United States District Court, D. Vermont
OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION (DOCS. 15 & 9)
CHRISTINA REISS, CHIEF JUDGE.
matter came before the court for a de novo review of
the Magistrate Judge's December 15, 2016 Report and
Recommendation ("R & R") (Doc. 15). The
Magistrate Judge recommended that the court grant the motion
for summary judgment filed by Defendants City of Rutland,
City of Rutland Police Department, and Rutland Police Officer
Justin D. Souza (collectively, "Defendants") (Docs.
9). Plaintiff Devin Richardson timely objected to the R &
R although he did not cite any grounds for his objection.
See Doc. 16 at 1 (stating that Plaintiff "does
hereby object to the U.S. Magistrate Judge['s] . . .
[R]eport and [R]ecommendation in its entirety").
is self-represented. Defendants are represented by Kaveh S.
April 11, 2013, officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives ("ATF") conducted a search
of a residence in Rutland, Vermont pursuant to a search
warrant that was based on information from a confidential
informant ("CI"). The CI claimed to have purchased
drugs from Joshua Minix at the residence on April 2, 2013.
Plaintiff was not named in the search warrant or the
supporting affidavit. However, prior to the execution of the
search warrant, law enforcement had knowledge that Plaintiff
used the alias Gerald Jourdain.
was asleep when law enforcement entered. Plaintiff initially
identified himself as Gerald Jourdain. Officers handcuffed,
dressed, and frisked Plaintiff, removed him from the
residence, and placed him in a cruiser while officers
finished the search. The officers then transported Plaintiff
to the Rutland Police Department to investigate his identity
and determine his potential involvement in the Minix
investigation. Upon arriving at the station, officers again
questioned Plaintiff for approximately two hours, during
which time Plaintiff admitted his actual identity. The
officers also learned that Plaintiff had obtained a
fraudulent Vermont identification using his brother's
information. Plaintiff was charged with a misdemeanor count
of providing a false report to an officer. Officers
fingerprinted and photographed Plaintiff in order to
positively identify him, and they brought him to an empty
holding cell while awaiting confirmation of his identity.
the Rutland Police Department's policy, officers must
conduct a "thorough" search of detainees, including
all items of clothing where weapons or contraband may be
hidden. (Doc. 9-1 at 2.) Officer Souza and an ATF agent
entered the holding cell, and Officer Souza conducted a pat
down search of Plaintiff. At the time of his detainment,
Plaintiff was wearing multiple layers of clothing. Based on
his training and experience, Officer Souza had knowledge that
contraband may be hidden in multiple layers of clothing.
Souza requested that Plaintiff remove his top shirt and belt,
and Plaintiff complied. Officer Souza then observed that
Plaintiff was wearing two pairs of underwear. Officer Souza
frisked Plaintiffs underwear and felt an object. Plaintiff
contends that Officer Souza "grabbed [his] groin
area" once he was undressed "down to his
underwear[.]" (Doc. 4 at 3, ¶ 4.) Plaintiff
resisted the search and engaged in a physical struggle with
the officers, which led to his being restrained. Plaintiff
then voluntarily produced a small plastic bag of pills from
officers applied for and obtained a warrant for a strip
search based on Officer Souza's belief that Plaintiff was
hiding a larger bag of contraband in his underwear based on
the size of the object Officer Souza felt during the previous
pat down. The strip search of Plaintiff did not reveal any
further contraband. Plaintiffs misdemeanor charge of false
report to a police officer was subsequently dismissed.
received confirmation of Plaintiff s identity and learned
that Plaintiff had an outstanding New York warrant for
violating his parole. Plaintiff was transported to Marble
Valley Regional Correctional Center in Rutland. On April 12,
2013, officers at Marble Valley Regional Correctional Center
searched Plaintiff and discovered oxycodone.
contends that he was "never charged for any contraband
discovered during the first strip search, which was conducted
without a warrant" on April 11, 2013. Id. at
¶ 7. On May 6, 2015, Plaintiff pled guilty to one count
of conspiring to distribute oxycodone and heroin from the
summer of 2012 through April 11 and 12, 2013. On August 25,
2015, Plaintiff was sentenced to a term of forty-eight months
of imprisonment, followed by a three year term of supervised
March 2, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Complaint pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendants violated his
rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments by
subjecting him to a strip search without reasonable cause.
Plaintiff further alleges that the City of Rutland and the
Rutland Police Department had "de facto policies"
and practices in place which resulted in a failure to
properly train, screen, supervise, or discipline employees