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Jones v. City of Oak Park

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

August 30, 2017

Glynn Jones, Jr., Plaintiff,
City of Oak Park, ET AL., Defendants.

          Anthony P. Patti United States Magistrate Judge


          Hon. Gershwin A. Drain United States District Court Judge

         Plaintiff commenced suit against the Defendants alleging mistreatment throughout his arrest and prosecution in 2014. In 2014 Plaintiff was mistakenly regarded as a suspect in a series of bank robberies within the cities of Center Line and Oak Park. Pending before the Court is Center Line’s Motion for Summary Judgment. For the reasons that follow, the Court will GRANT Center Line’s Motion [34].

         II. Background

         On May 19, 2014, the PNC Bank in Center Line was robbed. Center Line Officer Curt Winn investigated the robbery. Two employees, Kiana Anderson and Prena Kalaj witnessed the robbery. Ms. Anderson was the bank teller. Ms. Anderson described an African-American male, approximately 6’4” tall and 200 pounds who approached her. The man gave her a note, which indicated he had a gun. The man later told her to hurry up and give her money. According to Ms. Anderson, she gave the robber the money. The robber then backed away and walked fast out of the bank.

         In the middle of the encounter, Ms. Kalaj walked behind Ms. Anderson to get to her desk. Ms. Kalaj heard the robber say “Hurry the fuck up” and looked at him. Ms. Kalaj proceeded to press the panic button. Other employees who were present generally confirmed Ms. Kalaj and Ms. Anderson’s recollection of the events.

         The robbery was captured on surveillance. A still photograph of the suspect was taken from the surveillance video and circulated to the news. Fingerprints were taken from the bank, along with the note that the suspect gave the teller.

         On May 20, 2014 an anonymous caller spoke to Sgt. Grace at Center Line Police Department and identified the suspect as Glynn Jones Jr. Later that day, another anonymous caller identified the suspect as Glynn Jones Jr. Winn searched Jones’ name and obtained a prior photo of him. Using the picture of Jones, Winn created a photo array, including the photographs of five other men. Winn took the photo array to PNC Bank, the location of the robbery. Ms. Anderson was unable to identify the suspect. Ms. Kalaj, however, identified Jones as the robber.

         Winn then learned that similar robberies occurred in nearby cities Lathrup Village, Berkley, and Oak Park. Winn met with officers from those jurisdictions and also the FBI.

         On May 21, 2014 the Michigan Forensic Lab completed its report on the evidence Winn submitted. The lab compared the latent prints to Jones’ finger and palm impressions “with no identifications made.” Winn presented his case to the city prosecutor.

         On May 22, 2014, Winn obtained a search warrant for Jones’ home and an arrest warrant for Jones. That same day, the search warrant was executed at Jones’ residence. No evidence of the robberies was found, but Jones was arrested. After interrogation, Jones was taken to the Macomb County Jail. On May 23, 2014, Jones was arraigned on charges of armed robbery. He posted bond and was released that same day.

         On May 28, 2014, the same PNC Bank was robbed for a second time. Immediately thereafter, Center Line requested the Sterling Heights Police Department to observe Jones’ apartment. The Sterling Heights Police observed both of Jones’ vehicles present at the apartment. During this time Winn began to doubt whether Jones was the bank robber.

         On May 30, 2014, PNC offered a $5,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the robber. On June 4, 2014, the FBI also offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the bank robber. On July 2, 2014, Center Line dropped the charges against Jones.

         III. Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) “directs that summary judgment shall be granted if ‘there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.’ ” Cehrs v. Ne. Ohio Alzheimer’s Research Ctr., 155 F.3d 775, 779 (6th Cir. 1998). The court must view the facts, and draw reasonable inferences from those facts, in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). No genuine dispute of material fact exists where the record “taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party.” Matsushita Elec. Indus., Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). Ultimately, the court evaluates “whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251–52.

         IV. Discussion

         The Complaint asserts two federal claims and five state-law claims.

         Federal Claims

         Count I: 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment against the City of Center Line Count II: 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment against Individual Defendants in their Individual Capacities

         State Claims

         Count III: Deprivation of Rights Pursuant to the Michigan Constitution

         Count IV: Defamation Count

         Count V: False Arrest Count

         Count VI: Malicious Prosecution

         Count VII: False Imprisonment against all defendants

         The Court will discuss the federal claims first.

         A. Section 1983 Claims Against Individual Defendants

         Section 1983 establishes “a cause of action for deprivation under color of state law, of any rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States.” Horn v. Madison Cty. Fiscal Court, 22 F.3d 653, 656 (6th Cir. 1994). To prevail on this claim, a plaintiff must demonstrate “(1) the deprivation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States (2) caused by a person acting under the color of state law.” Dominguez v. Corr. Med. Servs., 555 F.3d 543, 549 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Sigley v. City of Parma Heights, 437 F.3d 527, 533 (6th Cir. 2006)). However, “[u]nder the doctrine of qualified immunity, ‘government officials performing discretionary functions generally are shielded from liability from civil damages insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights which a reasonable person would have known.’ ” Id. (citations omitted). Thus, qualified immunity in any given case is determined by a two-part 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?” Id. (citations omitted). Jones v. Muskegon Cty., 625 F.3d 935, 940–41 (6th Cir. 2010).

         Plaintiff alleges Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment violations against two individual Center Line Defendants: Paul Myszenski and Curt Winn.

         1. Paul Myszenski is Entitled ...

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