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Hall v. Flora

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

December 12, 2019

JASON FLORA et al., Defendants.



         Pro se Plaintiff Stacey Simeon Hall filed a civil rights action against a variety of Michigan state, county, and law enforcement officials. The incident giving rise to this action occurred on March 10, 2018, when-as alleged by Plaintiff-Defendant Jason Flora, a Monroe County officer, intentionally rammed Plaintiff's car with his patrol vehicle. (ECF No. 1, PageID.13.) Following the alleged “ramming” of Plaintiff's car, Defendant Flora initiated a stop of Plaintiff, and based on Plaintiff's conduct during the stop, he was subsequently charged with resisting an officer and obstruction. (ECF No. 1, PageID.31.) Plaintiff spent several days in jail for these charges before posting bond. He now sues the officers involved in the March 10th incident along with the government officials he claims orchestrated against him a fraudulent criminal prosecution.

         The court referred to Magistrate Judge Steven Whalen all pretrial matters. (ECF No. 8.) Pending before the court are two Reports and Recommendation (“R&Rs”) by the Magistrate Judge. In the first R&R (ECF No. 30), the Magistrate Judge recommends that the court grant the motions to dismiss filed by Defendant Jim Gonzalez (ECF No. 16) and Defendant Stormie Rae McGee. (ECF No. 24.) In the second R&R (ECF No. 33), the Magistrate Judge recommends that the court grant the motion for summary judgment filed by Defendants County of Monroe and William Paul Nichols. (ECF No. 6.) Plaintiff filed eight “responses”[1] to the R&Rs. (ECF Nos. 35-41, 43.) After reviewing the R&Rs and the parties' filings, the court concludes that a hearing is unnecessary. See E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f)(2). For the reasons explained below, the court will adopt both R&Rs, grant the currently pending dispositive motions, and dismiss Defendants Gonzalez, McGee, County of Monroe, and Nichols.

         I. STANDARD

         The filing of timely objections to an R&R 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. Winters, 782 F.3d 289, 295 n.1 (6th Cir. 2015); United States v. Walters, 638 F.2d 947 (6th Cir. 1981). This de novo review requires the court to re-examine all the relevant evidence previously reviewed by the magistrate judge to determine whether the recommendation should be accepted, rejected, or modified in whole or in part. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         In order for this court to apply meaningful de novo review, it is insufficient for the objecting party to simply incorporate by reference earlier pleadings or reproduce an earlier unsuccessful motion or response brief. See Funderburg v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., No. 15-10068, 2016 WL 1104466, at *1 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 22, 2016) (collecting cases from the Eastern District of Michigan). Insufficient objections to a magistrate judge's analysis will ordinarily be treated by the court as an unavailing general objection. See Spencer v. Bouchard, 449 F.3d 721, 725 (6th Cir. 2006) (“Overly general objections do not satisfy the objection requirement.”).


         Of the eight “responses” filed by Plaintiff, only three contain actual arguments related to the pending motions. One of Plaintiff's responses, titled “Answer to Report” (ECF No. 41), does not specifically address either R&R but rather contains an assortment of new factual allegations, generalized grievances, and unlabeled documents. The court need not consider such general “objections.” See Spencer, 449 F.3d at 725. However, the court will briefly comment on some of the statements made in Plaintiff's “Answer.”

         Plaintiff's remaining “responses” contain what appears to be newly submitted evidence which primarily relates to Plaintiff's claims against the other named Defendants. The substance of such “evidence” does not change or impact the court's rulings as described below.

         A. Objections to R&R ECF No. 30

         Both Defendants Gonzalez and McGee are Wayne County prosecutors. The Magistrate Judge correctly observed that the complaint contains no specific factual allegations against either Defendant and recommends granting their motions to dismiss on that basis. In the alternative, the Magistrate Judge also recommends granting the motions to dismiss because Defendants Gonzalez and McGee are entitled to prosecutorial immunity. (ECF No. 30, PageID.309-10.)

         Plaintiff's objections to the R&R are difficult to parse but largely summarize his earlier assertions that Defendants Gonzalez and McGee-who served as special prosecutors in the state proceedings related to this case-violated his unspecified “rights” by failing to prosecute Defendant Flora for “ramming” Plaintiff's car and by initiating criminal charges against Plaintiff. (ECF No. 37, PageID.381.) In Plaintiff's document titled “Answer to Report” (ECF No. 41), he also argues that Defendants are not entitled to prosecutorial immunity because they acted in “administrative functions.” (ECF No. 41, PageID.435.) However, the cases cited by Plaintiff do not support his assertion. At their core, Plaintiff's claims and arguments relate to the charging decisions of the Defendants. As prosecutors, the Defendants are entitled to immunity for such conduct. See Cullinan v. Abramson, 128 F.3d 301, 307-08 (6th Cir.1997); Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409 (1976). The court will overrule Plaintiff's objections.

         B. Objections to R&R ECF No. 33

         In the second R&R, the Magistrate Judge recommends granting the summary judgment motion of Defendants Monroe County and William Paul Nichols. At the time of the events alleged in the complaint, Defendant Nichols served as the Monroe County Prosecutor. In the summary judgment motion, Nichols asserts through affidavit testimony that once he became aware of a police report involving Plaintiff, he referred the case to a special prosecutor-Defendant Stormie Rae McGee of Wayne County- because Plaintiff had previously sued him. (ECF No. 6-1, PageID.91.) The Magistrate Judge recommends granting Defendants' motion based on the affidavit testimony of Defendant Nichols that he had no involvement in Plaintiff's state court case apart from referring the case to the special prosecutor. The Magistrate Judge also proposes granting the motion based on the entitlement of Defendant Nichols to prosecutorial immunity. Additionally, the Magistrate Judge found no evidence to suggest ...

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