United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division
SHARION AYCOCK UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
Morgan filed his Complaint  in this Court on May 26, 2017
against Tunica County Sheriff K.C. Hamp in his individual and
official capacities and Tunica County Deputy Sheriff Reginald
Boykin in his individual and official capacities. In his
Amended Complaint Morgan, a bail bond agent, alleges three
claims brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Morgan alleges
that he was wrongly removed from the approved bail bond
writing list in violation of his Constitutional rights
protected by the First Amendment, Procedural Due Process, and
Equal Protection. Morgan filed a Motion for Summary Judgment
 requesting that the Court grant summary judgment as a
matter of law in his favor as to liability. Hamp and Boykin
dispute Morgan's claims and filed a Cross-Motion for
Summary Judgment  requesting summary judgment in their
favor on all of Morgan's claims, or in the alternative,
that the Court grant them qualified immunity. These motions
are fully briefed and ripe for review.
and Procedural Background
Morgan, a bail bond agent, has been writing bail bonds in and
around Tunica County since 2002. Sometime in 2014, the
Plaintiff noticed a decline in his business with the Tunica
County Jail. The Plaintiff launched his own investigation and
concluded that the jail staff was diverting clients away from
him in favor of other bail bond agents. The Plaintiff also
alleges that in some cases, the jail staff diverted clients
to their relatives in violation of Mississippi law. Concerned
about the decline in business, and believing that the jail
staff was disparaging his business in the process of
diverting clients away from him, the Plaintiff complained on
numerous occasions to the jail staff and to Defendant Boykin.
Plaintiff further alleges that in 2016, after the Plaintiff
continued to voice his complaints, Defendants Boykin and Hamp
threatened to remove the Plaintiff from the approved bail
bond writing list if he did not stop complaining. Near the
end of October 2016, Defendant Hamp removed the Plaintiff
from the approved list and advised the Plaintiff's
employer of the same in a letter dated November 8, 2016.
Defendant Hamp asked the employer to assign a different bail
bond agent to the jail, and the employer did so.
to the Defendants, the Plaintiff was continually disruptive
to jail operations by constantly complaining. The Defendants
also contend that they launched an internal affairs
investigation into the Plaintiff's complaints, but the
Plaintiff refused to cooperate with the investigation, and
refused to lodge a complaint through any formal process. The
Defendants contend that Defendant Hamp was the sole authority
behind the decision to remove the Plaintiff from the approved
list and that the Plaintiff was removed for being disruptive
to jail operations and refusing to cooperate with the
internal affairs investigation.
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). 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).
Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment states, in
relevant part: “nor shall any State deprive any person
of life, liberty, or property, without due process of
law.” U.S. Const. Amend. XIV, § 1. Procedural Due
Process “imposes constraints on governmental decisions
that deprive individuals of ‘liberty' or
‘property' interests within the meaning of the Due
Process Clause of the Fifth or Fourteenth Amendment.”
Hampton Co. Nat. Sur., LLC v. Tunica Cty., Miss.,
543 F.3d 221, 224 (5th Cir. 2008) (citing Mathews v.
Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319, 332, 96 S.Ct. 893, 47 L.Ed.2d 18
(1976)). When a property interest is taken, “some form
of hearing is required” before a final deprivation of
the interest. Id. The Plaintiff alleges that the
Defendants violated these rights by removing him from the
approved list without a hearing.
invoke the protections of procedural due process a plaintiff
must have suffered a deprivation of life, liberty, or
property. Toler v. City of Greenville, No.
4:96-CV-34-D, 1997 WL 332168, at *3 (N.D. Miss. June 4, 1997)
(citing Blackburn v. City of Marshall, 42 F.3d 925,
935 (5th Cir. 1995); San Jacinto Sav. & Loan v.
Kacal, 928 F.2d 697, 700 (5th Cir. 1991); Board
of Regents v. Roth, 408 U.S. 564, 569, 92 S.Ct.
2701, 33 L.Ed. 548 (1972)).
In order for a person to have a property interest within the
ambit of the Fourteenth Amendment, he must “have more
than an abstract need need or desire for it. He must have
more than a unilateral expectation of it. He must, ...