United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AND
GUIROLA, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
THE COURT is the  Report and Recommendation of U.S.
Magistrate Judge Robert H. Walker, in which he examines
several motions and concludes that the defendants are
entitled to summary judgment and this case should be
dismissed. Plaintiff Daryl Johnson has filed objections to
Magistrate Judge Walker's findings and conclusions. The
Court has reviewed the Report and Recommendation, the
plaintiff's objections, the record in this case and the
relevant law, and finds that Magistrate Judge Walker's
findings and conclusions should be adopted as those of this
Court. As a result, this case will be dismissed.
Johnson has been an inmate in the Mississippi Department of
Corrections since his conviction for delivery of controlled
substances in 2016. He complains in this lawsuit of actions
taken by the City of Gulfport prior to his incarceration.
Specifically, he was charged in 2010 with selling beer
without a permit, and in 2012 police officers kicked in the
doors of his office and of his renters. Johnson alleges that
the City has attempted to close his business down several
times by causing him to default on his property taxes and
using street repairs to prevent customer access to his store
for a year. Johnson complains that Gulfport police officers
continued to try to close his business by investigating his
drug activities in 2014, which led to his arrest and
indictment. Johnson alleges that in 2015 police officers
demanded to know whether he was going to plead guilty to the
charges. According to Johnson, an officer stated that he knew
it was not Johnson on the video of the drug transaction, but
he had orders to close Johnson down, even if it took locking
him up. After a jury trial, Johnson was convicted of two
counts of transfer of controlled substances in March 2016.
The Magistrate Judge's Resolution of the Dispositive
City moved for dismissal or summary judgment on the grounds
that the claims regarding City actions in 2010 and 2012 are
barred by the statute of limitations, and the remaining
claims surrounding Johnson's arrest and conviction are
barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), and
cannot support a municipal liability claim under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Under Heck, a prisoner has “no
cause of action under § 1983 unless and until the
conviction or sentence is reversed, expunged, invalidated, or
impugned by the grant of a writ of habeas corpus.”
Heck, 512 U.S. at 489. The individual Gulfport
officers moved for dismissal or summary judgment on similar
grounds. They contended that the false arrest and
imprisonment claims against them are barred by Heck,
and accordingly Johnson cannot show violation of a federally
secured right to overcome their qualified immunity.
Magistrate Judge construed the motions as summary judgment
motions under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 and noted that Johnson's
responses simply repeated the allegations of his complaint.
Johnson attached documentation to his responses which,
although generated by himself or his attorney, supports his
argument that he was improperly charged and wrongly
convicted. Magistrate Judge Walker examined the evidence
provided by all parties and determined that the City's
motion should be granted because 1) the three-year statute of
limitations at Mississippi Code § 15-1-49 barred any
claim arising from actions occurring in 2010 and 2012; 2)
Johnson did not show that his criminal convictions have been
invalidated or set aside, and therefore Heck v.
Humphrey bars any relief on the false arrest and
imprisonment claims; and 3) Johnson's allegations that
the City negligently hired racist and unprofessional police
officers and failed to train them in facial recognition do
not support municipal liability claims under § 1983.
Walker determined that the individual officers' motion
should be granted because all of Johnson's claims against
them arose when Johnson was arrested, charged, and convicted
of the drug charges. Johnson cannot show that his convictions
have been invalidated or set aside, and therefore
Heck bars any relief. See Heck, 512 U.S. at
486 (civil tort actions are not appropriate vehicles for
challenging the validity of outstanding criminal judgments).
As a result, Johnson cannot overcome the individual
officers' entitlement to qualified immunity.
Judge Walker also determined that Johnson's motion for
preliminary injunction should be denied, and that the various
motions to strike should be held moot or denied.
The Standard of Review
filed an objection to the Magistrate Judge's findings and
conclusions. The Court must review any objected-to portions
de novo. See Kreimerman v. Casa Veerkamp, S.A. de
C.V., 22 F.3d 634, 646 (5th Cir. 1994); Longmire v.
Guste, 921 F.2d 620, 623 (5th Cir. 1991). Such a review
means that the Court will consider the record which has been
developed before the Magistrate Judge and make its own
determination on the basis of that record. United States
v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 675 (1980). The Court need
not, however, conduct a de novo review when the objections
are frivolous, conclusive, or general in nature. Battle
v. U.S. Parole Comm'n, 834 F.2d 419, 421 (5th Cir.
1987). No. factual objection is raised when a petitioner
merely re-urges arguments contained in the original petition.
Edmond v. Collins, 8 F.3d 290, 293 (5th Cir. 1993).
objections concern the two summary judgment motions. He
argues that the Magistrate Judge should not have granted
summary judgment to the defendants because he was
“denied a chance to object to the summary judgment or
[properly] object to qualified immunity.” (Pl. Obj. 1,
ECF No. 65). He contends that he is entitled to
immunity-related discovery before the Court rules on a motion
based on the defense of qualified immunity. Although he cites
to Uniform Local ...