United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Russell, III United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Defendants Joshua Jordan
(“Ofc. Jordan”) and Russell J. Tonks's
(“Ofc. Tonks”) (collectively, “Officer
Defendants”) Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 94)
and Plaintiff Eric Jones's Opposition to Defendants'
Motion for Summary Judgment and Plaintiff's Cross-Motion
for Partial Summary Judgment (“Cross-Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment”) (ECF No. 104). The Motions are ripe
for disposition, and no hearing is necessary. See
Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2018). For the reasons outlined
below, the Court will deny both Motions.
August 17, 2014, the Baltimore Police Department
(“BPD”) received two 911 calls regarding drug
trafficking on Paton Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland.
(Defs.' Mot. Ex. A [“911 Calls”] at Aud.
389920-21, ECF No. 94-3). One of the callers reported that
approximately forty individuals were engaged in drug
transactions near the intersection of Paton and Denmore
Avenues. (Id. at Aud. 389920). Both callers
identified a man dressed in all black, wearing a black hat,
as the dealer. (Id. at Aud. 389920-21). At 3:17
p.m., responding to a dispatch, Officer Defendants arrived at
the scene. (Defs.' Mot. Ex. F [“Radio”] at
Aud. 389925, ECF No. 94-8).
arrival, Ofc. Tonks confirmed via BPD radio transmission
(“radioed”) that there were thirty to forty
people on the 5200 block of Denmore Avenue, near Paton
Avenue. (Id.; Jordan Dep. at 197:1-3, Apr. 23, 2018,
ECF No. 104-7). Ofc. Jordan appeared to identify the
dealer, radioing, “Curbie, he's running right
now.” (Radio at Aud. 389925; Jordan Dep. 198:15-20, ECF
No. 104-7). Ofc. Tonks responded, “Which way is he
running?” (Radio at Aud. 389925). Ofc. Jordan radioed
that the suspect, dressed in all black, with a slim build,
had disappeared up an alley and that he “can't find
him.” (Radio at Aud. 389926; Jordan Dep. 202:1-7, ECF
No. 104-7). One of the Officer Defendants then radioed that
he was going towards “Wilton Heights,
” presumably to search for the fleeing
suspect. (Radio at Aud. 389926). That Officer Defendant then
radioed, confirming his own location as “Florence
[Avenue], ” which is at least two blocks away from the
dispatch site. (Id.). A few seconds later, Ofc.
Tonks asked Ofc. Jordan, “Still got eyes on him?”
(Radio at Aud. 389927; Jordan Dep. 203:3-8, ECF No. 104-7).
Ofc. Jordan stated he was still looking for him. (Radio at
Aud. 389927). At 3:18:40 p.m., Ofc. Jordan reported that he
was “going up Elmer [Avenue].” (Radio at Aud.
389928; Jordan Dep. 207:4-8, ECF No. 104-7). Elmer Avenue is
at least two blocks away from the dispatch site and does not
intersect with Paton Avenue.
what happened next is hotly disputed. What is not disputed is
that, at some point, Officer Defendants stopped Jones and
another unidentified individual near the corner of Denmore
and Hayward Avenues. (Jordan Dep. 48:3-10, ECF No. 104-7; Jones
Dep. 185:8-12, Sept. 13, 2018. ECF No. 94-5). At that time,
Jones was fifty-two years old, was working part-time as a
plumber, and had spent “maybe a couple days” at
an apartment complex several blocks southeast of the corner
of Denmore and Hayward Avenues, though his permanent address
was in a different neighborhood of North Baltimore.
(Pl.'s Mot. Ex. O [“Criminal Case Docket”],
ECF No. 104-18; Jones Dep. 156:1-12, 163:1-164:11). All
parties agree that Jones was not free to leave, though it is
disputed whether Officer Defendants ordered Jones to sit on
the curb or to lie face-down on the ground. (Compare
Jordan Dep. 51:5-14, ECF No. 104-7, with Jones Aff.
