United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
L. HAYES MAG. JUDGE.
G. JAMES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff Clarence Dean Roy
(“Roy”) against Defendants City of Monroe
(“the City”) and James Booth (“Sergeant
Booth”). On October 19, 2017, the Court issued a Ruling
and Judgment [Doc. Nos. 33 & 34] granting in part and
denying in part Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.
Ruling, the Court considered Roy's claims of false arrest
and malicious prosecution. The Court determined that
Roy's claims appeared to fail as a matter of law because
they arise under the Fourth Amendment, and he is unable to
show that he was subjected to a deprivation of a liberty
interest. The Court gave the parties notice of its intent to
dismiss Roy's claims of false arrest and malicious
prosecution based on this sua sponte analysis. Prior
to intended dismissal, however, the Court gave the parties an
opportunity to file memoranda addressing this analysis.
parties timely filed memoranda. [Doc. Nos. 35 & 36]. In
his memorandum, Roy cites McLin v. Ard, 866 F.3d 682
(5th Cir. 2017), for the proposition that
“‘[p]hysical force is not required to effect a
seizure, ' but submission to authority is
necessary.” [Doc. No. 35 (quoting McLin, 866
F.3d at 691 (emphasis and other citations omitted))]. Based
on the reasoning of McLin, Roy argues that he was
“seized” because he was not free to leave while
under questioning by Sergeant Booth and was then issued a
summons. Speculating on what would have happened if he
stepped away, Roy contends that he was required to submit to
authority, and thus, he has raised a genuine issue of
material fact for trial that the Fourth Amendment is
implicated by Sergeant Booth's actions. Roy also
distinguishes cases from outside the Fifth Circuit.
contend that this Court correctly reasoned that Roy's
claims of false arrest and malicious prosecution are subject
to dismissal because Roy was not deprived of a liberty
interest. While Defendants do not dispute the statement of
law cited by Roy, they argue that the facts of McLin
are inapplicable in this case. According to Defendants,
McLin stands only for the proposition that
“[v]oluntary submittal to arrest warrants [has] been
found to be a ‘seizure' in the context of the
Fourth Amendment.” [Doc. No. 36, p. 2 (citation
omitted)]. No arrest warrant issued for Roy, and
McLin does not address a misdemeanor summons.
Defendants, agree, however, that McLin is applicable
in one way: its qualified immunity analysis. In addition to
Roy's lack of liberty interest, Defendants argue that
Sergeant Booth's issuance of the summons is protected by
the qualified immunity doctrine because Roy cannot show that
all reasonable officials would have understood they were
violating the law by issuing the summons.
Court has reviewed McLin and considered the
arguments of the parties. The Court agrees with Defendants
that the McLin case does not change the analysis for
Roy's claims. Contrary to the plaintiff in
McLin, Roy did not have any outstanding warrants,
but merely received a summons from Sergeant Booth. “No
court has held that a summons alone constitutes a seizure,
and we conclude that a summons alone does not equal a seizure
for Fourth Amendment purposes.” Bielanski v. Cty.
of Kane, 550 F.3d 632, 642 (7th Cir. 2008); see also
Martinez v. Carr, 479 F.3d 1292, 1299 (10th Cir. 2007);
McLin, 866 F.3d at 693-94 n.7 (citing same). In
Evans v. Ball, 168 F.3d 856 (5th Cir.1999), the
Fifth Circuit noted that a “summons, coupled with . . .
additional liberty restrictions . .., may constitute a
seizure under the Fourth Amendment.” Id. at
861. However, as the Eastern District has noted, “the
obvious implication of this language is that without
additional liberty restrictions, a summons may not
constitute a seizure, though the Circuit has never explicitly
stated so.” Gonzales v. Brazley, No. CIV A
09-137, 2009 WL 2411800, at *6 (E.D. La. Aug. 4, 2009)
(emphasis added). To the extent that Roy argues that his
limited conversation with Sergeant Booth implicates the
Fourth Amendment, such a conversation, held in the presence
of his friends, also does not constitute the exercise of
authority pursuant to which “no reasonable person would
have believed he was . . . free to
leave.” McLin, 866 F.3d at 693 (citation
and internal quotation marks omitted); see also United
States v. Mendenhall, 446 U.S. 544 (1980).
even if Roy could show that he was seized, Sergeant Booth is
entitled to qualified immunity protection because the law was
not clearly established that he was violating Roy's
Fourth Amendment rights by issuing a summons. See Morgan
v. Swanson, 659 F.3d 359, 372 (5th Cir. 2011)
(“Where no controlling authority specifically prohibits
a defendant's conduct, and when the federal circuit
courts are split on the issue, the law cannot be said to be
these circumstances, Roy has not raised a genuine issue of
material fact for trial that he was “seized” for
purposes of the Fourth Amendment. Even if he could show a
violation, Sergeant Booth is entitled to the protection of
qualified immunity. Therefore, Roy's claims of false
arrest and malicious prosecution fail. These claims are
DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
[Doc. No. 23-3, Exh. 3, Roy Depo., p.
20 (“So he came and spoke to you and were y'all
with your group of friends at the time? A. Yes,
Presumably, any time a summons is
issued in person, the issuing official would have at least a
minimal conversation with the person to ...