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HOLLAND v. O'BRYANT

April 30, 1997

QUENTIN HOLLAND, et al., Plaintiff,
v.
GEORGE F. O'BRYANT, JR., et al., Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SPORKIN

 This matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and Defendants Gibson and O'Bryant's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. The Court has considered the motions and the opposition thereto and heard argument on April 25, 1997.

 BACKGROUND

 During December 1995, members of the 6th Metropolitan Police Department District ("6th MPD District") received information that crack cocaine was being sold from premises at 3972 Blaine Street, N.E. in Washington, D.C. After a confidential source (the "CS") allegedly made a controlled buy of illegal drugs on the premises, Investigator O'Bryant, a Defendant in this case, applied for and obtained a search warrant for the premises. Officers of the 6th MPD District executed the search warrant on February 2, 1996 and found a .25 calibre semi-automatic pistol, but no illegal drugs.

 Following the execution of the search warrant at 3972 Blaine Street, N.E., Lieutenant Gibson, another Defendant in this case, received a number of phone calls advising him that illegal drugs were being sold at several locations in the same neighborhood, including the premises of 3973 Blaine Street, N.E. Defendant O'Bryant then asked the CS whether he had any information regarding such activities at that address. The CS advised O'Bryant that while he had no information concerning 3973 Blaine Street, N.E. at that time, he would look into the matter. Allegedly, the CS subsequently reported that he had entered the back door of premises that he identified as 3973 Blaine Street, N.E. and had observed large, white rocks of a substance which he recognized to be crack cocaine. Defendant O'Bryant allegedly confirmed the identification of the premises which the CS had visited, and prepared an affidavit (the "O'Bryant Affidavit"). The O'Bryant Affidavit, which identified 3973 Blaine Street, N.E. as a "cut house stash" (i.e. a facility where crack cocaine is stored and processed), served as the basis for a search warrant for the premises obtained by the officers of the 6th MPD District.

 Defendants Gibson and O'Bryant were each members of a team of approximately 18 officers from the 6th MPD District who executed the search warrant at 3973 Blaine Street, N.E. on February 16, 1996. At 6:30 p.m. the police team made a forcible entry, busting down the front door. During the course of the execution of the search warrant, Plaintiff Quentin A. Holland, was searched and allegedly held at gun point. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint states that "the entire house was ransacked, drawers pulled out and dumped on the floor, an upstairs window was broken [and] furniture was moved and overturned." Amended Complaint P 15. The officers of the 6th MPD District found no contraband during the search and Plaintiff Quentin A. Holland has proffered that he is not and has never been involved in the distribution of illegal drugs. The physical layout of 3973 Blaine Street, N.E. and the description of the premises included in the O'Bryant Affidavit were inconsistent in several respects. *fn1"

 Plaintiffs now move for summary judgment, arguing that they have made out a prima facie case of liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 with respect to Defendant O'Bryant on Count I of the Amended Complaint. Defendants Gibson and O'Bryant move for summary judgment on Plaintiffs' § 1983 claim, arguing that they acted reasonably and are entitled to qualified immunity. Trial is scheduled to commence in this case on June 2, 1997 at 10 a.m.

 SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARDS

 Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, summary judgment shall be rendered if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c).

 In Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986), the Supreme Court outlined the standards governing summary judgment:

 
Summary judgment procedure is properly regarded not as a disfavored procedural shortcut, but rather as an integral part of the Federal Rules as a whole, which are designed "to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action." Fed. R. Civ. P. 1.
 
Rule 56 must be construed with due regard not only for the rights of the persons asserting claims and defenses that are adequately based in fact to have those claims and defenses tried to a jury, but also for the rights of persons opposing such claims and defenses to demonstrate in the manner provided by ...

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