Olmetti v. Kent, County of et al
OPINION; signed by Chief Judge Hala Y. Jarbou (aks)
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 1:20-cv-395
Hon. Hala Y. Jarbou
KENT COUNTY, et al.,
The reviewing magistrate judge issued a Report and Recommendation (R&R, ECF No.
113) on July 28, 2022, recommending that the Court grant in part and deny in part Defendants’
motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 68). This motion for summary judgment was filed by
Defendants Kent County and Kent County Sheriff’s Department Deputies Tyler King, Justin
Linsea, Justin Mezsets, Shane Cole, and Eric Santiago (collectively, “Kent County Defendants”).
Before the Court are Plaintiff’s objections (ECF No. 118) and Defendants’ objections (ECF No.
116) to the R&R. The Court will adopt the R&R in part and reject it in part.
Plaintiff was a pre-trial detainee in the Kent County Correctional Facility (KCCF) when he
fell from an upper bunk and suffered several injuries. During a prior incarceration, Nurse
Sherwood assigned Plaintiff to a lower-bunk detail due to acute exacerbations of his pre-existing
health issues. These exacerbations were not present when Plaintiff returned to KCCF, so the detail
was removed shortly before the fall. Deputy Santiago re-classified Plaintiff to general housing.
Deputy Cole moved Plaintiff to his new cell. After the fall, Deputy Mezsets responded to the
incident and Deputies King and Linsea escorted Plaintiff to the hospital for treatment. As a part
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of the treatment, the hospital staff prescribed Plaintiff various medical equipment, including a
sling, incentive spirometer, and two mats. Sherwood ordered that Plaintiff receive the equipment
when he returned to KCCF from the hospital, but Plaintiff alleges that the deputies refused to give
him the equipment.
Invoking 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Plaintiff brought numerous claims against Defendants, alleging
violations of the Constitution and state law. Against the Kent County Defendants, Plaintiff alleges
that that they were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff’s serious medical needs (Count I); that
Defendants deprived Plaintiff of his life’s necessities amounting to unconstitutional conditions of
confinement (Count II); that King and Linsea used unreasonable force against Plaintiff (Count III);
that Defendants were negligent (Count IV); and that Kent County’s customs, practices, and
policies, including failure to train, were unconstitutional (Count V).
The R&R recommended granting the Kent County Defendants’ motion for summary
judgment on Counts I, II, and V, dismissing Kent County and Mezsets from the case; denying
summary judgment on Count III against King and Linsea; granting summary judgment on Count
IV against King and Linsea, but denying on this count against Santiago and Cole. In the
alternative, the R&R recommended dismissing Count IV against Santiago and Cole under 28
U.S.C. § 1367. Plaintiff advances eleven objections to the R&R, and Defendants present three
Under Rule 72 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court must review de novo the
portions of the R&R to which objections have been properly made:
The district judge must determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge’s
disposition that has been properly objected to. The district judge may accept, reject,
or modify the recommended disposition; receive further evidence; or return the
matter to the magistrate judge with instructions.
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Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3)
A. Plaintiff’s Objections
1. First Objection - Mezsets
First, Plaintiff objects to granting summary judgment and dismissal in favor of Mezsets.
The magistrate judge determined that Plaintiff failed to articulate any claim against Mezsets, and
that there was no evidence to support any constitutional claims against him. Plaintiff raises several
facts from which he argues “reasonable inferences” can be drawn to show that Mezsets committed
constitutional violations. Plaintiff points to his deposition testimony:
All right. So your testimony is you told Deputies –
--Cole, Santiago, and Mezsets?
And of course Joanne Sherwood.
and potentially others, but as far as defendants you told them in between –
As far as I see, besides Tyler King and Justin, you know, a couple of days
later, everyone on here and maybe Justin Mezsets.
I don’t know. I can’t place him like I told you.
Okay. All right. You also allege that you repeatedly made it known to
defendants that you had previously been assigned to a lower bunk detail
while at KCCF. Do you see that?
Oh, yeah. Yeah, I did.
(Pl.’s Obj. 6, ECF No. 118 (citing Olmetti Dep., ECF No. 90-4, PageID.1909).) This testimony
does not establish that Mezsets knew of Plaintiff’s need for a lower bunk, as Plaintiff admits that
he “can’t place him.” (Olmetti Dep., PageID.1909.) Plaintiff reaffirms this admission shortly after
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when he is asked, “Did you tell Deputy Mezsets that you previously had a lower bunk?”, to which
he replies, “I don’t know. I told you that earlier. I can’t remember.” (Id.)
