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Terry v. City of Detroit

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

May 16, 2018

LARRY TERRY, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF DETROIT and JEFFREY WAWRZYNIAK, in his individual and official capacity, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [15]

          STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III, United States District Judge

         On May 5, 2017, Plaintiff Larry Terry filed a complaint alleging that Defendant Officer Jeffrey Wawrzyniak violated his Fourth Amendment rights and that Defendant City of Detroit violated his First Amendment rights. The parties proceeded to discovery and, on, December 15, 2017, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. The Court reviewed the motion and found that a hearing was unnecessary. ECF 19. For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment.

         BACKGROUND[1]

         On May 5, 2014, Larry Terry conversed with an unnamed minor outside 17745 W. Davison in Detroit, Michigan ("target location"). Terry recognized the boy as his daughter's classmate and agreed to purchase a soda and chips for him. Detroit police officers observed the boy exit the house and retrieve something from Terry (who still sat in his car). Officer Wawrzyniak and the six other Detroit police officers[2] wore masks and were prepared to execute a valid search warrant based on suspected drug activity at the target location.

         Two unknown officers ("Unknown Officers") removed Terry from his car and placed him in handcuffs. They then searched Terry and his vehicle. The Unknown Officers found two knotted sandwich bags of marijuana and $167.00 in cash on Terry's person. The Unknown Officers then took Terry with them to the house where they tested whether his keys fit the locks. The keys did not fit.

         At the same time, the other officers, including Officer Wawrzyniak (collectively "Entry Team"), handcuffed the young man and took him into the house. No. force was necessary to enter. The Entry Team secured the house. Upon searching the target location, the Entry Team found 114 individually packaged plastic zipper bags containing marijuana and six knotted sandwich bags containing marijuana. The Entry Team discovered a digital scale, unused sandwich bags, and a cell phone with photos of the young man with firearms at the house.

         While the Entry Team searched the house, the Unknown Officers entered the residence with Terry. At this point, Officer Wawrzyniak searched Terry three or four times. Non-serious injuries resulted from Terry's detainment. He complained of "a line on [his wrist], " but he did not bleed. ECF 16-2, PgID 123. He did not suffer any other physical injuries.

         After about one hour, [3] Officer Wawrzyniak issued Terry a citation for loitering in a place of illegal occupation (LIPIO) pursuant to Detroit City Ordinance 38-5-1 ("Ordinance"). The Ordinance makes it a misdemeanor for any person to "loiter in a place of illegal occupation with the intent to engage in such illegal occupation." Terry received a court-appointed lawyer and the ticket was dismissed.

         Plaintiff then filed his lawsuit against Officer Wawrzyniak and the City of Detroit for alleged violations of his First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Summary judgment is proper if 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). A fact is material for purposes of summary judgment if its resolution would establish or refute an "essential element[] of a cause of action or defense asserted by the parties[.]" Kendall v. Hoover Co., 751 F.2d 171, 174 (6th Cir. 1984).

         In considering a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view the facts and draw all inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Stiles ex rel. D.S. v. Grainger Cty., 819 F.3d 834, 848 (6th Cir. 2016). The Court must then determine "whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986). And although the Court may not make credibility judgments or weigh the evidence, Moran v. Al Basit LLC, 788 F.3d 201, 204 (6th Cir. 2015), a mere "scintilla" of evidence is insufficient to survive summary judgment; "there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff, " Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Fourth ...


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