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Warren v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Police Department

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington

July 6, 2017

FATIMA WARREN, Plaintiff,
v.
LEXINGTON-FAYETTE URBAN COUNTY GOVERNMENT POLICE DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Danny C. Reeves United States District Judge

         This matter is pending for consideration of the Defendants Officer Tyler Chelf&#39');">9');">9');">9;s (“Officer Chelf”) and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government&#39');">9');">9');">9;s (“LFUCG”), joint motion for summary judgment. [Record No. 7');">70] For the following reasons, the defendants&#39');">9');">9');">9; motion will be granted.

         I.

         Plaintiff Fatima Warren arrived at the Platinum Dolls gentlemen&#39');">9');">9');">9;s club at approximately 2:30 a.m. on November 21');">1');">1');">1, 201');">1');">1');">15, and got a table with some friends. [Record No. 80, Ex. 1');">1');">1');">1, 9');">9');">9');">9');">p. 29');">9');">9');">9] Warren had consumed around two drinks before arriving at the gentlemen&#39');">9');">9');">9;s club, but she asserts that she was not intoxicated at the time of arrival and did not consume alcohol while there. [Id. at 88-9');">9');">9');">90] She claims to have been dancing beside the table and, because it was warm in the club, had removed her outer layers of clothing. [Id. at 30] However, a security guard advised Warren that she was not permitted to dance. [Id. at 31');">1');">1');">1] Warren allegedly complied and took at seat with her friends. [Id.]

         Problems began when Warren later stood up to put on her warmer clothes. [Id. at 31');">1');">1');">1-32] While Warren was bending over to pick up her shirt, security guard Jeff Melendy came over and placed his hand on the small of her back. [Id.; Record No. 7');">70, Ex. 3, 6');">6');">p. 6');">6] Warren asked Melendy to remove his hand but he responded that the plaintiff had been told that if she did not stop dancing, she would be removed from the club.[1');">1');">1');">1" name= "FN1');">1');">1');">1" id="FN1');">1');">1');">1">1');">1');">1');">1] [Record No. 81');">1');">1');">1, Ex. 1');">1');">1');">1, p. 32] The situation escalated. Warren continued to try to put on her shirt, but Melendy picked up and forcibly removed the plaintiff from the building with the assistance of other individuals. [Id. at 32-33]

         According to Melendy, as he was carrying Warren out of the building, Warren slammed her cell phone into the side of his head, and continued to try and hit him as they were moving toward the exit. [Record No. 7');">70, Ex. 3, 6');">6');">p. 6');">6] Surveillance video depicts Warren flailing her arms and struggling as she is carried out of the building; however, it is unclear from the video whether Warren actually struck Melendy with her cell phone. [Record No. 7');">70, Ex. 4] Warren maintains that she did not assault Melendy. [Record No. 81');">1');">1');">1, Ex. 1');">1');">1');">1, p. 85');">p. 85] For purposes of this motion, the Court will accept Warren&#39');">9');">9');">9;s version of events.

         Warren claims that she was removed from the gentlemen&#39');">9');">9');">9;s club and tossed into the parking lot. [Id. at 39');">9');">9');">9] She alleges that she then asked why she had been treated in this manner. [Id.] An individual who identified himself as the owner responded, “if you don&#39');">9');">9');">9;t get away from here, we&#39');">9');">9');">9;re going to call the police.” [Id. at 40] Warren then moved to a wall approximately 1');">1');">1');">15 to 20 feet from the door and sat down call the police. [Id. at 40-41');">1');">1');">1] One of Warren&#39');">9');">9');">9;s friends suggested that she leave but she declined and, instead, insisted on waiting for police to arrive. [Id.]

         An ambulance arrived at the scene in response to a report of a female with minor injuries after having been ejected by club bouncers. [Record No. 82, Ex. 7');">7] Kenneth Howell, the Emergency Medical Technician (“EMT”) who responded to the call, and James Praria, a paramedic who also responded to the call, stated that when they arrived, Warren was sitting on a concrete wall speaking with a law enforcement officer. [Record No. 82, Ex. 6');">6, p. 1');">1');">1');">14; Record No. 82, p. 35] Howell reported that Warren was irritated, but alert and oriented. Further, her behavior did not suggest that she was intoxicated. [Record No. 82, Ex. 6');">6, p. 1');">1');">1');">17');">7] Howell could not recall whether Warren smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes, or slurred speech. [Id. at 1');">1');">1');">16');">6]

         According to the emergency crew&#39');">9');">9');">9;s report, the EMTs attempted to gather more information regarding Warren&#39');">9');">9');">9;s alleged injuries but she refused to answer their questions. [Record No. 82, Ex. 7');">7] Praria attempted to speak with Warren but she was “preoccupied” with law enforcement. [Record No. 82, Ex. 6');">6, p. 22] The report states that Warren would not cooperate with the crew. [Id.] Warren directed the EMTs to leave after they had been on scene for approximately ten minutes. [Id.]

