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Jewel v. County of Macomb

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

July 16, 2019

MICHALE JULIAN JEWEL, et al. Plaintiffs,
v.
COUNTY OF MACOMB, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT RENE ANTONIAN'S AMENDED MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DKT. 37)

          MARK A. GOLDSMITH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Defendant Rene Antonian, a Detective Sergeant for the Michigan State Police, seeks summary judgment on claims brought by Plaintiffs Michale and Dorrinus Jewel.[1] Because oral argument will not aid the decisional process, the motion will be decided based on the parties' briefing. See E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f)(2); Fed.R.Civ.P. 78(b). For the reasons that follow, the Court finds that Antonian is entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiffs' federal claims and, therefore, dismisses those claims with prejudice. Because the dismissal of these federal claims means that this case no longer retains a federal character, the Court dismisses Plaintiffs' state-law claim without prejudice and denies those portions of Antonian's motion challenging the state-law claim without prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Michale Jewel was pulled over by Warren police on September 16, 2015. Def. Statement of Material Facts (“SMF”), ¶ 3 (Dkt. 37); Am. Compl. ¶ 11 (Dkt. 9). According to the allegations in the amended complaint, the police were surveilling an individual known as “Smoke, ” but lost Smoke and pulled over Jewel instead. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 11-14. Several months later, Jewel received a notice in the mail that he had a criminal warrant outstanding. Id. ¶ 16. Jewel was charged in the 39th and 40th District Courts with delivery and manufacture of cocaine, heroin or another narcotic less than fifty grams, though it is undisputed that he did not commit those crimes. SMF ¶ 3; Am. Compl. ¶¶ 16-17.

         Jewel was arraigned on January 5, 2016, and released on bond. Am. Compl. ¶ 17. Following a hearing on March 11, 2016, charges against Jewel in both courts were dismissed. Id. ¶ 23. Detective Dubois, who was dismissed as a Defendant in this case, was the lead officer in the case who sought the arrest warrant and charges for Jewel. SMF ¶ 6; Antonian Aff., Ex. A to Def. Mot., ¶ 3 (Dkt. 37-2).

         Antonian did not have any contact with Jewel until the court hearing. Antonian Aff. ¶ 4; Jewel Dep., Ex. B to Def. Mot., at 41 (Dkt. 37-3). However, Antonian is listed as the complaining witness on Jewel's felony complaint. Felony Compl., Ex. 1 to Pls. Resp. (Dkt. 40). According to Antonian, this is because she was a supervisor with the County of Macomb Enforcement Team (“COMET”) in September 2015, and it was routine practice for COMET to list the supervisor as the complaining witness. Antonian Aff. ¶¶ 2, 6. After Jewel's court hearing, Antonian requested that the charges against him be dismissed. Id. ¶ 5.

         Plaintiffs filed the instant action on September 18, 2017, alleging violations of their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Defendant Antonian is the only remaining Defendant in this case and now moves for summary judgment.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A motion for summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 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 genuine dispute of material fact exists when there are “disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). “[F]acts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party only if there is a ‘genuine' dispute as to those facts.” Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007). “Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no genuine issue for trial.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).

         Once the movant satisfies its initial burden of demonstrating the absence of any genuine issue of material fact, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to set forth specific facts showing a triable issue of material fact. Scott, 550 U.S. at 380; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The nonmoving party “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, ” Scott, 550 U.S. at 380 (quoting Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586), as the “mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment, ” id. (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-248) (emphasis in original); see also Babcock & Wilcox Co. v. Cormetech, Inc., 848 F.3d 754, 758 (6th Cir. 2017) (“A mere scintilla of evidence or some metaphysical doubt as to a material fact is insufficient to forestall summary judgment.”).

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Federal Claims

         The Court will first address Jewel's federal claims, brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[2] To prevail on a claim pursuant to § 1983, a plaintiff must prove that “(1) the defendant was a person acting under the color of state law, and (2) the defendant deprived the plaintiff of rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States.” Fridley v. Horrighs, 291 F.3d 867, 871-872 (6th Cir. 2002). Here, there is no dispute that Antonian, as a police officer, was acting under the color of state law. The Court must, therefore, address whether Antonian deprived Jewel of a constitutional right, and, if so, whether Antonian has a valid defense.

         Antonian raises the defense of qualified immunity, which protects “government officials performing discretionary functions . . . from liability for civil damages insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.” Barker v. Goodrich, 649 F.3d 428, 433 (6th Cir. 2011) (quoting Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982)). “Qualified immunity ‘gives ample room for mistaken judgments' by protecting ‘all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law.'” Johnson v. Mosely, 790 F.3d 649, 653 (6th Cir. 2015) (quoting Hunter v. Bryant, 502 U.S. 224, 229 (1991)). ...


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