United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN
PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
F. Cox United States District Judge.
§ 1983 case stems from alleged excessive force used
against Plaintiff by several jail officials during her
arrival and booking at the Oakland County Jail. Defendants
have moved for judgment on the pleadings or summary judgment,
arguing that Plaintiff has failed to show that any individual
defendant personally engaged in misconduct in violation of
reasons below, the Court shall grant Defendants' Motion
for Summary Judgment in part and deny it in part. The Court
shall deny the motion as to the four defendants (Jordan,
Tucker, Cordova, and Fletcher) who were members of the team
that brought Plaintiff into the jail because a genuine issue
of material fact exists as to whether each defendant was
present and personally involved in any violation of
Plaintiff's rights. But the Court shall grant the motion
as to Defendant Nicotri because there is no evidence that he
was present or personally involved in any alleged violation
of Plaintiff's rights.
October 2014, after drinking a pint of vodka, Plaintiff Renee
Fazica got behind the wheel with her teenage son in the car.
Pl. Dep., p. 21-22. Eventually she was pulled over by
Bloomfield Township police officers. Id. at 23; Def.
Stmt. of Undisputed Facts, ¶ 1. The officers arrested
her and took her to the police station. Pl. Dep., p. 26.
Plaintiff was being loud at the station, the Bloomfield
Township officers decided to take her to the Oakland County
Jail. Id. at 30-31. They contacted officials at the
jail and informed them that Plaintiff was intoxicated and had
been acting disorderly. Def. Ex. C, H. For this reason, a
Cell Extraction Team was deployed to secure Plaintiff upon
arrival and bring her into the jail. Def. Ex. H. Members of
the team are trained to deal with prisoners who are unruly,
combative, and non-compliant. Jordan Dep., p. 13. The
extraction team consisted of five Oakland County
Sheriff's deputies: Defendants Deputy Zachary Jordan,
Mark Fletcher, Josh Tucker, and Carlos Cordova as well as
non-party Dwayne Rodriguez. Defendant Sergeant Paul Nictori,
who was working as an on-duty supervisor, was also notified
of Plaintiff's impending arrival. Nictori Dep., p. 8;
Def. Ex. C. He was not, however, a member of the extraction
team. Nictori Dep., p. 9.
Plaintiff arrived at the jail, she observed four men waiting
for her. Pl. Dep., p. 32. Tucker, with assistance from
Cordova and Rodriguez, removed Plaintiff from the patrol car,
bringing her to the ground with her arm stretched back.
Id. at 32-33; Def. Ex. C. While Plaintiff was on the
ground, a spit hood was placed over her face. Pl. Dep., p.
33. The spit hood had a plastic lower half designed to
prevent the wearer from spitting and netting on the upper
half to allow the wearer to see and breathe. Cordova Dep., p.
11-12. It covered Plaintiff's face from the top of the
bridge of her nose to the bottom of her chin. Pl. Dep., p.
33. Plaintiff testified that she could only see a “tiny
bit” out of the top of the mask. Id.
the team members picked Plaintiff up off the ground, stood
her up, and walked her to a different location in the jail.
Id. at 40-41. They made Plaintiff walk in a
bent-over position facing the floor. Id. at 41-42.
While Plaintiff was walking, an unidentified officer said,
“follow my voice or I'll tase you.”
Id. at 42. During the walk, one of the team members
had his hands on Plaintiff's neck, pushing hard enough
that she complained that he was hurting her and that she
could not breathe. Id. at 43-44. According to
Plaintiff, every time she complained he gripped her neck
harder. Id. at 44. Plaintiff does not know exactly
who had his hands on her neck. Id. at 43.
team brought Plaintiff to a room within the jail and began to
strip search her. Id. at 45. She was placed face
down on the floor and had her pants physically ripped off.
Id. at 45-46. During the search, Plaintiff felt
someone spread her buttocks apart. Id. at 46. She
also felt someone put his hands up the front of her bra while
another team member touched her genitals. Id. at
46-47. Plaintiff also testified that someone “slap
punched” her while she was being strip-searched.
Id. at 52. Although Plaintiff could not identify
precisely who searched her, she recalled seeing in the room
all four men she had previously observed when she arrived at
the jail. Id. at 48.
the search, the team walked Plaintiff, who was only wearing a
bra, to a cell. Id. at 49. Someone threw a pair of
scrubs in the corner of the cell and closed the door.
Id. Plaintiff was booked the next morning and
released. Id. at 50. None of the extraction team
members remember this incident. See Cordova Dep., p.
9; Fletcher Dep., p. 10; Jordan Dep., p. 8; Tucker Dep., p.
2015, Plaintiff sued Defendants along with Bloomfield
Township, three of its police officers, and Oakland County
(Case No. 15-13858, Doc. # 1). This Court granted the Oakland
County Defendants' Motion to Dismiss without prejudice
(Case No. 15-13858, Doc. # 25). In doing so, the Court noted
that Plaintiff had failed to sufficiently allege any claims
against the individual Defendants, as her complaint was
entirely conclusory and lacked supporting factual
allegations. But the Court dismissed the case without
prejudice, allowing Plaintiff the opportunity to file an
months later, in lieu of filing an amended complaint,
Plaintiff filed this action solely against Defendants Jordan,
Fletcher, Tucker, Nicotri, and Cordova (Doc. # 1). She then
filed an amended complaint, which contains factual
allegations that are far more specific than those in the
prior action (Doc. # 7). Her amended complaint raises three
claims for relief: (1) a § 1983 excessive force claim,
(2) a claim that Defendants' conduct amounted to
“gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct,
assault, battery, and/or intentional infliction of emotional
distress on Plaintiff”, and (3) a § 1983 claim for
deprivation of liberty without due process of law.
have moved for judgment on the pleadings or, in the
alternative, for summary judgment (Doc. # 16) and Plaintiff
has responded (Doc. # 22). This Court held a hearing on
Defendants' motion on March 15, 2018.