United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [#42]
Page Hood Chief Judge, United States District Court
filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action on November 18, 2016,
alleging that Defendants violated his constitutional rights
when they wrongfully searched his house and made him lay
naked for 35-45 minutes during the execution of search. On
February 8, 2018, Defendants filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment, and the Motion is fully briefed. For the reasons
that follow, the Court grants in part and denies in part
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.
Andrjon Thompson bought the house at 16089 Manning,
Detroit, Michigan (the “Property”) in 2012 or
2013, and the deed was filed with Wayne County's Register
of Deeds. The address on his driver's license reflects
the 16089 Manning address. Plaintiff has lived at that
address since he purchased the Property, and his girlfriend
and their young daughter also live there. Plaintiff
represents that the house on the Property is and was secured
with locks and security doors at the time of the events
relevant to this lawsuit.
6, 2016, based on a search warrant obtained through the
efforts of Defendant Craig Stewart, a Detroit Police
Department officer, the house on the Property was searched by
officers from the Detroit Police Department. The officers
involved in the search included Sergeant Diaz Graves, Jason
Clark, Stewart, Leo Rhodes, and Nicholas Bukowski (the
“individual Defendants”). Stewart had caused the
Wayne County Prosecutors Office to request, and 36th District
Court Magistrate Millicent D. Sherman to issue, a search
warrant on that date. Stewart's affidavit in support of
the search warrant application for 16089 Manning stated that
he had observed narcotic trafficking activity on the Property
on May 23, 2016, July 4, 2016, and July 5, 2016. Based on
submitted police activity logs, it appears May 23, 2016 may
be a typo (because there is no indication of surveillance or
activity on Manning Street on the May 23, 2016 police
activity log). The intended date for Stewart's affidavit
(and the one the Court will use for purposes of this Order)
likely was May 24, 2016, even though the closest address to
16089 Manning that was listed as being under surveillance on
the May 24, 2016 police activity log was 15889 Manning
(presumably about two blocks away).
the individual Defendants knocked on the door at the house on
the Property on July 6, 2016, no one answered. The individual
Defendants then forced entry into the house. Plaintiff was
showering during the knock and entry, and he opened the
bathroom door to discover the officers with their firearms
pointed at him. Plaintiff's request to be allowed to get
dressed was denied, and he was ordered to the floor and
required to lay there naked for an extended period of time.
None of the individual Defendants intervened or allowed him
to get some clothes to wear. The individual Defendants did
not find any evidence of narcotics and eventually released
Plaintiff without any charges. Plaintiff was detained for
35-45 minutes before the Defendant officers left. Defendants
Graves and Stewart allowed Plaintiff to get up and put on
some shorts before the officers left - though it is unclear
how long prior to the Defendant officers' departure that
Plaintiff was allowed to put on the shorts.
First Amended Complaint alleges the following counts: (1) 42
U.S.C. 1983 claims against the individual Defendants with
respect to the search itself and the manner in which the
search was executed; (2) a municipal liability claim against
Defendant City of Detroit. Plaintiff claims he has suffered
“significant emotional distress, anxiety,
sleeplessness, and appetite loss due to” the execution
of the search warrant. Plaintiff also claims that he suffered
from humiliation and embarrassment because he had to lay
naked on the floor for an extended period of time.
56(a) of the Rules of Civil Procedures provides that the
court “shall 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 presence of factual disputes will
preclude granting of summary judgment only if the disputes
are genuine and concern material facts. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute
about a material fact is “genuine” only if
“the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.
Although the Court must view the motion in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party, where “the moving
party has carried its burden under Rule 56(c), its opponent
must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical
doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita
Electric Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S.
574, 586 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 323-24 (1986). Summary judgment must be entered against
a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish
the existence of an element essential to that party's
case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof
at trial. In such a situation, there can be “no genuine
issue as to any material fact, ” since a complete
failure of proof concerning an essential element of the
nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other
facts immaterial. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322-23.
A court must look to the substantive law to identify which
facts are material. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
recently stated by the Supreme Court:
The doctrine of qualified immunity shields officials from
civil liability so long as their conduct does not violate
clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of
which a reasonable person would have known. A clearly
established right is one that is sufficiently clear that
every reasonable official would have understood that what he
is doing violates that right. We do not require a case
directly on point, but existing precedent must have placed
the statutory or constitutional question beyond debate. Put
simply, qualified immunity protects all but the plainly
incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law.
Mullenix v. Luna, 136 S.Ct. 305, 308 (2015)
(citations and quotation marks omitted). Qualified immunity
is a two-step process. Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194
(2001). First, the Court determines whether, based upon the
applicable law, the facts viewed in a light most favorable to
the plaintiff show that a constitutional violation has
occurred. Second, the Court considers whether the violation
involved a clearly established constitutional right of which
a reasonable person in the defendant's position would
have known. Saucier v. Katz, supra.; Sample v.
Bailey, 409 F.3d 689 (6th Cir. 2005). Only if the
undisputed facts, or the evidence viewed in a light most
favorable to the plaintiff fail to establish a prima facie
violation of clear constitutional law can this court find
that the Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity.
Turner v. Scott, 119 F.3d 425, 428 (6th Cir. 1997).
government official has raised the defense of qualified
immunity, the plaintiff “bears the ultimate burden of
proof to show that the individual officers are not entitled
to qualified immunity.” Cockrell v. City of
Cincinnati, 468 Fed.Appx. 491, 494 (6th Cir. 2012)
(citation omitted). A plaintiff also must establish that each
individual defendant was “personally involved” in
the specific constitutional violation. See Salehphour v.
University of Tennessee, 159 F.3d 199, 206 (6th Cir.
1998); Bennett v. Schroeder, 99 Fed.Appx. 707,
712-13 (6th Cir. 2004) (unpublished) ...