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Coleman v. Story

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

July 1, 2015

David Coleman, Plaintiff,
Michael Story, et al., Defendants.

David R. Grand, Mag. Judge


JUDITH E. LEVY, United States District Judge

This case arises from plaintiff David Coleman’s arrest and the confiscation of weapons and other personal property from his home. Defendants are the chief and several officers of the police department in the Village of Holly, Michigan. Before the Court is defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). (Dkt. 11.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant the motion.

I. Background

On October 1, 2011, eight officers from the Holly, Michigan police department executed a search warrant at plaintiff’s residence. (Compl. ¶ 6.) Among them were the defendants: Officer Michael Story, Officer Kenneth Bean, Officer Coleman, Officer Simpson, Officer Garcia, and Officer Bob. (Id. ¶¶ 2, 7.) Plaintiff alleges the search warrant was mistakenly executed at his residence, as the warrant was for a different David Coleman. (Id. ¶ 10.) Plaintiff further alleges defendants seized a number of weapons belonging to him. (Id. ¶ 7.) Although some of the weapons were returned, plaintiff alleges a .22-caliber Smith& Wesson revolver, a Remington rifle, two crossbows, and an unspecified amount of ammunition have not been returned. (Id. ¶ 11.)

On March 7, 2013, plaintiff, along with Candace Coleman, brought suit against the Holly Police Department and Holly Township in the 52-2 District Court in Oakland County, Michigan. (See Dkt. 8, Ex. A to Defs.’ Answer 19-20; Dkt. 14-2, Ex. 1 to Defs.’ Reply.) Plaintiff sought recovery of the seized property – namely, weapons, ammunition, and cash – as well as $20, 000 in damages. (Dkt. 14-2, Ex. 1 to Defs.’ Reply.) The court entered a stipulated order on July 20, 2013, by which “any claims for money damages Plaintiffs have (or could have) brought as part of this lawsuit” were dismissed with prejudice. (Dkt. 8, Ex. A to Defs.’ Ans. 19-20.) On August 29, 2013, the court entered an order that “any and all guns, rifles, and ammunition . . . seized from David Paul Coleman on October 1, 2011 (at 4041 Grange Hall Rd., #22 in Holly Michigan) by the Holly Police Department, Shall [sic] be immediately returned to the [sic] David Paul Coleman upon the date of entry of this Order.” (Dkt. 11-3, Ex. 2 to Defs.’ Mot.) This was a final order that closed the case. (Id.)

Plaintiff filed this action on October 6, 2014. (Dkt. 1.) He brings a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights (Count I), as well as state-law claims for malicious prosecution (Count II) and conversion (Count III).

II. Standard

“After the pleadings are closed – but early enough not to delay trial – a party may move for judgment on the pleadings.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). The standard is the same as that for motions under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Fritz v. Charter Twp. of Comstock, 592 F.3d 718, 722 (6th Cir. 2010). “For purposes of a motion for judgment on the pleadings, all well-pleaded material allegations of the pleadings of the opposing party must be taken as true, and the motion may be granted only if the moving party is nevertheless clearly entitled to judgment.” Poplar Creek Dev. Co. v. Chesapeake Appalachia, L.L.C., 636 F.3d 235, 240 (6th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted). A motion for judgment on the pleadings should be granted “when no material issue of fact exists and the party making the motion is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Winget, 510 F.3d 577, 582 (6th Cir. 2007).

In deciding a 12(c) motion, the court may consider the pleadings, exhibits attached to the pleadings, matters incorporated by reference into the pleadings, and judicially-noticed facts. See Henry v. Chesapeake Appalachia, L.L.C., 739 F.3d 909, 912 (6th Cir. 2014) (applying Rule 12(b)(6) standard to Rule 12(c) motion); Hawthorne v. Mac Adjustment, Inc., 140 F.3d 1367, 1370 (11th Cir. 1998) (judgment on the pleadings “can be rendered by looking to the substance of the pleadings and any judicially noticed facts” (quoting Hebert Abstract Co., Inc. v. Touchstone Properties, Ltd., 914 F.2d 74, 76 (5th Cir. 1990))).

III. Analysis

A. Res judicata and waiver

Defendants argue that all of plaintiff’s claims are barred by res judicata, based on the 52-2 District Court action, and by plaintiff’s waiver of all claims for monetary damages that could have been brought in that action.

“Federal courts must give the same preclusive effect to a state-court judgment as that judgment receives in the rendering state.” Buck v. Thomas M. Cooley Law Sch., 597 F.3d 812, 816-17 (6th Cir. 2010). This Court must accordingly apply Michigan res judicata law in determining whether plaintiff’s claims are barred. See ...

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