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Miller v. City of Detroit

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

April 4, 2019

DEBORAH LYNN MILLER, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF DETROIT, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING ROMANOWSKI'S MOTION TO DISMISS [Dkt. No. 5]

          Denise Page Hood, Chief U.S. District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action on October 9, 2018, alleging that Defendants violated her constitutional rights when they subjected her to cruel and unusual punishment, excessive force, and gross negligence with respect to her medical conditions while in custody at the Detroit Detention Center. On November 15, 2018, Defendant Warden Kenneth Romanowski (“Romanowski”) filed a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss. [Dkt. No. 5] Romanowski's Motion to Dismiss has been fully briefed.

         For the reasons that follow, the Court denies Romanowski's Motion to Dismiss.

         II. BACKGROUND

         On September 22, 2017, Plaintiff was confined in the Detroit Detention Center by the Detroit Police Department (“DPD”) officers on a warrant for failing to appear on a driving on a suspended license charge. On several occasions, Plaintiff's boyfriend informed the arresting officer(s) that Plaintiff was a crack and heroin addict, an alcoholic, and had high blood pressure requiring medication and medical treatment. Plaintiff's boyfriend later informed a Detroit Detention Center officer of Plaintiff's conditions, again advising that Plaintiff had serious health issues and insisting that Plaintiff needed medication and immediate medical treatment. Two days later, Plaintiff was found unresponsive in a holding cell before she was transported to Detroit Receiving Hospital. Plaintiff remained in coma at Detroit Receiving Hospital for several days and suffered permanent injuries as a result.

         Plaintiff's four-count Complaint includes the following claims, and Plaintiff alleges Romanowski should be held liable with respect to each claim: (1) Count I -deliberate indifference to a serious medical need under the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments; (2) Count II - cruel and unusual punishment/excessive force in violation of the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments; (3) Count III - Monell liability; and (4) Count IV - gross negligence and wanton and willful misconduct.

         As to Romanowski, Plaintiff specifically alleges:

9. At all times relevant, Defendant WARDEN KENNETH ROMANOWSKI was acting under color of law and in the course and scope of his employment as a Warden for the Detroit Detention Center located in Wayne County, State of Michigan. He is named in this action in his official and individual capacity.
17. That upon information and belief Defendant WARDEN KENNETH ROMANOWSKI became aware of Plaintiff's presence or should have become aware of her presence in the jail and knew of or should have known of the Plaintiff's serious medical needs requiring immediate medical attention.
33. That the acts or omissions by Defendants, WARDEN KENNETH ROMANOWSKI and John and Jane Doe Corrections Officers 1-8 were unreasonable and performed knowingly, deliberately, indifferently, intentionally, maliciously, and with callousness, and deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's wellbeing and serious medical needs.
35. That Defendants upon information and belief WARDEN KENNETH ROMANOWSKI and JOHN AND JANE DOE CORRECTIONS OFFICERS knew of the Plaintiff's serious medical needs requiring immediate medical attention.
52.At all times relevant, Defendants CITY OF DETROIT and WARDEN KENNETH ROMANOWSKI response to this knowledge was so inadequate as to show a complete disregard for whether the corrections officers, medical staff, and mental health staff would violate the constitutional rights of citizens to be free from violations of the Fourth and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution. [Dkt. No. 1, PgID 18][1]
53. Defendants CITY OF DETROIT and WARDEN KENNETH ROMANOWSKI implicitly authorized, approved, or knowingly acquiesced in the deliberate indifference to the serious medical needs and cruel and unusual punishment of citizens, and knew or should have known that such treatment would deprive inmates of their constitutional rights. [Dkt. No. 1, PgID 18]
55. At all times relevant, Defendants CITY OF DETROIT and WARDEN KENNETH ROMANOWSKI knew or should have known that there was a clear and persistent pattern of violations of citizen's= constitutional rights to be free from violations of the Fourth and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution, as described in the preceding paragraphs. [Dkt. No. 1, PgID 19]
56. Defendants CITY OF DETROIT and WARDEN KENNETH ROMANOWSKI tolerated the corrections officers, medical staff, and mental health staff's repeated violations of the Fourth and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution, which allowed the corrections officers to continue to engage in this unlawful behavior. [Dkt. No. 1, PgID 19]
57. Defendants CITY OF DETROIT and WARDEN KENNETH ROMANOWSKI refused to discipline corrections officers, medical staff, and mental health staff who violated citizens' constitutional rights to be free from violations of the Fourth and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution, failed to fully investigate allegations of misconduct, looked the other way and, thus, tacitly encouraged such behavior. In doing so, Defendants CITY OF DETROIT and WARDEN KENNETH ROMANOWSKI condoned, ratified or encouraged the corrections officers, medical staff, and mental health staff to violate the Fourth and Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution as a matter of policy. [Dkt. No. 1, PgID 19]

         In the Complaint, (a) ¶ 9 is set forth in the General Allegations portion; (b) ¶ 17 is in the Factual Allegations portion; (c) ¶¶ 33 and 35 are in Count I; and (d) ¶¶ 52, 53, and 55-57 are in Count III.

         III. APPLICABLE LAW & ANALYSIS

         A. Rule 12(b)(6)

         A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss tests the legal sufficiency of the plaintiff's complaint. The Court must accept all well-pleaded factual allegations as true and review the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Eidson v. Tennessee Dep't of Children's Servs., 510 F.3d 631, 634 (6th Cir. 2007); Kottmyer v. Maas, 436 F.3d 684, 688 (6th Cir. 2006).

         As a general rule, to survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must state sufficient “facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The complaint must demonstrate more than a sheer possibility that the defendant's conduct was unlawful. Id. at 556. Claims comprised of “labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. at 555. Rather, “[a] claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

         B. ...


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