United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
TONY DEWAYNE BEARD, JR., a legally incapacitated person, by and through JOHNETTE FORD, his legal guardian, Plaintiff,
CITY OF SOUTHFIELD, et. al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER ACCEPTING AND ADOPTING THE
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION  AND
GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION
FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT 
G. Edmunds United States District Judge.
Tony Beard filed this action claiming that Defendant City of
Southfield and ten of its police officers violated several of
his constitutional rights. Defendants now move for summary
judgment on most of Plaintiff's claims (Dkt. 118), and
Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Stafford has provided this Court a
Report and Recommendation (R&R) regarding Defendants'
motion. (Dkt. 165.) The Magistrate Judge recommends that the
motion for partial summary judgment be granted in part and
denied in part. (Id.) Both parties have filed
objections to the R&R. (Dkt. 168; Dkt. 171.) For the
following reasons, the Court OVERRULES both parties'
objections, ACCEPTS AND ADOPTS the R&R, and GRANTS IN
PART and DENIES IN PART Defendants' motion for partial
R&R provides an extensive factual background, and the
Court, having reviewed the record de novo, adopts
that background here. (See Dkt. 165, at 2-10.) To
summarize, Plaintiff suffered injuries after he led
Southfield police on a high-speed car chase that ended in
Plaintiff's arrest. Plaintiff then filed suit in this
Court alleging that the City of Southfield and ten of its
officers violated his constitutional rights during and
leading up to his arrest. As to the officers specifically,
Plaintiff asserts Fourth Amendment claims of unlawful seizure
and excessive force; Eight Amendment claims of cruel and
unusual punishment; and Fourteenth Amendment claims for the
denial of equal protection, violations of substantive due
process, and deliberate indifference to his medical needs.
(Dkt. 18 at ¶¶ 41, 47.) As to the City of
Southfield, Plaintiff asserts claims of failure to train and
failure to supervise. (Id. at ¶¶ 32-33.)
the Court now is the Magistrate Judge's R&R on
Defendants' motion for partial summary judgment.
Defendants seek summary judgment on each of Plaintiff's
claims except the excessive force claims related to
Plaintiff's arrest against Katie Schneider, Matthew
Taylor, Eric Jachym, and Timothy Gougeon. (Dkt. 118, at 20.)
In the time since Defendants filed their motion, the Court
already struck Plaintiff's Eight Amendment claim as a
sanction for Plaintiff's discovery abuses. (Dkt. 155.)
R&R recommends that Defendants' motion for partial
summary judgment be granted in part and denied in part. More
specifically, the Magistrate Judge recommends that the Court
grant summary judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims but
the following: (1) the excessive force claims arising out of
Plaintiff's arrest against Ryan Losh and Kory Karpinsky;
(2) the equal protection claim against Taylor related to the
use of a racial epithet; and (3) the claims which Defendants
have not challenged--excessive force claims arising out of
Plaintiff's arrest against K. Schneider, Taylor, Jachym,
and Gougeon. (Dkt. 165, at 30.) Plaintiff and Defendants have
both filed objections to the R&R.
Standard of Review
party objects to portions of a magistrate judge's report
and recommendation on a dispositive motion, the Court reviews
such portions de novo. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). However,
only specific objections that pinpoint a source of error are
entitled to de novo review. Mira v.
Marshall, 806 F.2d 636, 637 (6th Cir. 1986). General
objections, or those that merely challenge the magistrate
judge's ultimate determinations, have "the same
effects as would a failure to object." Howard v.
Sec'y of Health and Human Servs., 932 F.2d 505, 509
(6th Cir. 1991). That is, such objections are invalid, and
the Court must treat them as if they were waived. See
Bellmore-Byrne v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 2016 WL
5219541, at *1 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 22, 2016) (citing
objects to the Magistrate Judge's conclusion that the
Amended Complaint did not provide Jason Schneider fair notice
of an excessive force claim against him. (Dkt. 168, at 4.) In
support, Plaintiff directs the Court's attention to
particular allegations in the Amended Complaint, which,
according to Plaintiff, compel a different
conclusion. Given that this objection merely
challenges the Magistrate Judge's ultimate determination,
the Court may and does treat it as waived. Howard,
932 F.2d at 509. However, even if the Court evaluated
Plaintiff's objection on the merits, it would still fail.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) provides that a complaint
must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."
According to the Supreme Court, this requires giving
"fair notice" of the claim and "the grounds
upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal citations omitted).
Complaints do not provide fair notice if they offer only
"nebulous assertions of wrongdoing." Robertson
v. Lucas, 753 F.3d 606, 623 (6th Cir. 2014). As to
constitutional claims specifically, "[The Sixth Circuit]
has consistently held that damage claims against government
officials arising from alleged violations of constitutional
rights must allege, with particularity, facts that
demonstrate what each defendant did to violate the
asserted constitutional right." Lanman v.
Hinson, 529 F.3d 673, 684 (6th Cir. 2008) (emphasis in
reviewed the Amended Complaint, the Court believes that the
R&R correctly concludes that Plaintiff did not provide J.
Schneider fair notice of an excessive force claim against
him. While the Amended Complaint includes general claims that
all ten named officers violated Plaintiff's
constitutional rights, it never ascribes particular conduct
to J. Schneider demonstrating that he violated
Plaintiff's right to be free from excessive force.
Instead, the Amended Complaint's allegations regarding J.
Schneider's involvement in the alleged use of excessive
force are nebulous, generic, and opaque. (Dkt. 18 at
¶¶ 10-12; 24; 27-28; 38-40.)
example, one allegation cited by Plaintiff does not mention
J. Schneider at all, even though it names eight other
officers. (Id. at ¶ 24.) Another cited portion
is impermissibly vague: "[T]he actions of the
Co-Defendant Officers ... lead [sic] to OFFICERS- J.
JAGILESKI [sic] and J. SCHNEIDER, following and harassing
him, and ultimately: a wrongful high speed chase and
vehicular pursuit; assault and physical conduct, including
tasing[.]" (Id. at ¶ 27.) It continues
with no more particularity: "[T]he actions described
above ... constituted clear violations of his constitutional
rights to ... not become subject to the excessive use of
force and/or of deadly force under the Eighth
Amendment." (Id. at ¶ 28.) Given the
generality of these allegations, the deficiency of the
Amended Complaint is manifest on the face of Plaintiff's
pleading. Therefore, if the Court were to decide this
objection on the merits, it would agree with the Magistrate
Judge that Plaintiff failed to provide J. Schneider fair
notice of an excessive force claim against ...