United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford
OPINION AND ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION,
GRANTING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT,
AND DISMISSING CLAIMS AGAINST DEFENDANT CITY OF DETROIT
M. LAWSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the April 8, 2019 report and
recommendation issued by the assigned magistrate judge
recommending that the Court grant in part the defendants'
motion for summary judgment premised on qualified immunity
and deficient allegations of Monell liability and
dismiss the claims against defendant City of Detroit only.
The defendants filed a timely objection to the
recommendation. The plaintiff has not objected or filed any
response to the defendants' objections. The matter is
before the Court for a fresh review.
case arises from an October 2016 stop-and-frisk search of the
plaintiff's person that defendant Detroit Police Officer
Jason Lord carried out on a city sidewalk, when he
encountered the plaintiff and a companion walking a dog, in
the vicinity where the report of an anonymous tipster
indicated that a shooting had occurred just moments earlier.
During the pat-down, Lord recovered a gun and drugs from the
plaintiff's person. The plaintiff was charged with
illegal possession of those items, but the case was dropped
after the trial judge held a hearing and granted his motion
to suppress. The plaintiff subsequently filed his complaint
alleging violations of his Fourth Amendment rights via 42
U.S.C. § 1983. The case was referred to the assigned
magistrate judge for general case management. After a period
of discovery, which included depositions of the plaintiff and
defendant Lord, the defendants filed a motion for summary
magistrate judge concluded that the defendants had not met
their burden of advancing sufficient record evidence or any
pertinent legal authority to sustain their generalized
argument that defendant Lord had “reasonable
suspicion” to conduct a pat-down search of the
plaintiff upon encountering him in the general area where a
shooting had been reported, and that they therefore had not
shown beyond dispute that the decision to conduct a pat-down
search did not violate any of the plaintiff's clearly
established rights under the Fourth Amendment. The magistrate
judge accordingly recommended denying the motion premised on
the assertion of qualified immunity by defendant Officer
Lord. The defendants object to that conclusion and insist
that the record testimony is “conflicting, ” but
that under either the plaintiff's or the defendants'
construction of the fact Officer Lord had “reasonable
suspicion to investigate further by conducting a pat-down for
weapons.” The magistrate judge also recommended
dismissal of all claims against the City of Detroit for want
of any sufficient support for a claim of municipal liability.
No party has objected to that portion of the recommendation.
filing of timely objections to a report and recommendation
requires the court to “make a de novo determination of
those portions of the report or specified findings or
recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1); see also United States v. Raddatz,
447 U.S. 667 (1980); United States v. Walters, 638
F.2d 947 (6th Cir. 1981). This de novo review
requires the court to re-examine all of the relevant evidence
previously reviewed by the magistrate judge in order to
determine whether the recommendation should be accepted,
rejected, or modified in whole or in part. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1). “The filing of objections provides the
district court with the opportunity to consider the specific
contentions of the parties and to correct any errors
immediately, ” Walters, 638 F.2d at 950,
enabling the court “to focus attention on those
issues-factual and legal-that are at the heart of the
parties' dispute, ” Thomas v. Arn, 474
U.S. 140, 147 (1985). As a result, “‘[o]nly those
specific objections to the magistrate's report made to
the district court will be preserved for appellate review;
making some objections but failing to raise others will not
preserve all the objections a party may have.'”
McClanahan v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 474 F.3d 830,
837 (6th Cir. 2006) (quoting Smith v. Detroit Fed'n
of Teachers Local 231, 829 F.2d 1370, 1373 (6th Cir.
judgment is proper ‘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.'”
Pittman v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., 901
F.3d 619, 627 (6th Cir. 2018) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)).
“The moving party bears the burden of showing that no
genuine issues of material fact exist, ” and it
“must demonstrate the ‘basis for its motion, and
identify those portions of the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate
the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.'”
Id. at 627-28 (quoting Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986)).
oppose that showing, “[t]he nonmoving party ‘must
set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial.'” Id. at 628 (quoting
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250
(1986)). “[T]he party opposing the summary judgment
motion must do more than simply show that there is some
‘metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts.'” Highland Capital, Inc. v. Franklin
Nat'l Bank, 350 F.3d 558, 564 (6th Cir. 2003)
(quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986) (internal quotation
marks omitted)). The opposing party must designate specific
facts in affidavits, depositions, or other factual material
showing “evidence on which the jury could reasonably
find for the plaintiff.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at
252. The submitted materials need not themselves be in a form
that is admissible in evidence. Celotex, 477 U.S. at
324. “The reviewing court must then determine
‘whether the evidence presents a sufficient
disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is
so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of
law.'” Pittman, 901 F.3d at 628 (quoting
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52). In doing so, the
Court must “view the facts and draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of the non-moving party.”
