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Ouellette v. Village of Beverly Hills

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

March 6, 2017

Michael Ouellette, Plaintiff,
Village of Beverly Hills et al, Defendant.

          Mona K. Majzoub U.S. Magistrate Judge.


          Arthur J. Tarnow Senior United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff filed a pro se complaint on May 4, 2015, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging that Defendants Village of Beverly Hills Department of Public Safety (“BHDPS”) and Lieutenant Michael Vargas violated his Fourth, Sixth and Eighth Amendment rights [1]. Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on August 1, 2016 [29]. Plaintiff filed a Motion for Voluntary Dismissal [35] on October 31, 2016, requesting that the case be dismissed without prejudice because he was unable to answer the motion by the Court's deadline due to a lack of resources to obtain necessary affidavits to defend his case. Defendants responded on November 9, 2016 [36]. The Magistrate Judge issued a report and recommendation on January 20, 2017 [37], recommending that the Court grant Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment in part, dismissing all of Plaintiff's claims with prejudice and denying Defendants' request for costs and attorney fees, and deny Plaintiff's Motion for Voluntary Dismissal. Plaintiff filed objections to this Report and Recommendation on February 17, 2017 [38]. Defendant filed a response and an Ex Parte Motion to File Exhibit in Traditional Manner [39]. For the reasons stated below, Defendant's Ex Parte Motion to File Exhibit in Traditional Manner [39] is DENIED as moot. The Court ADOPTS the Report and Recommendation [37]. Plaintiff's Motion for Voluntary Dismissal [35] is DENIED. Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [29] is GRANTED in part, granted in dismissing all of Plaintiff's claims against named Defendants with prejudice and denied as to Defendants' request for attorney fees and costs.

         Statement of Facts

         The Magistrate Judge summarized the factual background of the complaint as follows:

Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at the Marquette Branch Prison in Marquette, Michigan as a result of a conviction on two charges of Aggravated Stalking related to the arrests described in the instant Complaint. (Docket no. 29 at 12; see Mich. Dep't of Corr. Offender Tracking Info. Sys. (OTIS).2) In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he was arrested and detained in a holding cell at the Village of Beverly Hills Department of Public Safety (BHDPS) from November 23, 2013, to November 25, 2013. (Docket no. 1 ¶ 9.) He alleges that throughout his detention, he was denied food and the medication that he takes for his psychological condition. (Id. ¶ 10.) Plaintiff claims that the deprivation described above constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. (Id.) According to Plaintiff, when he asked Defendant Vargas for something to eat, Defendant Vargas mocked him and made fun of him by saying, “You're too fat as it is, you don't need to eat.” (Id. ¶ 11.) Plaintiff claims that on November 24, 2013, he called his mother and his attorney, Jean Hansen, and told them that he had not been given his medication or anything to eat and informed them of Defendant Vargas's response to his request for food. (Id. ¶ 12.) Plaintiff states that he did not eat until late in the evening on November 24, 2013, when Ms. Hansen brought him a sandwich and French fries. (Id. ¶ 13.) Plaintiff also asserts that his other attorney, Joyce Rosenthal, contacted the BHDPS on November 25, 2013 to inquire into Plaintiff's status, but Defendant Vargas hung up on her. (Id. ¶ 14.)
Plaintiff alleges that he was arrested again on Friday, November 29, 2013, and was detained in a holding cell at the BHDPS for the entire weekend. (Id. ¶ 15.) According to Plaintiff, he was fed only one granola bar throughout the detention, was deprived of his medication, and was again mocked by Defendant Vargas for being fat. (Id. ¶ 16.) Plaintiff avers that he was arraigned on November 30, 2013, for which his attorney, Jean Hansen, was present and voiced concern over Plaintiff not receiving his medication. (Id. ¶ 17.) Plaintiff alleges that in response to Ms. Hansen's concerns, Defendant Vargas stated, that Plaintiff would be transported to the county jail shortly, which has a medical facility. (Id.; docket no. 29-8 at 15.)
Plaintiff also alleges that he was not transported to the county jail for more than 48 hours and reiterates that he was deprived of his medication and given only one granola bar during the entire detention. (Id.) Plaintiff further alleges that his attorney arrived at the BHDPS before the arraignment and asked to meet with Plaintiff, but her request was denied by Defendant Vargas, who allegedly said, “We have nowhere for you to meet him, you'll have to speak with him through the cell door slot, and watch what you talk about as the whole area is being recorded, and I'll be listening to it later.” (Id. ¶ 18.) Plaintiff claims that Defendant Vargas's behavior in this regard infringed upon his Sixth Amendment right to counsel. (Id.)
Plaintiff also alleges that the Village of Beverly Hills Department of Public Safety is not equipped to house detainees for any extended period of time and that detainees are instead housed in the neighboring City of Birmingham. (Id. ¶ 20.) Plaintiff alleges that such was the practice and procedure in effect during both of his detentions, during which he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment and deprived of his Sixth Amendment rights. (Id.)
Plaintiff makes several other allegations in the Complaint, most of which are seemingly unrelated to the two periods of detention discussed above. For example, Plaintiff alleges that in February of 2014, he arrived at the BHDPS with an envelope from his attorney that contained privileged information. (Id. ¶ 19.) Plaintiff asserts that the envelope was taken from him and was not returned until October of 2014. (Id.) Plaintiff also alleges that in August of 2014, his attorney, Ms. Rosenthol, attempted to contact the BHDPS to pick up papers requested through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), but she was hung up on. (Id. ¶ 21.) According to Plaintiff, when Ms. Rosenthol went to the BHDPS in person to pick up the requested paperwork, Defendant Vargas threw the paperwork at her. (Id.) Plaintiff claims that he discovered upon reading the contents of that paperwork that he had been left completely alone while he was detained in the holding cell at the BHDPS while the officers went on a fire run, which he claims subjected him to a potential medical and/or fire emergency. (Id. ¶ 22.) Lastly, Plaintiff alleges that in July of 2014, he learned that a GPS tracking device was attached to one of his work vehicles. (Id. ¶ 23.) Plaintiff claims that he then hired a private investigator, who determined through the longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates that the device was activated at the BHDPS. (Id.) Plaintiff claims that the use of the device violated his Fourth Amendment rights because neither he nor his attorney was aware of any warrant authorizing the device. (Id.)

[37 at 2-4].

         Standard of Review

         This Court reviews objections to an R&R on a dispositive motion de novo. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c). Summary judgment is appropriate “if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that 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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving party has the burden of establishing that there are no genuine issues of material fact, which may be accomplished by demonstrating that the nonmoving party lacks evidence to support an essential element of its case. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The Court must construe the evidence, and all reasonable inferences drawn therefrom, in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio ...

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