United States District Court, W.D. Texas, San Antonio Division
Heather Ducharme-Romero, Plaintiff, Pro se, San Antoino, TX.
Mark Romero, Plaintiff, Pro se, San Antonio, TX.
For Chavarria, Deputy Sheriff, #1297, Bexar County, Defendants: Susan A. Bowen, LEAD ATTORNEY, Bexar County District Attorney's Office, San Antonio, TX.
XAVIER RODRIGUEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
On this date, the Court considered Defendant's motion for summary judgment. Doc No. 7. After careful consideration, the Court GRANTS the motion and DISMISSES the case.
This case arises out of allegations that Defendant Deputy Sheriff Chavarria unlawfully shot and killed Plaintiffs' pet dog. On the evening of June 7, 2011, Deputy Chavarria responded to a 911 call while on a routine patrol. The call had been placed by several individuals who claimed that they had been threatened by a man with a firearm during an altercation following a day of swimming on the Medina River. Upon arriving at the scene, Deputy Chavarria and several other officers ascertained the identity of the allegedly armed assailant: Plaintiff Mark Romero. The officers, acting on information obtained at the scene, then proceeded to Mr. Romero's home. Deputy Chavarria and his colleagues acknowledge noticing a " Beware of Dogs" sign but nonetheless entered Plaintiffs' fenced-in property. As the police officers approached the house, four dogs charged them.  Fearing for his safety,
Deputy Chavarria shot one of the dogs. Doc. No. 7, Ex. A. Thereafter, Plaintiff Mark Romero was taken into custody and charged for his involvement in the earlier altercation.
Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint alleges that Deputy Chavarria and the Bexar County Sheriff's Department violated various constitutional rights when they unlawfully entered Plaintiffs' property and killed their dog. Doc. No. 4. Specifically, Plaintiffs allege that their dog, Licker, posed no threat to Deputy Chavarria and that therefore their property was seized unlawfully in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. On August 2, 2013 Defendants filed this motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, for summary judgment. Doc. No. 7. After granting pro se Plaintiffs an extension of time to respond and to engage an attorney, on December 5, 2013, this Court granted the motion to dismiss with respect to Defendant Bexar County because Plaintiffs had failed to state a Monell claim against the County. Doc. No. 10.
With respect to the motion for summary judgment, Defendants had attached affidavits as evidence that Deputy Chavarria acted with objective reasonableness and was therefore entitled to qualified immunity. However, the Court found that it was premature to grant summary judgment on the individual capacity claims against Deputy Chavarria until pro se Plaintiffs had been given time to produce competent evidence showing that a genuine fact issue existed. Accordingly, Plaintiffs were ordered to provide evidence establishing a fact issue on or before ...