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Smith-Warren v. City of Sterling Heights

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

July 9, 2019

JALISA SMITH-WARREN, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF STERLING HEIGHTS, and FRANK BARABAS, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC.15)

          AVERN COHN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This is a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 case. Plaintiff, Jalisa Smith-Warren (“Smith-Warren”), is suing Detective Frank Barabas (“Barabas”) and the City of Sterling Heights for arresting her without probable cause. The complaint states 10 counts:

(1) 42 U.S.C. § 1983 - Fourth Amendment violation (“False Arrest”),
(2) “False Arrest” under state law,
(3) 42 U.S.C. § 1983 - Malicious Prosecution,
(4) Malicious Prosecution under state law,
(5) Equal Protection Clause violation (“Class of One”),
(6) First Amendment violation - Right to Petition,
(7) Abuse of Process,
(8) Civil Conspiracy,
(9) Constitutional violations, (Failure to train)
(10) Gross Negligence.

(Doc. 1). Smith-Warren seeks compensation in an amount exceeding $75, 000, as well as costs and attorney fees. Now before the Court is Defendant's motion for summary judgment (Doc. 15). For the reasons that follow, the motion is GRANTED, and this case is DISMISSED.

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. Facts Relating to Plaintiff's Arrest

         The parties' motion papers are full of extraneous background information and do not conform to the Court's motion practice guidelines.[1] Nevertheless, the Court gleans from the record the relevant, undisputed facts, which are as follows.

         Barabas is a Police Detective employed by the City of Sterling Heights. (Doc. 23, ¶ 3). On January 25, 2016, Barabas was assigned to investigate reports made by Sean and Krysten Lynch (“the Lynchs”). The Lynchs say that they had been receiving threatening and harassing telephone and email messages. (Id., at ¶ 2, 6).

         Shortly after Barabas began his investigation, Krysten Lynch contacted Barabas and told him that her husband, Sean Lynch, was having an affair with Smith-Warren. Krysten Lynch also reported that Smith-Warren and her cousin, Diedra Powers (“Powers”), were sending her harassing text messages. (Id., at ¶ 8, 9).

         However, Barabas' investigation revealed that some of the harassing text messages were being sent by Sean Lynch, not Smith-Warren, in an effort to hide his affair from his wife, Krysten Lynch. (Id., at ¶ 10). After learning that Sean Lynch was sending harassing texts to himself and his wife, Barabas closed the investigation (No. 16-3291). (Id., at ¶ 11).

         On March 4, 2016, Sean Lynch went back to the Sterling Heights Police Department to report that he was receiving harassing emails. This time, however, the emails were coming from Powers; Smith-Warren's cousin. (Id., at ΒΆ 12). Once again, Barabas was assigned to investigate Sean Lynch's harassment report. Sean Lynch showed Barabas ...


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