Adams Stepner Attorneys Secure Summary Judgment by Excluding Testimony from Marijuana Odor Expert
Adams Stepner Members, Jeffrey C. Mando and Claire E. Parsons, secured summary judgment for Martin County, Kentucky, its Sherriff and a Deputy Sheriff in the case of Pamela Blevins v. Martin County, et al. In that case, the Plaintiffs alleged that their arrest for marijuana charges was wrongful in violation of the Fourth Amendment and Kentucky law. In particular, they alleged that Defendants falsely averred in a search warrant that they smelled the odor of marijuana emanating from Plaintiffs’ property, even though a search of the property revealed a sophisticated grow operation in a trailer and numerous live marijuana plants. Despite this discovery, Plaintiffs’ secured the testimony of a chemist who claimed during the criminal proceedings that it would have been impossible for law enforcement officers to smell marijuana coming from the property. On that basis, the criminal charges were dismissed and Plaintiffs filed suit. After completing discovery, Parsons and Mando filed a Motion to Strike the expert’s testimony because he was not qualified under Federal Rule of Evidence 702. They also filed a Motion for Summary Judgment seeking dismissal of Plaintiffs’ claims because, absent the expert’s testimony, no proof of any wrongful statements in the search warrant application existed. On March 20th, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky granted both Motions. It found that the proffered expert was not qualified to offer opinions relating to marijuana odor because he had not conducted any scientific studies to verify his claims. In addition, it found that without the expert’s testimony, no proof of wrongdoing against Defendants had been offered. As a result, it entered Judgement in Defendants’ favor and dismissed all of Plaintiffs’ claims. You can review a full copy of the decision here.