United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
R. Grand, United States Magistrate Judge
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN
PART DEFENDANTS CITY OF DETROIT'S AND THOMAS
ZBERKOT'S AMENDED MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Gershwin A. Drain, United States District Court Judge
a wrongful arrest and detention case based on mistaken
identity. Plaintiff Marvin Seales (Seales or
“Plaintiff”) was arrested by City of Detroit
police officers and transferred to the Wayne County Jail
pursuant to an arrest warrant for an individual named Rodrick
Siner (Siner), who used Seales's name as an alias.
Plaintiff claims that Defendants violated 42 U.S.C. §
1983 and state tort laws including false arrest, gross
negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Defendants include individual defendant Thomas Zberkot
(Zberkot) and municipal defendant City of Detroit (Detroit)
(collectively, “Defendants”). Wayne County was
previously dismissed from the case in a separate motion for
summary judgment. Dkt. No. 70, 82.
the Court are Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment  and Amended Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
. Defendants' original Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment  appears to be mooted by Defendants' amended
motion , so the Court confined its analysis to the
review of the briefs, the Court finds that oral argument will
not aid in the disposition of this matter. Accordingly, the
hearing is cancelled and the Court will decide the matter on
the submitted brief. See E.D. Mich. L.R. 7.1(f)(2).
For the reasons that follow, Defendants' Amended Motion
for Partial Summary Judgment  will be GRANTED in part and
DENIED in part.
January 18, 2012, Defendant Thomas Zberkot was on assignment
to the Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team (“the
Team”). See Dkt. No. 80-4, p. 2 (Pg. ID No.
658). The Team executed an arrest warrant for attempted
murder for a suspect named “Roderick Siner.”
Id. Siner's aliases included “Marvin
Seals.” Id. The Team arrested Plaintiff,
Marvin Seales, at his workplace, Reinhart Food Service, in
Warren, Michigan. Dkt. No. 75, p. 9 (Pg. ID No.
520). Plaintiff was then taken to the Detroit
Police Department Northeast/3rd Precinct lockup. Dkt. No.
80-4, p. 2 (Pg. ID No. 658). At the precinct, Plaintiff was
fingerprinted by the arresting agency. Dkt. No. 75-4, p. 5
(Pg. ID No. 554).
Plaintiff's name resembled one of Siner's aliases,
Plaintiff was not the person wanted on felony charges. Dkt.
No. 75, p. 9 (Pg. ID No. 520). Plaintiff allegedly informed
Defendant Zberkot and others that he was not Rodrick Siner
and that they had the wrong individual. Id.
Plaintiff also alleges that he told Defendant City of Detroit
police personnel at lockup that he was not Roderick Siner and
that they had the wrong individual. Id. at 10.
was held in the City of Detroit Police Department facility
until his video arraignment with Magistrate Millicent D.
Sherman of the 36th District Court on January 20, 2012. Dkt.
No. 75-5, p. 4 (Pg. ID No. 565). At Plaintiff's video
arraignment, he stated his name was “Marvin Seals,
” [sic] and acknowledged that he heard the charges
against him, understood the penalties that applied to those
charges, and understood his right to remain silent and retain
counsel. Id. at 4-5. He did not make any direct
statements about mistaken identity during the arraignment.
Magistrate Sherman set bond in the amount of $500, 000
dollars, “given the nature of the charges and the
seriousness of the allegations.” Id. at 5.
was then transferred to the Wayne County Jail until his
preliminary examination. Dkt. No. 75, p. 10 (Pg. ID No. 521).
On February 1, 2012, Plaintiff appeared at a scheduled
preliminary examination before 36th District Court Judge
Deborah G. Bledsoe Ford on the charges of Assault with Intent
to Murder, Felony Assault, and Felony Firearm, as Rodrick
Siner. Dkt. No. 75-3. Plaintiff was represented by counsel,
Earl Washington, at the hearing. Id. at 4. At the
start of the hearing, Wayne County Prosecutor Shannon Walker
orally moved to dismiss the matter because the victim of the
crime informed her before the hearing that Plaintiff was not
the individual who shot at him. Id. That same day,
Judge Deborah Ford of the 36th Judicial District signed an
order of Dismissal, which states that Plaintiff was not the
correct defendant and that he was wrongfully arrested. Dkt.
further alleges that at the time of Plaintiff's arrest
and incarceration, a mug shot and further identification of
Rodrick Siner and Marvin Seales was available to Defendants.
