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Brewer v. Ross

United States District Court, D. Utah, Northern Division

January 22, 2018

JORDAN ALAN NEVES BREWER, Plaintiff,
v.
JEFFREY ROSS & TREVOR PETERSEN, Defendants.

          ORDER AND MEMORANDUM DECISION

          TENA CAMPBELL, U.S. District Court Judge

         Defendants Jeffrey Ross and Trevor Petersen have filed motions for summary judgment[1]seeking dismissal of Pro Se Plaintiff Jordan Brewer's claims that the Defendants violated his Fourth Amendment rights in connection with an allegedly illegal search and seizure in September 2011. Mr. Brewer, in response, filed a motion under Rule 56(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for a stay of the court's decision until discovery can be conducted. (See Pl.'s Mot. Stay Summ. J. Pending Discovery Pursuant to Rule 56(f), ECF No. 59 (“Rule 56(d) Motion”)[2].) Specifically, he requests the following:

• “incident reports generated by the defendants [sic] September 2011 detention, arrest, and search of my person and my mother's car” (Id. ¶ 3);
• “other photos they took of my hands and wrists” (Id. ¶ 4);
• an explanation from SA Ross about “why he would ask me about whether I was going to be okay if I wasn't showing a substantial mental and emotional response to how I was treated” (Id. ¶ 5);
• a deposition of “Mr. Almon Bates, [the Defendants'] alleged informant” (Id. ¶ 6); and
• an order for a Martinez report (Id. ¶ 7).

         For the reasons set forth below, the court finds that only the requests for incident reports and photos have merit. Accordingly, Mr. Brewer's motion is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.

         BACKGROUND

         Mr. Brewer, a pro se plaintiff who is currently incarcerated in the Utah State Prison, filed this civil rights action in 2015, alleging that the Defendants, both of whom are law enforcement officers, violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unlawful arrest, unreasonable detention, excessive force (he alleges that he was injured when the officers placed handcuffs too tightly on his wrists), and unlawful search. At the time of the events at issue in the complaint, Mr. Brewer was not incarcerated and was living in Ogden, Utah.

         When the Defendants encountered Mr. Brewer, Defendant Jeffrey Ross was a special agent with the FBI and Defendant Trevor Petersen was a detective with the Weber County Sheriff's Office. Both Defendants raise the defense of qualified immunity.

         Detective Petersen argues that he is entitled to summary judgment on all four of Mr. Brewer's claims against him. He contends that (1) “there was sufficient probable cause to arrest, detain, and transport Plaintiff on the date in question”; (2) assuming Special Agent Ross (SA Ross) searched Mr. Brewer's car, “there was sufficient probable cause for SA Ross to make a protective sweep of the passenger compartment of the vehicle for weapons” that Mr. Brewer was “known to carry”; and (3) Mr. Brewer “has failed to demonstrate more than a de minimis injury from the handcuff[s] placed on him on the date in question.” (Def. Trevor Petersen's Mot. Summ. J. & Mem. in Support at 1-2, ECF No. 44.) SA Ross raises similar arguments in his motion, in which he contends that Mr. Brewer cannot establish a constitutional violation for any of the five claims. (See Def. Jeffrey Ross's Mot. Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 34.)

         Defendants' Search and Seizure Arguments

         In his complaint, Mr. Brewer challenges the legality of the search and seizure. According to him, he needs the incident reports “to impeach the defendants [sic] personal account of what occurred and their intent.” (Ex. A to Rule 56(d) Mot. at ¶ 3.) The Defendants respond that the officers' intent is irrelevant to the objective probable cause analysis and so no impeachment is required.

         Defendants' ...


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