United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND/OR DISMISSAL
[#33], DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE
NOTICE OF NON-PARTY AT FAULT [#44], AND SETTING
Page Hood Chief Judge, United States District Court
Deborah Hagerman (“Hagerman”) is the personal
representative of Ryan Hagerman's Estate. Hagerman filed
this civil rights suit as result of the brutal death of her
son, at the hands of another inmate while detained in the
Macomb County Jail. Defendants filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment and/or Dismissal. (Doc # 33) For the reasons set
forth below, the Motion is Granted in Part and Denied in
27, 2014, Warren Police Officers Stuart Krueger
(“Krueger”) and Frank Gasser
(“Gasser”) transported Ryan Hagerman to the
Macomb County Jail for booking. During the intake process, he
indicated that he was suicidal. (Doc # 33-5, Pg ID 240; Doc #
33-14, Pg ID 281) Ryan Hagerman was eventually classified as
“High Observation - Green, ” which is the highest
observation status at the jail, and placed in cell MH03 in
the mental health unit. Defendants contend that, once
notified of Ryan Hagerman's suicidal thoughts, they
followed Macomb County Jail policy by properly classifying
him, writing a report, and placing him in the mental health
unit. (Doc # 33-14, Pg ID 281-82) Ryan Hagerman's mental
health report did not indicate that he should be housed
alone. (Doc # 33-17, Pg ID 290-91)
May 27, 2014, Krueger and Gasser transported Mark Cowans
(“Cowans”) to the Macomb County Jail for booking.
When Cowans arrived at Macomb County Jail he was in leg
shackles. At his deposition, Krueger testified that leg
shackles are used when prisoners are assaultive or considered
a flight risk, and that having to use the leg shackles was
“pretty rare” and happened with approximately
“1 in 50” prisoners. (Doc # 38-2, Pg ID 491-92)
Krueger testified that Cowans was in leg shackles because he
had been assaultive to another prisoner and had tried to
escape from his cell at the Warren Jail. Krueger further
testified that Cowans had to be wrestled to the floor by a
Michigan State Patrol trooper while at the Warren Jail.
Krueger testified that upon arrival at the Macomb County
Jail, he informed the Macomb County booking officers that
Cowans was combative, had assaulted another prisoner, and had
wrestled with a Michigan State Police trooper. Id.
at 493. At his deposition, Gasser testified that he remembers
that Krueger informed the Macomb County booking officers that
Cowans was combative, had assaulted another prisoner, and had
wrestled with a Michigan State Police trooper. Doc # 38-3, Pg
ID 512, 514-15; see also Doc # 38-4. Defendant
Deputy Steven Marschke (“Marschke”), on the other
hand, testified that he remembers when Krueger and Gasser
dropped off Ryan Hagerman and Cowans at Macomb County Jail,
and that he was the first booking officer to receive them,
but that Cowans was not in leg shackles and no information
was conveyed about Cowans. (Doc # 38-6, Pg ID 534, 536)
Defendant Deputy Keith Pethke (“Pethke”) was also
working in booking at the time and testified that the Warren
Police Officers provided no information about Cowans.
screening, Cowans did not report any medical or mental health
problems. He was initially placed in general population, but
a few hours later Cowans indicated to Deputy Bradley Krueger
that he felt suicidal. Cowans was taken to the mental health
unit for evaluation. According to Defendants, Cowans'
mental health report indicated that he felt suicidal,
answered questions in a calm manner, and did not act
aggressively, which failed to indicate that he was a danger
to anyone other than himself. Defendants did not place Cowans
on a status to be housed alone.
was also classified as “High Observation - Green”
and placed in cell MH03 - the same mental health cell as Ryan
Hagerman. Mental health cells, such as MH03, are high
observational units that are supposed to be monitored nearly
continuously. They contain cameras which give the mental
health duty station desk a live feed of all activity that
happens in the cells. Cell MH03 cell is approximately ten
feet away from the mental health duty station.
Hagerman and Cowans remained peacefully in the cell for 14
hours. On May 28, 2014, Cowans suddenly attacked Ryan
Hagerman. Cowans was on the bottom bunk and Ryan Hagerman was
on the top bunk. Cowans pulled Ryan Hagerman's arm,
causing him to fall from the top bunk to the concrete floor.
Cowans punched Ryan Hagerman, and then proceeded to stomp on
Ryan Hagerman's head. Cowans occasionally stopped
stomping on Ryan Hagerman's head, but only to look out
the cell window into the hallway. The attack lasted for
approximately a minute and a half.
the attack, Defendants Deputy Brian Pingilley
(“Pingilley”) and Deputy Amy Franks
(“Franks”) were in the mental health duty
station. Pingilley testified that he was on the intercom
responding to another inmate, which prevented him from
monitoring the activity in cell MH03. Once he finished his
conversation, he sat down and resumed viewing the monitors.
He noticed, in the MH03 live feed, that Cowans was nudging
Ryan Hagerman who was lying on the floor. According to
Pingilley, he asked Franks to hold off on completing her
security round so that he could investigate the activity in
cell MH03. Pingilley entered the cell, and Franks initiated
the intercom in the cell in order to communicate with
Pingilley. Pingilley asked Cowans what happened to Ryan
Hagerman, and Cowans allegedly stated that he fell off his
bunk. Pingilley attended to Ryan Hagerman, and Franks called
for medical assistance.