The photos Plaintiff attached as exhibits are undated, and
thus do not definitively establish that Defendants possessed
photos of both Plaintiff and Siner at the time of
Plaintiff's arrest. See Dkt. No. 75-2. Review of
Michigan Department of Corrections' Offender Tracking
Information System (OTIS) indicates that Siner's only
offense in the system is a charge of delivering or
manufacturing a controlled substance, with an offense date of
April 3, 3012, after Plaintiff was released. OTIS lists
Siner's known aliases as “Chaun Hardin, ”
“John Siner, ” “Marvin Louis Seales,
” “Robert Sutton, ” “Robert Whitman,
” “Robert S Whitman, ” “Rodrick K
Hardin, ” and “Rodrick Kareem Siner.”
Defendants state, without citing to evidence, that Plaintiff
had outstanding warrants independent of the crimes for which
Siner was wanted. Dkt. No. 74, p. 9 (Pg. ID No. 495).
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) “directs that summary
judgment shall be granted if ‘there is no genuine issue
as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled
to a judgment as a matter of law.' ” Cehrs v.
Ne. Ohio Alzheimer's Research Ctr., 155 F.3d 775,
779 (6th Cir. 1998). The court must view the facts, and draw
reasonable inferences from those facts, in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). No genuine
dispute of material fact exists where the record “taken
as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find
for the non-moving party.” Matsushita Elec. Indus.,
Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).
Ultimately, the court evaluates “whether the evidence
presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a
jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must
prevail as a matter of law.” Anderson, 477
U.S. at 251-52.
Amended Complaint brings six claims against Defendants,
including: (1) a Section 1983 claim for False Detention,
Arrest, Imprisonment and Confinement as to Defendant City of
Detroit; (2) a False/Wrongful Arrest and False Imprisonment
claim against all Defendants; (3) a Willful and Wanton
Misconduct, Deliberate Indifference/Gross Negligence claim
against all Defendants; (4) an Intentional Infliction of
Emotional Distress claim against unspecified Defendants; (5)
a Section 1983 claim for deprivation of rights under the
First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments and the
Michigan Constitution, Article I, §§ 5, 6, 11 and
17 against Defendant Zberkot; and (6) a Monell claim
against City of Detroit. Dkt. No. 28, pp. 6-19 (Pg. ID No.
allege that Plaintiff has not demonstrated that his rights
were violated pursuant to an unconstitutional policy, as
required for municipal liability. Dkt. No. 74, p. 9 (Pg. ID
No. 495). Defendants further argue that Defendant
Zberkot is entitled to qualified immunity from
Plaintiff's claims under Section 1983. Id. at
13. Defendants go on to argue that Defendant City of Detroit
is shielded from liability under the Governmental Immunity
Act, id. at 17, and that Defendant Zberkot is
entitled to immunity under Michigan Compiled Laws §
691.1407 with respect to the gross negligence claim.
Id. at 18.
Counts I, V, and VI: Section 1983 Claims 1.
Section 1983 Claim Against An Individual Defendant
order to make out a Section 1983 claim, a plaintiff must show
(1) the deprivation of a right secured by the Constitution or
laws of the United States (2) caused by the defendant while
acting under color of state law (3) occurring without due
process of law. Neuens v. City of Columbus, 303 F.3d
667, 670 (6th Cir. 2002). Here, Plaintiff claims that
Defendants violated his rights under the First Amendment,
Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, and
Article 1, Sections 5, 6, 11 and 17 of the Michigan
initial matter on Count VI, the Court will not analyze
Plaintiff's claim that his First Amendment rights were
violated because Plaintiff makes no argument and does not
present any evidence related to any violation of his First
Amendment rights. The inclusion of this amendment appears to
be a briefing error. Additionally, although Section 1983
provides a mechanism for seeking redress for an alleged
deprivation of a litigant's federal constitutional and
federal statutory rights, it does not protect Plaintiff's
rights under the Michigan Constitution. See Lambert v.
