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Williams v. Detroit Public Schools

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

August 3, 2015

TIMBERLY WILLIAMS, by next friend, JOHN BENSON, JOHN BENSON, and SOPHIA BENSON, Plaintiffs,
v.
DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS, MICHAEL BARCLAY, SECURITAS SECURITY SERVICES, USA, INC., and ISAIAH CANTY, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Avern Cohn Avern Cohn United States District Judge

I. INTRODUCTION A.

This is a state tort case with constitutional claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiffs Timberly Williams (“Williams”), John Benson (“Mr. Benson”), and Sophia Benson (“Ms. Benson”) are suing the Detroit Public Schools (“DPS”), Michael Barclay, (“Barclay”), Securitas Security Services, USA, Inc. (“Securitas”), and Isaiah Canty (“Canty”), claiming damages arising out of two separate interactions between Plaintiffs and Defendants Barclay and Canty on September 22 and 23, 2011.

Now before the Court is DPS and Barclay’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 52) and Securitas and Canty’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. 48)[1]. For the reasons that follow, DPS and Barclay’s motion will be granted in part and denied in part; Securitas and Canty’s motion will be granted.

At the outset, the Court notes that a number of Plaintiffs’ initial claims have been abandoned or voluntarily dismissed.[2] In addition, the complaint makes no distinction between Williams, Mr. Benson, and Ms. Benson, and generally asserts violations against “Plaintiffs.” A fair viewing of the facts described below, however, provides some clarity as to the claims asserted by each Plaintiff. The remaining claims before the Court are as follows

Count I:

Assault and Battery against Canty by Mr. Benson, arising out of the interaction on September 22, 2011.
Assault and Battery against Barclay by Williams, arising out of the interaction on September 22, 2011.
Assault and Battery against Canty by Ms. Benson, arising out of the second interaction on September 23, 2011

Count II:

Gross Negligence against Barclay by Williams, arising out of the interaction on September 22, 2011

Count III:

Negligence against Securitas by Mr. Benson, arising out of the interaction on September 22, 2011.

Negligence against Securitas by Ms. Benson, arising out of the second interaction on September 23, 2011.

II. BACKGROUND[3]

A.

Securitas provides security services, including unarmed security officers, to DPS. At the time of the interactions described below, Canty was employed by Securitas as a security officer and assigned to the Marquette Elementary/Middle School. Williams was a seventh grade student at the Marquette School and Barclay was the assistant principal. Mr. Benson is Williams’ step-father and Ms. Benson is Williams’ mother.

B.

1.

On September 22, 2011, Williams was sent to the principal’s office after getting into a verbal dispute with another student. Mr. Benson arrived at the school shortly thereafter at the request of Ms. Benson, who had received a phone call from Williams.

Upon arriving at the school, Mr. Benson encountered Barclay in the hallway. The two men began arguing, and a shouting match ensued with each calling the other derogatory names. Barclay then directed Canty to remove Mr. Benson from the building, believing him to be a risk to the students. Mr. Benson says that Canty violently grabbed him, put him in a full nelson and/or a bear hug and escorted him out of the school. Mr. Benson admits that he resisted by grabbing a door as he was being escorted out.

Mr. Benson says that, because of this specific interaction, his preexisting bulged discs were aggravated, causing him to seek medical treatment. There is no evidence of permanent injury.

2.

Williams was present in the area when the encounter between Barclay, Canty, and Mr. Benson occurred. As Mr. Benson was being escorted out of the school, Barclay saw Williams on her cell phone. Williams was calling Ms. Benson to tell her that Mr. Benson and Barclay were “getting into it.” Barclay grabbed Williams by the arm and told her to get off the phone, holding her for between one and two minutes. Thereafter, Barclay told Williams to leave the school; Williams walked out of the building on her own.

Williams says that, as a result of Barclay’s action, her arm was bruised and red. She says that a subsequent physical examination revealed that her right arm and neck were tender to palpitation, and that she exhibited decreased range of motion ...


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