United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT RAUCH'S
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT  AND DISMISSING REMAINING
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III United States District Judge
Karl Frederick Seyler filed suit against government officials
and his former employers after he was arrested and charged
with embezzlement. Plaintiff's remaining claims include
the following counts: (I) unreasonable seizure under the
Fourth Amendment against Detective Rauch in his individual
capacity; (II) malicious prosecution under the Fourth
Amendment against Detective Rauch in his individual capacity;
(III) malicious prosecution under state law against Detective
Rauch in his individual capacity and Martin; (IV) false
arrest under state law against Detective Rauch in his
individual capacity; and (VI) negligence against Martin,
Tractor Supply Co., and Tractor Supply Company of Michigan
LLC. See ECF 3, 38, 40. The Court has reviewed the
briefs, and finds that a hearing is unnecessary. E.D. Mich.
LR 7.1(f). For the reasons set forth below, the Court will
grant Detective Rauch's Motion for Summary Judgment on
Counts I and II and dismiss the remaining claims for lack of
worked as an assistant manager for Defendant Tractor Supply
Company ("TSC") until he resigned in September
2014. ECF 3, PgID 38. After Plaintiff's resignation, his
former boss, Bonnie Martin, needed to reconcile
Plaintiff's unfinished paperwork. ECF 35-2, PgID 216. The
paperwork included price override reports, and those detailed
customer discounts. Id. The price override reports
show that Plaintiff authorized several significant discounts
in his final weeks working for TSC. ECF 35-3. The
transactions alarmed Martin, so she contacted the police
after consulting a district manager and a loss prevention
manager. ECF 35-2, PgID 217.
Forbush was then dispatched to TSC to investigate potential
employee fraud or embezzlement. ECF 35-5, PgID 232. Officer
Forbush talked to Martin and obtained documentation about the
suspicious transactions. Id. at 233. After reviewing
the documentation, Officer Forbush determined that the
suspicious discounts were given to the same customer.
Id. at 234. Officer Forbush then drafted an initial
report summarizing his findings, and referred the case to
Detective Rauch. Id. at 235.
Rauch proceeded to independently investigate the matter. He
spoke with Martin, who told him that Plaintiff's title
authorized him to give a 15% discount-suggesting that the
suspicious discounts exceeded Plaintiff's authority. ECF
35-6, PgID 241; ECF 35-3. Detective Rauch then interviewed
the customer to whom Plaintiff gave the suspicious discounts.
ECF 35-6, PgID 242. Detective Rauch learned that the customer
owned a business near where Plaintiff lived. Id. at
244, 248. He also learned that the customer worked a mile
from a different TSC store, but chose to travel further to
the location where Plaintiff worked and looked for Plaintiff.
Id. at 242, 248.
his investigation, Detective Rauch sought direction from an
assistant prosecutor. Id. at 246-47. The assistant
prosecutor advised that there was sufficient evidence to
issue a warrant for embezzlement, so Detective Rauch
submitted a warrant request to the prosecutor's office.
Id. at 245-47. The prosecutor's office prepared
a complaint, and a warrant was issued. ECF 3, PgID 40.
Plaintiff's charges were later dismissed after a
preliminary examination. ECF 36-7. He then brought the
Court must 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). The moving party must identify specific
portions of the record "which it believes demonstrate
the absence of a genuine issue of material fact."
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
Once the moving party has met its burden, the non-moving
party may not simply rest on the pleadings, but must present
"specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)) (emphasis omitted).
is material if proof of that fact would establish or refute
an essential element of the cause of action or defense.
Kendall v. Hoover Co., 751 F.2d 171, 174 (6th Cir.
1984). A dispute over material facts is genuine "if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). In
considering a motion for summary judgment, the Court must
view the facts and draw all reasonable inferences" in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party." 60
Ivy St. Corp. v. Alexander, 822 F.2d 1432, 1435 (6th
The Federal Claims
Rauch contends that he is entitled to qualified immunity as
to Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment claims of unreasonable
seizure and malicious prosecution. ECF 35, PgID 206.
Qualified immunity shields officials from liability if their
conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or
constitutional rights that a reasonable person would have
known. Mullenix v. Luna, 136 S.Ct. 305, 308 (2015)
(quoting Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 231
(2009)). The standard tasks the Court with answering whether:
(1) the facts alleged are sufficient to state a
constitutional claim, and (2) the constitutional right which
the officer has purportedly violated was clearly established.
Bible Believers v. Wayne Cty., 805 F.3d 228, 257
(6th Cir. 2015), cert. denied, 136 S.Ct. 2013
(2016). If the Court answers either question in the negative,
then a defendant is entitled to qualified immunity.
Devlin v. Kalm, 531 Fed.Appx. 697, 703 (6th Cir.
Court finds that the facts alleged are insufficient to state
a constitutional claim, therefore Detective Rauch is clearly
entitled to qualified immunity. To prevail on the claims of
unreasonable seizure and malicious prosecution, Plaintiff
must show that Detective Rauch's actions were not
supported by probable cause. See Graham v. Connor,
490 U.S. 386, 396 (1989); Sykes v. Anderson, 625
F.3d 294, 308-09 (6th Cir. 2010). Probable cause exists when
the facts and circumstances within the officer's
knowledge are sufficient to justify a prudent person in
believing that the suspect has committed a crime.
Michigan v. DeFillippo, 443 U.S. 31, 37 (1979).
After making all appropriate inferences, the record shows
that Plaintiff provided substantial discounts to a single
customer on multiple occasions and that the customer worked
near where Plaintiff lived, drove out of his way to shop
where Plaintiff ...