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Marden v. County of Midland

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

November 4, 2016

COUNTY OF MIDLAND, et al., Defendants.



         On December 31, 2015 Plaintiff Sharyl Marden initiated this action by filing her complaint against Defendants Midland County, Jeffrey Derocher, Brian Keidel, Richard Speich, Joshua Michael Saylor, Richard Harnois, and Bryan Kryzanowicz. See Compl., ECF No. 1. Based on allegations that her decedent Jack Brian Marden died in the custody of Defendant Midland on February 13, 2015 as a result of the actions of Defendants, Plaintiff asserts violations of Decedent's rights under the Fourth, Eight, and Fourteenth Amendments pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Id. She also asserts a claim of state law assault and battery against Defendants Derocher, Keidel, Speich, Saylor, and Kryzanowicz (together the “Officer Defendants”). Id.

         On July 29, 2016 Defendants filed a motion for permission to file a third party complaint against People to People Network, Inc. (“PTPN”) and Richard Bratton, D.O., for indemnification. ECF No. 19. Defendants allege that PTPN and Dr. Bratton had an agreement with Midland County to provide medical and nursing care services to jail inmates, including Decedent Marden. Id. Defendants further allege that the Proposed Defendants' failure to provide those services may have caused the damages alleged by Plaintiff in her complaint. Id. Plaintiff filed a response objecting to the filing of a third-party complaint, but asserting that the Proposed Defendants' conduct may have cause Jack Marden's erratic behavior. See ECF No. 21 ¶ 3 (“defendants and/or the third-party defendants failed to provide plaintiff's decedent with medications that he was taking on a regular sustained basis. Sudden withdrawal from Valium may, in fact, have contributed to the episode of nonviolent delusional behavior which led the Midland County Sheriff deputies to enter his cell and brutally assault him.”). ECF No. 21.

         A motion hearing was held on September 26, 2016. At the hearing the Court ruled that Defendant's motion to file a third-party complaint and all related third-party issues would be held in abeyance pending the depositions of Dr. Bratton and PTPN employees and representatives. Those depositions have now taken place, the Court has received supplemental briefs, and a telephonic status conference took place on November 1, 2016. Based on the parties' briefs, the hearing, and the supplemental information, Defendant's motion will be denied.


         Plaintiff Sharyl Marden is a resident of Midland County, Michigan. Compl. ¶ 4. She is the duly appointed personal representative of the estate of her husband, Decedent Jack Brian Marden. Id. Decedent Marden, born on January 29, 1959, had no history of violence but had been diagnosed with depression. Compl. ¶¶ 21, 23. He was 5'11” and weighed 205 pounds. Comp. ¶ 36.

         Defendant County of Midland is a governmental entity organized and existing under the laws of the State of Michigan. Compl. ¶ 5. Midland County is responsible for operating the Midland County Sheriff's Department and the Midland County Jail. Id. At all relevant times Defendant Harnois was employed by Midland County as Captain for the Midland County Sheriff's Department and Jail Administrator for the Midland County Jail. Compl. ¶¶ 10, 16. Defendant Derocher was employed as a lieutenant, and all other Officer Defendants were employed as deputies. Compl. ¶¶ 6-9, 11-15. Plaintiff alleges that the individual Defendants were acting in their individual capacities within the course and scope of their employment at the time of the relevant events. Compl. ¶¶ 11-16.


         The chain of events leading to Decedent Marden's death began on January 19, 2015. After Decedent Marden allegedly took an overdose of the drug Valium, a domestic dispute arose between Plaintiff and Decedent. Compl. ¶¶ 21-22. Midland County police officers were summoned to the scene, after which Decedent walked around his home with a knife and asked the responding officers to shoot him. Compl. ¶ 21. A police officer deployed a Tazer to subdue Decedent, and he was transported by ambulance to MidMichigan Medical Center for a psychiatric evaluation without incident. Id. In the call for the ambulance, it was represented that Decedent had an injury to his arm in the form of a laceration and was the subject of “overdose/poisoning.” Compl. ¶ 24.

         After being observed at MidMichigan Medical Center overnight, Decedent was discharged. Compl. ¶ 25. The discharging physician noted that Marden was suffering from major depression, but that he denied feeling helpless or suicidal. Compl. ¶ 26. At the time, decedent was agreeable to continuing care and counseling, and agreed to referral to out-patient services for therapy for himself and Plaintiff, his wife. Compl. ¶ 26. The discharging physician opined that Decedent did not present an imminent danger to himself or others. Compl. ¶ 27.

         Decedent Marden returned home following his discharge, where he remained until February 4, 2015. Compl. ¶ 28. On that date, the Midland City Police Department executed a felony arrest warrant charging Decedent with assault and aggravated assault issued as a result of the domestic incident that took place on January 19, 2015. Compl. ¶¶ 28-29. Decedent was taken to the Midland County jail. Compl. ¶ 29. Upon his arrival, employees of Midland County obtained Decedent's medical history, which included information regarding cardiac stents that had been implanted as a result of Decedent's coronary artery disease and that Decedent had suffered a cerebral aneurysm four years earlier. Compl. ¶ 30.

         On February 5, 2015 Decedent Marden underwent a psychiatric evaluation based on which it was determined that Decedent as suffering from depression with anxiety and major depressive disorder. Comp. ¶ 31.


         Decedent was held in the intake area of the jail as a pretrial detainee until February 11, 2015. Comp. ¶ 32. On that date, at around 11:19 AM he was removed from his cell for an interview with Gina Latty and Marissa Boulton, representative of Community Mental Health. Comp. ¶ 33. Four minutes later, Ms. Boulton left the room to advise Deputy Derocher that Decedent was becoming agitated and requested that he be returned to his cell. Comp. ¶ 34. While Deputies Derocher and Saylor attempted to return Decedent to his cell, Decedent represented that people were trying to hurt him and the French government was confiscating his money. Comp. ¶ 35. When Deputies Derocher, Saylor and Speich attempted to place Decedent in his cell, Decedent allegedly displayed “superhuman strength.” Comp. ¶ 36. He stole a radio from from Deputy Derocher's belt and began yelling “help, help, help” and “emergency, emergency, emergency” into the radio as ...

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