Hagerman was transported to the hospital where he died three
weeks later as a result of the beating. Macomb County Jail
staff eventually viewed the video of the attack, and Cowans
was convicted of Ryan Hagerman's murder. Hagerman filed
suit alleging three causes of action: (1) Deliberate
Indifference; (2) a Monell claim against Macomb
County and Sheriff Anthony M. Wickersham; and (3) Gross
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Motion to Dismiss
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedures provides
for a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). This type
of motion tests the legal sufficiency of the plaintiff's
complaint. Davey v. Tomlinson, 627 F.Supp. 1458,
1463 (E.D. Mich. 1986). When reviewing a motion to dismiss
under Rule 12(b)(6), a court must “construe the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff,
accept its allegations as true, and draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of the plaintiff.” Directv Inc.
v. Treesh, 487 F.3d 471, 476 (6th Cir. 2007). A court,
however, need not accept as true legal conclusions or
unwarranted factual inferences.” Id. (quoting
Gregory v. Shelby Cnty., 220 F.3d 443, 446 (6th Cir.
2000)). “[L]egal conclusions masquerading as factual
allegations will not suffice.” Edison v. State of
Tenn. Dep't of Children's Servs., 510 F.3d 631,
634 (6th Cir. 2007).
Supreme Court has explained, “a plaintiff's
obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his
‘entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels
and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements
of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be
enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level… .” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted);
see LULAC v. Bresdesen, 500 F.3d 523, 527 (6th Cir.
2007). To survive dismissal, the plaintiff must offer
sufficient factual allegations to make the asserted claim
plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 663 (2009). “A claim has facial plausibility when
the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id.
Motion for Summary Judgment
Court will 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); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 250-57 (1986). A fact is material if it could
affect the outcome of the case based on the governing
substantive law. Id. at 248. A dispute about a
material fact is genuine if, on review of the evidence, a
reasonable jury could find in favor of the nonmoving party.
moving party bears the initial burden to demonstrate the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If the
movant meets this burden, the nonmoving party must “go
beyond the pleadings and … designate specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Id. at 324. The Court may grant a motion for summary
judgment if the nonmoving party who has the burden of proof
at trial fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element that is essential to that party's
case. See Muncie Power Prods., Inc. v. United Tech.
Auto., Inc., 328 F.3d 870, 873 (6th Cir. 2003).
“The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in
support of the plaintiff's position will be insufficient;
there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably
find for the plaintiff.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at
252. “Conclusory allegations do not create a genuine
issue of material fact which precludes summary
judgment.” Johari v. Big Easy Restaurants,
Inc., 78 F. App'x 546, 548 (6th Cir. 2003).
reviewing a summary judgment motion, the Court must view the
evidence and all inferences drawn from it in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party. Kochins v.
Linden-Alimak, Inc., 799 F.2d 1128, 1133 (6th Cir.
1986). The Court “need consider only the cited
materials, but it may consider other materials in the
record.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3). The Court's
function at the summary judgment stage “is not to weigh
the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to
determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249.
contend that they are entitled to qualified immunity because
Hagerman failed to establish a constitutional right, to be
housed alone in a cell or continuously monitored in a cell,
that was clearly established.
immunity protects state actors sued under Section 1983 from
damages liability “insofar as their conduct does not
violate clearly established statutory or constitutional
rights of which a reasonable person would have known.”
Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 231(2009)
(quotation marks omitted). The determination of whether a
government official is entitled to qualified immunity is a
two-step inquiry: “First, viewing the facts in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff, has the plaintiff
shown that a constitutional violation has occurred? Second,
was the right clearly established at the time of the
violation?” Miller v. Sanilac Cnty., 606 F.3d
240, 247 (6th Cir.2010) (internal quotation marks and
citations omitted). These steps may be addressed in any
order. Pearson, 555 U.S. at 236.
Court does not construe Hagerman's Fourteenth Amendment
claims as narrowly as Defendants. Hagerman asserts a
deliberate indifference claim regarding a inmate's right
to be free from violence at the hands of his cellmate. That
he was not housed alone and was not continuously monitored
are two of the ways in which Ryan Hagerman's right to be
free from violence at the hands of his cellmate was allegedly
violated. The Court finds that Hagerman has asserted a
constitutional claim on behalf of Ryan Hagerman. The right to
be free from violence at the hands of other inmates was
clearly established by the Supreme Court in Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (1994). See Richko v. Wayne
Cnty., 819 F.3d 907, 915 (6th Cir. 2016). Defendants are
not entitled qualified immunity on the basis of failure to
identify a clearly established constitutional right that was
Deliberate Indifference Claim
claims that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to Ryan
Hagerman's right to be free from a substantial risk of
violence at the hands of another inmate.
detainees are not protected under the Eighth Amendment;
rather, the constitutional protections afforded to pretrial
detainee stem from the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment. Roberts v. City of Troy, 773 F.2d 720,
723 (6th Cir. 1985). See also Bell v. Wolfish, 441
U.S. 520, 545 (1979) (“pretrial detainees, who have not
been convicted of any crimes, retain at least those
constitutional rights that we have held are enjoyed by
convicted prisoners.”). To ...