United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Federal Torts Claims Act (“FTCA”) action is the
second case plaintiff Daniel Ericksen (“Daniel”)
has brought arising out of his arrest after marijuana and
drug paraphernalia were found in the trunk of his vehicle at
the United States and Canadian border at the Blue Water
Bridge in Port Huron, Michigan. Now before the court is the
government's motion to dismiss. Having carefully reviewed
the written submissions, the court finds that the matter may
be decided without oral argument pursuant to Local Rule
7.1(f)(2). Based on the doctrine of issue preclusion and
claim preclusion, and because routine searches and seizures
at an international border are lawful simply because they
occur at the border where there is no need for probable
cause, reasonable suspicion, or a warrant, the
government's motion to dismiss shall be granted.
deciding the government's motion to dismiss, the court
has carefully considered the allegations in the complaint as
well as the prior opinion of this court granting
defendants' motion to dismiss in Daniel's prior
Bivens suit, and the Sixth Circuit's decision
affirming that order. D.E. v. John Doe I, 834 F.3d
723 (6th Cir. 2016).
22, 2012, Daniel was en route to a summer camp in Michigan
when he missed his turn and inadvertently ended up at the
international border crossing to Canada at the Blue Water
Bridge in Port Huron, Michigan. When Daniel presented at the
primary inspection booth at the international border, a CBP
agent searched his vehicle and discovered marijuana and drug
paraphernalia in a backpack in his trunk. A canine also
alerted to drugs. Daniel was arrested, and state authorities
charged him with misdemeanor drug offenses of possession of
marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Daniel sought
to suppress the evidence in his state criminal proceedings,
and the state judge denied his motion. Daniel appealed the
ruling, and the circuit court affirmed. Daniel ultimately
pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor possession of drug
paraphernalia and was sentenced to one month probation under
the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (“HYTA”).
first suit, brought under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named
Federal Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S.
388 (1971), Daniel alleged that the search of his vehicle and
his arrest at the border crossing violated his Fourth
Amendment rights. In the earlier lawsuit, in which Daniel was
represented by his father, Michael Ericksen
(“Michael”), defendants were four named Customs
and Border Protection (“CBP”) officers and two
unnamed defendants. In the earlier matter, the court found
that the border search exception applied and thus, defendants
did not violate Daniel's Fourth Amendment rights, and
dismissed the suit. The Sixth Circuit affirmed.
D.E., 834 F.3d at 727-28.
second lawsuit brought under the FTCA, Daniel and his father,
Michael, allege false arrest and imprisonment; Daniel for his
arrest in June, 2012 at the international border crossing at
the Blue Water Bridge, and Michael for his visit to the same
international border crossing in November, 2012, when he
attempted to secure documents related to Daniel's earlier
search and arrest by CBP officers at the border. In this
suit, Daniel also alleges battery by a CBP officer arising
out of the same encounter he had with CBP officers on June
22, 2012. Defendant seeks dismissal for failure to state a
claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
Rule 12(b)(6) Dismissal Standard
12(b)(6) allows the Court to make an assessment as to whether
the plaintiff has stated a claim upon which relief may be
granted. Under the Supreme Court's articulation of the
Rule 12(b)(6) standard in Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 554-56 (2007), the Court must
construe the complaint in favor of the plaintiff, accept the
allegations of the complaint as true, and determine whether
plaintiff's factual allegations present plausible claims.
“[N]aked assertions devoid of further factual
enhancement” are insufficient to Astate a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). To survive a Rule
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, plaintiff's pleading for
relief must provide “more than labels and conclusions,
and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action will not do.” Ass'n of Cleveland Fire
Fighters v. City of Cleveland, 502 F.3d 545, 548 (6th
Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555)
(citations and quotations omitted). Even though the complaint
need not contain “detailed” factual allegations,
its “factual allegations must be enough to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption
that all of the allegations in the complaint are true."
Id. (citing Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555).
Issue Preclusion Bars Daniel's Claims of False Arrest and
claim of false arrest and imprisonment is barred by the
doctrine of issue preclusion because this court previously
found that Daniel's detention and arrest at the
international border was lawful, and the Sixth Circuit
affirmed. Issue preclusion bars a party from relitigating an
issue of law necessary to a judgment, which has been
previously decided by a court of competent jurisdiction, even
if the new case is based on a different cause of action.
Rambacker v. C.I.R., 4 F.App'x 221, 223 (6th
Cir. 2001) (citing United States v. Mendoza, 464
U.S. 154, 158-59 (1984)). Four criteria must be met for issue
preclusion to apply: "(1) the identical issue was raised
and actually litigated in a prior proceeding; (2) the
determination of the issue was necessary to the outcome of
the prior proceeding; (3) the prior proceeding resulted in a
final judgment on the merits; and (4) the party against whom
issue preclusion is sought had a full and fair opportunity to
litigate the issue in the prior proceeding." Gen.
Elect. Med. Sys. Europe v. Prometheus Health, 394
F.App'x 280, 283 (6th Cir. 2010) (citing Aircraft
Braking Sys. Corp. v. Local 856, Int'l Union, United
Auto., Aerospace and Agric. Implement Workers, UAW, 97
F.3d 155, 161 (6th Cir. 1996)). In this case, all four
criteria are easily met.
FTCA suit, Daniel alleges that his detention by CBP
constitutes false imprisonment and false arrest under
Michigan law. Specifically, he claims that CBP lacked the
authority to hold him longer than necessary to determine that
he did not intend to cross the bridge into Canada, and that
he was unlawfully detained when he was required to report to
a primary officer prior to exiting the bridge, at the
pre-primary area, at the primary inspection booth, in the
secondary-inspection area, and in the station house.
Michigan law, a “false arrest is an illegal or
unjustified arrest, ” while false imprisonment is
“an unlawful restraint on a person's liberty or
freedom of movement.” Peterson Novelties, Inc. v.
City of Berkley, 259 Mich.App. 1, 17-18 (2003). A false
imprisonment claim “is broader, but includes a false
arrest involving law enforcement.” Moore v. City of
Detroit, 252 Mich.App. 384, 387 (2002). The elements of
a false imprisonment claim are: (1) an act committed with the
intention of confining another, (2) the act directly or
indirectly results in such confinement, (3) the person
confined is conscious of his confinement, and (4) the
imprisonment was false - without the right or authority to
confine. Id. at 387-88. To ...