United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANTS'
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Dkt. 41); DENYING
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO ENLARGE THE RECORD (Dkt. 54); AND
DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS IN LIMINE (Dkts. 52, 53) AS
A. GOLDSMITH United States District Judge
civil-rights case, brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
Plaintiff Anthony Spencer challenges the lawfulness of his
arrest and subsequent prosecution for drug trafficking by
officers of the Huron County Sheriff's Office. Defendants
have filed a motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 41), arguing,
in part, that they did not violate Spencer's
constitutional rights because the doctrine of collateral
estoppel prevents Spencer from relitigating the issue of
probable cause. As discussed below, the Court agrees with
Defendants and grants, in part, their motion for summary
2012, Defendant Ryan Swartz, a Huron County deputy sheriff,
was assigned to county-wide drug investigations. See
Defs. Statement of Material Facts (“SMF”) ¶
4 (Dkt. 41). Shortly thereafter, Swartz received tips that
Spencer was involved in trafficking heroin. Id.
in March 2013, Tracey Champagne, an inmate at the Huron
County jail, sent an internal jail communication to Defendant
Daryl Ford, a Huron County detective, offering her services
as a confidential informant for drug investigations.
Id. ¶ 6. Champagne had worked as a confidential
informant for Ford in the past. Id. Ford then
informed Swartz of Champagne's offer, and the two of them
interviewed Champagne. Id. ¶ 7. Following that
interview, Swartz sought and received permission from the
Huron County Prosecutor for Champagne to serve as a
confidential informant in Swartz's drug investigations.
Id. ¶ 8. As a confidential informant for
Swartz, Champagne participated in numerous controlled drug
buys. Id. ¶ 11. Before each controlled buy,
Champagne was searched and provided “buy money”
to use during the drug transaction. Id. ¶¶
claims that Spencer either arranged for her to buy heroin or
directly sold heroin to her on at least three occasions near
the end of May 2013. Id. ¶ 13. For these
particular incidents, Champagne entered the car of
Spencer's cousin, Rollie Smith, to consummate the drug
buys. Id. ¶ 14; Pl. Resp. at 15 (Dkt. 48). For
at least two of these controlled buys, Champagne told Swartz
that Spencer was in the car, handed her a bag of suspected
heroin, and took the buy money in return. Defs. SMF ¶
26, 2013, Spencer's best friend, Jeff Hatch, was arrested
following the discovery of approximately 22 grams of heroin
located in Hatch's bedroom. See id. ¶¶
12, 17; Spencer Dep. at 43 (Dkt. 41-9). The following day,
Champagne informed Swartz that Spencer was aware of
Hatch's arrest and that Spencer intended to flee because
he thought there was a warrant issued for his arrest. Defs.
SMF ¶ 17. Upon learning of this information, Swartz
contacted Defendant Ryan Neumann, a Huron County sergeant,
and asked him to detain Spencer at a location provided by
Champagne. Id. ¶ 18. Neumann arrived at that
location and detained Spencer until Swartz arrived.
Id. ¶ 19. Spencer was then transported to the
Huron County jail and lodged overnight. Id. Arrest
warrants were issued the following morning. Id.
September 2013, two preliminary examination hearings were
held in state court. Id. After those hearings, the
state-court judge determined that there was probable cause to
bind Spencer over to trial on all of the felony charges.
Id. However, six months following Spencer's
arrest, Smith informed Swartz and Tom Evans, a chief
assistant prosecutor, that Spencer was not involved in any of
the drug sales that took place at the end of May 2013.
Id. ¶ 21. After Spencer took and passed a
polygraph examination, all of the charges against him were
dismissed, on the prosecutor's motion. Id.
STANDARD OF DECISION
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, a court “shall
grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a). When evaluating a summary judgment motion,
credibility judgments and weighing of the evidence are
prohibited. Rather, the evidence should be viewed in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). Thus, the
facts and any inferences that can be drawn from those facts
must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).
Biegas v. Quickway Carriers, Inc., 573 F.3d 365, 374
(6th Cir. 2009).
party moving for summary judgment “bears the initial
responsibility of informing the district court of the basis
for its motion, and identifying those portions of the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue
of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). “To withstand summary
judgment, the nonmoving party must present sufficient
evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact.”
Humenny v. Genex Corp., 390 F.3d 901, 904 (6th Cir.
2004). The nonmoving party “may not ‘rely on the
hope that the trier of fact will disbelieve the movant's
denial of a disputed fact' but must make an affirmative
showing with proper evidence in order to defeat the
motion.” Alexander v. CareSource, 576 F.3d
551, 558 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Street v. J.C. Bradford
& Co., 886 F.2d 1472, 1479 (6th Cir. 1989)). A mere
scintilla of evidence is insufficient; rather, “there
must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for
the [nonmovant].” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.