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.

Batte v. Taylor

United States District Court, Fifth Circuit

September 10, 2013

JUDY BATTE, TRACY WAMBLE, and LAURA FRANKLIN, Plaintiffs,
v.
JAMES D. TAYLOR, OTIS CRAIG, GERALD GREER and SCOTT COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI, Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

LINDA R. ANDERSON, Magistrate Judge.

This case is before the undersigned Magistrate Judge on the Motion for Summary Judgment [55] filed by Defendants Scott County, Mississippi, and James Taylor, Otis Craig and Gerald Greer, in their official capacities. On July 13, 2013, Judge Wingate referred the motion to the undersigned for Report and Recommendation on its merits.

Having considered the pleadings and the record in this case, the undersigned Magistrate Judge recommends that Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [55] be granted and that this case be dismissed with prejudice.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On September 15, 2006, the Plaintiffs filed their original Complaint in this matter. The Complaint alleges six causes of action, including claims of excessive force and assault and battery by Plaintiff Jeffrey Batte brought against Defendants James Taylor and Otis Craig; illegal search and seizure claims and claims of false arrest brought by Plaintiffs Tracy Wamble and Laura Franklin against Defendant Gerald Greer; claims of false arrest brought by Plaintiffs Judy Batte and Ty Ainsworth against Scott County, Mississippi; and a conspiracy claim brought by all of the Plaintiffs against all of the Defendants, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1985.

The claims asserted by Plaintiffs Jeffrey Batte, Judy Batte and Ty Ainsworth arose out of events which allegedly took place on August 8, 2006, beginning with a confrontation between Jeffrey Batte and Ty Ainsworth and law enforcement personnel at a Shell Station in Forest, Mississippi. As a result of their individual involvement in this altercation, Plaintiffs Jeffrey Batte and Ty Ainsworth were arrested. Plaintiff Judy Batte arrived on the scene as Forest Police Officer Joey Hall was preparing to transport her son. According to a Statement of Fact submitted by Officer Hall to the Scott County Sheriff's Department, Plaintiff Judy Batte approached her son in the presence of Hall. Officer Hall reported that Judy Batte "advised that something was going to be done with [Deputy James Taylor], she was going to kill him. She was going to blow his damn head off." After this threat was reported to the Scott County Sheriff's Department by Officer Hall, Deputy James Taylor prepared an Affidavit regarding the threat. An arrest warrant for Judy Batte was issued by the Justice Court of Scott County, and she was arrested and charged with simple assault. The Statement of Fact submitted to Deputy Taylor by Joey Hall, a police officer from another jurisdiction, clearly evidenced a threat of serious bodily harm to Deputy Taylor. Furthermore, the threat was from the mother of the man who had just been arrested and was later convicted for assaulting this same officer. The arrest of Judy Batte was based on this arrest warrant, and was clearly supported by probable cause. As such, Plaintiff Judy Batte cannot be said to have suffered any constitutional harm.

The claims asserted by Plaintiffs Tracy Wamble and Laura Franklin arise out of events which took place on August 10, 2006, when they were questioned by Defendant Gerald Greer about their attempts to obtain materials from the Shell Station which related to the ongoing criminal investigation of the events of August 8, 2006, being conducted by the Sheriff's Department.

Plaintiffs Jeffrey Batte and Ty Ainsworth ultimately were convicted of criminal charges for their actions of August 8, 2006.

On August 10, 2006, Deputy Investigator Gerald Greer of the Scott County Sheriff's Department received a telephone call complaining that two women had gone to the Shell Station on Highway 35 and were attempting to take the store security video which showed the August 8, 2006, incident wherein Jeffrey Batte and Ty Ainsworth had an altercation with Deputies Taylor and Craig. Deputy Greer responded to this call.

Deputy Greer approached the suspicious persons as they were driving North on Highway 35, after having pulled away from the Shell Station. As Deputy Greer caught up with the suspicious persons, he rolled down his window and held out his Sheriff's Department badge while yelling for the driver of the vehicle to pull over. The vehicle did not immediately stop. After further pursuit, Plaintiff Laura Franklin, the driver, told Deputy Greer she was "going to the police station, " and headed in that direction. However, after pulling into the police station (less than ½ mile away), the car again did not stop. Instead, the driver (Plaintiff Franklin) pulled out and went back to the main road. Deputy Greer continued to pursue the vehicle. When Plaintiff Franklin finally did pull her vehicle over, Greer inquired why she had not pulled over at the police station, and he instructed them to go to the Sheriff's Department for questioning.

Once at the Sheriff's Department, Deputy Greer questioned the women about the incident. He inquired into the identities of the women and asked them why they were attempting to take the surveillance video from the store. At no time did Plaintiff Wamble reveal she was Jeffrey Batte's sister. Rather, the women informed Deputy Greer that Plaintiff Franklin worked as a private investigator and delivered subpoenas for an attorney. Deputy Greer explained that he had received a phone call that someone was trying to take the video and that there was an active criminal investigation underway. After the situation was discussed, the women left the Sheriff's Department. Further charges were not pursued. By the Plaintiffs' own account, the amount of time that lapsed from when they first encountered Deputy Greer and he instructed them to pull over, until the time all questioning at the Sheriff's Department was concluded, was 35 minutes.

By Order filed December 18, 2007, [49] this Court dismissed the claims of Jeffrey Batte and Ty Ainsworth in their entirety.

On March 11, 2008, a comprehensive Motion for Summary Judgment [55] was filed by the remaining defendants. A motion hearing was held before the Court on April 10, 2008, with respect to the claims of Gerald Greer. In an Order dated April 29, 2008, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of Gerald Greer. Specifically, this Court found that the conduct of Deputy Gerald Greer was objectively reasonable and that Greer was entitled to qualified immunity on all federal claims asserted against him by the Plaintiffs. Furthermore, the Court found that there was no reckless disregard by Gerald Greer and there was an absence of any maintainable conspiracy or other state law claim. As such, the only claims which currently remain pending in this matter are the illegal search and seizure and false arrest claims brought by Plaintiffs Tracy Wamble and Laura Franklin against Defendant Gerald Greer; the claim of false arrest brought by Plaintiff Judy Batte against Scott County, Mississippi; and a conspiracy claim brought by Plaintiffs Wamble, Franklin and Batte against the County.

This Court set Defendants' pending Motion for Summary Judgment for hearing on August 16, 2013. On July 30, 2013, notices of the motion hearing were mailed to Judy Batte, Laura Franklin and Tracy Wamble, at the most recent addresses provided by them to the Court. These notices were not returned as ...


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.