United States District Court, D. Maine
ALI M. MAHMOUD, Plaintiff
COREY JACQUES, et al., Defendants
MEMORANDUM DECISION ON MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT
JOHN H. RICH III, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
The plaintiff alleges that on July 22, 2013, Lewiston police officers Corey Jacques, Brian Bourgoin, Zachary Provost, Brian Beauparlant, and Craig Johnson arrested him without probable cause, used excessive force against him or failed to prevent its use, and conspired to violate his constitutional rights. See Amended Complaint (ECF No. 9) ¶¶ 49-56. All five defendants move for summary judgment as to the plaintiff’s false arrest and conspiracy claims, and defendants Provost, Beauparlant, and Johnson move for summary judgment as to his excessive force claims. See Defendants’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (“Motion”) (ECF No. 40) at 1.
For the reasons that follow, the Motion is granted as to all defendants with respect to the plaintiff’s false arrest and conspiracy claims, granted as to Johnson with respect to the plaintiff’s excessive force claims, granted in part as to Provost and Beauparlant with respect to the plaintiff’s excessive force claims, and otherwise denied.
I. Applicable Legal Standards
A. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56
Summary 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); Ahmed v. Johnson, 752 F.3d 490, 495 (1st Cir. 2014). “A dispute is genuine if ‘the evidence about the fact is such that a reasonable jury could resolve the point in favor of the non-moving party.” Johnson v. University of P.R., 714 F.3d 48, 52 (1st Cir. 2013) (quoting Thompson v. Coca-Cola Co., 522 F.3d 168, 175 (1st Cir. 2008)). “A fact is material if it has the potential of determining the outcome of the litigation.” Id. (quoting Maymi v. P.R. Ports Auth., 515 F.3d 20, 25 (1st Cir. 2008)).
The party moving for summary judgment must demonstrate an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party’s case. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986). In determining whether this burden is met, the court must view the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and give that party the benefit of all reasonable inferences in its favor. Johnson, 714 F.3d at 52. Once the moving party has made a preliminary showing that no genuine issue of material fact exists, the nonmovant must “produce specific facts, in suitable evidentiary form, to establish the presence of a trialworthy issue.” Brooks v. AIG SunAmerica Life Assur. Co., 480 F.3d 579, 586 (1st Cir. 2007) (quoting Clifford v. Barnhart, 449 F.3d 276, 280 (1st Cir. 2006) (emphasis omitted)); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). “As to any essential factual element of its claim on which the nonmovant would bear the burden of proof at trial, its failure to come forward with sufficient evidence to generate a trialworthy issue warrants summary judgment to the moving party.” In re Spigel, 260 F.3d 27, 31 (1st Cir. 2001) (citation and internal punctuation omitted).
B. Local Rule 56
The evidence that the court may consider in deciding whether genuine issues of material fact exist for purposes of summary judgment is circumscribed by the local rules of this district. See Loc. R. 56. The moving party must first file a statement of material facts that it claims are not in dispute. See Loc. R. 56(b). Each fact must be set forth in a numbered paragraph and supported by a specific record citation. See id. The nonmoving party must then submit a responsive “separate, short, and concise” statement of material facts in which it must “admit, deny or qualify the facts by reference to each numbered paragraph of the moving party’s statement of material facts[.]” Loc. R. 56(c). The nonmovant likewise must support each denial or qualification with an appropriate record citation. See id. The nonmoving party may also submit its own additional statement of material facts that it contends are not in dispute, each supported by a specific record citation. See id. The movant then must respond to the nonmoving party’s statement of additional facts, if any, by way of a reply statement of material facts in which it must “admit, deny or qualify such additional facts by reference to the numbered paragraphs” of the nonmovant’s statement. See Loc. R. 56(d). Again, each denial or qualification must be supported by an appropriate record citation. See id.
