United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
MICHELLE VAN BUREN, Personal Representative for the ESTATE OF WILLIAM REDDIE, deceased and WILLIAM REDDIE, Plaintiff,
CRAWFORD COUNTY, CITY OF GRAYLING, JOHN KLEPADLO, and ALAN SOMERO, in their individual and official capacities, Defendants.
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
L. LUDINGTON United States District Judge
Van Buren has brought this suit on behalf of William Reddie,
who was fatally shot by a Crawford County Sheriff's
Department Deputy in February 3, 2012. ECF No. 1. On August
3, 2016, the Court issued an order which concluded that,
based on the evidence then presented, summary judgment should
be granted for the Defendants. The uncontroverted testimony
of all living individuals present at the shooting
demonstrated that Deputy Klepadlo could have believed that
Mr. Reddie was holding a knife and threatening him when he
was shot. However, Van Buren had raised a question of whether
the Defendants had spoliated audio recording evidence of the
shooting and preceding altercation. Because that issue was
unresolved, the Court did not enter summary judgment for any
Defendant in August.
the fall of 2016, the Court held three days of evidentiary
hearings on the spoliation issue. On January 17, 2017, the
Court issued an order concluding that the City of Grayling
and Officer Somero spoliated evidence and sanctioning them,
reasoning that the “simplest explanation for the
missing recordings, taking all evidence into account, is
deliberate spoliation.” ECF No. 118 at 25. The Court
also found that there was no evidence that the Crawford
County Sheriff's Department had possession of a recording
of the shooting and declined to sanction Crawford County or
Deputy Klepadlo. Id. at 29-32. To sanction the City
of Grayling and Officer Somero, the Court ordered that, at
trial, a rebuttable presumption that the destroyed recordings
would have favored Plaintiff would be imposed.
the Court had previously concluded, in August, that summary
judgment was appropriate for all Defendants pending the
resolution of the spoliation issue, the Court then addressed
the outstanding motions for summary judgment:
If the presumption that the recordings from Somero's
vehicle would support Plaintiff's claims is not rebutted
at trial, then the jury could reasonably find that Somero is
liable for failing to prevent the use of excessive force. . .
. Accordingly, granting Somero's motion for summary
judgment would be unjustified. Further, summary judgment
cannot be entered for Klepadlo. Klepadlo did not engage in
evidence spoliation. However, Klepadlo was the officer who
fired the fatal shot. If the presumption that the missing
recording would have revealed evidence supporting
Plaintiff's claims stands, and the jury finds against
Somero, that conclusion would necessarily involve a
determination that Klepadlo acted with excessive force. It
would further mean that the jury did not believe
Klepadlo's sworn testimony regarding what occurred in Mr.
Reddie's apartment. The rebuttable presumption, in
combination with Plaintiff's other evidence of officer
misconduct, thus raises a genuine issue of material fact
regarding whether Klepadlo acted with excessive force and
whether Somero failed to stop that use of excessive force.
Summary judgment cannot be granted for the individual
Id. at 34-35.
City of Grayling's and Crawford County's motions for
summary judgment were granted, however, because Plaintiff
only brought a Monell claim against them. The Court
“Because a single incident does not by itself
constitute an unconstitutional custom, the rebuttable
presumption will not create a material issue of fact as to
whether the City of Grayling or Crawford County violated
Monell.” Id. at 35.
January 30, 2017, Plaintiff filed a motion for
reconsideration of the Court's order sanctioning
Defendants. ECF No. 122. This is the third motion for
reconsideration Plaintiff has filed in the case. See
ECF Nos. 28, 87, 122. Like the other two motions for
reconsideration, this motion is also without merit.
to Eastern District of Michigan Local Rule 7.1(h), a party
can file a motion for reconsideration of a previous order,
but must do so within fourteen days. A motion for
reconsideration will be granted if the moving party shows:
“(1) a palpable defect, (2) the defect misled the court
and the parties, and (3) that correcting the defect will
result in a different disposition of the case.”
Michigan Dept. of Treasury v. Michalec, 181
F.Supp.2d 731, 733-34 (E.D. Mich. 2002) (quoting E.D. Mich.
LR 7.1(g)(3)). A “palpable defect” is
“obvious, clear, unmistakable, manifest, or
plain.” Id. at 734 (citing Marketing
Displays, Inc. v. Traffix Devices, Inc., 971 F.Supp.2d
262, 278 (E.D. Mich. 1997). “[T]he Court will not grant
motions for rehearing or reconsideration that merely present
the same issues ruled upon by the Court, either expressly or
by reasonable implication.” E.D. Mich. L.R. 7.1(h)(3).
See also Bowens v. Terris, No. 2:15-CV-10203, 2015
WL 3441531, at *1 (E.D. Mich. May 28, 2015).
Buren makes two arguments in the motion for reconsideration.
First, she argues that the Court's sanction was
“unfittingly mild.” Mot. Recon. at 2, ECF No.
122. To substantiate this argument, Van Buren quotes portions
of the January 17, 2017, opinion which discuss the
seriousness of the City of Grayling's conduct. Van Buren
also cites a number of cases which stand for the proposition
that the Court has broad discretion to grant sanctions for
evidence spoliation and that severe sanctions, like
dismissal, may be imposed for merely negligent spoliation.
These concerns, however, were expressly addressed in the
opinion. See ECF No. 118 at 32-33. Van Buren has not
shown that, given the facts revealed in the hearing, a
harsher sanction was required. That is because, as explained
in the Court's order and emphasized again by Van Buren in
the motion for reconsideration, district courts have
“broad discretion to craft proper sanctions.”
Adkins v. Wolever, 692 F.3d 499, 503 (6th Cir.
Buren next argues that Crawford County and Deputy Klepadlo
should have been sanctioned. Van Buren attempts to argue that
Klepadlo's and Sheriff Wakefield's testimony
regarding whether the recording system was working was
inconsistent. At best, Klepadlo had slight inconsistencies in
his testimony regarding extent to which he was certain that
the recording system in his car was inoperable on the day of
the shooting. But at the evidentiary hearing Klepadlo
testified, with certainty, that he did not wear ...