United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, DECLINING
SUPPLEMENTAL JURISDICTION, DENYING AS MOOT MOTION TO EXCLUDE
EXPERT WITNESS, AND DENYING AS MOOT MOTIONS IN
L. LUDINGTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
October 9, 2018, Plaintiff Jose Mateo Guerra filed a
complaint against Defendants Corbin Holt and Gideon Paetz.
Compl., ECF No. 1. Holt and Paetz are troopers with the
Michigan State Police and Plaintiff claims that they used
excessive force against him during a traffic stop on February
5, 2017. ECF No. 1 at 4. His complaint presents a single
count brought under 42 U.S.C. §1983 claiming that
Defendants violated the Fourth Amendment through use of
excessive force and one state law claim of assault and
battery during Plaintiff's arrest.
have filed a motion for summary judgment and a motion to
exclude the testimony of Plaintiff's expert witness,
Andrew J. Scott III. ECF Nos. 21, 23. The motion for summary
judgment will be granted and the motion to exclude expert
testimony will be denied as moot.
time of the arrest, Paetz had been an officer with the
Michigan State Police for approximately six years. ECF No.
23-4 at PageID.282. He is five foot eleven inches tall and
weighed approximately 175 pounds at the time of the incident.
ECF No. 23-4 at PageID.290. Holt had been an officer with
Michigan State Police for almost four years at the time. ECF
No. 23-3 at PageID.255. The parties do not provide a physical
description of Holt, but a review of the dashcam footage
indicates that he is similar in height and weight to Paetz.
Plaintiff is five foot nine inches and weighed approximately
175 pounds at the time of the incident. ECF No. 23-17 at
February 5, 2017 Plaintiff was at his mother's house at
2401 North Center Road, Saginaw, Michigan. ECF No. 23-2 at
PageID.192. Plaintiff claims that he was organizing the
garage. Id. at PageID.208. No. one was living in the
house at the time because his mother was in the process of
selling the house. Plaintiff was drinking beer and Bacardi
rum. He left the house to go to the liquor store which is
approximately a two-minute drive away. He purchased tobacco,
a 24 ounce can of beer, and a half pint of Bacardi rum.
Id. Plaintiff testified that he was “somewhere
between sober and buzzed” at the time. Id. at
approximately 2:00 a.m., Plaintiff left the liquor store.
Id. at PageID.209. He came to a four-way stop and
noticed Defendants in their patrol car directly across the
intersection from him. He believed that Defendants would pull
him over. Plaintiff testified during his deposition as
Q: [Y]our thought was they perceived you to be a white guy in
a Mexican neighborhood?
Q: And so you could only be up to no good; is that what
A: I won't say only up to no good, but it, you know,
probably got their curiosity going, you know.
avoid Defendants, Plaintiff turned right at the four-way stop
and then turned left at the next street. He then pulled into
the driveway of a house he did not know, hoping that
Defendants “were just going to pass by.”
did not pass by, but instead pulled up behind Plaintiff with
their patrol lights on. Id. Plaintiff assumed that
the officers were going to arrest him because he had an
outstanding warrant for his arrest. Id. at
PageID.212. Plaintiff remained in his car as Holt approached
Plaintiff's window. Holt explained they had pulled
Plaintiff over because Plaintiff did not use his turn signal
when he turned into the driveway. ECF No. 23-3 at PageID.235.
Holt asked Plaintiff whether there were drugs or guns in the
car to which Plaintiff responded that there were none. ECF
No. 23-2 at PageID.211; ECF No. 23-3 at PageID.235. Plaintiff
gave Holt his identification and Holt invited Plaintiff to
step out of the car. Plaintiff stepped out of the car and
Holt patted him down. ECF No. 23-2 at PageID.212. Holt then
asked Plaintiff to stand in front of the patrol car.
Id. Plaintiff gave Holt permission to search his
vehicle and Holt searched the vehicle while Plaintiff stood
in front of the patrol car. Id.
Holt returned to the patrol car, Paetz informed him that
Plaintiff had two outstanding warrants. ECF No. 23-3 at
PageID.239. One was for a probation violation in Saginaw
County. Plaintiff had violated his probation when he left the
supportive assistance program “Teen Challenge” in
December 2016. ECF No. 23-2 at PageID.197-198; ECF No. 23-19
at PageID.434. The other was for retail fraud in Ottawa
County. Id. However, it was later determined that
the Ottawa County warrant misidentified Plaintiff.
to the dashcam video and Holt's testimony, Holt
instructed Plaintiff to face the patrol car and place his
hands behind his back. ECF No. 23-3 at PageID.240-241.
Plaintiff complied with Holt's request. Id. at
PageID.241. However, Holt was unable to handcuff Plaintiff
because Plaintiff had balled his hands into fists.
Id. at PageID.242. Holt told Plaintiff,
“Interlace your fingers. Nope.” Id. at
PageID.244. Holt testified that “I said interlace your
fingers. Nope. Because he wasn't following my directions,
he wasn't interlacing his fingers.” Id.
claims that one or two days prior to the incident, he had cut
his right index finger and right thumb while cutting frozen
steaks. ECF No. 23-2 at PageID.210-211. The cut was between
the second and third knuckle of his right index finger and
near the tip of his right thumb. Plaintiff did not seek
professional medical attention for the injury. Instead, he
cleaned and bandaged the injury himself. Holt later stated in
a police incident report that he noticed that Plaintiff's
“right thumb and index finger had lacerations on them
that were wrapped up in white athletic tape.” ECF No.
23-5 at PageID.313.
told Holt that he had a cut on his finger. Holt said that he
understood and, “I'm just going to do like that for
a few seconds.” ECF No. 23-3 at PageID.244. Holt
Q: And what were you doing at that point?
A: So at that point I had finally got Mr. Guerra to unball
his fists because they were balled up into fists, which is
why my handcuffs have not even gotten out because his fists
are like this, like side to side, so it's very difficult
to handcuff him, so I finally got his fingers to open up and
interlace. When I finally got him that's -- right when I
did that it was going into the compliant finger locking
technique. That is when he pulled away.
Q: Okay, so he did interlace his fingers at some point and
then he pulled away?
A: They weren't even completely interlaced. I didn't
even have an opportunity to get the handcuffs out or
anything. It was probably a fraction of a half a second.
Q: After he had interlaced his fingers, that's when he
pulled his hands from -- out from front?
A: Yeah, he had pulled his hands away from my -- I don't
even know if his hands were even touching at that point. I
had just -- at that point had just got them unballed.
Q: And you said and I'm going to do that for a few
seconds, what you were referencing to was interlocking the
claims that the injury to his hand caused him to jerk his
hand away from Holt when he pulled his hands back.
Id. at PageID.213. Plaintiff's deposition
Q: Do you remember a trooper asking you to interlace your
Q: Did you interlace your fingers?
A: I couldn't.
Q: Why couldn't you?
A: Because of the bandages on my fingers.
Q: Did you try to interlace your fingers?
A: I can't recall if I did.
Id. at PageID.216. Plaintiff claims that Holt
squeezed his right hand. Id. at PageID.213
I remember when he just grabbed my hand, the one with the
cuts on it, and when he squeezed that was -- and then like,
you know, it's natural reaction when someone squeezes
your hand and it hurts you're going to jerk, and
that's what I did and that's how all this got going.
then pulled his hand from behind his back.
Q: Do you remember pulling your right hand from behind your
body to the ...