Knox v. Scruggs et al
ORDER ACCEPTING AND ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [#22] OVERRULING DEFENDANTS' OBJECTION [#23], GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS [#15], DISMISSING DEFENDANTS SCRUGGS, BRADDOCK AND GARRETT IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, DISMISSING OAKLAND COUNTY AND UNKNOWN SUPERVISOR IN HIS INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY. Signed by District Judge Gershwin A. Drain. (TBan)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No.: 17-10900
Honorable Gershwin A. Drain
BRANDON SCRUGGS, et al.,
ORDER ACCEPTING AND ADOPTING REPORT AND
RECOMMENDATION [#22] OVERRULING DEFENDANTS’ OBJECTION
[#23], GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS’
MOTION TO DISMISS [#15], DISMISSING DEFENDANTS SCRUGGS,
BRADDOCK AND GARRETT IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITIES,
DISMISSING OAKLAND COUNTY AND “UNKNOWN SUPERVISOR” IN
HIS INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY
Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, brought the instant 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action
alleging claims against Defendants Scruggs, Braddock, Garrett, and an “Unknown
Supervisor” all in their individual and official capacities. Plaintiff also brings his
claims against Oakland County and the City of Pontiac. This matter has been
referred to Magistrate Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis for all pretrial purposes
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Fed. R. Civ. P. 72.
Presently before the Court is Magistrate Judge Davis’s Report and
Recommendation, issued on February 5, 2018.
Magistrate Judge Davis
recommends that the Court grant in part and deny in part the Oakland County
Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss, filed on May 22, 2017. On February 13, 2018,
Defendants filed their Objection to the Report and Recommendation. Plaintiff filed
his Response to their Objection on February 26, 2018.
Plaintiff has failed to file any Objections to the Report and Recommendation,
and the time for doing so has expired. See E.D. Mich. L.R. 72.1(d) and Fed. R.
Civ. P. 72(b)(2).
Upon review of the parties’ submissions, the Report and Recommendation
and the applicable law, the Court will overrule Defendants’ Objection and will
accept and adopt Magistrate Judge Davis’s February 5, 2018 Report and
Recommendation as this Court’s factual findings and conclusions of law.
LAW & ANALYSIS
The events giving rise to the instant action occurred on May 8, 2016, during
the course of Plaintiff’s arrest. Plaintiff claims that Sheriff Deputy Scruggs used
excessive force during and after Plaintiff’s arrest for domestic violence and
assaulting/resisting/obstructing an officer. He further alleges that Sheriff’s Deputies
Braddock and Garrett failed to intervene and stop Scruggs unlawful conduct.
As an initial matter, Magistrate Judge Davis correctly concluded that Heck v.
Humphrey does not bar Plaintiff’s claims. See Carter v. Carter, No. 14-13502,
2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46301, *8-9 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 29, 2017), rev’d on other
grounds, Carter v. Carter, No. 17-1448, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 6363 (6th Cir.
Mar. 15, 2018); see also Schreiber v. Moe, 596 F.3d 323, 334 (6th Cir. 2010).
Magistrate Jude Davis likewise correctly concluded that none of the Sheriff’s
Deputy Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity. 1 Government officials are
not entitled to qualified immunity when their conduct violates an individual’s
constitutional rights and the rights they have “transgressed” are “clearly
established.” See Groh v. Ramirez, 540 U.S. 551, 563 (2004). Defendants’ sole
objection to the Report and Recommendation is that Plaintiff’s allegations do not
amount to a viable failure to intervene claim, thus he has not alleged a violation of
the Constitution and they are entitled to qualified immunity.
Magistrate Judge Davis is also correct in recommending the dismissal of
“Unknown Supervisor” because Plaintiff’s Complaint is devoid of any allegations
concerning the Unknown Supervisor’s personal involvement in the events giving
rise to the instant action. See Shehee v. Luttrell, 199 F.3d 295, 300 (6th Cir. 1999).
Her recommendation to dismiss Oakland County and the individual Defendants in
their official capacities is also appropriate. See Petty v. Cnty. of Franklin, Oh., 478
F.3d 341, 344, 348-50 (6th Cir. 2007).
Contrary to Defendants’ argument, Magistrate Judge Davis thoroughly
considered and appropriately rejected their assertion that Plaintiff’s allegations are
insufficient to overcome the “plausibility” standard of Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 677 (2009). In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that all three Deputy Sheriff’s
entered the residence and that Scruggs deployed his Taser on Plaintiff’s back,
apparently causing Plaintiff to lose consciousness. When Plaintiff came to, he was
“being kicked in the rib cage by” Scruggs. Defendants continued assertion that
Plaintiff has alleged a single kick thereby depriving Braddock and Garrett an
opportunity to intervene is simply their attempt to twist Plaintiff’s allegations to
their own advantage. As noted by Magistrate Judge Davis, to grant qualified
immunity at this stage of the proceedings would be premature because it would
require this Court to adopt Defendant’s version of the events and reject Plaintiff’s
allegations. See Mills v. Barnard, 869 F.3d 473, 487 (6th Cir. 2017). Dismissal
under Rule 12(b)(6) is inappropriate as found by Magistrate Judge Davis and the
Court will overrule Defendants’ objection.
For the reasons articulated above, the Court will ADOPT and ACCEPT
Magistrate Judge Davis’s February 5, 2018 Report and Recommendation [#22] as
this Court’s factual findings and conclusions of law.
Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss [#15] is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED
Defendants’ Objection [#23] is OVERRULED.
Defendants “Unknown Supervisor” and Oakland County are DISMISSED
from this action.
Defendants Scruggs, Braddock and Garrett are DISMISSED in their
Dated: March 30, 2018
/s/Gershwin A. Drain
GERSHWIN A. DRAIN
United States District Judge
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
Copies of this Order were served upon attorneys of record and on Raymone Knox
#46439-039, McKean Federal Correctional Institution,
Inmate Mail/Parcels, P.O.Box 8000, Bradford, PA 16701 on
March 30, 2018, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
/s/ Tanya Bankston
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