D.J.Y et al v. Ypsilanti Public Schools et al
AMENDED OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT JASMINE GATES MOTION TO DISMISS 43 re 66 Order on Motion to Dismiss. Signed by District Judge Judith E. Levy. (Bankston, T)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
D.J.Y., by and through his Next
Friend, Kelly York,
Case No. 14-cv-11467
Hon. Judith E. Levy
Mag. Judge David R. Grand
Ypsilanti Community Schools,
Sharron Irvine, Paula Sizemore,
Kimberly Ferrell, Ann Robinson,
Thomas Woodard, Washtenaw
County, Aaron Hendricks, Katrina
Bourdeau, and Jasmine Gates,
AMENDED OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT
JASMINE GATES’ MOTION TO DISMISS 
Pending before the Court is defendant Jasmine Gates’ motion to
dismiss. (Dkt. 43.) Pursuant to E.D. Mich. Local R. 7.1(f)(2), the Court
will decide the motion without oral argument.
This case arises from an April 17, 2012 incident in which plaintiff
was accused of inappropriately touching a female student in the halls of
Ypsilanti Middle School. That day, plaintiff was removed from class
and questioned about the incident. At some later point, plaintiff’s
mother withdrew plaintiff from Ypsilanti Middle School.
2012, plaintiff was charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Fourth
Degree. The charges were eventually dismissed on March 27, 2013.
With regard to the events giving rise to this case, defendant
Jasmine Gates, a child protective services worker for the State of
Michigan’s Department of Human Services, is alleged to have done the
1) On April 27, 2012, Gates appeared on the doorstep where
plaintiff’s mother lived to discuss the allegations against
plaintiff. At that time, plaintiff’s mother informed Gates that
there was a videotape of the incident proving that plaintiff did
not touch the female student. (Dkt. 40 at ¶ 59.)
2) At some point, Gates watched the videotape, and continued to
falsely accuse plaintiff of having inappropriately touched the
female student. (Dkt. 40 at ¶ 62.)
Based on these facts, plaintiff brings charges against Gates for
false arrest and imprisonment, malicious prosecution, unreasonable
prosecution under the Fourth Amendment, gross negligence, and
violation of plaintiff’s Fourteenth Amendment due process rights.
Gates filed a motion to dismiss on November 10, 2014.
When deciding a motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6),
the Court must “construe the complaint in the light most favorable to
the plaintiff and accept all allegations as true.” Keys v. Humana, Inc.,
684 F.3d 605, 608 (6th Cir.2012). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A plausible claim need not contain “detailed
factual allegations,” but it must contain more than “labels and
conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action[.]” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
A. Amended Complaint
On October 7, 2014, the Court heard oral argument on a motion to
dismiss by four defendants in this matter. At that hearing, the Court
ruled that the factual allegations in the complaint were insufficient to
state a plausible claim against any of those defendants.
counsel then requested an opportunity to amend the complaint to more
clearly and fully state both the facts at issue in this case, and which of
the defendants allegedly committed which of the violations of law
alleged in the complaint.
Plaintiff filed his amended complaint on October 28, 2014.
B. False Arrest/Imprisonment
A false-arrest claim under Michigan law requires the plaintiff to
show that defendants “participated in an illegal and unjustified arrest,
and that [the defendants] lacked probable cause to do so.” Walsh v.
Taylor, 689 N.W.2d 506, 513 (Mich. Ct. App. 2004). Plaintiff alleges no
arrest in his complaint.
Specifically, he does not allege that Gates
participated in, conducted, knew of, or was even tangentially involved
with any arrest of plaintiff. Because plaintiff does not allege that he
was arrested, the claim for false arrest against Jasmine Gates is
False imprisonment requires the plaintiff to show “(1) an act
committed with the intention of confining another, (2) the act directly or
indirectly results in such confinement, and (3) the person confined is
conscious of his confinement.” Id. at 514. The plaintiff must also show
that “[t]he restraint . . . occurred without probable cause to support
it.” Id. The only acts that plaintiff alleges Gates engaged in were to
discuss the allegations with his mother, and then, vaguely, to falsely
accuse plaintiff through some unidentified channel of having committed
the crime at issue. Because Gates is not alleged to have committed any
act with the intention of confining plaintiff, the claim for false
imprisonment is dismissed.
C. Malicious Prosecution (Michigan Law)
Under Michigan law, a plaintiff asserting malicious criminal
prosecution has the burden of proving “(1) that the defendant has
initiated a criminal prosecution against him, (2) that the criminal
proceedings terminated in his favor, (3) that the private person who
instituted or maintained the prosecution lacked probable cause for his
actions, and (4) that the action was undertaken with malice or a
purpose in instituting the criminal claim other than bringing the
offender to justice.” Matthews v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mich., 456
Mich. 365, 378 (1998).
