675 Fed.Appx. 575 (6th Cir. 2017), 16-5811, Partin v. Davis
|Docket Nº:||Case 16-5811|
|Citation:||675 Fed.Appx. 575|
|Opinion Judge:||COOK, Circuit Judge.|
|Party Name:||MIKE PARTIN; CHRISTA PARTIN; MIKE PARTIN TRUCKING, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. FLOYD DON DAVIS; FRANKLIN COUNTY; JASON IKARD; IKARD TOWING; MARTIN TYLER, Individually, Defendants-Appellees|
|Attorney:||For MIKE PARTIN, CHRISTA PARTIN, MIKE PARTIN TRUCKING, Plaintiffs - Appellants: Stuart Fawcett James, James, Goins & Carpenter, Chattanooga, TN. For FLOYD DON DAVIS, Defendant - Appellee: Robert S. Peters, Swafford, Peters, Priest & Hall, Winchester, TN. For FRANKLIN COUNTY, TN, MARTIN TYLER, Ind...|
|Judge Panel:||BEFORE: DAUGHTREY, CLAY, and COOK, Circuit Judges.|
|Case Date:||January 13, 2017|
|Court:||United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit|
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ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE.
For MIKE PARTIN, CHRISTA PARTIN, MIKE PARTIN TRUCKING, Plaintiffs - Appellants: Stuart Fawcett James, James, Goins & Carpenter, Chattanooga, TN.
For FLOYD DON DAVIS, Defendant - Appellee: Robert S. Peters, Swafford, Peters, Priest & Hall, Winchester, TN.
For FRANKLIN COUNTY, TN, MARTIN TYLER, Individually, Defendants - Appellees: Michael Todd Schmitt, Ortale, Kelley, Herbert & Crawford, Nashville, TN.
For JASON IKARD, IKARD TOWING, Defendants - Appellees: Buddy Dillenger Perry, Law Office, Winchester, TN.
BEFORE: DAUGHTREY, CLAY, and COOK, Circuit Judges.
COOK, Circuit Judge.
Mike Partin, Christa Partin, and Mike Partin Trucking, LLC (the " Partin Plaintiffs" ), challenge the seizure of their two semi-trailer trucks under a state court writ of execution. They bring 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims for violations of their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights against the lawyer who pursued the writ of execution, the sheriff's deputy who enforced it, the county employing the sheriff's deputy, and the towing company and its owner that helped haul the seized trucks. The district court granted the Defendants' motions for summary judgment on the Partin Plaintiffs' constitutional claims and dismissed the case. We AFFIRM.
A. Factual Background
This civil-rights action emerged out of a separate state court lawsuit. In that case, Larry Bachar sued Mike Partin and his small hauling business, Mike Partin Trucking, LLC, for injuries caused in a car accident. Following a trial in August 2014, a jury returned a $199,800 verdict in favor of Bachar. The Circuit Court of Franklin County (" Franklin Circuit Court" ) entered judgment on August 26, 2014.
Contesting this outcome, Mike Partin and Partin Trucking filed what they styled as a Motion for a New Trial in September 2014, seeking a new trial or remittitur of the jury award. They argued that the evidence on comparative fault and damages weighed against the jury verdict, and they also asserted juror bias. The Franklin Circuit Court denied the motion on December 22, 2014, concluding in a one-page order that " the verdict [was] supported by the evidence received at trial." Nevertheless, on January 14, 2015, Mike Partin and Partin Trucking filed a second post-trial motion, styled as a Motion for Reconsideration, seeking reevaluation of their claim for remittitur and requesting an evidentiary hearing on the alleged juror bias.
While this second motion was pending, Bachar's attorney, Floyd Don Davis, initiated execution proceedings on the judgment by submitting a letter and writ-of-execution form to the Franklin Circuit Court Clerk. The clerk issued a writ of execution (the " Writ" ) on January 23, 2015. The Writ specified a $199,800 judgment amount (plus interest and fees) and described the property as " [a]ll semi-trailer trucks used in [Mike Partin's] trucking business."
