488 F.3d 756 (7th Cir. 2007), 06-2170, Reynolds v. Jamison

Docket Nº:06-2170.
Citation:488 F.3d 756
Party Name:Richard REYNOLDS, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Dawn JAMISON and Christopher Darr, Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:June 08, 2007
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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488 F.3d 756 (7th Cir. 2007)

Richard REYNOLDS, Plaintiff-Appellant,


Dawn JAMISON and Christopher Darr, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 06-2170.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

June 8, 2007

Argued November 29, 2006.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois. No. 05 C 2138-Harold A. Baker, Judge.

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Ruth E. Wyman (argued), Champaign, IL, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Dawn Jamison (argued), Urbana, IL, pro se.

Basileios J. Foutris (argued), Foutris Law Office, Chicago, IL, for Defendant-Appellee Christopher Darr.

Before BAUER, CUDAHY, and ROYNER, Circuit Judges.


CUDAHY, Circuit Judge.

Richard Reynolds was arrested on two occasions--July 12, 2004 and November 28, 2004--by the defendant, Officer Christopher Darr. The first arrest concerned threatening phone calls that Reynolds made to his ex-girlfriend, Dawn Jamison, the other defendant in the present case. This arrest ultimately led to a protective order entered against Reynolds, and the second arrest concerned an alleged violation of this order. In June 2005, the plaintiff brought a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 lawsuit against both Officer Darr and Jamison, claiming that the defendants conspired to violate his right to be free from unreasonable seizure by arresting him without probable cause. Officer Darr filed a motion to stay discovery, along with a motion for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity. Jamison also filed a motion for summary judgment. The district court held that discovery would not lead to any triable issue with respect to the July 12, 2004 arrest, but allowed Reynolds leave to conduct limited discovery to determine if Officer Darr had probable cause to arrest him on November 28, 2004. In a subsequent opinion, the court granted both Officer Darr and Jamison's motions for summary judgment. Reynolds now appeals. We affirm.

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I. Background

Reynolds and Jamison had been in a romantic relationship, which ended sometime in 2004. On July 12, 2004, Reynolds contacted Urbana Animal Control about a dispute with Jamison over a dog in Jamison's possession, which Reynolds claimed he owned. An animal control officer along with Officer Darr responded to the call and spoke with Reynolds. Darr then contacted Jamison at her workplace to discuss the dispute over the dog. In the course of that conversation, Jamison revealed that Reynolds had contacted her at least five times that day to harass her. On one of those occasions, Jamison claims that she put the telephone on speaker phone so that her co-workers could hear the conversation. Jamison also told Darr that during one phone call, Reynolds threatened to harm Jamison's son and dog. Darr continued the investigation at Jamison's office where she showed Darr a computer log recording sixty-one phone calls from Reynolds and mentioned that some of the later calls were threatening in nature. Darr also claims that he listened to several threatening voicemails Jamison had saved and spoke with Jamison's co-workers regarding the threatening calls. Later that same day, after reviewing the information he had gathered, Darr questioned Reynolds and arrested him for telephone harassment. 1 After Reynolds' arrest, Jamison brought Darr a CD that contained 72 voicemails left by Reynolds at her work.

The next day, July 13, 2004, the Champaign County Circuit Court granted Jamison an Order of Protection against Reynolds. The Order of Protection provided:

Respondent is further ordered and enjoined as follows: No contact whatsoever. No contact by phone, cell phone, mail, email, fax, or third person with protected persons and must remain 500 ft away from protected persons and places at all times. When Respondent visits his relatives on East Pennsylvania, respondent must use Philo Road entrance and exit only and must remain 500 feet away from protected persons and places at all times.

(Appellant's Br. At 7.) Reynolds ultimately pleaded guilty to the offense of harassment by telephone for making a threatening call between May 2004 and July 2004.

On November 28, 2004, Reynolds attended a gathering at his grandparents' home, which is located on East Pennsylvania, near Jamison's home. According to the Metropolitan Computer-aided Dispatch service (METCAD) records, Jamison called 911/METCAD to report that Reynolds

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was violating an order of protection. Jamison alleged that she observed Reynolds drive back and forth in front of her home several times, aim the truck at her son's bedroom and rev the engine.

