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Cramer v. Genesee County

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

June 14, 2018

JAYNE CRAMER, Plaintiff,
GENESEE COUNTY, et al., Defendants.



         This matter is before the Court on the motion of defendants Corizon Health, Inc., (“Corizon”) and Corizon employees Candy Hoffman, Stephanie Jeffries, Amanda Jordan, Dennis Lloyd, and Janelle Palmer (the “Corizon defendants”) to dismiss [docket entry 15]. This motion is fully briefed. Pursuant to E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f)(2), the Court will decide it without a hearing.


         On January 12, 2015, plaintiff stood waiting for a bus somewhere near downtown Flint, Michigan. Tired of either standing or the cold, she walked to a nearby house and sat on the porch. The homeowner indicated that “she didn't want [plaintiff] there, ” so plaintiff returned to the bus stop. Pl.'s Resp. Ex. 1. The situation was not resolved, though: after some more interaction the homeowner's “boyfriend got all mad and ran over to the bus stop, ” and “punched [plaintiff] in the face.” Id.

         Plaintiff's boyfriend called the police, who arrested the homeowner's boyfriend. The police also ran plaintiff's drivers license in a national law-enforcement database. The police then told plaintiff that a Florida court had issued a warrant for her arrest. Plaintiff protested, telling them that there was some mistake. The police disagreed, however, and arrested plaintiff. They took her to the Genesee County jail, where she was held for three days.

         Plaintiff alleges that during her incarceration she was severely mistreated. According to her, when she arrived at the jail the guards immediately stripped her naked, never giving her jail clothes. The guards left her naked on a cell's cement floor and without food or water. At some point, defendant Tom Beagle, a sheriff's deputy, allegedly pushed her, “causing her [to] fall to the ground and suffer severe and debilitating injuries, including but not limited to, injuries to her back, hip and legs, multiple breaks and fractures which required surgery that included the insertion of a metal rod and three pins in the left leg/hip.” Am. Compl. ¶ 11. While plaintiff was on the floor, Beagle allegedly attempted to roll her over using his foot. Id. Because she could not get up, she urinated and defecated on herself. Id. ¶ 14.

         Nurses Jeffries and Roe, an unidentified nurse, watched plaintiff fall and cry out in pain, but they did not help her. Id. ¶ 21(b). Roe and Doe, another unidentified female present, mocked plaintiff after she fell, telling her that she was not really hurt. Id. ¶ 21(d). During this time, plaintiff repeatedly told defendants “that she sustained fractures.” Id. ¶ 21(e). Jordan, another nurse, refused to schedule x-rays for plaintiff until three days after plaintiff suffered her injury. Id. ¶ 21(c). And Lloyd, the jail's physician, did not see her for two to three days and did not send her to a hospital. Id. ¶ 21(f). Additionally, plaintiff later explained her preexisting medical conditions to defendants, who ignored her and “deprived [her] of much of her medication.” Id. ¶ 14. This collective abuse “necessitated emergency medical care, hospitalization, surgery, [and] rehabilitation, ” and plaintiff continues to suffer residual effects to this day. Id. ¶ 17.

         Sometime later, plaintiff's daughter conducted some research on Facebook and allegedly discovered a “Jayne L. Cramer” from Florida. Plaintiff testified that, in her opinion, the warrant at issue was for this other Jayne's arrest.

         Plaintiff filed her original complaint in early January 2018; a few days later she filed her amended complaint, asserting five counts: Count I, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment violations as to all defendants; Count II, Eighth Amendment violations as to all defendants; Count III, negligence and gross negligence as to Beagle and Mary Roe; Count IV, negligence and gross negligence as to Jeffries, Jordan, Mary Doe, Lloyd, Hoffman, and Palmer; and Count V, “respondeat superior” as to Corizon.

         The Corizon defendants and Corizon have filed a motion to dismiss as to Counts I, II, IV, and V. For the following reasons, the Court will grant in part and deny in part defendants' motion.


         Fed. R. Civ. P. 12 (b)(6) states that the Court may dismiss a complaint if it fails to “state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” The Supreme Court has held that for a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, it “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A claim is facially plausible “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for misconduct alleged.” Id. And while Rule 12(b)(6) does not require “[d]etailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the ‘grounds' of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).


         I. Counts I and II

         The Sixth Circuit has articulated when, in the context of police-abuse claims, the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth amendments' protections apply:

Deciding which amendment should be applied depends on the status of the plaintiff at the time of the incident; that is, whether the plaintiff was a free citizen, convicted prisoner, or fit in some gray area in between the two. The Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable seizures bars excessive force against free citizens, while the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment bars excessive force against convicted persons. When a citizen does not fall clearly within either category-e.g., pretrial detainees-the ...

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