Local Rule 56 directs that “[f]acts contained in a supporting or opposing statement of material facts, if supported by record citations as required by this rule, shall be deemed admitted unless properly controverted.” Loc. R. 56(f). In addition, “[t]he court may disregard any statement of fact not supported by a specific citation to record material properly considered on summary judgment” and has “no independent duty to search or consider any part of the record not specifically referenced in the parties’ separate statement of fact.” Id.; see also, e.g., Borges ex rel. S.M.B.W. v. Serrano-Isern, 605 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 2010); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2) (“If a party fails to properly support an assertion of fact or fails to properly address another party’s assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the court may . . . consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the motion[.]”).
II. Factual Background
The parties’ statements of material facts, credited to the extent that they are either admitted or supported by record citations in accordance with Local Rule 56, with disputes resolved in favor of the plaintiff as the nonmovant, reveal the following.
On July 22, 2013, Lewiston police officers Beauparlant, Bourgoin, Provost, Jacques, and Johnson responded to a report that a tow truck driver was being assaulted in the area of 22 Knox Street. Defendants’ Statement of Material Facts Not in Dispute in Support of Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (“Defendants’ SMF”) (ECF No. 41) ¶ 1; Plaintiff’s Response to Defendant[s’] Local Rule 56 Statement of Facts and Plaintiff’s Additional Statement of Material Facts (“Plaintiff’s Opposing SMF”) (ECF No. 47) ¶ 1. The tow truck driver, Shayne Benning, was kicked in the side of his face as he was attempting to connect an illegally parked vehicle to his tow truck. Id. ¶ 2. Benning had a serious eye injury from the assault and was visibly bleeding from his face. Id. ¶ 3. He later found out that he had a fractured eye socket. Id.
Benning described his assailant to Beauparlant as a Somali man in his 20s wearing a gray shirt, gray shorts, and an orange hat, who had run behind some buildings nearby. Id. ¶ 4. Beauparlant spoke with a passenger in the tow truck, Christine Dillingham, who also described the assailant as a Somali man in his early 20s wearing a gray shirt, gray shorts, and an orange hat. Id. ¶ 5. Beauparlant gave the description of the assailant to the dispatcher, and it was broadcast over the radio to other responding officers. Id. ¶ 6. The description of the assailant did not include any facial hair. Plaintiff’s Additional Statement of Material Facts (“Plaintiff’s Additional SMF”), commencing on page 3 of Plaintiff’s Opposing SMF, ¶ 2; Defendants’ Reply Statement of Material Facts in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment (“Defendants’ Reply SMF”) (ECF No. 49) ¶ 2.
When Jacques arrived on the scene, an eyewitness came out of the large crowd that was gathering and identified the assailant as a man wearing gray colored shorts, a bluish-gray shirt, and an orange hat, who had run to the rear of a nearby Knox Street building after the assault. Defendants’ SMF ¶ 7; Plaintiff’s Opposing SMF ¶ 7. Jacques ran toward the rear of the Knox Street buildings and saw a tall black male matching the description of the assailant run. Id. ¶ 8. Jacques ordered the man to stop, but he ran onto the porch of a Knox Street building in the area of 18 Knox Street. Id. ¶ 9. Jacques radioed the location of the suspect, and Bourgoin ran to meet him at the Knox Street building. Id. ¶ 10.
Jacques and Bourgoin followed the suspect into the apartment building at 10 Knox Street. Plaintiff’s Additional SMF ¶ 3; Defendants’ Reply SMF ¶ 3. A woman leaving the apartment building let Jacques and Bourgoin into 10 Knox Street and told the officers a male had gone to Apartment 101 on the first floor. Id. ¶ 4. Jacques and Bourgoin went to Apartment 101 and knocked on the door. Id. ¶ 5. Jacques heard someone on the third floor “saying something along the lines, Who are you, I don’t know you, kind of yelling.” Id. ¶ 6. Jacques and Bourgoin started going up the stairs toward the third floor. Id. ¶ 7. At that time, the plaintiff was heading down the stairwell from the third floor to the second floor. Id. ¶ 8. The plaintiff moved to the side to let the officers pass by him. Plaintiff’s Additional SMF ¶ 9; Deposition of Ali M. Mahmoud (“Mahmoud Dep.”) (ECF No. 39-1), attached to Joint Record, at 14. Jacques grabbed the plaintiff by the arm. Plaintiff’s Additional SMF ¶ 10; Defendants’ Reply SMF ¶ 10. The plaintiff was not wearing an orange hat. Id. ¶ 11. He had facial hair. Id. ¶ 12. He is a Sudanese man in his 20s who is about six feet, three inches tall and weighed approximately 235 pounds at the time of his arrest. Defendants’ SMF ¶ 13; Plaintiff’s Opposing SMF ¶ 13.