¶¶ 12-13, ECF No. 104-5, and Jones Dep.
223:5-11, ECF No. 104-6). It is undisputed that Jones tried
to leave at some point thereafter. Officer Defendants allege
they asked Jones if he had anything illegal on his person, at
which point he left without answering. (Jordan Dep. 75:2-6,
Apr. 23, 2018, ECF No. 94-10; Tonks Dep. 79:6-80:2, Apr. 17,
2018, ECF No. 94-9). Jones states Officer Defendants
“started asking about my identification and were rude
to me” but “[a]s I did nothing wrong, I got up
and started walking away.” (Jones Aff. ¶ 14).
Officer Defendants argue Jones ran away; Jones denies
running. (Jordan Dep. 75:5-6, 17-18, ECF No. 94-10; Jones
Aff. ¶¶ 14-19). It is undisputed that Ofc. Jordan
tackled Jones to the ground shortly thereafter. (Jordan Dep.
75:9-13, ECF No. 94-10; Tonks Dep. at 50:15-19, ECF No. 94-9;
Jones Aff. ¶ 16).
Defendants' radio calls punctuate these disputed events
and provide a rough timeline of what occurred. At 3:20:22
p.m., Ofc. Jordan radioed, “He's on the run.”
(Radio at Aud. 389929; Jordan Dep. 208:15, ECF No. 104-7).
One of the Officer Defendants radioed, “Heading down to
Florence [Avenue].” (Radio at Aud. 389929). Ofc. Tonks
then radioed, “We got him.” (Radio at Aud.
389929; Jordan Dep. 208:16-17, ECF No. 104-7). Officer
Defendants at that point reported their location as the 5200
block of Florence Avenue. (Radio at Aud. 389929).
3:25:20 p.m., one of the Officer Defendants reported a
“1014” at Hayward and Florence. (Radio at Aud.
389930). At 3:34:49 p.m., Officer Defendants called in a
“1038”for an approximately fifty-year-old male
with facial abrasions, presumably Jones. (Radio at Aud.
389931). Officer Defendants then transported Jones to Sinai
Hospital. (Pl.'s Mot. Summ. J. Ex. M [“Hospital
Records”], ECF No. 104-15; Radio at Aud. 389933; Jordan
Dep. 246:7-8, ECF No. 104-7). Jones suffered bilateral
subdural hematomas, traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage along
the left cerebral convexity, and small right anterior frontal
lobe hemorrhagic contusions. (Hospital Records at 3, 5). As a
result of these injuries, Jones underwent brain surgery.
(Id. at 5).
Hospital Records indicate that he tested positive for cocaine
use. (Hospital Records at 8). Bags of suspected cocaine and
marijuana were found in Jones's sock, (Defs.' Mot.
Ex. E [“Incident Report”] at 3, ECF No. 94-7),
though Jones asserts that no chemical analyses were performed
to verify the identity of the substances. (Jones Aff. ¶
33). After being discharged, Jones was charged with: (1)
Controlled Dangerous Substance (“CDS”) possession
of marijuana; (2) CDS possession of marijuana L/T 10 G; (3)
second degree assault; (4) resisting arrest; (5) CDS
possession of paraphernalia; (6) CDS possession with intent
to distribute; and (7) CDS possession, not marijuana.
(Criminal Case Docket). Jones was acquitted of all counts
except for CDS possession with intent to distribute, for
which the prosecutor entered a nolle prosequi.
22, 2016, Jones sued Officer Defendants, as well as BPD and
former BPD Police Chief Anthony W. Batts (collectively, the
“BPD Defendants”) and Unknown Individual Officers
and Unknown Supervisors of the BPD. (ECF No. 1). On October
25, 2016, Jones filed an Amended Complaint, alleging: a
violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S.
