United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
LOUISE W. FLANAGAN, District Judge.
The matter is before the court on defendant's motion to dismiss (DE 26), which the court has construed with notice to plaintiff as a motion for summary judgment. The issues raised were fully briefed and are ripe for adjudication. For the following reasons, the court grants defendant's motion.
STATEMENT OF THE CASE
On April 6, 2012, plaintiff, a state inmate, filed this action pro se pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against defendant David Daniels ("Daniels"), who is a sergeant with the New Bern Police Department ("NBPD"), and previously-named defendant Assistant District Attorney Geoffrey G. Adair ("Adair"). On October 16, 2012, the court entered an order directing plaintiff to particularize his complaint. As part of its order, the court informed plaintiff that his amended pleading would constitute the complaint in its entirety.
Plaintiff subsequently complied with the court's order and filed a particularized complaint, alleging that defendants Adair and Daniels arrested him without probable cause in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Plaintiff appended several attachments to his amended complaint including a notice of dismissal, indictments, orders finding probable cause justifying continued detention, criminal judgments, criminal verdict forms, NBPD notes, motions filed in plaintiff's criminal action, and North Carolina State offender information.
On April 3, 2013, the court conducted a frivolity review of plaintiff's particularized pleading pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The court dismissed plaintiff's action against Adair pursuant to the doctrine of prosecutorial immunity, and allowed plaintiff to proceed with his action against defendant Daniels.
On July 11, 2013, plaintiff filed a motion for leave to amend his complaint. The court granted plaintiff's motion, and plaintiff filed his amended complaint on August 22, 2013. Plaintiff's amended complaint included new claims for false arrest and malicious prosecution. On September 10, 2013, plaintiff filed three compact discs. One disc contained a portion of the transcript from plaintiff's criminal trial. (Pl.'s Ex. K.) The remaining two discs contained surveillance videos of the incidents occurring on November 9 and 14, 2009, as described further below.
Defendant Daniels subsequently filed a motion to dismiss, which was fully briefed. On July 17, 2014, the court issued an order notifying the parties of its intent to review Daniels' motion as a motion for summary judgment and directed the Clerk of Court to issue a letter pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. Plaintiff then filed a response to the newly construed motion for summary judgment, and again submitted copies of the three compact discs containing plaintiff's criminal trial transcript and the videos of the November 2009 incidents.
STATEMENT OF THE FACTS
The undisputed facts may be summarized as follows. This action arises out of plaintiff's arrest on November 14, 2009, following his alleged sale of cocaine to confidential informant Carlos Rodriquez ("CI") on November 9 and 14, 2009. The first controlled cocaine purchase was set up by defendant Daniels and NBPD officers Houston, Brown, Tillman, and Raynor who met with the CI on November 9, 2009, to arrange the transaction. (Am. Compl. (DE 8), Attach. p. 10.) The target of the controlled purchase was Angelo Whitehurst ("Whitehurst"). (Id.) The NBPD provided the CI with recorded funds for making the purchase. (Id.) The NBPD also arranged for a cab to transport the CI to Whitehurst's location and to then take the CI and Whitehurst to Pembroke Avenue where the purchase was to take place. (Id.)
When the cab arrived, it took the CI to pick up Whitehurst and then took the CI and Whitehurst to the Pembroke Avenue location where the drug transaction allegedly was completed. (Id.) After the transaction was completed, the CI dropped Whitehurst off at a Fresh Foods location. ( Id., Attach. p. 11.) The CI then met with the NBPD officers and turned over the purchased cocaine. (Id.)
The activities at Pembroke Avenue were videotape recorded. (Pl.'s Ex. J(1).) Defendant Daniels viewed the videotape and observed a second suspect who sold the CI cocaine. (Am. Compl. (DE 8), Attach. p. 11; Pl.'s Ex. J(1) T: 34:33-36:44.) Neither the CI or defendant Daniels knew the identity of the second suspect. To obtain the second suspect's identity, NBPD officers showed a photographic or video image to probation officer Karen Renfrow ("Renfrow"), who identified the second suspect as plaintiff. (Am. Compl. (DE 8), Attach. p. 16.)
Using the identification from Renfrow, NBPD officers set up a second controlled cocaine purchase for November 14, 2011, and again utilized the CI. ( Id., Attach. p. 14.) To effectuate the purchase, the CI contacted Whitehurst, who in turn set up a meeting between plaintiff and the CI. (Id.) NBPD officers followed the CI and Whitehurst to the Pembroke Avenue area. (Id.) The officers parked nearby and listened to the audio recording of the transaction. (Id.)
At some point, defendant Daniels radioed participating NBPD officers Houston, Joll, Brown, Phalen, and Detwiler that the transaction was complete. (Id.) Shortly thereafter, officers Phalen and Detwiler located and stopped the vehicle in which the CI and Whitehurst were traveling. ( Id., Attach. p. 16).) The officers then arrested Whitehurst, and the CI returned the half ounce of cocaine that allegedly was purchased from plaintiff. ( Id., Attach. p. 16; Tr. p. 87.) Although the second controlled ...