104 F.3d 367 (10th Cir. 1996), 95-6459, Anderson v. Campbell

Docket Nº:95-6459.
Citation:104 F.3d 367
Party Name:Paul W. ANDERSON, Jr. and Joyce Anderson, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. Stan CAMPBELL; Casey Owens; Steve Whitson; and Greg Valencia, Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:December 20, 1996
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

Page 367

104 F.3d 367 (10th Cir. 1996)

Paul W. ANDERSON, Jr. and Joyce Anderson, Plaintiffs-Appellants,


Stan CAMPBELL; Casey Owens; Steve Whitson; and Greg Valencia, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 95-6459.

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

December 20, 1996

Editorial Note:

This opinion appears in the Federal reporter in a table titled "Table of Decisions Without Reported Opinions". (See FI CTA10 Rule 36.3 regarding use of unpublished opinions)

97 CJ C.A.R. 23

Before PORFILIO, ALARCON, [**] and LUCERO, Circuit Judges.


LUCERO, Circuit Judge.

This case explores the area of law bound by Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573 (1980) on the one side, and Steagald v. United States, 451 U.S. 204 (1981) on the other. 1 In Payton, the Court stated that a felony arrest warrant founded on probable cause carries with it the "limited authority to enter a dwelling in which the suspect lives when there is reason to believe the suspect is within." Id. at 603. Steagald holds that absent exigent circumstances or consent, an arrest warrant does not justify entry into a third person's home to search for the subject of the arrest warrant. Id. at 215-216. We conclude the facts before us fit more neatly within Payton and affirm.

Plaintiffs Paul and Joyce Anderson sued four individual police officers with the Oklahoma City Police Department pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging the officers violated their civil rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments by unlawfully entering their home to arrest their twenty-year old son, Steven Anderson. At approximately 8:45 p.m. on the day in question, defendants came to plaintiffs' home in Oklahoma City to execute an arrest warrant for Steven. The officers did not have physical possession of the warrant, but had confirmed its existence and validity moments before arriving at plaintiffs' residence. Officers Valencia and Owens each went to a side of the home, while Officers Campbell and Whitson approached the front door. Paul Anderson came to the front door and told Officers Campbell and Whitson his son did not live there. Paul Anderson testified he refused to allow the police to enter the house because they exhibited neither an arrest nor a search warrant. Plaintiffs allege the officers unlawfully entered their home, physically attacked Paul Anderson using excessive force, and unlawfully arrested them.

The parties consented to assignment of the case to a magistrate judge, and the case proceeded to jury trial. At the close of plaintiffs' evidence, the magistrate judge granted defendants' motion for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL), pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a)(1), as to all of plaintiffs' claims against all of the defendants for unlawful entry. The magistrate judge also granted the JMOL motion as to all of plaintiffs' claims for unlawful arrest and excessive force against Officers Valencia and Owens, and these defendants were dismissed from the case. At the close of defendants' presentation of evidence, the magistrate judge denied plaintiffs' JMOL motion. The jury then returned a verdict against plaintiffs on all remaining claims, and the magistrate judge denied plaintiffs' motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV).

On appeal, plaintiffs allege the magistrate judge erred in granting defendants' JMOL motions and in denying plaintiffs' JMOL and JNOV motions; in giving improper instructions to the jury; and in allowing the introduction of certain testimony. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291.

I. Grant of Judgment as a Matter of Law

Judgment as a matter of law is appropriate where a party has been fully heard on an issue and "there is no legally sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find for that party on that issue." Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a)(1). We review the district court's grant of judgment as a matter of law de novo, applying the same standard as that applied by the district court. Sheets v. Salt Lake County, 45 F.3d 1383, 1387 (10th Cir.), cert. denied, 116 S.Ct. 74 (1995). In deciding whether to enter JMOL, the trial court "must view the evidence most favorably to the party against whom the motion is made, and give that party the benefit of all reasonable inferences. The court may not weigh the evidence or pass upon the witnesses' credibility, or substitute its...

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