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Webb v. Scott

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

March 22, 2016

DAVID WEBB, Plaintiff - Appellant,
TIMOTHY SCOTT, Police Officer at Ogden City Police Department; FNU MURRAY, Police Officer at Ogden City Police Department; JON GREINER, Chief of Police at Ogden City Police Department, Defendants-Appellees, and TERRY L. THOMPSON, Sheriff for Weber County; ROBERT WEST, Sgt. at Weber County Correctional Facility; ALTON JOHNSON, Sgt. at Weber County Correctional Facility; ANDREW FLATT, Correctional Officer at Weber County Correctional Facility; KEVIN MCCLEOD, Undersheriff at Weber County Sheriff's Office; KEVIN BURTON, Captain and Corrections Division Chief Deputy at Weber County Correctional Facility; FNU GATES, Correctional Officer at Weber County Correctional Facility, Defendants.

(D.C. No. 1:11-CV-00128-DB-DBP) (D. Utah)

Before LUCERO, GORSUCH, and McHUGH, Circuit Judges.


Carlos F. Lucero Circuit Judge

David Webb appeals the district court's grants of summary judgment and qualified immunity in favor of Timothy Scott, Kevin Murray, and Jon Greiner (collectively, "Ogden Defendants"). The district court certified its grant of summary judgment as final under Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). Exercising jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings.


Greiner is the former Ogden City Chief of Police, and Scott and Murray are Ogden City police officers. On July 20, 2011, Webb was driving in Ogden City when Murray pulled him over for a traffic equipment violation. According to Murray's affidavit, as he was driving behind Webb it appeared that Webb's license plate light may not have been functioning. Webb contends that his license plate light was functioning properly and points to evidence supporting that position. Murray counters that he could not confirm the malfunction while his headlights were shining on Webb's license plate, but established that the light was not functioning after he turned his headlights off. A dash camera recording from the patrol car neither confirms nor contradicts Murray's or Webb's claims due to the video's poor quality.

Murray arrested Webb without a warrant for the malfunctioning license plate light and took him to the Weber County Correctional Facility ("WCCF"). At Murray's request, Webb was strip searched during the booking process. Murray completed a Weber County "Probable Cause Affidavit" with information pertaining to Webb's arrest (the "Affidavit"). That form was placed in a filing receptacle in the WCCF's booking area to await a judge's approval or denial. According to the Weber County Sheriff, it was WCCF practice for a judge to review the affidavits in the filing receptacle at least every other day. But for unknown reasons, a judge never reviewed the Affidavit. Consequently, Webb remained in the WCCF for five days without receiving a judicial probable cause determination. Webb eventually received a hearing, during which the prosecutor struck all charges. He was then released.

Webb filed this pro se action raising claims under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986.[1] As relevant to this appeal, Webb challenged the legality of the traffic stop, his arrest, the strip search, and his detention without a prompt judicial probable cause determination.

Ogden Defendants moved for summary judgment on all claims. A magistrate judge issued a report and recommendation ("R&R") recommending the motion be granted. After Webb filed pro se objections to the R&R, the court appointed counsel. It ordered Webb, through counsel, to file a new objection to the R&R.[2] After reviewing Webb's objections and Ogden Defendants' responses, the district court adopted the R&R and granted Ogden Defendants summary judgment on all claims. Although several claims remained pending against other defendants, Webb filed in this court a Petition for Permission to Appeal the summary judgment ruling in favor of Ogden Defendants. We denied his petition. Webb v. Scott, No. 15-602, order at 3 (10th Cir. April 21, 2015). Ogden Defendants then moved the district court to certify its summary judgment ruling as final under Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). The court granted that motion, and Webb filed a notice of appeal.[3]


On appeal, Webb challenges only the district court judgment pertaining to Murray. He does not argue that the judgment was erroneous as to Scott. And as to Greiner he only argues a violation of the Hatch Act. This claim is waived because Webb's objections to the R&R stated that he did not object to dismissing his Hatch Act claims. Soliz v. Chater, 82 F.3d 373, 375-76 (10th Cir. 1996) (arguments not raised in objections to R&R are waived).

We review the district court's grant of summary judgment de novo, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Webb. Schneider v. City of Grand Junction Police Dep't, 717 F.3d 760, 766 (10th Cir. 2013). "The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). To defeat summary judgment based on qualified immunity, a plaintiff must "show (1) a reasonable jury could find facts supporting a violation of a constitutional right, which (2) was clearly established at the time of the defendant's conduct." Estate of Booker v. Gomez, 745 F.3d 405, 411 (10th Cir. 2014). Because Webb proceeds pro se, we liberally construe his filings. See Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991).


Webb contends there are disputed issues of material fact which preclude summary judgment on his claims that Murray, the arresting officer, lacked reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop. "A traffic stop is valid under the Fourth Amendment if the stop is based on an observed traffic violation or if the police officer has reasonable articulable suspicion that a traffic or equipment violation has occurred or is occurring." United States v. Villa-Chaparro, 115 F.3d 797, 801 (10th Cir. 1997) (quotations omitted). The reasonableness of a traffic stop does not depend on the subjective motivation of the officer. Id. Rather, "[r]easonable suspicion requires that an officer provide some minimal level of objective justification." United States v. Vercher, 358 F.3d 1257, 1261 (10th Cir. 2004) (quotations omitted). "Moreover, reasonable suspicion may be supported by an objectively ...

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