United States District Court, D. Maryland
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER RE: SUMMARY JUDGMENT
J. Garbis United States District Judge
Court has before it the Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No.
21] filed by Defendants and the materials submitted by the
parties relating thereto. The Court finds that a hearing is
April 24, 2013, Plaintiff Edwin Drury (“Drury”)
was arrested by two Anne Arundel County police officers, Cpl.
Paul Dziwanowski (“Dziwanowski”) and Cpl. William
Hicks (“Hicks”) (collectively referred to as
“Defendants”). Drury presents claims against
these Defendants, claiming that they wrongfully arrested him
and, in the course of the arrest, violated his rights secured
by the United States and Maryland Constitutions. The parties
present substantially conflicting versions of the material
events at issue grew out a convoluted dispute regarding
ownership of a trailer. It suffices, for present purposes, to
greatly summarize the matter.
about May 2012, Bradford West (“Mr. West”) and/or
his then wife, Ms. Dale Martin (referred to herein as
“the FirstWife”), owned a Hudson trailer but
were involved in divorce proceedings. Drury paid the First
Wife for the trailer and was given a bill of sale from her
but not the title document.
thereafter the couple was divorced and there were issues in
the divorce regarding the ownership of the trailer. About a
month after the divorce, Mr. West married Cathy Jo (referred
to as “the Second Wife”) and died shortly
thereafter. The Second Wife contended that she owned the
trailer and refused to provide the title document to the
First Wife or Drury. In February 2014, John Bradford
(“Mr. Bradford”) paid the Second Wife for the
trailer who gave him the title document. Mr. Bradford, using
with the title document, had the Department of Motor Vehicles
transfer the title and he became the registered owner of the
Bradford was, however, not able to obtain possession of the
trailer and found that it was possessed by Drury, who claimed
ownership by virtue of the bill of sale from the First Wife.
April 23, 2014, Mr. Bradford contacted the Anne Arundel
County Police claiming that Drury was in possession of stolen
property, i.e., the trailer. By the end of
the day, Dziwanowski had spoken with Drury and Mr. Bradford.
Dziwanowski understood that there was a dispute regarding the
ownership of the trailer and suggested that the two of them
seek to reach an agreement. However, there was no agreement.
April 24, Mr. Bradford called Dziwanowski and told him that
he wanted Drury criminally charged. Dziwanowski, with another
officer, Hicks, proceeded to Drury's residence. While the
parties agree that Defendants arrested Drury at his
residence, they present materially different versions of the
event relating to the arrest.
Complaint, Plaintiff asserted claims against Anne Arundel
County, Maryland (“the County”), Dziwanowski, and
Hicks in ten Counts.
I: Battery - Dziwanowski and Hicks.
II: False Arrest - Dziwanowski, Hicks, and the County.
III: False Imprisonment - Dziwanowski, Hicks, and the County.
IV: Malicious Prosecution - Dziwanowski and Hicks.
V: Conspiracy - Dziwanowski and Hicks.
VI: Violation of Maryland Declaration of Rights - Dziwanowski
VII: Maryland State Declaration of Rights Longtin
Claim - County.
VIII: 42 U.S.C. § 1983- Violation of Fourth Amendment -
Dziwanowski and Hicks.
IX: Inadequate Supervision and Discipline under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 - County.
X: Monell Claim - County.
Memorandum and Order Re: Pending Motions [ECF No. 13] the
Court dismissed all claims against the County.
instant motion, Dziwanowski and Hicks seek summary judgment
in regard to all claims against them.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
motion for summary judgment shall be granted if the pleadings
and supporting documents “show that there is no genuine
issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The well-established principles pertinent
to such motions can be distilled to a simple statement.
Court may look at the evidence presented in regard to the
motion for summary judgment through the non-movant's rose
colored glasses, but must view it realistically. After so
doing, the essential question is whether a reasonable fact
finder could return a verdict for the non-movant or whether
the movant would, at trial, be entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. E.g., Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242 (1986); Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986); Adickes v. S.H.
Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158-59 (1970); Shealy
v. Winston, 929 F.2d 1009, 1012 (4th Cir. 1991).
presents claims against Dziwanowski and Hicks for:
• Battery - Count I
• False Arrest - Count II
• False Imprisonment - Count III
• Malicious Prosecution - Count IV
• Conspiracy - Count V
• Constitutional rights violation (state) - Count VI
• Constitutional rights violation (federal) - Count VIII
Legality of Drury's Arrest
arrested Drury without a warrant and charged him with theft
of less than $1, 000 (misdemeanor under Md. Code Ann., Crim.
Law § 7-104), unauthorized removal of property
(misdemeanor under Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 7-203),
second degree assault, and resisting arrest. Charge Summary
[ECF No. 25-17]. Defendants contend that the arrest was legal
pursuant to Md. Code Ann., Crim. Proc. § 2-203 (2008
Repl. Vol.) that provides, in pertinent part:
(a) A police officer without a warrant may arrest a person if
the police officer has probable cause to believe:
(1) that the person has committed [an enumerated crime]; and
(2) that unless the person is arrested immediately, the
(ii) may cause . . . property damage to another;
enumerated crimes in § 2-203 include “a theft
crime where the value of the property or services stolen is
less than $1, 000 under § 7-104 or § 7-105 of the
Criminal Law Article.” Id.
cause exists when the facts and circumstances within an
officer's knowledge - or of which he possesses reasonably
trustworthy information - are sufficient in themselves to
convince a person of reasonable caution that an offense has
been or is being committed.” Wadkins v.
Arnold, 214 F.3d 535, 539 (4th Cir. 2000)(citing
Brinegar v. United States, 338 U.S. 160, 175-76
is no doubt that when Dziwanowski decided to arrest Drury he
had reasonably trustworthy - in fact indisputable -
information that Mr. Bradford was the legal title holder of
the trailer at issue, that Mr. Bradford did not give Drury
any right to possess the trailer, and that Drury had taken
possession of the trailer and refused to give the registered
owner, Mr. Bradford, possession. Thus, there is no factual
dispute regarding Defendants having probable cause to believe
that Drury had committed a theft crime and that the value of
the stolen property was at least an amount less than $1, 000.
the parties dispute whether Defendants had probable cause to
believe that Drury would commit property damage if not
states that that Mr. Bradford told him that Drury had said
during a phone call that he would destroy the trailer rather
than return it. Dziwanowski Dep. [ECF No. 21-3] 165:15-18. If
the jury finds that this statement was made, it could find
that there was probable cause to believe that, absent
immediate arrest, Drury may cause damage to Mr.
there is evidence that could cause a reasonable jury to find
that there was no probable cause to believe that there was
concern for immediate property damage absent arrest. Mr.
Bradford testified that he does not recall Drury's saying
he would destroy the trailer. Bradford Dep. [ECF No. 25-3] at
76:2-5. Furthermore, Drury testified that he told Mr.
Bradford he would give him the trailer if Mr. Bradford paid
$2, 500. Drury Dep. [ECF No. 25-9] 57:1-8. Furthermore, the
trailer itself was not at Drury's house. Drury states
that he told the Defendants that the trailer was being worked
on by a friend and he did not know its location. Id.
Court concludes that there are genuine issues of material
fact that prevent summary judgment with regard to the claims
based on the legality ...