After the police dispatcher received Jamison's call, Sergeant Dan Morgan contacted Officer Darr and notified him of the domestic dispute between Jamison and Reynolds. Morgan asked Darr to accompany him, in a separate vehicle, to investigate the alleged violation of an order of protection. After the officers had been dispatched, Jamison called 911 again to report that Reynolds was leaving the vicinity of her house and might be heading home or to his parents' house. Upon receiving this dispatch, Sergeant Morgan and Officer Darr split up to try to locate Reynolds. Darr did not speak with Jamison that night.

While en route, Officer Darr accessed METCAD to retrieve the details of the order of protection. These details noted no exception for visits to Reynolds' grandparents' house on East Pennsylvania. When Darr ultimately located Reynolds' vehicle and pulled him over, he also checked the Law Enforcement Agency Database System (LEADS) which verified the order of protection against Reynolds. 2 Darr's onboard computer showed that Reynolds was prohibited from coming within 500 feet of Jamison's house--1308 East Pennsylvania Avenue--but did not include any exception concerning Reynolds' grandparents' house. When Darr questioned Reynolds, he confirmed that he had been visiting his grandparents' house, which Darr learned--either from Reynolds himself, the dispatch or from Sergeant Morgan--was located at 1311 East Pennsylvania Avenue. From his familiarity with the area and his experience as a police officer, Darr knew that Reynolds' grandparents' house was within 500 feet of Jamison's home. Reynolds explained to Darr that there was an exception to the order of protection and requested that he or someone else be allowed to retrieve his copy of the order. At this point, Darr also allegedly checked with the Champaign County Jail Records Division, which maintains copies of orders of protection that are entered by Champaign County courts, but again did not find any exception to the order of protection. Officer Darr then placed Reynolds under arrest for violating the protection order. Reynolds spent the night in jail, but the charge was dismissed the next day.

On June 13, 2005, Reynolds filed the present lawsuit against Darr and Jamison pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the defendants conspired to violate his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizure when he was arrested on both July 12, 2004 and November 28, 2004. The defendants filed separate motions for summary judgment. Darr argued that he was entitled to qualified immunity. Officer Darr also filed a motion to stay discovery arguing that discovery was unnecessary because his motion for summary judgment was based, in part, on qualified immunity. The district court denied Darr's motion to stay discovery, and allowed for limited discovery as to two issues: "whether Darr, while on duty as an Urbana police officer, responded to a police dispatch that resulted in Reynolds' November 28, 2004 arrest, and whether Darr acted prudently during the arrest by checking his onboard computer for the terms of the order of protection." Reynolds v. Jamison (Reynolds I), No. 05-2138, slip op. at 5-6, 2006 WL 208854 (C.D.Ill. Jan. 24, 2006).

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On March 30, 2006, the district court granted the defendants' motions for summary judgment and disposed of all claims. Reynolds v. Jamison (Reynolds II), No. 05-2138, slip op. at 3 (C.D.Ill. Mar. 30, 2006). Reynolds appeals both the district court's decision to limit discovery and its grant of summary judgment.

II. Discussion

A. Discovery Order

We review a district court's decision to limit discovery for abuse of discretion. Vallone v. CNA Fin. Corp., 375 F.3d 623, 629 (7th Cir. 2004). "A court does not abuse its discretion unless one or more of the following circumstances is present: (1) the record contains no evidence upon which the court could have rationally based its decision; (2) the decision is based on an erroneous conclusion of law; (3) the decision is based on clearly erroneous factual findings; or (4) the decision clearly appears arbitrary." Id. (internal quotations marks omitted). The complaining party must also establish that the district court's decision resulted in "actual and substantial prejudice." Stagman v. Ryan, 176 F.3d 986, 994 (7th Cir. 1999).

In the present case, the district court examined the need for discovery in light of Officer Darr's motion for summary judgment. Noting the burden placed on the party moving for summary judgment, the court held that any discovery should relate to disputed material facts concerning Reynolds' § 1983 claim, namely any material facts concerning whether Darr had probable cause to arrest Reynolds in July or in November.

1. The July 12, 2004 Arrest

For the July 12, 2004 arrest, the district court determined that there were no genuine issues of material fact relevant to the question whether Darr had probable cause to arrest Reynolds. In brief, whether a law enforcement officer had probable cause depends on whether, at the time of the arrest, it was reasonable for the officer to believe that the defendant had...

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