United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING, IN PART, DEFENDANTS'
MOTION TO DISMISS (ECF NO. 3)
V. PARKER, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
lawsuit arises from a police raid of Plaintiff's
residence in Detroit, MI on or about September 6, 2016.
Plaintiff alleges violations of her Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendment rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as
various state law claims. Plaintiff names eleven Defendants
in her Complaint filed February 16, 2017: (1) the City of
Detroit, (2) Chief James Craig (“Chief Craig”),
(3) Samuel Pionessa, (4) Reginald Beasley, (5) Nico Hurd, (6)
Alanna Mitchell, (7) Juan Davis, (8) Johnny Fox, (9) Samuel
Galloway, (10) Jason Clark, and (11) Lamar Williams,
(“Individual Defendants”) in their individual and
official capacities. (ECF No. 1.)
before the Court is Defendants City of Detroit and Chief
Craig's motion to dismiss (ECF No. 3), in which all
Individual Defendants concur and join in the motion to
dismiss. (ECF Nos. 4, 15, 16, 17.) Plaintiff filed a response
on April 10, 2017. (ECF No. 14.) For the reasons that follow,
the Court grants, in part, Defendants' motion.
Factual and Procedural Background
about September 6, 2016, while in her home, Plaintiff, a
59-year-old woman, heard a noise on her front porch and went
to investigate the source of the noise. (ECF No. 1 at Pg ID
4-5.) Through the glass window of her front door, Plaintiff
noticed the Individual Defendants on her front porch wearing
black face masks and t-shirts that read “Police.”
(Id. at Pg ID 5.) According to Plaintiff, as she
stood directly in front of her door, she made eye contact
with one of the officers, who she believed to be either
Defendant Reginald Beasley or Nico Hurd (“Defendant
Officer #1”). (Id.) Despite making eye contact
with Plaintiff, Defendant Officer #1 kicked in
Plaintiff's front door, striking Plaintiff in the face
and effectively knocking her into the wall in her front
hallway. (Id.) Plaintiff asserts she was placed in
handcuffs and instructed to sit in the living room while the
Individual Defendants searched her home. (Id. at Pg
ID 6.) While handcuffed and sitting in her living room, blood
began to drip from a large gash above her eye that was caused
when Defendant Officer #1 kicked the door into
Plaintiff's face. (Id.)
the search was complete but prior to the Individual
Defendants leaving the residence, Defendant Officer #1 took
Plaintiff into another room, allegedly threatening her and
stating “I want to make sure that we are on the same
page because I do not want to have to take you to
jail.” (Id.) Plaintiff believed this was an
attempt to cover up the injuries Defendant Officer #1 caused
her. Defendant Officer # 1 then told Plaintiff she did not
need an ambulance and “[t]his never happened. You fell
and hit your head before we got here, right?”
(Id. at Pg ID 6-7.) Later, Defendant Officer #1
instructed Plaintiff to change her shirt because he did not
want to see blood and took a photo of Plaintiff following her
shirt change. (Id. at Pg ID 7.)
to Plaintiff, after the Individual Defendants left her
residence, she found a document titled “Search Warrant
and Affidavit.” (Id.) It stated:
“‘Seller#1: B/M/20, 5'10” 170 lbs,
medium complexion, wearing a white t-short [sic] and blue
jeans, ' for narcotics, narcotics paraphernalia and all
items uses [sic] for the sale, manufacture and distribution
of controlled substances.” (Id. at Pg ID 7-8.)
Standard of Review
motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal
sufficiency of the complaint. RMI Titanium Co. v.
Westinghouse Elec. Corp., 78 F.3d 1125, 1134 (6th Cir.
1996). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), a
pleading must contain a “short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint
need not contain “detailed factual allegations, ”
but it must contain more than “labels and
conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action . . .” Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A complaint
does not “suffice if it tenders ‘naked
assertions' devoid of ‘further factual
enhancement.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
Supreme Court provided in Iqbal and
Twombly, “[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.' ” Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The
plausibility standard “does not impose a probability
requirement at the pleading stage; it simply calls for enough
facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will
reveal evidence of illegal [conduct].”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.
deciding whether the plaintiff has set forth a
“plausible” claim, the court must accept the
factual allegations in the complaint as true. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). This presumption,
however, is not applicable to legal conclusions.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 668. Therefore,
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555).
Applicable Law & Analysis
asserts § 1983 claims for violations of her rights under
the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. “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.'” Jones v. Muskegon Cnty., 625
F.3d 935, 940-41 (6th Cir. 2010) (quoting Horn v. Madison
Cnty. Fiscal Court, 22 F.3d 653, 656 (6th Cir. 1994)). A
plaintiff asserting a § 1983 claim must show: “(1)
the deprivation of a right secured by the Constitution or
laws of the United States (2) caused by a person acting under
color of state law.” Sigley v. City of Parma
Heights, 437 F.3d 527, 533 (6th Cir. 2006).
initial matter, “if a constitutional claim is covered
by a specific constitutional provision, such as the Fourth or
Eighth Amendment, the claim must be analyzed under the
standard appropriate to that specific provision, not under
the rubric of substantive due process.” Burgess v.
Fischer, 735 F.3d 462, 473 (6th Cir. 2013). Under the
facts and circumstances of this case, the Fourth Amendment is
more appropriate to apply given the search and/or seizure.
Because the Court finds Plaintiff's claim is more
appropriately analyzed under the Fourth Amendment, the Court
will decline to analyze Plaintiff's claims under the
Fourteenth Amendment. As such, the Court is dismissing
Plaintiff's § 1983 claim to the extent Plaintiff
alleges violations of the Fourteenth Amendment.
argue that Plaintiff's claims against Defendant Craig
must be dismissed because he was not personally involved with
the incident and a respondeat superior theory is
inapplicable under a § 1983 claim. To establish personal
liability under § 1983, the plaintiff must show that
each defendant charged “caused the deprivation of a
federal right.” Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S.
159, 166 (1985). Stated differently, “a plaintiff must
plead that each Government-official defendant, through the
official's own individual actions, has violated the
Constitution.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 676.
“[T]he personal responsibility requirement is satisfied
if the official ‘acts or fails to act with a deliberate
or reckless disregard of plaintiff's constitutional
rights, or if the conduct causing the constitutional
deprivation occurs at her direction or with her knowledge or
consent.” Diebitz v. Arreola, 834 F.Supp. 298,
304 (6th Cir. 1993). Along those same lines “it is
clear that one who is given the badge of authority of a
police officer may not ignore the duty imposed by his office
and fail to stop other officers who summarily punish a third
person in his presence or otherwise with his
Sixth Circuit “has held that § 1983 liability must
be based on more than respondeat superior, or the
right to control employees.” Shehee v.
Luttrell, 199 F.3d 295, ...