury alleged.
See Bryson v. City of Okla. City, 627 F.3d 784, 788
(10th Cir. 2010) (citing Hinton v. City of Elwood,
997 F.2d 774, 782 (10th Cir. 1993)).
municipal policy or custom required to support § 1983
municipal liability may take the form of one of the
(1) a formal regulation or policy statement; (2) an informal
custom amounting to a widespread practice that, although not
authorized by written law or express municipal policy, is so
permanent and well settled as to constitute a custom or usage
with the force of law; (3) the decisions of employees with
final policymaking authority; (4) the ratification by such
final policymakers of the decisions-and the basis for them-of
subordinates to whom authority was delegated subject to these
policymakers' review and approval; or (5) the failure to