United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANTS' MOTION
FOR SUMMARY, JUDGMENT (ECF No. 45)
COHN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff Kurt Hammond
(Hammond) is suing the following defendants: Oakland County,
Deputy Sheriff Christopher Cadotte (Cadotte), Deputy Sheriff
James Salyers (Salyers), and Deputy Sheriff D. Welch
(Welch). The incident involves the use of force by
deputies and a canine, Odin. Cadotte is Odin's handler.
The complaint asserts the following claims:
I. Violation of § 1983 - unreasonable search and
seizure, unlawful use of excessive force
II. Violation of § 1983 - municipal liability
III. Willful and Wanton Misconduct, Deliberate
the Court is defendants' motion for summary
judgment. For the reasons which follow, the motion
will be denied. Hammond has more than carried his summary
judgment opposition burden, demonstrating he has a right to
present his case against all defendants to a jury.
facts as gleaned from the parties' papers follow.
Events Before Deputies Arrived - Undisputed.
days prior to the incident, Hammond met a woman at a local
gas station. On the date of the incident, the woman called
him and asked to be picked up. Hammond, along with a male
friend, picked up the woman from outside of a house and went
to a local bar. All of them, except Hammond, began drinking.
Eventually, Hammond, the woman, Hammond' male friend, and
another woman went to Hammond's house. When they arrived
at Hammond's house, the woman got “loud, ”
stated she was “off her meds” and asked Hammond
to have sex with her. Hammond's male friend and the other
woman left. The woman began eating Hammond's food and
said she wanted to move in with him. Hammond told her to
leave. The woman then became upset, started throwing things
around the house, and told Hammond that she was going to call
the police and claim he raped her. The woman then picked up a
coffee mug and struck Hammond in the head with the mug. Next,
the woman pulled out a knife and stabbed Hammond in the
chest. The woman then left the house, telling Hammond she was
going to call her biker friends to come back to the house.
Hammond then closed and locked his doors. He believes he then
fainted. Once he came to, he noticed his chest was bleeding
and went to his bathroom to tend to his stab wound.
the woman called 911 and apparently reported she had been
raped. Presumably, the call was to a 911 dispatch operator
who put out a dispatch. It is not clear who took the call or
exactly what information was relayed. Piecing together
deposition testimony from the deputies, it appears that Lemke
and Salyers were on road patrol and responded to the
dispatch. Welch, a deputy trainee, was with Lemke and
Salyers. The deputies began searching for the woman. It also
appears that Lemke and Salyers were informed that the woman
reported she had stabbed her attacker with a knife. While the
deposition testimony references reports and narratives, the
record does not contain any reports, narratives or
investigative notes from the deputies who responded. Indeed,
it is not clear if the deputies were going to Hammond's
house to investigate the woman's claim or to arrest him.
known is that Salyers and Lemke located the woman at a house
down the street from Hammond's. The woman led them to
Hammond's house and turned over the knife she used to
stab Hammond. Cadotte arrived shortly after with Odin. In
total, five deputies and a police dog arrived at Hammond's
house. The deputies were Lemke (who has since been
dismissed), Salyers, Cadotte, Welch, and another deputy
(presumably one of the other dismissed deputies).
house is approximately 500 square feet and is comprised of a
front room, kitchen, bathroom, and a small bedroom.
Events After Deputies Arrived - Disputed
parties have differing accounts of what occurred once the
deputies arrived at Hammond's house.
says he heard banging on his back door and thought it was the
woman's biker friends coming to hurt him. Hammond yelled
for them to go away or he would call the police. He then
heard “we are the police!” Hammond then told them
to come to the front door. Hammond opened the door for the
deputies, who entered the house along with a canine. He then
retreated into the bedroom to tend to his stab wound. When
Hammond stepped out from the bedroom, he says he was tackled
by the deputies and bitten by the canine on his back.
also says that he was holding his chest to stop the bleeding
while the deputies tackled him. Hammond asked the officers to
stop and help him. Hammond did not know why the deputies were
on top of him. He says that Odin continued to bite his right
leg while the deputies stood and watched. He denies actively
resisting prior to being bitten on the leg. Hammond says he
could hear his bones snapping in his head while the canine
continued to chew on his leg. At one point he heard a deputy
give a command to Odin, but Odin did not comply. Hammond also
denies kicking his legs toward Odin's face because he
says his legs were pinned at the time. Hammond says that he
never resisted. He also said the incident seemed to last
the deputies arrived at Hammond's house, Lemke went to
the front door while Salyers and Welch went to the back door.
The deputies knocked on both doors, announced their presence,
and requested Hammond come outside and speak with them. When
they received no response, the deputies contacted a sergeant
and were given permission to try and kick the door in because
there was a possible stabbing victim inside. They were unable
to kick in either door. At some point, the deputies heard a
male voice from inside the house indicating he needed 911.
Welch responded that they were 911. Salyers then made visual
contact with Hammond, observing him through a window pacing
back and forth between the living room and a doorway to an
unknown location. While he was pacing, Hammond yelled that he
could not come to the door because he was in the bathroom.
says could not see what was going on inside the house and
Hammond was not complying with the deputies' directions;
he did not know if Hammond was arming himself, trying to
destroy evidence, or bleeding out. Cadotte further says when
Hammond opened the door, he ordered Hammond to come out onto
the front porch with his hands up. Hammond failed to comply.
Instead, Hammond retreated into a bedroom, out of sight.
Cadotte gave a verbal command to come out or he would send
his canine into the house, which he says he repeated three to
five times. When Hammond failed to respond or comply, Cadotte
sent Odin into the house without a leash. Odin went to the
doorway that led to the bedroom, barked, and returned to
Cadotte, which indicated that Hammond was still in the room.
Cadotte further says that he considered Hammond's retreat
from the front door as an attempt to flee.
and Welch both testified that because they could not see
Hammond's hands when he stepped out of the bedroom,
Cadotte pulled Hammond into the living room and took him to
the ground. Welch said he assisted by grabbing Hammond while
he was on the ground. During that time, Odin bit Hammond on
his back. Cadotte and Welch ordered Hammond to show his hands
and get on the floor. Cadotte fell on top of Hammond's
right shoulder and chest, while Salyers and Welch attempted
to handcuff him. During the struggle, Odin started to bite
Hammond's right foot. Odin also bit Cadotte during the
struggle. According to Cadotte, upon seeing Odin on the bite,
Cadotte got off of Hammond, stood back, and had Odin release
the bite and heel. However, Salyers testified that he grabbed
Hammond's right side so Cadotte could release and remove
Odin. Salyers and Welch continued to wrestle with Hammond
until they placed him in handcuffs.
Hammond was handcuffed he began flailing his legs and kicked
toward Odin's face. Odin then re-engaged Hammond's
leg, which the deputies say was appropriate because Odin was
protecting himself from the kick. Cadotte then grabbed
Odin's collar, pulled him away, put him on a leash, and
walked Odin out the door. The entire incident lasted about 20
Subsequent Events - Undisputed
suffered injuries from the incident, including several broken
bones in his foot which required medical treatment.
was arrested and charged in Oakland County Circuit Court with
unlawful imprisonment and CSC Second Degree. He was unable to
make bond. The woman twice failed to appear in court.
Undaunted, prosecutors eventually located her out of state
where she was incarcerated, ironically, for stabbing another
individual. The prosecution has moved forward. ...