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Morris v. Keland

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

February 29, 2016

ANTHONY D. MORRIS, Plaintiff,
v.
MINDY KELAND, Defendant.

DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DKT. NO. 23) AND DISMISSING CASE

HON. PAMELA PEPPER United States District Judge

Pro se plaintiff Anthony D. Morris currently is incarcerated at the Racine County Jail, although the events alleged in his complaint occurred on February 16, 2014, during a traffic stop. On January 28, 2015, the court entered an order allowing the plaintiff to proceed on his Fourth Amendment claim that the defendant stopped his vehicle without probable cause or reasonable suspicion. Dkt. No. 10. On August 10, 2015, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 23), which was fully briefed as of October 30, 2015 (Dkt. Nos. 36, 39). For the reasons stated below, the court grants the defendant’s motion, and dismisses the complaint.

I. FACTS[1]

On February 6, 2014, when defendant Officer Mindy Keland was on duty, she noticed a vehicle operated by the plaintiff speeding in the 1400 block of Martin Luther King Drive in Racine, Wisconsin. Dkt. No. 34 at ¶1. The posted speed limit was 30 m.p.h., and she states that she estimated the vehicle to be traveling at about 45 m.p.h. Id. at ¶2.

After she pulled over the plaintiff’s vehicle, she learned that the plaintiff was operating the vehicle without a valid driver’s license, and that he was the subject of an open/active arrest warrant. Id. at ¶¶5, 6. According to the defendant, she issued the plaintiff two traffic citations (unreasonable and imprudent speed, and operating without a valid driver’s license) and arrested the plaintiff on the open/active warrant. Id. at ¶¶7, 8.

Although the plaintiff contested both traffic citations in the Racine Municipal Court, the judge found him guilty of both violations following a bench trial. Id. at ¶9.

The plaintiff denies that he was speeding when the defendant pulled him over. Dkt. No. 41 at ¶1. In addition, the plaintiff states that the defendant informed him that she pulled him over for speeding in a school zone, and that she had issued the “unreasonable and imprudent speed” citation on that basis. Id. at ¶¶3, 7. The plaintiff argues that the school zone speed limit was not operative because there were no children present at the time the defendant pulled him over. Dkt. No. 1 at 6. While the plaintiff agrees that he was found guilty of driving at an unreasonable and imprudent speed, he asserts that it was not because he was speeding. Id. at ¶9. According to the plaintiff, the judge said he did not believe that the plaintiff was speeding, but because of the then-existing conditions, he believed the plaintiff should have been going slower than the speed limit. Id.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Summary Judgment Standard

“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); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986); Ames v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 629 F.3d 665, 668 (7th Cir. 2011). “Material facts” are those under the applicable substantive law that “might affect the outcome of the suit.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. A dispute over “material fact” is “genuine” if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.

A party asserting that a fact cannot be disputed or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by:

(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or (B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1). “An affidavit or declaration used to support or oppose a motion must be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant or declarant is competent to ...


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