United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Aberdeen Division
SHARION AYCOCK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
Blake filed this case on June 12, 2017 against Prentiss
County, Mississippi, and Don Lambert, a Prentiss County
School Attendance Officer. In her Complaint , Blake alleges
that Lambert and Prentiss County violated her constitutional
rights and seeks relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Lambert
filed a Motion to Dismiss  all of the claims against him
individually, arguing that Blake's Complaint fails to
state a claim against him, and in the alternative, that he is
entitled to the protection of qualified
immunity. The issues are fully briefed and ripe for
and Procedural Background
before September 2013, Blake had temporary custody of her
nephew S.W., a minor school-age child. S.W. was enrolled in
Prentiss County Public Schools, and Blake was listed as
S.W.'s contact in school records. On September 5, 2013,
Lambert mailed a form letter to Blake informing her that S.W.
had five unexcused absences, that she was responsible for
making sure S.W. attended school, and that continued accrual
of unexcused absences could lead to potential penalties under
Mississippi Code § 37-13-91. S.W. continued to accrue
unexcused absences. In January of 2014, Lambert contacted
Blake by phone, and Blake informed him that she no longer had
custody of S.W., and was not S.W.'s caregiver. Blake also
informed Lambert that S.W. was now in the custody of his
mother, Tracey Perry, and gave him Perry's contact
information. According to Blake, Lambert apologized for the
confusion and said that he would follow up with S.W.'s
mother. Lambert subsequently talked with Perry by phone.
Perry apparently confirmed that she was S.W.'s mother,
and informed Lambert that S.W. was sick. Lambert informed
Blake and Perry that they needed to contact the School to
update the official records as to S.W.'s custody.
10, 2014, Lambert swore out a “General Affidavit”
for Blake's arrest, and filed the affidavit in Prentiss
County Justice Court. The affidavit charged Blake with
contributing to the delinquency of S.W. by refusing or
willfully failing to make sure that S.W. attended school, in
violation of Mississippi Code §§ 37-13-91,
97-5-39(1). According to school records, S.W. was absent from
school at least sixteen days during the 2013-2014 school
on Lambert's affidavit, the Prentiss County Justice Court
Judge issued a warrant for Blake's arrest. Pursuant to
this warrant, a Prentiss County Deputy Sheriff arrested Blake
at her home on June 12, 2014. Blake was then booked into the
Prentiss County Jail, strip-searched, and detained in a
holding cell for a short period until she was able to arrange
17, 2014, Lambert filed an affidavit in Prentiss County
Justice Court requesting dismissal of the charges against
Blake stating, “I filed an affidavit on the wrong
person by mistake.” The Justice Court Judge
subsequently dismissed the charges against Blake.
alleges that Lambert violated her constitutional rights
because the affidavit he swore out against her was facially
invalid, that Lambert intentionally withheld exculpatory
information, and that Lambert recklessly caused Blake's
arrest without probable cause. Lambert responds by arguing
that Blake failed to state a cognizable constitutional claim
against him, and that he is entitled to the protection of
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).
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).
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.” Celotex, 477 U.S. 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).
Immunity and Arrest
asserts that he is entitled to the protection of qualified
immunity. Qualified immunity protects government officials
from liability for civil damages to the extent that their
conduct is objectively reasonable in light of clearly
established law. Crostley v. Lamar Cty., Texas, 717
F.3d 410, 422-24 (5th Cir. 2013) (citing Harlow v.
Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818, 102 S.Ct. 2727, 73
L.Ed.2d 396 (1982); Kinney v. Weaver, 367 F.3d 337,
346 (5th Cir. 2004)). “[T]he usual summary judgment
burden of proof is altered in the case of a qualified
immunity defense.” Wolfe v. Meziere, 566 F.
App'x 353, 354 (5th Cir. 2014) (citing Michalik v.
Hermann, 422 F.3d 252, 262 (5th Cir. 2005); Bazan ex
rel. Bazan v. Hidalgo Cnty., 246 F.3d 481, 489 (5th Cir.
2001)). “An officer need only plead his good faith,
which then shifts the burden to the plaintiff, who must rebut
the defense by establishing that the officer's allegedly