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Estate of Green v. Pinkerton

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

August 18, 2017

ESTATE OF KENDALL ARNAZ GREEN, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
MATTHEW PINKERTON, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          GEORGE J. HAZEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The Estate of Kendall Arnaz Green brings this wrongful death and survival action against Defendant Sergeant Matthew Pinkerton for the fatal shooting of Green by Pinkerton on September 15. 2013. The action was originally filed in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County, and Defendant removed the action to this Court, invoking the Court's diversity jurisdiction.[1] Presently pending before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Stay. ECF No. 20. and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 26. No hearing is necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the following reasons. Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is granted, and the Motion to Stay is denied as moot.

         I. BACKGROUND[2]

         Kendall Arnaz Green, an acquaintance of the Pinkertons. was engaged in an extramarital relationship with Jessica Pinkerton. Matthew Pinkerton"s wife. See ECF No. 26-1 ¶¶ 1-10: see also ECF No. 2 ¶ 5. During the relationship and their interactions together. Green was violent towards Jessica, striking, throwing, and pushing her. ECF No. 26-1 ¶¶ 102-106. Jessica also learned about Green's violent tendencies in other respects - that Green became violent when he drank, that he had previously assaulted his father, that Green's mother had kicked him out of her home because of his aggressive behavior, and that Green had boasted about other people he had assaulted. See Id. ¶¶ 11-18. 107-110. Green allegedly stood at a height of six feet, six inches tall. See ECF No. 26 at 5.[3]

         In the early morning hours of September 15. 2013. Green was texting Jessica on her cell phone. See ECF No. 26-1 ¶¶ 33-40. Green was intoxicated, Id. ¶ 19. At 1:23 a.m.. Green texted Jessica. "Ill be at your house waiting." Id. ¶ 40. Jessica responded, "no" and "don't so [sic] that." Id. ¶¶ 40-43. Green continued to text Jessica, stating. "Pick up da phone." and "Ok you not going to pick up." Id. ¶¶ 46-49. Jessica did not respond to Green's messages. At 1:48 a.m.. Green then stated, "if you pick up 1 wont go the door if you don't I'm doing more [than | knocking." Id. ¶¶ 51-53. Shortly thereafter. Green came to the Pinkerton house at 424 Arbor Drive, Glen Burnie. Maryland. Id. ¶¶ 19-21, 26-66. No one had invited Green to come to the house. Id. ¶ 67.

         When Green arrived at the house, he spoke briefly with Matthew Pinkerton. ECF No. 26-I ¶ 120. Pinkerton shut the door with Green still outside the house, and did not reopen the door for Green. Id. ¶ 120-121. Green then forced his way into the house, cracking the front door as a result. Id. ¶¶ 127-131. One or more persons inside the house repeatedly directed Green to leave. Id. ¶¶ 68-72. Once inside the house. Green began cursing at Matthew Pinkerton. acting aggressively, and using racial slurs towards Pinkerton. Id. ¶¶ 80-84. Green started to approach Pinkerton. Id. ¶ 85. Pinkerton told Green to stop. Id.c 85-87. Green continued to approach Pinkerton. allegedly even after Pinkerton brandished a handgun in front of Green. See ECF No. 2 ¶¶ 8-9. In fact. Plaintiff alleges that Green told Pinkerton he "did not have it in him" to shoot Green. See Id. ¶ 9. Pinkerton backed away from Green, and continued to back away as Green approached Pinkerton. ECF No. 26-1 ¶¶ 88-90. Pinkerton then shot Green twice in the chest with the handgun, fatally wounding Green. Id. ¶¶ 91-95. Both shots were fired from within the home, and Green's blood and shell casings were found inside the home. Id. ¶¶ 92-99. After being shot. Green staggered onto the porch. Id. ¶ 100. Matthew Pinkerton called 911 immediately after the shooting. Id. ¶¶ 112-113. Green was pronounced dead on the scene. 'See Id. ¶¶ 115-118.

