United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING THE REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION AND GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR
JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS
MARIANNE O. BATTANI United States District Judge
the Court are Plaintiff Francis Romeo's Objections to the
Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation. (Doc. 23).
Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen considered Defendants'
Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, and, on February 22,
2017, entered a Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”). (Doc. 22). In the R&R,
Magistrate Judge Whalen recommended that the Court grant
Defendants' motion and dismiss the case with prejudice.
For the reasons that follow, the Court ADOPTS the R&R,
GRANTS Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings
(Doc. 10), and DISMISSES WITH PREJUDICE the present action.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
parties have not objected to the R&R's recitation of
the facts, the Court adopts that portion of the R&R.
(See Doc. 22, pp. 1-3).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
to statute, this Court's standard of review for a
magistrate judge's report and recommendation requires a
de novo determination of those portions of the
report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to
which objection is made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). A
judge of the court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or
in part, the findings or recommendations made by the
magistrate judge. Id.
legal standards for determining motions to dismiss pursuant
to Rule 12(b) and Rule 12(c) are the same. Lindsay v.
Yates, 498 F.3d 434, 437 n.4 (6th Cir. 2007). When
ruling on a Rule 12(c) motion, the court must take as true
"all well-pleaded material allegations of the pleadings
of the opposing party, " and "the motion may be
granted only if the moving party is nevertheless clearly
entitled to judgment." JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v.
Winget, 510 F.3d 577, 581 (6th Cir. 2007) (quoting
So. Ohio Bank v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner &
Smith, Inc., 479 F.2d 478, 480 (6th Cir.1973)). However,
the court "need not accept as true legal conclusions or
unwarranted factual inferences." Id. at 581-82
(quoting Mixon v. Ohio, 193 F.3d 389, 400 (6th
Cir.1999)). The court is to grant a Rule 12(c) motion
"when no material issue of fact exists and the party
making the motion is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law." Id. at 582 (quoting Paskvan v. City
of Cleveland Civil Serv. Comm'n, 946 F.2d 1233, 1235
(6th Cir.1991)). "There must be no material issue of
fact that could prevent judgment for the moving party."
Monroe Retail, Inc. v. RBS Citizens, N.A., 589 F.3d
274, 2009 WL 4749352, at *3 (6th Cir. 2009).
objections to the R&R, Plaintiff challenges the
Magistrate Judge's conclusions that Sgt. Nason had
probable cause for issuing a hit and run ticket; that the
Defendant police officers were engaged in discretionary
duties; and that Defendant City of Dearborn failed adequately
to train its officers.
the R&R notes that an essential element in claims of
false arrest, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution
is the absence of probable cause, citing Peterson
Novelties, Inc. v. City of Berkley, 672 N.W.2d 351, 362
(Mich. Ct. App. 2003) and Walsh v. Taylor, 689
N.W.2d 506, 516-17 (Mich. Ct. App. 2004). (Doc. 22, p. 4). It
goes on to discuss as follows:
“Probable cause to arrest exists where the facts and
circumstances within an officer's knowledge and of which
he has reasonably trustworthy information are sufficient in
themselves to warrant a man of reasonable caution in the
belief that an offense has been or is being committed.”
People v. Champion, 452 Mich. 92, 115, 549 N.W.2d
849 (1996). Information or complaints that police officers
receive from identified citizens or other police officers is
presumptively reliable. People v. Powell, 201
Mich.App. 516, 523, 506 N.W.2d 894 (1993). That the Plaintiff
might believe the information from the other driver to be
false is irrelevant to the probable cause analysis, as is his
actual innocence of the charged offense. Peterson
Novelties, at 18. Also irrelevant is the Plaintiff's
allegation that the officers' probable cause
determination was based on hearsay. “A finding of
probable cause may be based on hearsay evidence....”
People v. Manning, 243 Mich.App. 615, 621-22, 624
N.W.2d 746 (2000); M.C.R. 6.102(B).
Because Plaintiff's complaint alleges that Sgt. Nason
issued a ticket based on information he received from a named
citizen, he ipso facto concedes the issue of
probable cause. Thus, the complaint fails to allege plausible
claims of false arrest, false imprisonment, and malicious
(Id. at pp. 4-5). Plaintiff contends that Defendants
lacked probable cause to issue him a ticket for a hit and run
on January 24, 2013, because the information regarding the
fender bender incident was already in their files. Plaintiff
submits an unreadable document that is purportedly a copy of
the incident report dated December 14, 2012. (Doc. 23, Ex.
A). Even assuming Plaintiff's allegations to be true, the
incident report in Defendants' files would have been
based on a summary of events as described by Plaintiff. There
was no reason for Defendants to assume that the information
received from the ...