         Defendant Chelf was dispatched to Platinum Dolls in response to the disorder at approximately 3:54 a.m.. [Record No. 82, Ex. 2] Another officer was speaking to Warren and EMTs were on scene at the time of Chelf&#39');">9');">9');">9;s arrival. [Record No. 82, Ex. 9');">9');">9');">9, p. 5] Chelf was able to hear Warren speaking to the other officer and noticed that her tone was agitated, belligerent, and argumentative. [Id. at 1');">1');">1');">10] Chelf approached several bouncers standing outside the club and asked about the incident. [Id.] The bouncers accompanied Chelf inside the establishment and allowed him to view the surveillance video. [Id.] The bouncers reported that they had informed Warren that she was violating their rules, but she had continued to disregard their requests. [Id.] The bouncers reported to Chelf that then asked Warren to leave, but she refused. [Id.] Chelf stated that it was his understanding Warren had been asked to leave after she called 9');">9');">9');">91');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1 from the parking lot. [Id. at 1');">1');">1');">14]

         Melendy reported to Chelf that he attempted to escort Warren out of the building by placing his hand on the small of her back, but that a physical altercation ensued when she would not leave. [Id. at 5-6');">6; see also Record No. 82, Ex. 9');">9');">9');">9, p. 8] Chelf observed a small cut on Melendy&#39');">9');">9');">9;s forehead, which (according to Melendy) resulted from Warren striking him on the head with her cell phone. [Record No. 82, Ex. 9');">9');">9');">9, p. 8] Chelf examined the surveillance video which he described as “appear[ing] to depict exactly what they said, that they asked her to leave a couple times, she refused” and a “physical confrontation ensued which ended up with her being picked up and taken outside of the club.” [Id.]

         Chelf then spoke with Warren outside the gentlemen&#39');">9');">9');">9;s club. [Id.] He reported Warren to be belligerent and argumentative during their interaction and that she was verbally combative and “acting irrationally with her speech” in that she was unable to describe the incident. [Id. at 1');">1');">1');">15] Warren generally did not cooperate with law enforcement, refused treatment, and refused to be transported to the hospital for any alleged injuries. [Id. at 6');">6-7');">7] Chelf then arrested Warren for alcohol intoxication in a public place after determining: (i) Warren was manifestly under the influence of alcohol; (ii) he smelled alcohol on her breath; (iii) Warren was agitated and had been in a physical altercation in which she struck someone on the head with a cell phone; and (iv) Warren was uncooperative with officers. [Id. at 7');">7-8] Additionally, despite Warren having called 9');">9');">9');">91');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1 to report an assault, she was unable to articulate what had occurred that caused her to place the call. [Id. at 1');">1');">1');">10] Chelf then transported Warren to the Fayette Detention Center where she was held for approximately seven hours before being released. [Id. at 6');">65] The charges against Warren were ultimately dismissed.

         Warren filed this action on May 1');">1');">1');">10, 201');">1');">1');">16');">6, asserting claims against private parties, the officers, and municipal entities. [Record No. 1');">1');">1');">1] She has since filed an Amended Complaint that names Chelf in his individual capacity and the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government as defendants. [Record No. 6');">60] Warren raises a § 1');">1');">1');">19');">9');">9');">983 claim against both defendants, alleging a Fourth Amendment violation, and state law claims for false imprisonment and abuse of process against Chelf. The defendants have moved for summary judgment on all claims asserted against them. [Record No. 7');">70] They have also moved to exclude expert testimony. [Record No. 7');">74]

         II.

         Summary judgment is appropriate when there are no genuine issues regarding any material facts and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.p. 56');">6(a). See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 7');">77');">7 U.S. 31');">1');">1');">17');">7');">47');">77');">7 U.S. 31');">1');">1');">17');">7, 322-23 (1');">1');">1');">19');">9');">9');">986');">6). A dispute over a material fact is not “genuine” unless a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. The Court must determine “whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 7');">77');">7 U.S. 242');">47');">77');">7 U.S. 242, 251');">1');">1');">1-52 (1');">1');">1');">19');">9');">9');">986');">6). See also Harrison v. Ash, 39');">9');">9');">9 F.3d 51');">1');">1');">10');">539');">9');">9');">9 F.3d 51');">1');">1');">10, 51');">1');">1');">16');">6 (6');">6th Cir. 2008).

         A party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of demonstrating conclusively that no genuine issue of material fact exists. CenTra, Inc. v. Estrin, 38 F.3d 402');">538 F.3d 402, 41');">1');">1');">12 (6');">6th Cir. 2008). Once the moving party has met his burden of production, the nonmoving party must come forward with significant probative evidence to defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment. Chao v. Hall Holding Co., 3d 41');">1');">1');">15');">285 F.3d 41');">1');">1');">15, 424 (6');">6th Cir. 2002). In deciding whether to grant summary judgment, the Court views all facts and inferences drawn from the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 7');">75 U.S. 57');">74');">47');">75 U.S. 57');">74, 587');">7 (1');">1');">1');">19');">9');">9');">986');">6).

         A. Officer Chelf

         1');">1');">1');">1. Section 1');">1');">1');">19') ...


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