         The State of Maryland pursued criminal charges against Matthew Pinkerton in October of 2013. See ECF Nos. 26-2-26-3: State v. Pinkerton, 02-K-13-I930 (Cir. Ct. Anne Arundel Cty.). A jury trial was held. See Id. At the conclusion of the State's case. Judge Mulford of the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County granted Defendant's Motion for Judgment of Acquittal, acquitting Pinkerton of all charges. See ECF No. 26-l ¶ 138; ECF No. 26-3 at 7.

         Green's estate, by and through Green's mother. Felicia Letitia Carroll, filed this Complaint in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County. Defendant removed the action to this Court on August 17, 2016. Plaintiff brings a survival action and wrongful death action, alleging claims of negligence and battery. See Md. Code. Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-902: Md. Code. Est. & Trusts § 7-401 (y). Plaintiff seeks damages in excess of $2 million dollars.

         On December 22, 2016. Defendant moved for a stay of proceedings because Pinkerton was to be deployed for military service on or about January 9. 2017. and then "for a period of no less than 6 months." ECF No. 20 ¶¶ 4-5. Plaintiffs opposed the Motion to Stay. ECF No. 21. On March 17. 2017. counsel for Defendant indicated that "Sergeant Pinkerton"s present deployment is scheduled to conclude, subject to change in July of 2017." ECF No. 25 at 1. The Court has received no further information regarding Pinkerton"s availability. In this status report, counsel for Defendant also indicated that he had propounded written discovery to the Plaintiffs, which had not been returned. Id. Defendant filed his Motion for Summary Judgment on April 17. 2017. ECF No. 26. Plaintiffs have not responded to the Motion, and the time for doing so has passed. On June 23, 2017. the Court issued a paperless Order, stating that while the Motion for Summary Judgment was ripe for resolution, because Plaintiffs may have incorrectly believed the case had been stayed, the Court would allow the Plaintiffs an additional seven days to respond to the dispositive motion. ECF No. 27. To dale. Plaintiffs have not done so. Now, more than forty Five days have elapsed, and the Court is ready to render its Decision. Upon consideration of the uncontroverted facts set forth in Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, and related authorities, the Motion is now granted. The Motion to Stay is denied as moot.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The court "shall grant summary judgment 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). A material fact is one that "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby. Inc., 477 U.S. 242. 248 (1986). A genuine issue over a material fact exists "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. In undertaking this inquiry, the Court must consider the facts and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372. 378 (2007). But this Court must also abide by its affirmative obligation to prevent factually unsupported claims and defenses from going to trial. Drewitt v. Pratt, 999 F.2d 774. 778-79 (4th Cir. 1993).

         The burden is on the moving party to show "that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact. However, no genuine issue of material fact exists if the nonmoving party fails to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of his or her case as to which he or she would have the burden of proof." Benton v. Prince George's Cmty. Coll., No. CIV.A. DKC 12-1 577. 2013 WL 4501324. at *3 (D. Md. Aug. 21. 2013) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317. 322-23 (1986)). Thus, upon a motion for summary judgment, the opposing party "may not rest upon . .. mere allegations or denials." but rather, "must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. If the [opposing] party does not so respond, summary judgment, if appropriate, shall be entered against the [opposing] party." Tyler v. Prince George's Cly. Maryland, 16 F.App'x 191. 192 (4th Cir. 2001) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)).

         Of note, however, if the nonmoving party does not respond to the summary judgment motion, the failure to respond, in and of itself, "does not fulfill the burdens imposed on moving parties by Rule 56. Section (c) of Rule 56 requires that the moving party establish, in addition to the absence of a dispute over any material fact, that it is 'entitled to a judgment as a matter of law."' Custer v. Pan Am. Life Ins. Co.,12 F.3d 410. 416 (4th Cir. 1993) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). Although the nonmoving party's failure to respond "may leave uncontroverted those facts established by the motion, the moving party must still show that the uncontroverted Tacts entitle the party to "a judgment as a matter of law.'" Id. Thus, the Court ...


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