Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Mills v. PPE Casino Resorts Maryland, LLC

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 8, 2017

JUSTIN MILLS, Plaintiff - Counter-Defendant,
v.
PPE CASINO RESORTS MARYLAND, LLC, et al., Defendants - Counter-Plaintiffs.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Richard D. Bennett United States District Judge

         This Memorandum Opinion addresses plaintiff - counter-defendant Justin Mills' (“plaintiff” or “Mills”) Motion for Summary Judgment on the Counterclaims filed by defendants - counter-plaintiffs Officer Douglas Bilter (“Bilter”) and Officer Kyle Shapelow (“Shapelow”) (collectively, the “Officers”) and by defendant - counter-plaintiff Christopher Coulter.[1] (“Mills' Motion”) (ECF No. 113.) The Counterclaims allege that Mills violated Maryland's Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act (“Maryland Wiretap Act”), Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc., § 10-401, et seq., by surreptitiously recording the Officers' and Coulter's oral communications during Mills' interaction with them in an enclosed, not-publically-accessible location of the Maryland Live! Casino (the “Casino”) on February 21, 2014. (ECF No. 41-1.) The parties' submissions have been reviewed, and no hearing is necessary.[2] See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons stated below, Mills' Motion (ECF No. 113) is GRANTED as to Shapelow and Bilter's Counterclaim (ECF No. 41) and as to Coulter's Counterclaim (ECF No. 89). Summary judgment shall be ENTERED in favor of Mills on both Counterclaims.[3]

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         In ruling on a Motion for Summary Judgment, this Court considers the facts and draws all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007).

         On February 21, 2014, plaintiff Justin Mills was playing blackjack at the Maryland Live! Casino, located in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. (ECF No. 122-1 at ¶ 1.) Casino personnel approached plaintiff while he was on the casino floor. (ECF No. 113-1 at ¶ 4.) The Casino employees requested that plaintiff leave the casino floor with them. (Id. at 5.) Plaintiff began to walk with the Casino employees, but then paused.[4] (Id. at ¶ 7.) One Casino employee grabbed plaintiff by the arms, and the group of Casino employees then escorted Mills to a secured, back hallway, not visible from the casino floor. (ECF No. 122-1 at ¶ 3; ECF No. 113-1 at ¶ 9.)

         Once the Casino employees had escorted Mills to the secured, back hallway, they accused him of card counting and demanded his identification in order to ban him from the Casino.[5] (ECF No. 122-1 at ¶ 3.) Plaintiff refused to produce identification. (ECF No. 113-1 at ¶ 10.) Subsequently, defendants Bilter and Shapelow-Anne Arundel County Police Officers working secondary employment at the casino-were summoned to the secured hallway. (ECF No. 122-1 at ¶ 4.) The Officers confronted Mills and demanded that he produce identification; Mills initially refused. (ECF No. 113-1 at ¶ 13; ECF No. 122-1 at ¶ 12.) Officer Bilter then stated to Mills that: “You can't leave here unless we I.D. who you are. So, either you can give 'em your I.D., or you can go with us and we can fingerprint you, find out who you are, and then we'll release you.”[6] (ECF No. 113-1 at ¶ 13; ECF No. 122-1 at ¶ 16.)

         After further conversation and approximately four minutes into the encounter, Mills produced his passport as identification to the Officers. (ECF No. 122-1 at ¶ 22.) The Officers reviewed Mills' passport and then handed the passport to Casino employees Giorgio Isella[7] and Christopher Coulter. (ECF No. 113-1 at ¶ 16; ECF No. 122-1 at ¶ 14.) The video reflects that Coulter transcribed plaintiff's identification information. (ECF No. 114.) At the Officers' instruction, plaintiff stated his home address, which also appears to have been transcribed by Coulter. (Id.) Defendant Coulter then read and issued to plaintiff a notice banning him the Casino premises. (ECF No. 122-1 at ¶ 23.)

         The encounter in the secured, back hallway was recorded by Casino video surveillance. (ECF No. 122-1 at 2; ECF No. 114.) Mills, the Officers, and between two and six Casino employees[8] are visible in the hallway throughout the video. (ECF No. 113-1 at ¶ 18.) Using an iPhone concealed in his pants pocket, plaintiff created an audio recording of the encounter in the hallway. (ECF No. 122-1 at ¶¶ 24, 26.) Plaintiff did not inform any of the individuals in the room that he was creating an audio recording. (Id. at ¶ 27.) Plaintiff later obtained a copy of the Casino's video surveillance footage. (ECF No. 122-1 at ¶ 30.) Mills then merged the Casino video footage with his iPhone audio recording to create a hybrid audio/video clip, which he posted on YouTube.[9] (Id. at ¶¶ 31-32.)

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Mills filed his original Complaint in this Court on February 20, 2015. (ECF No. 1.) The now-operative Second Amended Complaint was filed, with leave of Court, on August 6, 2015. (ECF No. 37.) Following this Court's Memorandum Opinion and Order dated May 31, 2016, only Mills' constitutional claims against Officer Bilter, Officer Shapelow, Christopher Coulter, and PPE Casino Resorts Maryland, LLC remain at issue in this case. (ECF Nos. 67, 68.)

         On September 1, 2015, Officers Bilter and Shapelow filed an Answer and Counterclaim against Mills alleging that he violated Maryland's Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act, Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc., § 10-401, by surreptitiously recording their communications at Maryland Live! Casino on February 21, 2014. (ECF No. 41.) Mills moved to dismiss the Officers' Counterclaim on September 25, 2015. (ECF No. 57.) Following a hearing on June 16, 2016, this Court denied Mills' Motion to Dismiss the Counterclaim. (ECF Nos. 76, 77.) As stated on the record, additional discovery was needed in order to ascertain the facts underlying the Counterclaims. (Id.)

         Defendant Christopher Coulter filed a separate Counterclaim against Mills on August 12, 2016, also alleging violations of the Maryland Wiretap Act. (ECF No. 89.) Mills moved to dismiss Coulter's Counterclaim on September 27, 2016.[10] (ECF No. 93.)

         On February 21, 2017, Mills filed the now-pending Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 113.) On April 1, 2017, Officer Bilter and Shapelow and defendants Coulter and PPE Casino Resorts filed separate cross-motion for summary judgment. (ECF Nos. 122, 123.) These matters are ripe for this Court's adjudication.

         STANDARD ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.