United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
S. CARMODY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 33). The parties have
consented to proceed in this Court for all further
proceedings, including trial and an order of final judgment.
28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(1). By Order of Reference, the
Honorable Janet T. Neff referred this case to the
undersigned. For the reasons discussed herein,
Defendants' motion is granted and this
matter is terminated.
following allegations are contained in Plaintiffs complaint.
(ECF No. 1). On April 10, 2015, Plaintiff was driving his
vehicle when he was stopped and detained by Berrien County
Sheriffs Deputies Tim Dyer and John Doe. Deputies Dyer and/or
Doe accused Plaintiff of being a drug dealer and possessing
illegal drugs. The deputies, however, discovered no illegal
drugs on Plaintiffs person or within his vehicle. Deputies
Dyer and/or Doe had previously reported information which led
to Plaintiff being falsely charged with criminal activity.
initiated this action on December 29, 2016, against Berrien
County, the Berrien County Sheriffs Department, Berrien
County Sheriff Paul Bailey, Deputy Dyer, and Deputy Doe.
Plaintiff alleges that his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment
rights were violated. Plaintiff also alleges several state
law causes of action: false imprisonment, malicious
prosecution, and intentional infliction of emotional
distress. Defendants now move for summary judgment. Plaintiff
has failed to respond to Defendants' motion.
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment "shall" be granted "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). A party moving for summary
judgment can satisfy its burden by demonstrating "that
the respondent, having had sufficient opportunity for
discovery, has no evidence to support an essential element of
his or her case." Minadeo v. ICI Paints, 398
F.3d 751, 761 (6th Cir. 2005). Once the moving party
demonstrates that "there is an absence of evidence to
support the nonmoving party's case," the non-moving
party "must identify specific facts that can be
established by admissible evidence, which demonstrate a
genuine issue for trial." Amini v. Oberlin
College, 440 F.3d 350, 357 (6th Cir. 2006).
the Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable
to the non-moving party, the party opposing the summary
judgment motion "must do more than simply show that
there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts." Amini, 440 F.3d at 357. The existence
of a mere "scintilla of evidence" in support of the
non-moving party's position is insufficient. Daniels
v. Woodside, 396 F.3d 730, 734-35 (6th Cir. 2005). The
non-moving party "may not rest upon [his] mere
allegations," but must instead present "significant
probative evidence" establishing that "there is a
genuine issue for trial." Pack v. Damon Corp.,
434 F.3d 810, 813-14 (6th Cir. 2006).
the non-moving party cannot defeat a properly supported
motion for summary judgment by "simply arguing that it
relies solely or in part upon credibility
determinations." Fogerty v. MGM Group Holdings
Corp., Inc., 379 F.3d 348, 353 (6th Cir. 2004). Rather,
the non-moving party "must be able to point to some
facts which may or will entitle him to judgment, or refute
the proof of the moving party in some material portion, and.
. .may not merely recite the incantation,
'Credibility,' and have a trial on the hope that a
jury may disbelieve factually uncontested proof."
Id. at 353-54. In sum, summary judgment is
appropriate "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." Daniels, 396
F.3d at 735.
moving party without the burden of proof need only show that
the opponent cannot sustain his burden at trial, a moving
party with the burden of proof faces a "substantially
higher hurdle." Arnett v. Myers, 281 F.3d 552,
561 (6th Cir. 2002). Where the moving party has the burden,
"his showing must be sufficient for the court to hold
that no reasonable trier of fact could find other than for
the moving party." Calderone v. United States,
799 F.2d 254, 259 (6th Cir. 1986). The Sixth Circuit has
emphasized that the party with the burden of proof "must
show the record contains evidence satisfying the burden of
persuasion and that the evidence is so powerful that no
reasonable jury would be free to disbelieve it."
Arnett, 281 F.3d at 561. Accordingly, summary
judgment in favor of the party with the burden of persuasion
"is inappropriate when the evidence is susceptible of
different interpretations or inferences by the trier of
fact." Huntv. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541, 553
noted above, Plaintiff has asserted this action against an
unidentified John Doe described by Plaintiff as the Deputy
Sheriff accompanying Deputy Sheriff Tim Dyer on patrol on
April 10, 2015. Defendants have submitted evidence that the
Deputy Sheriff in question is Richard Johnson. (ECF No. 34,
Exhibits 1-2, 5). Deputy Johnson has appeared in this matter
and joined the present motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff
has failed to respond to the present motion and, therefore,
has presented no evidence on the question of John Doe's
identity. Defendants' unrefuted evidence is persuasive.
Accordingly, the Court will proceed, substituting Deputy
Sheriff Richard Johnson for John Doe.
Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment - Defendants Bailey, Dyer,
is no dispute that Plaintiff was arrested on the night in
question. Plaintiff alleges that his Fourth Amendment rights
were violated because he was arrested "without probable
cause. . .in reckless ...