Case Results for Law Enforcement

676 Fed Appx 466 (6th Cir, 2017). The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the district court’s denial of qualified immunity and held that the defendant paramedic did not violate the plaintiff’s clearly-established Fourth Amendment rights by grabbing the plaintiff, who was being aggressive, and forcing her to the floor and, thus, was entitled to qualified immunity in her federal use of force action. The paramedic acted reasonably by intervening because reasonable an officer in her position would have found intervention necessary, various factors could have led paramedic to believe that her use of force was necessary, citizen was second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and knew how to fight, citizen acted aggressively in front of paramedic by yelling obscenities, throwing her phone, and walking angrily toward another paramedic, and police officer told citizen immediately before paramedic intervened that citizen needed to stop fighting him.
717 Fed. Appx. 555 (6th Cir 2017): Sheriff’s deputies used a confidential informant to conduct drug buys and identify the participants, one of whom was bound over for trial at a preliminary exam. The charges were subsequently dismissed based on contradictory testimony from another participant and the fact that the plaintiff passed a polygraph test. He then sued Huron County and several deputies, claiming that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated in the drug buys. The trial court granted summary judgement to dismiss the case against the county and deputies, because the bind-over conclusively established that there was probable cause to arrest plaintiff on the charges. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s dismissal of all claims against Defendants.
2013 WL 2319323 (ED Mich, 2013). RSJA successfully defended claims brought by the Estate of a mentally-ill individual who, while suffering from excited delirium, led township police officers on a multi-city pursuit and was subject to 30+ police Taser deployments. Securing summary judgment on behalf of the township and its officers, RSJA attorneys relied (among other cases) on Caie v West Bloomfield, 485 Fed Appx 92 (6th Cir, 2012), a case successfully litigated by RSJA’s Margaret Debler and frequently cited by the Sixth Circuit when affirming summary judgment. (Caie involved police and fire response to a mental health seizure, where a Taser was used to apprehend the at-risk teen. RSJA successfully obtained summary judgment as to fire fighters in this significant mental health seizure case where force was necessary.)
2016 WL 795901 (ED Mich 2016). The case alleged excessive force by township officers and sheriff’s department deputies. RSJA obtained a dismissal on the merits for the township, saving fees, costs and a potential judgment, while the plaintiff was able to proceed against the county defendants.
729 F.3d 610 (6th Cir. 2013). Two local law enforcement officers appointed to a joint task force of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration retained Kenneth Galica and Anne McClorey McLaughlin to conduct a new trial ordered by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in a federal civil rights action. Our attorneys successfully persuaded the jury that the defendants were not involved in the search warrant raid, resulting in a verdict in favor of all four defendant-officers. The Sixth Circuit upheld the jury verdict in the defendants’ favor and denied a request for rehearing.
2018 WL 1637946. RSJA successfully defended the township against allegations of illegal seizure after a police pursuit. Over time, the plaintiff and her relations have been the subject of multiple criminal prosecutions in the township and neighboring communities. RSJA has successfully defended several mandamus actions against judges and township officials and criminal appeals brought by these individuals, as well as defending a township ordinance officer in getting wrongful prosecution claims against him dismissed.
Officers conducted a Terry stop of a speeding vehicle registered to an unlicensed driver. The driver lacked a driver’s license but was not the registered owner. Because allowing an unlicensed person to drive a vehicle violates Michigan law, officers sought to discover whether the owner was among the three remaining passengers. The plaintiff refused to identify himself and was taken into custody. Illegal drugs were subsequently found on him. The state court of appeals reversed his drug conviction, and the plaintiff sued claiming he was unlawfully arrested. The federal Court of Appeals observed that an officer may request a detained person to identify himself, so long as the request amounts to one “reasonably related in scope to the circumstances which justified the stop.” Officers were entitled to qualified immunity under both prongs where it was reasonable to believe that the plaintiff’s refusal to identify himself violated Michigan’s obstruction statute and that such an interpretation of state law did not violate the Fourth Amendment.
Plaintiff-Appellant was incarcerated when he was assaulted by a fellow inmate, whom he had verbally accused of cheating during a card game. Claims were brought against the inmate who assaulted him, the two deputies involved in classifying/maintaining the classification of the inmate who assaulted him, and the County. RSJA was initially successful in obtaining a full dismissal of this case by way of a motion in lieu of an answer. Following briefing, the Sixth Circuit upheld the district court’s opinion. Notably, despite Plaintiff-Appellant’s argument that qualified immunity is not properly decided in a motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), the Sixth Circuit agreed with Defendants’ position that questions of qualified immunity should be resolved at the earliest possible stage of litigation.
In a case that initially made the national news when it was filed, RSJA successfully argued that Plaintiff’s claims lacked subject matter jurisdiction and dismissal of the defendant officer was thus appropriate. Plaintiff was suspected of vehicle theft and fled on foot when officers approached. One officer accidentally discharged his firearm during the foot chase, though Plaintiff was not hit. RSJA’s extensive knowledge and familiarity with these types of cases and with the federal courts, in general, resulted in an early dismissal without the need to engage in costly discovery.