Ibid. (quoting Matsushita, 475 U.S. at
doctrine of qualified immunity shields government officials
performing discretionary functions from civil 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.”
Baynes, 799 F.3d at 609 (citing Harlow v.
Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982); Phillips v.
Roane County, Tenn., 534 F.3d 531, 538-39 (6th Cir.
2008)). “To determine whether a government official is
entitled to qualified immunity, [the court must] make two
inquiries: ‘First, viewing the facts in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff, has the plaintiff shown that a
constitutional violation has occurred? Second, was the right
clearly established at the time of the violation? These
prongs need not be considered sequentially.'”
Id. at 609-10 (quoting Miller v. Sanilac
Cnty., 606 F.3d 240, 247 (6th Cir. 2010)). “The
plaintiff bears the burden to show that the defendant is not
entitled to qualified immunity.” Id. at 610
(citing Untalan v. City of Lorain, 430 F.3d 312, 314
(6th Cir. 2005)). “The issue of qualified immunity may
be submitted to a jury only if ‘the legal question of
immunity is completely dependent upon which view of the
[disputed] facts is accepted by the jury.'”
Ibid. (quoting Humphrey v. Mabry, 482 F.3d
840, 846 (6th Cir. 2007)).
right is ‘clearly established' if ‘[t]he
contours of the right [are] sufficiently clear that a
reasonable official would understand that what he is doing
violates that right.'” Baynes, 799 F.3d at
610 (quoting Anderson v. Creighton, 483 U.S. 635,
640 (1987)). “The relevant inquiry is ‘whether it
would be clear to a reasonable [official] that his conduct
was unlawful in the situation he confronted.'”
Ibid. (quoting Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S.
194, 202 (2001)). “The purpose of the ‘clearly
established' prong, clarified by the Supreme Court's
decision in Hope v. Pelzer, is to ensure that
officials are on notice that their alleged conduct was
unconstitutional.” Ibid. (citing Hope v.
Pelzer, 536 U.S. 730, 739, 741 (2002)). “As
Hope made abundantly clear: ‘the salient
question . . . is whether the state of the law [at the time
of the action giving rise to the claim] gave respondents fair
warning that their alleged treatment of [the plaintiff] was
unconstitutional.'” Ibid. (quoting
Hope, 536 U.S. at 741). “Although the focus of
the clearly established prong is whether the official had
notice that his alleged conduct was improper, . . . qualified
immunity is an objective rather than a subjective
inquiry.” Id. at 610-11 (citing Caudill v.
Hollan, 431 F.3d 900, 911-12 (6th Cir. 2005); Cope
v. Heltsley, 128 F.3d 452, 458 (6th Cir. 1997)).
“In Hope, the Supreme Court established that,
for purposes of qualified immunity, the precise factual
scenario need not have been found unconstitutional for it to
be sufficiently clear to a reasonable official that his
actions violate a constitutional right - that is, for the
right to be ‘clearly established.'”
Id. at 611 (quoting Hope, 536 U.S. at 739,
741). “[G]overnment officials can still be on notice
that their conduct violates established law even in novel
factual circumstances.” Ibid.
basic rules of law governing so-called stop-and-frisk
detentions are well settled. “‘An officer may
detain an individual for a short time for investigatory
purposes if, under the totality of the circumstances, [he]
has ‘reasonable suspicion,' that is, ‘a
particularized and objective basis for suspecting the
particular person of criminal activity based on specific and
articulable facts.'” Nykoriak v. Wileczek,
666 Fed.Appx. 441, 444 (6th Cir. 2016) (quoting Brown v.
Lewis, 779 F.3d 401, 412 (6th Cir. 2015) (quotation
marks omitted); citing Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1
(1968)). In order to evaluate the basis of the reasonable
suspicion, the Court “‘must assess not only what
the officers knew at the time of the initial stop but also
the information developed during the course of that initial
stop.'” Ibid. (quoting Hoover v.
Walsh, 682 F.3d 481, 497 (6th Cir. 2012)).
“‘When an officer makes a Terry stop, he
may also perform a precautionary search - known as a
‘frisk' or ‘pat down' - whenever he has
‘reasonable suspicion' that the person searched may
be armed and dangerous.'” United States v.
Pacheco, 841 F.3d 384, 390 (6th Cir. 2016) (quoting
Knowles v. Iowa, 525 U.S. 113, 118 (1998)).
“‘Reasonable suspicion [in the context of the pat
down search] is based on the totality of the