Hartman, 517 F.3d 433, 439 (6th Cir. 2008) (“A
prima facie case under § 1983 has two elements:
“(1) the defendant must be acting under the color of
state law, and (2) the offending conduct must deprive the
plaintiff of rights secured by federal law.”)
(emphasis added); Pyles v. Raisor, 60 F.3d 1211,
1215 (6th Cir. 1995) (stating Section 1983 does not provide
redress for a violation of state law more protective of
individual rights than the United States Constitution). Thus,
the Court will not evaluate Plaintiff's claim that his
rights under Article 1, Sections 5, 6, 11, and 17 of the
Michigan Constitution were violated, about which Plaintiff
similarly did not provide any argument.
claim that he was wrongfully arrested fails as a matter of
law because it is based solely on his argument that the
arresting officers should have known he was innocent.
“Arrest warrants in the hands of a police officer,
unless facially invalid, are presumed valid, ”
Fettes v. Hendershot, 375 Fed. App'x. 528, 532
(6th Cir. 2010), and Plaintiff does not challenge the facial
validity of the warrant. Given that Plaintiff was held
pursuant to a facially valid warrant and a bond order issued
after an arraignment and preliminary hearing, his detention,
does not appear to be a constitutional violation. See
Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144 (1979);
Thurmond v. Cty. of Wayne, 447 F. App'x 643,
648-49 (6th Cir. 2011).
claim that his rights were violated is based on his continued
incarceration even after Defendant Zberkot and Detroit
employees should have known he was not the person named in
the warrant. In general, holding a person under a facially
valid warrant does not constitute a constitutional violation,
even if it turns out that the person was wrongfully arrested.
Baker, 443 U.S. at 144 (finding that a three-day
detention did not amount to a violation of due process).
Nevertheless, “depending on what procedures the State
affords defendants following arrest and prior to actual
trial, ” “repeated protests of innocence will
after the lapse of a certain amount of time deprive the
accused of ‘liberty . . . without due process of
law.' ” Id.
Supreme Court has not definitively resolved the question of
how long such a mistaken-identity detention must be for it to
implicate a constitutional due process right. See
Flemister v. City of Detroit, 358 F. App'x 616, 620
(6th Cir. 2009). In the Sixth Circuit, such analysis appears
to turn on the length of time an individual is detained,
whether the detainee protested his or her innocence, and
whether potentially exculpatory evidence was available at the
time of arrest and detention. See Thurmond v. Cty. of
Wayne, 447 F. App'x 643, 649 (6th Cir. 2011)
(finding that a 35-day detention did not violate a
plaintiff's constitutional rights where he never
protested his innocence and deputies did not possess
potentially exculpatory evidence); Flemister, 358 F.
App'x at 617-18 (finding that a six-day detention did not
violate a plaintiff's constitutional rights where he
repeatedly protested and provided evidence of mistaken
identity); Gray v. Cuyahoga County Sheriff's
Dept., 150 F.3d 579, 582-83 (6th Cir. 1998) (concluding
that a 41-day detention was sufficient to assert a claim
where the plaintiff repeatedly protested and deputies
possessed a photograph showing no resemblance to the
suspect). In reaching its conclusion in Gray, the
Sixth Circuit relied on two district court decisions
involving detentions of 12 days and 30 days, respectively,
which were found to be sufficient to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted. 150 F.3d at 582-83.
qualified-immunity defense bars individual liability where
“a reasonable official in the defendant's position
would not have understood his or her actions to violate a
person's constitutional rights.” Gregory v.
City of Louisville, 444 F.3d 725, 738 (6th Cir. 2006).
Qualified immunity “ ‘gives ample room for
mistaken judgments' by protecting ‘all but the
plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the