United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS'
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
MICHAEL P. MILLS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
cause comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion
for Summary Judgment . The Court, having considered
the memoranda and submissions of the parties, along with
relevant case law and evidence, is now prepared to rule.
evening of September 30, 2014, Plaintiff Shaun Wroblewski,
along with his friend, Eric Honaker, arrived at Gold Strike
Casino in Tunica Resorts, Mississippi, and checked into room
437. That night, both men remained in their room and drank
some alcoholic beverages.
early morning of October 1, 2014, Plaintiff called the
hotel's Front Desk and requested matches. He later called
again and requested six bottles of water. Felicia Flowers was
the employee who made both deliveries. After her second
delivery, Ms. Flowers reported to her supervisor that when
she arrived at room 437 to deliver the water she overheard
one of the occupants say that he was going to try to get her
into the room. In her statement, Ms. Flowers stated that,
upon delivering the water, one man was standing behind the
door and the other grabbed her arm and tried to pull her into
the room. Ms. Flowers was able to get away and notify the
hotel's front desk and security.
around 1:53 a.m. on October 1, 2014, the hotel supervisor
requested that security visit room 437. Mr. Bafford (hotel
security) contacted Tunica County Sheriff's Department
and, at approximately 2:07 a.m., Defendants John Tyler and
Kendall Oliver were dispatched to the Gold Strike Casino. At
approximately 2:24 a.m., Mr. Bafford and both Defendants
visited room 437 to speak with Plaintiff and Honaker.
Plaintiff opened the door and was informed of the report that
somebody had been pulled into the room and that there had
been screams. Plaintiff and Honaker both denied knowledge of
the situation and allowed the Defendants and the security to
enter the room and conduct a search.
search was conducted, Bafford told Plaintiff and Honaker they
had to leave the premises. Honaker began packing belongings.
Plaintiff, upon being asked to vacate the premises, took out
his cellphone and began video recording the situation. Per
the video submission, Plaintiff was repeatedly asked-by both
Bafford and the Defendants-to gather his things and leave,
and Plaintiff continually asked for an explanation as to why
he was being forced to leave. This back and forth ensued for
Tyler eventually commanded Plaintiff to put his hands behind
his back. Instead of placing his hands behind his back,
Plaintiff now asked why he was being asked to place his hands
behind his back. Defendant Tyler responded to Plaintiff's
question by stating “Because he told you to leave.
Disorderly conduct, failure to comply.” At this point,
Deputy Oliver, standing in front of Plaintiff holding his
handcuffs, said “[Bafford] just told you to
leave.” Plaintiff then commented “I will be
willing to leave, but I want to know why. What did I
do?” For a while longer, Plaintiff continued to ask why
he was being asked to leave and for Bafford to state for the
record the reason why he was being asked to vacate the
premises. In the background Defendant Tyler can be heard
saying “I am not going to tell you again.” Deputy
Tyler then approached Plaintiff and instructed him to
“turn around.” After Plaintiff asked why, Deputy
Tyler grabbed his right arm and turned him against the bar.
In a series of events, Plaintiff fell onto the ground and
landed on his back. At this point, Deputy Tyler applied a
drive stun with his taser on Plaintiff. Deputy Tyler then
commanded Plaintiff to roll over onto his stomach. Plaintiff
can also be heard yelling “get off of me” as we
see Deputy Oliver over Plaintiff's upper body area
(somewhere by Plaintiff's shoulders). Not rolling over,
Defendant Tyler deployed the probes of his taser and tasered
Plaintiff a total of three times.
a.m. hotel security cameras captured Defendants escorting
Plaintiff to their patrol car. The General Affidavits of
arrest list Plaintiff's violations as disorderly conduct,
failure to comply, and resisting arrest. Plaintiff posted
bail the following morning on October 2, 2014, and visited
the emergency room after suffering chest pains, muscle
spasms, nausea, feelings of burning, and dehydration. All
charges were eventually dropped.
has brought claims against Defendant Tyler and Defendant
Oliver for false arrest, excessive force, and First
Amendment retaliation. Defendants moved for summary
judgment based on their asserted defense of qualified
Standard of Review a. Summary Judgment
Summary judgment is proper “if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A genuine dispute of material fact exists
“if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct.
2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). At the summary judgment stage,
the court must “draw all reasonable inferences in favor
of the nonmoving party, and it may not make credibility
determinations or weigh the evidence.” Reeves v.
Sanderson Plumbing Prods., 530 U.S. 133, 150, 120 S.Ct.
2097, 147 L.Ed.2d 105 (2000).
Qualified immunity requires a two-pronged analysis.
Kinney v. Weaver, 367 F.3d. 337, 374 (5th Cir.
2004). The court has discretion to decide “which of the
two prongs” to address first. Pearson v.
Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 236, 129 S.Ct. 808, 172 L.Ed.2d
565 (2009). To rebut a defendant's qualified immunity
defense, the plaintiff must show: “(1) that the
official violated a statutory or constitutional right, and
(2) that the right was ‘clearly established' at the
time of the challenged conduct.” Ashcroft v.
al-Kidd, 563 U.S. 731, 735, 131 S.Ct. 2074, 2085, 179
L.Ed.2d 1149 (2011). For a right to be clearly established,
it must be sufficiently clear “that every
‘reasonable official would have ...