United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
MAHER WAAD, an individual, MARKS ONE CAR RENTAL, a Michigan corporation, MARKS ONE COLLISION, a Michigan corporation, Plaintiffs,
SERGEANT DAN WILLIS, in his individual capacity, DETECTIVE DAVE KRISS, in his individual and official capacity, LIEUTENANT MARK OERMAN, in his individual capacity, DANA GOLDBERG, in her official and individual capacity, THE COUNTY OF MACOMB, a municipality, jointly and severally, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT DANA
GOLDBERG'S MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. 14)
COHN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
essentially a civil rights case. Plaintiffs Maher Waad, an
individual, Marks One Car Rental, and Marks One Collision,
two companies owned by Waad, sued multiple individuals and
entities, as follows: (1) Farmers Insurance Exchange, (2)
Allen Keller - an employee of Farmers, (3) Sergeant Dan
Willis - a Warren police officer, (4) Detective Dave Kriss- a
Macomb County Deputy Sheriff, (5) Lieutenant Mark Oerman - a
Macomb County Deputy Sheriff, (6) Dana Goldberg - a Macomb
County prosecutor, (7) Macomb County, (8) Macomb County
Sheriff's Department, and (9) Michigan Auto Theft
Authority. Following various stipulations, see Docs.
32, 33, 34 the remaining defendants are: (1) Willis, in his
individual capacity, (2) Kriss, in his official and
individual capacity, (3) Oerman, in his individual capacity,
(4) Goldberg, and (5) Macomb County. Upon the dismissal of
plaintiffs' state law claims, see Doc. 27, the
following claims are at issue:
Count I - Federal Claim Violation of the Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendment -False Arrest, False Imprisonment and
Unreasonable Search and Seizure
Count II - Federal Claim Violation of Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendments Malicious Prosecution
Count III - Federal Claim, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Monell Claim
(against Macomb county)
the Court is Goldberg's motion to dismiss on the grounds
of prosecutorial immunity. For the reasons that follow, the
motion will be granted.
Rule 12(b)(6) a complaint must be dismissed if it does not
“contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true,
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949
(2009). The plausibility standard demands more than a
“sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Id. Rather, for a claim to be
facially plausible, a plaintiff must plead “factual
content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Id. at 1949. Rule 12(b)(6) motion
tests the sufficiency of a plaintiff's pleading.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The Court need not accept as true
“legal conclusions or unwarranted factual
inferences.” In Re Packaged Ice Antitrust
Litig., 723 F.Supp.2d 987, 1002 (E.D. Mich. 2010)
(quoting Directv, Inc. v. Treesh, 487 F.3d 471, 476
(6th Cir. 2007)).
Supreme Court has held that prosecutors have absolute
immunity from damages for both initiating and prosecuting a
case, including presentation of the state's case at
trial. Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 431 (1976).
A prosecutor must exercise his or her best professional
judgment both in deciding which suits to bring and in
prosecuting them in court. Skinner v. Govorchin, 463
F.3d 518, 525 (6th Cir. 2006). Without the protection of
absolute immunity, prosecutors could not properly perform
this duty if every decision carried the potential
consequences of personal liability in a suit for damages.
Id. Prosecutors, therefore, are granted absolute
immunity when the challenged actions are those of an
advocate, or in connection with duties required to function a
prosecutor. Spurlock v. Thompson, 330 F.3d 791, 798
(6th Cir. 2003).
Sixth Circuit has further recognized that immunity is granted
to prosecutors “pursuing a civil action” when
they are “functioning in an enforcement role and acting
as advocates for the state, ” Cooper v.
Parrish, 203 F.3d 937, 947 (6th Cir. 2000).
Imbler, the courts have taken a functional approach
and have concluded that a prosecutor is protected in
connection with his duties in functioning as a prosecutor.
Id. (quoting Higgason v Stephens, 288 F.3d
868, 877 (6th Cir. 2002)). The "critical inquiry is how
closely related is the prosecutor's challenged activity
to his role as an advocate intimately associated with the
judicial phase of the criminal process." Holloway v
Brush, 220 F.3d 767, 775 (6th Cir. 2000) (en banc).
Immunity is granted not only for actions directly related to
initiating a prosecution and presenting the State's case,
but also to activities undertaken "in connection with
[the] duties in functioning as a prosecutor."
Id. at 431; Higgason, supra at
877. Absolute immunity is therefore extended to prosecuting