Plaintiff does not allege that Gates initiated or maintained a
criminal prosecution against him. Further, plaintiff does not allege how
Gates, a child protective services worker, could have had the ability to
do so. The vague assertion that Gates continued to accuse him of a
crime, without corresponding factual allegations showing that she
actually participated in his prosecution in some way, is insufficient to
state a plausible claim for malicious prosecution under Michigan state
law. Accordingly, the malicious prosecution claim under Michigan law
D. Unreasonable Search and Seizure in Violation of the Fourth
“In assessing whether the right against unreasonable searches
and seizures has been violated, the court must consider whether the
action is attributable to the government, and amounts to a search or
seizure for Fourth Amendment purposes.” Relford v. Lexington-Fayette
Urban Cnty. Gov’t, 390 F.3d 452, 457 (6th Cir. 2004.)
In the light most favorable to plaintiff, the single interaction
Gates is alleged to have had with plaintiff’s mother (the only concrete
action Gates is alleged to have taken) must, somehow, constitute a
search or seizure for Fourth Amendment purposes. Plaintiff offers no
support for the argument that a verbal discussion with the parent of a
minor concerning an allegation against the minor, during which the
government agent has no contact whatsoever with the minor,
constitutes a search or seizure of the minor. This single interaction is
plainly insufficient to constitute a search or seizure for Fourth
Amendment purposes, and this claim is dismissed.
E. Malicious Prosecution Under the Fourth Amendment
To succeed on a malicious-prosecution claim under § 1983
when the claim is premised on a violation of the Fourth
Amendment, a plaintiff must prove the following: First, the
plaintiff must show that a criminal prosecution was initiated
against the plaintiff and that the defendant made,
influenced, or participated in the decision to prosecute.
Second, because a § 1983 claim is premised on the violation
of a constitutional right, the plaintiff must show that there
was a lack of probable cause for the criminal prosecution.
Third, the plaintiff must show that, as a consequence of a
legal proceeding, the plaintiff suffered a deprivation of
liberty, as understood in our Fourth Amendment
jurisprudence, apart from the initial seizure. Fourth, the
criminal proceeding must have been resolved in the
Sykes v. Anderson, 625 F.3d 294, 308-09 (6th Cir. 2010) (internal
citations and quote marks omitted).
In his complaint, plaintiff does not allege that Gates made,
influenced, or participated in the decision to prosecute him. At most,
the complaint alleges that Gates investigated the allegation, then at
some unspecified later date watched the exonerating footage and still
continued to accuse plaintiff of the crime. Plaintiff does not allege that
Gates had any contact with any person who would have initiated a
prosecution, or that anyone who initiated a prosecution relied on or was
even aware of Gates’ impressions as to plaintiff’s guilt or innocence.
Accordingly, the claim for malicious prosecution under the Fourth
Amendment is dismissed.
F. Gross Negligence
Plaintiff asserts an independent claim for gross negligence against
a government official under M.C.L. § 691.1407(2).
establishing that a governmental official's conduct amounted to ‘gross
negligence’ is a prerequisite to avoiding that official's statutory
governmental immunity, it is not an independent cause of action.” Bletz
v. Gribble, 641 F.3d 743, 756 (6th Cir. 2011) (citing Van Vorous v.
Burmeister, 262 Mich. App. 467, 483 (2004)).
Plaintiff’s gross negligence claim is not viable under Michigan law.
Accordingly, this claim is dismissed.
G. Violation of Due Process Under the Fourteenth Amendment
Plaintiff argues that Gates violated both his substantive and
procedural due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Plaintiff argues that Gates’ actions “shock[ed] the conscience,” and thus
offended his substantive due process rights.
Cnty. of Sacramento v.
Lewis, 523 U.S. 833, 846 (1998). In particular, he argues that Gates
acted with deliberate indifference toward his federally protected rights.
See Claybrook v. Birchwell, 199 F.3d 350, 359 (6th Cir. 2000). The right
plaintiff identifies is his fundamental liberty interest in freedom and an
uninterrupted education. Plaintiff does not state how his procedural
due process rights were violated.
Simply put, there are no facts alleged that would give rise to a
plausible due process claim against Gates, even when viewed in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff. The only concrete action Gates is
alleged to have taken is to discuss the allegations against plaintiff with
There is no allegation that this conversation, or
Gates’ alleged later belief that plaintiff was guilty, even after having
watched the allegedly exonerating video tape, in any way impinged on
plaintiff’s freedom or uninterrupted education.
Further, plaintiff does not argue that Gates violated his
procedural due process rights other than a cursory invocation of the
same grounds asserted for the substantive due process claim.
Accordingly, plaintiff’s Fourteenth Amendment due process claims are
For the reasons stated above, it is hereby ordered that:
Defendant Jasmine Gates’ motion to dismiss (Dkt. 43) is
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated: February 10, 2015
Ann Arbor, Michigan
s/Judith E. Levy
JUDITH E. LEVY
United States District Judge
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
The undersigned certifies that the foregoing document was served
upon counsel of record and any unrepresented parties via the Court’s
ECF System to their respective email or First Class U.S. mail addresses
disclosed on the Notice of Electronic Filing on February 10, 2015.
s/ Tanya Bankston
for Felicia M. Moses
FELICIA M. MOSES
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