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Andrews v. Rizzo

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

December 18, 2015

MICHAEL ANDREWS, Plaintiff,
v.
LUCIANO RIZZO and MICHAEL BELCASTRO, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Lyle E. Strom, Senior Judge United States District Court

This matter is before the Court on the motion of defendants, Luciano Rizzo and Michael Belcastro (“defendants” or the “officers”), for summary judgment (Filing No. 46), and plaintiff, Michael Andrews’ (“plaintiff”), motion to deny summary judgment (Filing No. 49). Plaintiff’s motion will be construed as a brief in opposition to defendants’ motion. As of the date of this memorandum and order, no reply brief has been filed. After review of the motion, the parties’ briefs, and the relevant law, the Court finds as follows.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed his original complaint on September 19, 2014 (Filing No. 1). After two amendments to the complaint and a liberal construction of one of the plaintiff’s briefs by the Court, only one claim against the officers remained. See Filing Nos. 8 and 20. Brief discovery consisting of requests for admissions and interrogatories was conducted. See Filing Nos. 23-25, 33-34, 40-43.

Defendants now request the Court grant summary judgment on plaintiff’s procedural due process claim against the officers in their individual capacities (Filing No. 46). The officers argue summary judgment is appropriate because no genuine issue as to any material fact exists indicating that defendants “banned and barred [the plaintiff] from the Omaha Housing Authority property” in violation of his procedural due process constitutional rights (Filing No. 47 at 1). Defendants contend it was the Omaha Housing Authority that banned and barred plaintiff from the premises, not the officers. (Id. at 9-13). Finally, defendants argue that “even if an actionable violation of [plaintiff’s] constitutional or federal statutory rights occurred . . . [defendants] are entitled to qualified immunity for their actions . . . .” (Id. at 15).

In response to defendants’ motion, plaintiff asks the Court to deny defendants’ motion. Plaintiff requests the Court: (1) “not to adopt the defendants [sic] unchallenged perception of the facts for purposes of ruling on a motion for summary judgment;” (2) to require “defendants to stand trial and face the burden of answering Interrogatories and Admission which defendants have not completed;” (3) find plaintiff’s cause of action sufficient to withstand summary judgment insofar as finding “that there is a violation of a clearly established federal right of due process and federal right to confront accusers;” (4) determine that “a reasonable official would have known that defendants [sic] conduct violated the clearly established federal right of due process and federal right to confront accusers;” (5) determine the “questions of material fact of federal right of due process and federal right to confront accusers are genuine; ” (6) find “plaintiff’s federal right to due process . . . was clearly established but not met by the defendants;” and (7) conclude that the plaintiff “raises a substantial issue of law and the . . . relief sought is within the Court’s discretion.” (Filing No. 49 at 1-2).

LAW

I. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is only proper when the Court determines the evidence “show[s] that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a), (c); Semple v. Federal Exp. Corp., 566 F.3d 788, 791 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). A “material” fact is one that “might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law, ” and a genuine issue of material facts exists when “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).

The evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, giving the nonmoving party the benefit of all reasonable inferences. Kenney v. Swift Transp., Inc., 347 F.3d 1041, 1044 (8th Cir. 2003). At the summary judgment stage, it is not the function of the Court to “weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. The moving party bears the burden to show that summary judgment is appropriate. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157, 90 S.Ct. 1598, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970). After the moving party has met its burden, “the non-moving party may not rest on the allegations of his pleadings, but must set forth specific facts, by affidavit or other evidence, showing that a genuine issue of material fact exists.” Singletary v. Missouri Dept. of Corrections, 423 F.3d 886, 890 (8th Cir. 2005). “Mere allegations, unsupported by specific facts or evidence beyond the nonmoving party’s own conclusions are insufficient to withstand a motion for summary judgment.” Morris v. City of Chilicothe, 512 F.3d 1013, 1018 (8th Cir. 2008) (internal quotations omitted).

II. Constitutional Violations of Procedural Due Process

The Fourteenth Amendment provides that “[n]o State shall . . . deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1. In order to state a procedural due process claim, a plaintiff must allege that (1) he suffered a deprivation of a constitutionally protected interest in life, liberty, or property, and (2) such deprivation occurred without due process of law. See Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319, 332, 96 S.Ct. 893, 47 L.Ed.2d 18 (1976). “In procedural due process claims, the deprivation by state action of a constitutionally protected interest in ‘life, liberty, or property’ is not in itself unconstitutional; what is unconstitutional is the deprivation of such an interest without due process of law.” Zinermon v. Burch, 494 U.S. 113, 125, 110 S.Ct. 975, 108 L.Ed.2d 100 (1990). The principle that an individual possesses a constitutionally protected liberty interest in remaining in a public place of his or her choosing is well established. See Vincent v. City of Sulphur, No. 2:13-CV-189, 2014 WL 2003193, at *6 (W.D. La. May 15, 2014) (collecting cases) (emphasis added).

DISCUSSION

The Court finds that summary judgment is warranted under the facts of the case as ...


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