Constitution for unlawful search and seizure brought under
§ 1983 (Count I); two supervisory liability claims for
violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments brought
under § 1983 (Counts II and III); a violation of the
Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments for fabrication of evidence
brought under § 1983 (Count IV); violation of Articles
24 and 26 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights (Count V);
malicious prosecution (Count VI); assault and battery (Count
VII); false imprisonment (Count VIII); and false arrest
(Count IX). (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 95-149). Jones seeks
monetary damages. (Id. at 38).
December 4, 2017, the Court bifurcated the claims against
Officer Defendants from the claims brought against BPD
Defendants, essentially staying the case with respect to BPD
Defendants until after the resolution of Jones's claims
against Officer Defendants. (Dec. 4, 2017 Order, ECF No. 42).
December 14, 2018, Officer Defendants filed a Motion for
Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 94). Jones filed an Opposition and
Cross-Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on January 11,
2019. (ECF No. 104). On January 31, 2019, Officer Defendants
filed an Opposition and Reply. (ECF No. 111). On February 13,
2019, Jones filed a Reply. (ECF No. 112).
Standard of Review
reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the Court views the
facts in a light most favorable to the nonmovant, drawing all
justifiable inferences in that party's favor. Ricci
v. DeStefano, 557 U.S. 557, 586 (2009); Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986) (citing
Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144,
158-59 (1970)). Summary judgment is proper when the movant
demonstrates, through “particular parts of materials in
the record, including depositions, documents, electronically
stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations
. . . admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials,
” 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), (c)(1)(A).
Significantly, a party must be able to present the materials
it cites in “a form that would be admissible in
evidence, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2), and supporting
affidavits and declarations “must be made on personal
knowledge” and “set out facts that would be
admissible in evidence, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4).
motion for summary judgment is properly made and supported,
the burden shifts to the nonmovant to identify evidence
showing there is genuine dispute of material fact. See
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475
U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986). The nonmovant cannot create a
genuine dispute of material fact “through mere
speculation or the building of one inference upon
another.” Othentec Ltd. v. Phelan, 526 F.3d
135, 141 (4th Cir. 2008) (quoting Beale v. Hardy,
769 F.2d 213, 214 (4th Cir. 1985)).
“material fact” is one that might affect the
outcome of a party's case. Anderson, 477 U.S. at
248; see also JKC Holding Co. v. Wash. Sports Ventures,
Inc., 264 F.3d 459, 465 (4th Cir. 2001) (citing
Hooven-Lewis v. Caldera, 249 F.3d 259, 265 (4th Cir.
2001)). Whether a fact is considered to be
“material” is determined by the substantive law,
and “[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the
outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly
preclude the entry of summary judgment.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; accord
Hooven-Lewis, 249 F.3d at 265. A “genuine”
dispute concerning a “material” fact arises when
the evidence is sufficient to allow a reasonable jury to
return a verdict in the nonmoving party's favor.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. If the nonmovant has
failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element
of her case where she has the burden of proof, “there
can be ‘no genuine [dispute] as to any material
fact,' since a complete failure of proof concerning an
essential element of the nonmoving party's case
necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.”
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23
the parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment,
the court must “review each motion separately on its
own merits to ‘determine whether either of the parties
deserves judgment as a matter of law.'”
Rossignol v. Voorhaar, 316 F.3d 516, 523 (4th Cir.
2003) (quoting Philip Morris Inc. v. Harshbarger,
122 F.3d 58, 62 n.4 (1st Cir. 1997)). Moreover, “[w]hen
considering each individual motion, the court must take care
to ‘resolve all factual disputes and any competing,
rational inferences in the light most favorable' to the
party opposing that motion.” Id. (quoting
Wightman v. Springfield Terminal Ry. Co., 100 F.3d
228, 230 (1st Cir. 1996)). This Court, however, 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). If the evidence presented by the nonmovant is merely
colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary
judgment must be granted. Anderson, 477 U.S. at