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Gray v. City of Dearborn

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

November 1, 2016

Tyron Gray, et. al., Plaintiffs,
v.
City of Dearborn, et al. Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER

          Sean F. Cox, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiffs, initially proceeding pro se in this action, filed their complaint on June 19, 2015, alleging § 1983 claims against the following defendants: (1) City of Dearborn; (2) Officer Robert Price; (3) Officer Andrew Galuszka; (4) Officer David Lacey; and (5) Officer Jarod Micallef. These claims stemmed from an altercation that took place on June 23, 2012.

         Plaintiffs subsequently retained counsel in this action. (Doc. #28). On July 18, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint. (Doc. #31, Am. Compl.). In it, Plaintiffs have named 11 new defendants and an indefinite number of John/Jane Doe defendants, in addition to the defendants originally named in the first complaint. Plaintiffs' amended complaint also includes additional factual allegations, which account for ten different incidents between Plaintiffs and certain defendants.

         The matter is currently before the Court on Defendants City of Dearborn, Robert Price, Andrew Galuszka, David Lacey, and Jarod Micallef's Motion to Strike Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint (Doc. #35) on the basis of misjoinder of parties. Plaintiffs have filed a response opposing Defendants' motion. The Court held a hearing as to the motion on October 27, 2016.

         For the reasons that follow, the Court shall GRANT Defendants' motion to the extent that Plaintiffs are only permitted to proceed with the § 1983 claims stemming from the June 23, 2012 altercation, against the defendants originally named in their first complaint. However, pursuant to Rule 21, the Court shall dismiss without prejudice Plaintiffs' remaining claims, which stem from unrelated factual allegations, against the improperly-joined defendants.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs in this action are: (1) Tyron Boisa Gray, Jr.; (2) Nybrieonn Destiny Gray; (3) Nayonn Gray (through Next Friend, Norma Gray); and (4) Donnaja Smith-Gray (through Next Friend, La Donna Smith). Plaintiffs, who are siblings, bring this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

         Initially, Plaintiffs were proceeding pro se in this action. Plaintiffs filed a pro se complaint against the City of Dearborn and four City of Dearborn police officers. Plaintiffs' claims stem from an altercation that took place on June 23, 2012, between Plaintiffs and named defendants.

         Plaintiff's subsequently retained counsel in this action. On July 18, 2016, pursuant to this Court's Scheduling Order (Doc. #30), Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint. (Doc. #31). Plaintiffs' amended complaint joins an additional 11 named defendants and an indefinite number of John and Jane Doe defendants. The claims in Plaintiffs' amended complaint stem from 10 alleged incidents/altercations, including the June 23, 2012 incident alleged in the original complaint. The alleged incidents giving rise to the various claims in the amended complaint occurred over a three-year time span: 2012 through 2015.

         On August 1, 2016, Defendants City of Dearborn, and Dearborn police officers Andrew Galuszka, David Lacy, Jarod Micallef and Robert Price filed the instant Motion to Strike, asserting that Plaintiffs have improperly joined multiple, unrelated claims against multiple defendants in a single action. (Doc. #31, Def.s' Br.). The Court shall briefly provide an overview of Plaintiffs' original and amended complaints below.

         Plaintiffs' Original Complaint

         The following were named as defendants in Plaintiffs' original complaint: (1) the City of Dearborn, (2) Robert Price; (3) Andrew Galuszka; (4) David Lacey; and (5) Jarod Micallef. (Doc. #1). Plaintiffs alleged the following § 1983 claims: Count I - Excessive Force and Unreasonable Seizure; Count II - False Arrest and Malicious Prosecution; Count III - Civil Conspiracy to Violate Plaintiffs' Civil Rights; and Count IV - Monell claim.

         Plaintiffs claims arose from a single altercation involving all plaintiffs and all named officers. In short, Plaintiffs alleged that on June 23, 2012, Plaintiffs were walking toward Ten Eyke Park when a patrol vehicle driven by Defendant Lacey pulled up next to Nybrieonn, Tyreonn and Donnaja and eventually patted them down and placed them in the back of his patrol vehicle. (Doc. #1 at ¶¶ 22-24, 26, 30).

         When Tyron Boisa Gray, Jr., walked over, Defendant Lacey allegedly “grabbed” Tyron and “slammed his body against the back of the cop car.” (Id. at ¶ 32). (Id. at ¶ 33). According to Plaintiffs, Nayoon Gray walked over and watched as Defendant Lacey continued to hold Tyron against the patrol vehicle. (Id. at ¶ 36).

         When Defendant Micallef arrived to the scene, he allegedly ordered Nayoon to “backup [sic], while simultaneously shoving him in the chest.” (Id. at ΒΆ 37). According to Plaintiffs, Nayoon ...


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