The plaintiff was slammed into the wall by Jacques and Bourgoin and handcuffed behind his back. Plaintiff’s Additional SMF ¶ 13; Plaintiff’s Answers to Defendants’ Interrogatories Prop[o]unded Upon Plaintiff Ali M. Mahmoud (“Plaintiff’s Interrog. Ans.”) (ECF No. 47-1), attached to Plaintiff’s Opposing SMF, ¶ 9.
The plaintiff was detained inside the Knox Street apartment building by Bourgoin and Jacques, who were the only officers present and involved in his detention inside the building. Defendants’ SMF ¶ 11; Plaintiff’s Opposing SMF ¶ 11. At that point, Provost had walked to the rear of the apartment complex in an attempt to locate the suspect when he heard over the radio that the suspect had been taken into custody. Id. ¶ 12.
Jacques and Bourgoin took the plaintiff outside of the apartment building. Plaintiff’s Additional SMF ¶ 14; Defendants’ Reply SMF ¶ 14. They slammed the plaintiff into a police cruiser. Plaintiff’s Additional SMF ¶ 15; Plaintiff’s Interrog. Ans. ¶ 9. While the plaintiff was against the hood of the police cruiser, one of the officers twisted his arm up his back, causing him great pain. Plaintiff’s Additional SMF ¶ 16; Plaintiff’s Interrog. Ans. ¶ 9. The plaintiff started screaming in pain. Plaintiff’s Additional SMF ¶ 17; Plaintiff’s Interrog. Ans. ¶ 9. The plaintiff yelled for someone to record what was happening to him. Plaintiff’s Additional SMF ¶ 18; Plaintiff’s Interrog. Ans. ¶ 9. The plaintiff yelled, “They’re hurting me. Help.” Plaintiff’s Additional SMF ¶ 19; Plaintiff’s Interrog. Ans. ¶ 9.
Other Lewiston police officers came over to assist Jacques and Bourgoin after the plaintiff was outside of the apartment building. Plaintiff’s Additional SMF ¶ 20; Plaintiff’s Interrog. Ans. ¶ 9. The officers picked the plaintiff up off the hood of the cruiser and threw him onto the street, causing his face to hit the street. Plaintiff’s Additional SMF ¶ 21; Plaintiff’s Interrog. Ans. ¶ 9.The plaintiff’s hands were handcuffed behind his back when he was thrown onto the ground. Plaintiff’s Additional SMF ¶ 22; Plaintiff’s Interrog. Ans. ¶ 9. Once the plaintiff was on the ground, three or more officers got on his back and hit him in the back of his head, back, and arms. Plaintiff’s Additional SMF ¶ 23; Plaintiff’s Interrog. Ans. ¶ 9. Jacques stated that “[o]ther officers joined in” once the plaintiff was taken to the ground. Plaintiff’s Additional SMF ¶ 24; Defendants’ Reply SMF ¶ 24. The plaintiff was not resisting the officers at any time during this arrest. Plaintiff’s Additional SMF ¶ 25; Plaintiff’s Interrog. Ans. ¶ 9.
While the plaintiff was being hit on the ground by the officers, his mouth hit the street, his front teeth were fractured, and he began bleeding from his mouth. Plaintiff’s Additional SMF ¶¶ 29, 37; Plaintiff’s Interrog. Ans. ¶¶ 9, 15, 17. One of the officers put his knee on the back of the plaintiff’s neck, pushing so hard he could not breathe. Plaintiff’s Additional SMF ¶ 30; Mahmoud Dep. at 15. The plaintiff yelled out as loud as he could, but no one intervened. Plaintiff’s Additional SMF ¶ 31; Mahmoud Dep. at 15. The plaintiff ...