United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT WILLIAMS' MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT [ECF NO. 46] AND GRANTING IN PART AND
DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT HENRY'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT [ECF NO. 47]
CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Ramona Kamate brings this action against Yarlen Henry and
Elaine Williams. Henry is a City of Detroit police officer.
As it pertains to defendant Henry, plaintiff's complaint
presents claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for wrongful
arrest, excessive force and malicious prosecution. Plaintiff
asserts claims against both defendants Henry and Williams for
conspiring to falsely arrest and imprison and maliciously
prosecute her in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985.
Plaintiff also alleged violations of state law against Henry
for assault and battery, false arrest and imprisonment, and
malicious prosecution. Finally, plaintiff alleges a claim of
intentional infliction of emotional distress against both
Henry and Williams.
matter is before the court on separate motions for summary
judgment filed by Henry and Williams. The parties appeared
for oral argument on August 26, 2019. For the reasons stated
below, defendant Williams' motion for summary judgment is
GRANTED and defendant Henry's motion for summary judgment
is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.
2015, plaintiff was working for a bail bond agency in Wayne
County. Through her employment, she was routinely assigned to
Highland Park courts. According to plaintiff, she told people
at the Highland Park courts about winning $40, 000 from the
Michigan lottery and her desire to use the money to purchase
a larger house so she could foster children. A woman who
identified herself as Elaine Cohen told plaintiff she owned a
house at 265 Boston in Detroit that she thought she would
lose in foreclosure for failure to pay her property taxes.
Plaintiff developed sympathy for Cohen when Cohen explained
that she had previously lost a house to foreclosure in
Florida, that she was pregnant, and that her partner was
abusing her. Cohen told plaintiff that she could acquire the
Detroit property if she paid the taxes on the house and fixed
the place up.
went to look at the house at 265 Boston. While she was there,
a uniformed police officer who was patrolling the area told
plaintiff the owner of the house was another police officer.
Plaintiff told the officer she was thinking about purchasing
the house. Plaintiff could see that the yard was neglected,
and the house was full of garbage, but the house was locked
so she could not enter.
couple days later, Cohen and another woman met plaintiff at
the house and let her inside. Plaintiff was not introduced to
the other woman, but she later learned the woman was
defendant Henry. Once inside the house, plaintiff saw that it
was full of trash and that the wiring, plumbing and water
heater had been removed. Plaintiff decided she wanted to buy
spoke to the Wayne County Treasurer, who told her that she
needed a deed to the property before she could pay the back
taxes. Cohen first got upset when plaintiff told her she
needed a deed to the property, but later instructed plaintiff
to meet her at a party store where they could have a quit
claim deed notarized. When plaintiff met Cohen at the notary
she saw the person she later identified as Henry waiting in
the car. Cohen and plaintiff went inside and had the deed
notarized. They then went to the County Treasurer's
office where Cohen gave plaintiff the signed and notarized
deed. Plaintiff filed the deed but did not have the money to
pay the taxes at that time. Plaintiff returned to the
Treasurer and was told she only had to pay 10% of the back
taxes, or $1, 860, to qualify for a monthly payment plan for
the remainder of the back taxes due.
gave plaintiff the keys to the house. From May to early
August 2015, plaintiff worked on the house. She payed
Lawrence Lyons $6, 000 to re-wire and re-plumb the house and
to put in a new circuit breaker. Plaintiff also had a new
water heater installed for $400. Plaintiff and her family cut
the grass, planted flowers and cleaned the trash from the
house. She bought a mattress and refrigerator and started
living in the house. In July, plaintiff found a note on the
door of the house, written by Henry, telling plaintiff she
had to vacate the premises.
August 3, 2015, plaintiff was confronted with a locksmith
outside the house who said he was there to change the locks
for the owner, who he identified as Miss Henry. When
plaintiff said she was the new owner of the house, the
locksmith called Henry. Henry arrived at the house,
identified herself as a police officer, and instructed
plaintiff to leave. Henry was on duty and was dressed in her
Detroit Police polo shirt.
Elaine Williams also arrived at the property. Plaintiff did
not recognize this person as the woman she knew as Elaine
Cohen. However, when plaintiff listed off the details she
knew about Cohen, Williams admitted those things were true
about her. Plaintiff recognized Henry as the woman she
previously saw with Cohen/Williams in the car when she looked
at the house and when she signed and filed the deed to the
called 911 and requested a supervisor because she was having
a problem with a police officer. The responding officers came
from the same precinct as Henry. The supervisor looked over
plaintiff's paperwork and spoke to Henry. The supervisor
demanded that plaintiff open the door or face being arrested.
