United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
SHARION AYCOCK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in
the alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment , filed
March 20, 2017. Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, did not respond
to the motion.
and Procedural History
suit arises from allegations that Officer A. Williams of the
Shelby Police Department unlawfully searched Reed's
residence at the Shelby Health and Rehabilitation Center.
According to the complaint, Reed woke up on July 19, 2014 to
find Officer Williams in his room. Reed alleges he asked
Officer Williams “Why are you in my room? I didn't
call for you, ” but that Officer Williams searched
Reed's closet, suitcase, and drawers for evidence of
illegal narcotics. Reed complains that he requested to see a
warrant, and that Officer Williams retorted, “My gun is
contended that Defendant Fields, the administrator of Shelby
Health and Rehabilitation Center, initiated the search.
Fields moved to compel arbitration, and the Court held a
bench trial on February 18, 2016 to determine whether Reed
had signed the agreement. Ultimately, the Court found that
Reed signed the subject arbitration agreement, that it was
not void for unconscionability or unenforceable for lack of
available forum. Accordingly, the Court ordered that the
claims against Fields be dismissed and sent to arbitration.
remaining claim is against Municipal Defendants for violation
of his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unlawful
searches. He advances this claim against the City of Shelby
as well as against Chief Johnson and “Officer A.
Williams, ” both in their individual capacities.
However, Reed has been unable or unwilling to participate in
discovery regarding his Section 1983 claim. Therefore,
Municipal Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss, citing
Reed's continued failure to comply with orders from the
Court. Defendants request that the Court sanction Reed with
dismissal of his claims under either Rule 41(b) or Rule 37 of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Alternatively,
Defendants seek summary judgment on Plaintiff's Section
1983 claims under Rule 56.
the Court finds Defendants' summary judgment motion
dispositive, the Court decides this case on the merits
instead of examining the other requests.
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 governs summary judgment. Summary
judgment is warranted when the evidence reveals no genuine
dispute regarding any material fact, and the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
The Rule “mandates the entry of summary judgment, after
adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party
who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to that party's case,
and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at
trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986).
moving party “bears the initial responsibility of
informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and
identifying those portions of [the record] which it believes
demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material
fact.” Id. at 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548. The
nonmoving party must then “go beyond the
pleadings” and “designate ‘specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'”
Id. at 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548 (citation omitted). In
reviewing the evidence, factual controversies are to be
resolved in favor of the non-movant, “but only when ...
both parties have submitted evidence of contradictory
facts.” Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d
1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994) (en banc). When such contradictory
facts exist, the Court may “not make credibility
determinations or weigh the evidence.” Reeves v.
Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150, 120
S.Ct. 2097, 147 L.Ed.2d 105 (2000).
though the Plaintiff did not respond to the instant summary
judgment motion, Rule 56 makes it clear that there is
“no summary judgment by default” and the lack of
a response by the Plaintiff does not alter the Court's
summary judgment inquiry. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)
advisory committee notes to 2010 amendments. Summary judgment
may only be granted if it is appropriate to do so.
See Fed R. Civ. P. 56(a). “Although ‘[a]
motion for summary judgment cannot be granted simply because
there is no opposition' . . . a court may grant an
unopposed summary judgment motion if the undisputed facts
show that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Calais v. Theriot, 589 F. App'x 310,
311 (5th Cir. 2015) (quoting Hibernia Nat'l Bank v.
Administracion Cent. Sociedad Anonima, 776 F.2d 1277,
1279 (5th Cir. 1985)).
outset, the Court notes that Plaintiff has consistently
failed to participate in discovery and has not complied with
the Court's orders. Plaintiff's responses to written
discovery were due no later than September 8, 2016. However,
on October 19, Defendants' counsel sent Plaintiff a
letter informing him that they had not received his responses
or document production. The letter requested that Reed send
responses by October 31, 2016, so as to avoid extending the
discovery deadlines. However, the Municipal Defendants did
not receive a response. Therefore, Defendants' attorney
sent another letter, this time asking that Reed sign a good
faith Certificate no later than November 14, 2016. When
Plaintiff did not send discovery, Municipal Defendants filed
a Motion to Compel, and the Court granted. The Court ordered
Plaintiff to respond to the requests no later than January
25, 2017. Defendants then wrote to Plaintiff in order to
determine if he would agree to seek an extension of the
discovery and motions deadlines, but Plaintiff never
responded to this request either.
January 25, 2017, Plaintiff filed a document consisting of a
single page, advising that someone named Nate McMullen had
his legal materials. Having received that document, Municipal
Defendants sought an extension of the discovery and motion
deadlines in order to further await written discovery from
Plaintiff. The Court extended the discovery deadline to March
6, 2017, and the motions deadline to March 20, 2017. However,
despite this additional time, Plaintiff has ...