United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR
Corbett O'Meara, United States District Judge.
the court is Defendant Dolgencorp, L.L.C.'s motion for
summary judgment. For the reasons explained below,
Defendant's motion is granted.
Diane Young was assaulted and robbed of her purse in the
parking lot of a Dollar General store in Detroit, Michigan.
The Dollar General premises are leased by Dolgencorp, L.L.C.,
and owned by Detroit Meyers Plaza, L.L.C. According to the
police report, Plaintiff told officers at the scene that a
man snatched her purse off her shoulder. Def.'s Ex. A.
The police report states that Plaintiff's “left
wrist was slightly swollen but she did not need EMS.”
recollection of the incident differs from the police report.
According to Plaintiff, she was about to throw her purse in
her car when a man grabbed her. The assailant lost his
balance on a patch of ice and fell on top of Plaintiff before
fleeing in a getaway vehicle. Plaintiff testified that a
bystander called the police and gave her the phone so she
could talk to an officer. Def.'s Ex. B (Plaintiff's
Dep.) at 28-30. Plaintiff states that the police did not
respond to the scene, but came to her home later.
testified that she is “used to seeing security right
there at the door at all times during the years I have been
going there [Dollar General]. . . . But there wasn't no
security there” on the day of the incident.
Id. at 34. Plaintiff contends that a bystander
called for Dollar General's security guard to come out
while she was still on the ground, but the guard did not take
any action. Id. at 41-42.
complaint asserts a claim of negligence against
Dolgencorp.Defendant seeks summary judgment, which is
appropriate if “there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and … the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). In
order to present a claim of negligence, Plaintiff must
establish that Defendant owed her a duty of reasonable care,
which was breached, proximately causing Plaintiff injury.
Whether Defendant owed a duty to Plaintiff is a question of
law for the court. See Williams v. Cunningham Drug
Stores, Inc., 429 Mich. 495, 500, 418 N.W.2d 381, 383
Michigan Supreme Court has emphasized that “a
merchant's duty of reasonable care does not include
providing armed, visible security guards to deter criminal
acts of third parties.” Id. at 501. Nor does a
duty arise when a merchant voluntarily undertakes to provide
a security guard or other safety measures. See Scott v.
Harper Recreation, Inc., 444 Mich. 441, 452, 506 N.W.2d
857, 863 (1993) (“Suit may not be maintained on the
theory that the safety measures are less effective than they
could or should have been.”). The merchant's only
duty is to “respond reasonably to criminal acts
occurring on the premises” by making “reasonable
efforts to contact the police.” MacDonald v. PKT,
Inc., 464 Mich. 322, 336, 628 N.W.2d 33, 39 (2001).
argues that Defendant “failed to have a security
officer contact police” and that there is a question of
fact “as to whether Defendants contacted police in a
timely manner to prevent the assault by a third party.”
As discussed above, Defendant did not have a duty to prevent
a third party from assaulting Plaintiff. See
Williams, 429 Mich. at 501. At most, Defendant had a
duty to respond to an “ongoing situation” by
making “reasonable efforts to contact the
police.” MacDonald, 464 Mich. at 336-338. It
is undisputed, however, that Defendant's security guard
was not present when Plaintiff was assaulted and did not
confront an ongoing criminal act. A bystander called the
police and Plaintiff spoke to an officer on the phone. Under
these circumstances, where the “incident was
over” and the police had been contacted, Defendant
“had no opportunity to summon the police.”
Wade v. H & L Multi-Purpose, Inc., 2015 WL
2414540 at *3 (Mich. App. May 19, 2015). Cf. Bailey v.
Schaaf, 494 Mich. 595, 617, 835 N.W.2d 413, 426 (2013)
(summary judgment not appropriate when security guards failed
to summon police when faced with ongoing situation of a man
brandishing a gun in the common area of an apartment
complex). Because Defendant was not faced with an ongoing
situation involving a “risk of imminent harm” to
Plaintiff, Defendant did not have a duty to Plaintiff.
See MacDonald, 464 Mich. at 335.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant's motion for summary
judgment is GRANTED.
 The motion was filed on behalf of
“Defendants” Dolgencorp L.L.C. and Detroit Meyers
Plaza, L.L.C. However, Dolgencorp's third-party complaint
against Detroit Meyers Plaza was dismissed by stipulated
order on July 7, 2017. Plaintiff has not amended her
complaint to add Detroit Meyers Plaza as a ...