60 F.3d 1211 (6th Cir. 1995), 94-5047, Pyles v. Raisor

Docket Nº:94-5047.
Citation:60 F.3d 1211
Party Name:Teresa A. PYLES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Robert S. RAISOR, Defendant-Appellant, Ray L. Sabbatine, et al., Defendants.
Case Date:August 01, 1995
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Page 1211

60 F.3d 1211 (6th Cir. 1995)

Teresa A. PYLES, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Robert S. RAISOR, Defendant-Appellant,

Ray L. Sabbatine, et al., Defendants.

No. 94-5047.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

August 1, 1995

Argued March 24, 1995.

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Charles G. Williamson, Jr., Mt. Sterling, KY (argued and briefed), for plaintiff-appellee.

Dave Whalin (argued and briefed), Landrum & Shouse, Louisville, KY, Gordon Goad, Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Frankfort, KY, for defendant-appellant.

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Before: JONES and BATCHELDER, Circuit Judges; JOINER, District Judge. [*]

JOINER, D.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which BATCHELDER, J., joined. JONES, J. (pp. 1216-17), delivered a separate dissenting opinion.

JOINER, District Judge.

Defendant, Robert Raisor, an enforcement officer for Kentucky's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, arrested plaintiff Teresa Pyles at a rock concert for supplying alcohol to a minor. Pyles responded with this 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 action, claiming that the arrest and the manner in which it was conducted violated her civil rights. The district court agreed in part, concluding that Pyles' arrest violated Kentucky law. The court entered judgment as a matter of law in Pyles' favor on the issue of liability, and the jury awarded Pyles $35,000 in damages. Inasmuch as Raisor had probable cause to arrest Pyles, we find no federal constitutional right implicated in this action, and reverse the judgment against him.


The rock concert at which Pyles was arrested was held in Rupp Arena, where state, county and city law enforcement officers were engaged in a joint operation to control the unlawful procurement of alcohol for minors. Their operation was conducted pursuant to Ky.Rev.Stat. Sec. 530.070(1)(a) (Baldwin 1994), which governs unlawful transactions with minors and provides that a person is guilty of a misdemeanor when he knowingly "sells, gives, purchases or procures any alcoholic or malt beverage in any form to or for a minor." Section 530.070(1)(a) further states that it "does not apply to a parent or guardian of the minor." Under Kentucky law, the age of majority is 18, except with respect to alcohol and the care and treatment of children with disabilities, for which the age of majority is 21. Ky.Rev.Stat. Sec. 2.015 (Baldwin 1994). The officers were instructed to issue citations to adults who violated Sec. 530.070(1)(a) with respect to minors 18 years of age and older, but to arrest violators who procured alcohol for minors under the age of 18. To aid in the enforcement of Sec. 530.070(1)(a), all beer was sold at the concert in distinctively colored cups.

Pyles attended the concert with her husband, an adult friend, and two German exchange students. Immediately upon arriving, Pyles' husband and his friend bought two glasses of beer apiece, the limit at the concession stand. They testified that each planned on drinking three beers, and returned to the line to purchase two more glasses of beer. The three adults then walked to their seats, each carrying two glasses of beer. The exchange students accompanied them.

Raisor observed the group walking down the aisle and took a seat behind them. Raisor testified that he saw one of the exchange students, Annabell Haars, take a sip from a beer-colored glass with a straw in it. Raisor approached the group, asked for identification, and was told that Haars had none with her. Raisor saw a glass of beer sitting on the floor between Pyles and Haars, and observed Haars trying to scoot the beer with her foot closer to Pyles' seat. Raisor told Pyles and Haars to accompany him to the concourse, where another officer ascertained that Haars was 17 years old. According to Raisor, Pyles became loud and argumentative, telling him that Haars was an exchange student living in her house, and would be deported if arrested. Pyles did not tell Raisor that she was Haars' guardian. Raisor testified that Haars said that she had taken a few sips of the beer, and that the legal age for drinking beer in Germany was 16.

Haars did not testify at trial. Pyles testified, however, that the beer on the floor was one of the three purchased for their adult friend, and that he had left it behind when he exchanged seats with Haars. Pyles further testified that she was detained at the arena for thirty minutes, and that during this time Raisor shouted at her and used profane language.

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Pyles was then handcuffed and transported by a Lexington police officer to the detention center. Pyles testified that she endured a pat-down search at the detention center in the...

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