Plaintiff opened the door and the officers entered, along
with Henry and Cohen/Williams. Plaintiff asked for permission
to remove her possessions, but Henry and Cohen/Williams
falsely stated that the mattress was theirs. Plaintiff became
upset when she realized she had been swindled. She went to
the basement and started to pull out the circuit breakers and
wires that she had installed. Henry and two other officers
followed plaintiff downstairs and told her she was going to
jail. Henry allegedly pushed plaintiff to the ground and,
along with the other officers, started to beat and kick
plaintiff. Cohen/Williams witnessed the beating but did not
participate. The supervisor was still upstairs and asked what
was going on. Henry and the officers went back upstairs.
Plaintiff lost two teeth in the beating. Plaintiff was not
testified that she previously lived in Florida with Henry,
and the two were girlfriends. She lost her Florida home to
foreclosure. She purchased the house at 265 Boston in 2007.
She and Henry lived in the house until 2013 when they broke
up. One of Cohen/Williams' cousins lived in the house for
a couple of months in 2013. After the cousin moved out the
house was vacant, and vandals stripped it of all copper
wiring and plumbing, as well as the water heater.
acknowledges she did not pay any taxes on the house for
years. She received several notifications from Wayne County
that the house was subject to foreclosure. Henry and
Cohen/Williams both testified they checked on the house
during the period it was vacant. Henry testified that she
left the note on the door in July 2015 instructing the
occupant to vacate because a fellow police officer told her
that someone else was living in the house. Henry also
testified that prior to August 3 only she and her father had
a key to the house.
plaintiff was evicted from the house on August 3,
Cohen/Williams went to the precinct and filed a police
report. She claimed to be a victim of a fraudulent transfer
of a deed by plaintiff. Cohen/Williams identified Henry as a
witness to the crime.
attempted to make a report of police misconduct, but she
contends that the police would not take the report. Plaintiff
and her attorney eventually met with a detective, Henry and
Cohen/Williams. At the meeting, Henry and Cohen/Williams
insisted on pursuing their criminal complaint against
plaintiff. Plaintiff offered to deed the property back to
Cohen/Williams if she and Henry paid plaintiff back for the
taxes and repair expenses she incurred. Cohen/Williams and
Henry refused plaintiff's offer.
contends that Cohen/Williams and Henry made statements to the
police against her in their combined attempt to maliciously
prosecute her. (Williams Statement, November, 2015; Henry
Statement February, 2016). On April 13, 2016, a warrant was
issued against plaintiff. On July 5, 2016, both
Cohen/Williams and Henry testified against plaintiff at her
preliminary examination. Following trial on charges of
forging and recording a fraudulent deed to real property, a
jury found plaintiff not guilty on all charges.
brought a quiet title action in Wayne County. On May 3, 2018,
title to 265 Boston was quieted in favor of Cohen/Williams.
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) empowers the court to render
summary judgment "forthwith if the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there
is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law." See Redding v. St. Eward, 241 F.3d 530,
532 (6th Cir. 2001). The Supreme Court has affirmed the
court's use of summary judgment as an integral part of
the fair and efficient administration of justice. The
procedure is not a disfavored procedural shortcut.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986);
see also Cox v. Kentucky Dept. of Transp., 53 F.3d
146, 149 (6th Cir. 1995).
standard for determining whether summary judgment is
appropriate is "'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.'" Amway Distributors Benefits
Ass'n v. Northfield Ins. Co., 323 F.3d 386, 390 (6th
Cir. 2003) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986)). The evidence and all reasonable
inferences must be construed in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party. Tolan v. Cotton, 572 U.S. 650,
660 (2014); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); Redding,
241 F.3d at 532 (6th Cir. 2001). "[T]he mere existence
of some alleged factual dispute between the parties
will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for
summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no
genuine issue of material fact."
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
247-48 (1986) (emphasis in original); see also National
Satellite Sports, Inc. v. Eliadis, Inc., 253 F.3d 900,
907 (6th Cir. 2001).
movant establishes by use of the material specified in Rule
56(c) that there is no genuine issue of material fact and
that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, the
opposing party must come forward with "specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial."
First Nat'l Bank v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S.
253, 270 (1968); see also McLean v. 988011 Ontario,
Ltd., 224 F.3d 797, 800 (6th Cir. 2000). Mere
allegations or denials in the non-movant's pleadings will
not meet this burden, nor will a mere scintilla of evidence
supporting the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S.