United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
THE ESTATE OF DESMOND LEAVELL, James Leavell and Nancy Watkins, Administrators; and DEANDRE QUARLES PLAINTIFFS
WAL-MART STORES EAST, LIMITED PARTNERSHIP DEFENDANT
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. Stivers, Chief Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment (DN 34). The matter is now ripe for
adjudication. For the reasons that follow, the motion is
Statement of Facts
9, 2017, two African-American males shoplifted electronic
merchandise from a Hopkinsville, Kentucky Wal-Mart store
operated by Defendant Wal-Mart Stores East, Limited
Partnership (“Wal-Mart”). (Def.'s Mem. Supp.
Mot. Summ. J. 3, DN 34-1). These men were seen carrying out
the act by the store's video surveillance system.
(Def.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. 3; Def.'s Mot. Summ.
J. Ex. 2, DN 34-3). Wal-Mart Asset Protection Associate
Melanie Beard (“Beard”) reviewed this footage,
but she was unable to identify the two men. (Def.'s Mem.
Supp. Mot. Summ. J. 4).
approximately July 13, 2017, Beard was at the Hopkinsville
Police Department and showed Police Lieutenant Kyle Spurlin
(“Lt. Spurlin”) photographs of the men from the
surveillance footage. (Def.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J.
4). Lt. Spurlin told Beard the men from the photographs
looked like Plaintiffs Deandre Quarles
(“Quarles”) and Desmond Leavell
“Plaintiffs”). (Def.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J.
up on this lead, Beard reviewed Plaintiffs' Facebook
pages and driver's license photographs and determined,
incorrectly so, that Plaintiffs were the men shown in the
surveillance footage. (Def.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. 5,
10-11). On August 1, 2017, Beard completed criminal
complaints alleging that Plaintiffs shoplifted from Wal-Mart
on July 9, 2017. (Def.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. 5;
Def.'s Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 4, DN 34-5). On August 7, 2017,
Quarles turned himself into police and was bonded out that
day. (Def.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. 5). On August 8,
2017, Leavell turned himself in and was bonded out that same
day. (Def.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. 5). After the
arrests, Lt. Spurlin obtained and reviewed the Wal-Mart
surveillance footage and determined that he previously
misidentified Plaintiffs as the men in the video. (Def.'s
Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. 5). The charges against Plaintiffs
were dropped on September 1, 2017. (Def.'s Mem. Supp.
Mot. Summ. J. 5).
April 6, 2018, Plaintiffs filed suit against Wal-Mart in
Christian Circuit Court. (Compl., DN 1-2). On May 11, 2018,
Wal-Mart removed this matter to this Court on federal
question jurisdiction grounds. (Notice Removal ¶¶
3-4, DN 1). On January 17, 2019, Plaintiffs filed an Amended
Complaint to substitute Leavell's estate as a plaintiff.
(Am. Compl., DN 20). The Amended Complaint asserts claims for
discrimination, false arrest, false imprisonment, false
search, and false charges. (Am. Compl. ¶ 6). On July 31,
2019, Wal-Mart moved for summary judgment on all claims.
(Def.'s Mot. Summ. J., DN 34). Plaintiffs responded, and
Wal-Mart replied. (Pl.'s Resp. Def.'s Mot. Summ. J.,
DN 37; Def.'s Reply Mot. Summ. J., DN 38).
Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action via
federal question pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The
Amended Complaint appears to allege violations of Title II of
the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000a(a), which
presents a federal question. (See Am. Compl. ¶
6). The Court has supplemental jurisdiction over the state
claims because they arise from the same case and controversy
as the federal claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is appropriate 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). Judgment as a matter of law should be
granted if “a reasonable jury would not have a legally
sufficient evidentiary basis to find for the party on that
issue . . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a)(1). The moving party
bears the initial burden of stating the basis for the motion
and identifying evidence in the record that demonstrates an
absence of a genuine dispute of material fact. See
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If
the moving party satisfies its burden, the non-moving party
must then produce specific evidence proving the existence of
a genuine dispute of fact for trial. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
the Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable
to the non-moving party, the non-moving party must do more
than merely show the existence of some “metaphysical
doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586
(1986) (citation omitted). Rather, the non-moving party must
present specific facts proving that a genuine factual dispute
exists by “citing to particular parts of the materials
in the record” or by “showing that the materials
cited do not establish the absence . . . of a genuine dispute
. . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). “The mere