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White v. Fazenbaker

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


September 28, 2010

ANTHONY WHITE, PLAINTIFF
v.
NATHAN FAZENBAKER, ALAN SHIPLEY, TIM GUISE, AND CHAD SPRANKLE, DEFENDANTS

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Conner

ORDER

AND NOW, this 28th day of September, 2010, upon consideration of the report of the magistrate judge (Doc. 123), recommending that the court grant defendant Guise's motion (Doc. 100) for summary judgment and grant in part and deny in part the motion (Doc. 98) for summary judgment filed by defendants Fazenbaker, Shipley, and Sprankle, and upon further consideration of the objections*fn1 filed by plaintiff White (Doc. 128), wherein White renews his arguments that the searches violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment,*fn2 and upon further consideration of the objections filed by defendants Fazenbaker, Shipley, and Sprankle (Doc. 124), wherein Fazenbaker, Shipley, and Sprankle object to the recommendation that summary judgment be denied as to the first "search" of the hotel room,*fn3 and following an independent review of the record, it appearing that White brought the instant action to recover damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged violations of his Fourth Amendment rights, and it further appearing that defendants contend that summary judgment is appropriate because White has failed to adduce evidence sufficient to support his claims, and the court concluding that the instant case presents no genuine disputes of fact to be resolved, and that defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law, see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986), it is hereby ORDERED that:

1. The report of the magistrate judge (Doc. 123) is ADOPTED in part and REJECTED in part as follows:

a. REJECTED insofar as it recommends denying the motion (Doc. 98) for summary judgment filed by defendants Fazenbaker, Shipley, and Sprankle as to the first search.

b. ADOPTED in all other respects.

"a car Veal was reported to drive was parked nearby at the time of arrest"; 2) a "tip from third-party suggested defendant lived in a particular location"; and 3) "the officers were aware Veal was a fugitive who might be attempting to conceal his location[.]" See id. at 168 (citations omitted). Using the common sense approach and considering the totality of the facts and circumstances within the knowledge of the law enforcement officers at the time of the search presently at issue, the court concludes that the officers had probable cause to believe that White was residing at and present in Room 4 of the Western Inn. The officers received a tip from a third-party that White had been or was still in Room 4, and this tip was corroborated by the presence of a vehicle associated with White. Thus, the officers were justified in entering the hotel room in an effort to effectuate the arrest warrant. The court will therefore reject the magistrate judge's recommendation that the summary judgment motion of defendants Fazenbaker, Shipley, and Sprankle should be denied as to the first search.

Having reached the conclusion that the officers satisfied the requirements of Payton, the court will not discuss defendants' alternative arguments that 1) White had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the hotel room, or 2) no evidence of record indicates that a search was conducted. See Veal, 453 F.3d at 167 (stating "We do not need to determine whether Veal had a privacy interest in his wife's residence, for, even assuming such an interest, the police had probable cause to believe that he was residing at and present in the residence.").

2. Defendant Guise's motion (Doc. 100) for summary judgment is GRANTED.

3. The motion (Doc. 98) for summary judgment filed by defendants Fazenbaker, Shipley, and Sprankle is GRANTED.

4. The Clerk of Court is instructed to enter JUDGMENT in favor of defendants and against White on all claims.

5. The Clerk of Court is directed to CLOSE this case.

CHRISTOPHER C. CONNER United States District Judge


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