On January 26, 2015, Sheriff's Deputy Martin Tyler picked up the Writ from a stack of warrants and other papers sent by the Clerk's Office. After reviewing it, Deputy Tyler wanted to ensure that it was " good" before proceeding with the execution. He contacted Pamela Anderson, the deputy clerk who prepared the Writ, and she confirmed its validity.
Deputy Tyler then drove to Mike Partin's address to begin the judgment-execution process. There, he spoke with Christa Partin, Mike's wife and the co-owner of Partin Trucking, announcing that he was executing a judgment for around $200,000 and serving her with the Writ. Christa informed him that Partin Trucking had insurance and that her husband planned to appeal, but he continued with the execution anyway. According to Christa, Deputy Tyler asked her for the keys to the trucks so that he did not " have to break the locks on the doors or bust the ignitions out to get the trucks." She also testified that he told her to cooperate or else he would " get a warrant" to arrest her for " obstruction of justice." The deputy then phoned Mike Partin, explained the execution, and informed
him that if he wanted to stop the process, he had to go to a judge.
After this conversation, the Partins cooperated. Deputy Tyler asked Christa about the location of the trucks, and she told him that he could find two or three at a grain facility in Tullahoma, Tennessee, located in neighboring Coffee County. She also handed over the trucks' keys. Deputy Tyler gave her his phone number in case her husband needed to call him.
Upon leaving the Partins' home, Deputy Tyler contacted the Tullahoma Police Department to tell them about the Writ and the trucks' location. The Tullahoma authorities agreed to help enforce the Writ, and by the time Deputy Tyler reached the grain facility, they were already on site awaiting his arrival. Deputy Tyler spotted the trucks with " Mike Partin Trucking" painted on the side and ran their vehicle identification numbers to ensure that they belonged to Partin Trucking. Deputy Tyler then arranged for Jason Ikard and his towing company, Ikard Towing, to drive the trucks to a holding facility.
Later that day, Deputy Tyler learned that two of the Partins' other trucks were at a Jack Daniel's distillery in Moore County, Tennessee. He contacted Moore County law enforcement for assistance with the seizure. The Moore County authorities advised him that they were not allowed to go onto Jack Daniel's private property and thus could not assist him. They did, however, suggest that he contact Jack Daniel's directly to request access. But before Deputy Tyler made further progress, the Franklin Circuit Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (" TRO" ) that directed the parties to cease all execution activity. Deputy Tyler obeyed the TRO.
At the TRO hearing the next day, January 27, 2015, the Franklin Circuit Court set aside the execution. The Partins participated in the hearing, and afterward they retrieved their seized trucks from the holding facility. On March 4, 2015, the Franklin Circuit Court issued a Final Order denying Mike Partin and Partin Trucking's Motion for Reconsideration on the issue of remittitur and also denying their request for an evidentiary hearing on juror bias.
B. Procedural Background
Less than one month after retrieving their trucks, the Partin Plaintiffs filed this action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, challenging the lawfulness of the judgment-execution proceedings. They alleged claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Deputy Tyler, in his individual capacity, and Franklin County (the " County Defendants" ), as well as Jason Ikard and Ikard Towing (the " Ikard Defendants" ) and attorney Floyd Don Davis, contending that these parties violated their Fourteenth Amendment procedural and substantive due process rights and their Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizures. The Partin Plaintiffs further pleaded a § 1983 civil conspiracy claim against all Defendants, alleging concerted action to violate their constitutional rights. They also recited several state law causes of action, including intentional infliction of emotional distress and tortious interference with their contracts.
After discovery, the Defendants filed motions for summary judgment, and the Partin Plaintiffs filed a cross-motion for partial summary judgment. With respect to the § 1983 claims, the district court granted the Defendants' motions for summary judgment and denied the Partin Plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment, concluding that the Writ and truck seizure did not violate the claimants' procedural due process, substantive due
process, or Fourth Amendment rights. It then declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims, dismissing them without prejudice.
The Partin Plaintiffs timely appealed the district court's judgment denying their § 1983 constitutional claims.
We review the district court's decision to grant summary judgment de novo, affirming if the evidence demonstrates no genuine issue exists as to any material fact and that the Defendants are entitled to...
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