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Bonnier v. Woods

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

April 18, 2017

JOSEPH BONNIER, Plaintiff,
v.
DETROIT POLICE OFFICER DANIEL WOODS, and DETROIT POLICE OFFICER RYAN PAUL, in each of their official and individual capacities, jointly and severally, Defendants.

          Stephanie Dawkins Davis United States Magistrate Judge

          OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS AND CANCELING APRIL 26, 2017 HEARING

          PAUL D. BORMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This action involves Plaintiff's claim that the Defendant officers detained Plaintiff in a traffic stop and searched his vehicle without probable cause and caused him physical injuries during the course of the illegal stop and detention. Plaintiff has alleged a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming violations of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and also alleges state law claims of assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and false arrest. All of Plaintiff's claims arise from the same alleged illegal stop and detention and the conduct of the Defendant officers in connection with the stop.

         Defendants do not contest the Court's subject matter jurisdiction over this action, which is undisputed based upon Plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim. Defendants however move the Court to exercise its discretion to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claims and to dismiss Plaintiff's related state law claims.

         The Court has determined that oral argument will not assist in resolving the issues raised in Defendants' motion and the Court will decide the matter on the parties' written submissions. E.D. Mich. L.R. 7.1(f)(2). Accordingly, the Court CANCELS the hearing on the motion currently scheduled for April 26, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. For the reasons that follow, the Court DENIES the motion to dismiss (ECF No. 20) and ORDERS Defendants to file Answers to the Complaint on or before May 2, 2017.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges that he was unlawfully stopped by Defendant Detroit Police Officers Daniel Woods and Ryan Paul on November 22, 2014, and that his car was thereafter illegally searched. Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant officers stopped him, demanded Plaintiff's Driver's License and after receiving it told Plaintiff not to “make a f***ing move.” (Compl. ¶¶ 6-8.) Plaintiff refused to consent to a search of his car, to which the Defendant officers responded that they did not need his consent because he was in a high drug area. (Id. ¶¶ 11-12.) Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant officers became belligerent, placed Plaintiff in a “full nelson hold, ” grabbed his arm and twisted it painfully before placing Plaintiff in handcuffs that were too tight. (Id. ¶¶ 13-16.) Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant officers patted him down and then searched his car and trunk without consent. (Id. ¶¶ 18-19.) The Defendant officers ultimately released Plaintiff and did not place him under formal arrest or charge him with any crime. (Id. ¶ 20.) Plaintiff alleges that he has undergone surgery as a result of the Defendant officers' treatment of him and that he has suffered other economic and non-economic damages. (Id. ¶¶ 21-24.)

         Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant officers violated his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, committed an assault and battery upon his person, intentionally inflicted emotional distress on him and falsely arrested him, all based upon the aforementioned conduct.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Defendants move the Court to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claims, but inappropriately file their motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. This is an improper basis for their motion. The motion does not challenge the factual sufficiency of Plaintiff's claims in any manner. Recognizing this faulty basis for the Defendants' motion, Plaintiff suggests that the Court analyze the motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), which governs the Court's subject matter jurisdiction over a case. This too is an improper basis under which to analyze the claims, as it is undisputed that the Court enjoys subject matter jurisdiction over the entirety of Plaintiff's action which alleges a violation of constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Gamel v. City of Cincinnati, 625 F.3d 949, 951 (6th Cir. 2010) (observing that district court's decision to decline the exercise of supplemental jurisdiction is “not based on a jurisdictional defect but on its discretionary choice not to hear the claims despite its subject-matter jurisdiction over them”) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). The Defendants challenge only the Court's discretionary authority to entertain and resolve Plaintiff's state law claims. Accordingly, although Defendants bring their motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court analyzes the issues raised under 28 U.S.C. § 1367, which governs supplemental jurisdiction.

         III. ANALYSIS

         The supplemental jurisdiction statute provides in relevant part:

[I]n any civil action of which the district courts have original jurisdiction, the district courts shall have supplemental jurisdiction over all other claims that are so related to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy under Article III of the United States Constitution.

28 U.S.C. ยง 1367(a). The district court may only decline to exercise supplemental ...


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