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Jacox v. City of Bloomington

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

April 20, 2017

Allie Jacox, Plaintiff,
v.
City of Bloomington, et al., Defendants.

          William L. Walker, Jr., Walker Law Offices, PA, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for Plaintiff.

          Jason M. Hiveley, Iverson Reuvers Condon, Bloomington, Minnesota, for Defendants John Doe, Bloomington Police Department, and City of Bloomington.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          RICHARD H. KYLE United States District Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         In the evening of August 14, 2015, Bloomington police officers went to Plaintiff Allie Jacox's home in an attempt to locate her grandson, who had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. There they briefly detained her, searched her, and searched her home. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, she now alleges that Defendants John Doe, the Bloomington Police Department, and the City of Bloomington (collectively, the “Bloomington Defendants”), as well as the Hennepin County Sheriff and Hennepin County Probation (collectively, the “Hennepin Defendants”), violated federal and state law in connection with her detention and search. Presently before the Court is the Bloomington Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. For the reasons that follow, the Motion will be granted.

         BACKGROUND

         The material facts are undisputed. In the evening on August 14, 2015, a Hennepin County probation officer, assisted by Bloomington police officers, performed home visits on probationers. (Blake Aff. ¶ 3; Buzicky Aff. Ex. A.) One probationer, Leon Lambert, Jr., had an active felony warrant for his arrest. (Blake Aff. ¶ 2, Ex. A; Buzicky Aff. Ex. A.) In an attempt to locate him, the team proceeded to the address listed on Lambert's warrant-8401 Portland Avenue South.

         There, they encountered Jacox, who is Lambert's grandmother and owns the home at that address. Jacox testified in her deposition that she was asleep and was awakened by banging on her front door. (Jacox Dep. 15.) Once out of bed, she saw “somebody was running around on [her] front steps [but] couldn't see who it was.” (Id.) She retrieved a handgun “because [she is] 80 years old, and black, and stay[s] by [her]self.” (Id.) Handgun at her side, she walked to her front door and heard, “Police. Open the door.” (Id.) She complied, and the group began questioning her about Lambert. (Id.) Jacox asked them to identify themselves, and they replied that they were Bloomington police officers. She observed they were “dressed all in blue, ” and she saw badges but was not wearing her glasses. (Id. 16.) Their questioning about Lambert resumed; she advised that he no longer lived there, and she did not know his whereabouts. (Id. 16-17.)

         In the midst of this conversation, Jacox's home alarm sounded. She turned away from the group to disable it, and that is when the officers noticed her handgun. (Id. 17.) The officers backed away and shouted, “Gun! Come out with your hands up!” (Id.) Again, Jacox complied; she laid her handgun on a sewing machine near her front door and walked outside. (Id.) The officers commanded her to raise her hands and get on her knees, but prior shoulder and back injuries limited her range of motion. (Id. 18.) She put her hands in the air and “squatted down, ” and a male officer cuffed her hands behind her back. (Id.) She said, “I [have] a permit to carry and my gun is registered.” (Id.) The officer proceeded to search her and, in the course of the search, touched her breasts and vaginal area with the palm of his hand. (See id. 34-37.) Jacox wore only a thin nightgown and shirt. (Id. 36.)

         The officer then asked Jacox to wait near a tree in her yard. (Id. 18.) For five to six minutes, she waited there, handcuffed, while the officers discussed whether to search her home. (Id. 18-19, 44.) She told the officers, “If you're going to search my house, my downstairs is locked, ” but she refused to share the location of the keys. (Id. 19.) Officers secured her gun, searched the unlocked areas of the home, then returned to her, re-cuffed her hands in front of her body, and allowed her to retrieve keys to the locked rooms. (Id. 20.) She did so and remained inside as the officers completed their search. (Id.) They did not find Lambert. Afterwards, the officers returned Jacox's firearm and left. (Id. 20-21.)

         Jacox later commenced this action in the Hennepin County District Court, alleging federal claims for unreasonable search and seizure and conspiracy, as well as related claims under state law. The Bloomington Defendants removed the action to this Court and now move for summary judgment. The Motion has been fully briefed, the Court heard argument on March 16, 2017, and the Motion is ripe for disposition.

         STANDARD OF DECISION

         Summary judgment is proper if, drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The moving party bears the burden of showing that the material facts in the case are undisputed. Id. at 322; Johnson v. Wheeling Mach. Prod., 779 F.3d 514, 517 (8th Cir. 2015). The Court must view the evidence, and the inferences that may be reasonably drawn from it, in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Ryan v. Armstrong, 850 F.3d 419, 424 (8th Cir. 2017); Letterman v. Does, 789 F.3d 856, 858, 861 (8th Cir. 2015). The nonmoving party may not rest on allegations or denials, but must show through the presentation of admissible ...


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