Plaintiff argues that he testified that Mezsets “was involved” in not permitting him to have
the medical equipment given to him by the hospital. (Pl.’s Obj. 6.) When asked in his deposition
the basis for his belief that Defendants deprived him of his medical equipment, Plaintiff stated “I
think that each one of them are guilty in their own part. I just can’t give you exact reason, but they
are all players in what happened to those items.” (Olmetti Dep., PageID.1910.) Plaintiff gave no
other basis for Mezsets’ involvement other than his personal belief, which is not sufficient to
survive summary judgment. See Chappell v. GTE Prods. Corp., 803 F.2d 261, 268 (6th Cir. 1986)
(“Mere personal beliefs, conjecture and speculation are insufficient to support an inference. . .);
Heyne v. Metro. Nashville Pub. Schs., 655 F.3d 556, 564 (6th Cir. 2011) (“‘This Court has
consistently held that damage claims against government officials arising from alleged violations
of constitutional rights must allege, with particularity, facts that demonstrate what each defendant
did to violate the asserted constitutional right.” (quoting Lanman v. Hinson, 529 F.3d 673, 684
(6th Cir. 2008))).
Plaintiff also points out that Mezsets was aware that Plaintiff had assaulted a medical staff
member upon arrival at the jail, and that Mezsets worked where Plaintiff was housed on the days
preceding and on the day of his fall, and while on duty, Mezsets was required to walk by every
cell to check on inmates. Plaintiff argues that these facts combined with his testimony that he
complained to corrections staff that walked by his cell about the lower bunk detail, is enough to
establish that Mezsets violated his constitutional rights. On summary judgment, “[c]ourts consider
the evidence in light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in
that party’s favor.” Quigley v. Tuong Vinh Thai, 707 F.3d 675, 679 (6th Cir. 2013). However,
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even considering the evidence in Plaintiff’s favor, the mere possibility that Plaintiff could have
told Mezsets that he should have a lower bunk detail as Mezsets passed by on does not establish
that Mezsets was aware of Plaintiff’s medical needs that would subject him to an excessive risk of
harm. The Court will overrule Plaintiff’s objection.
2. Second Objection – Deliberate Indifference Framework
Second, Plaintiff contends that the R&R applied the wrong analytical framework for
Plaintiff’s deliberate indifference claims. Specifically, Plaintiff argues for the application of the
Fourteenth Amendment’s modified framework for pretrial detainees, rather than the application of
the Eighth Amendment analysis. The Court agrees that the appropriate standard to apply is under
the Fourteenth Amendment, not the Eighth Amendment, because Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee.
Although the analysis for Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment deliberate indifference
claims used to be identical, the Sixth Circuit recently modified the Fourteenth Amendment’s
deliberate indifference framework in Brawner v. Scott County, 14 F.4th 585 (6th Cir. 2021). The
modified standard has three elements:
(1) the plaintiff had an objectively serious medical need; (2) a reasonable officer at
the scene (knowing what the particular jail official knew at the time of the incident)
would have understood that the detainee’s medical needs subjected the detainee to
an excessive risk of harm; and (3) the prison official knew that his failure to respond
would pose a serious risk to the pretrial detainee and ignored that risk.
Trozzi v. Lake Cnty., 29 F.4th 745, 757-58 (6th Cir. 2022). In Trozzi, the Sixth Circuit held, in
part, that pre-Brawner conduct is properly analyzed under pre-Brawner case law only for the
clearly established law inquiry in the qualified immunity analysis. Id. at 761 (“Turning, then, to
the clearly established inquiry, qualified immunity is appropriate unless the officer in question had
‘fair notice’ that her conduct was unlawful. . . . [W]e agree . . . that pre-Brawner case law . . . is
the appropriate focus for determining what constitutional rights are clearly established.”).
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Therefore, the Court will sustain Plaintiff’s objection on the use of the appropriate
deliberate indifference standard.
3. Third Objection – Deliberate Indifference Claims
Third, Plaintiff objects to the magistrate judge’s recommendation to grant summary
judgment to Defendants on the deliberate indifference claims on different grounds.
Plaintiff compares this case to Asgaard v. County of Marquette, No. 2:20-CV-00153, 2022
WL 708835 (W.D. Mich. Jan. 31, 2022), R&R adopted, 2022 WL 593596 (W.D. Mich. Feb. 28,
2022). However, Plaintiff’s reliance on Asgaard is misplaced. Although Asgaard contains
superficial similarities to this case, a medical judgment is notably absent in Asgaard. As the Court
held in its previous order, Nurse Sherwood made a medical judgment when she concluded that
there was not a sufficient medical basis to reinstate the lower-bunk detail. (See 9/3/2022 Op. 7-9,
ECF No. 134.) See Westlake v. Lucas, 537 F.2d 857, 860 (6th Cir. 1976); see also Jones v. Corr.
Med. Servs., Inc., 845 F. Supp. 2d 824, 842 (W.D. Mich. 2012) (“Where the defendant made a
reasoned choice between two alternative treatments, considering the risk to the patient in doing so,
the courts typically refuse to second-guess the doctor’s judgment, even when the decision was in
(a) Defendant Santiago
The magistrate judge determined that Santiago did not act with deliberate indifference to
Plaintiff’s medical needs because he was entitled to “rely on the medical staff’s professional
assessments that Olmetti did not need a lower bunk detail.” (R&R 8 (“[W]e have recognized that
a non-medically trained officer does not act with deliberate indifference to an inmate’s medical
needs when he ‘reasonably deferred to the medical professionals’ opinion.” (quoting Greene v.
Crawford Cnty., 22 F.4th 593, 608 (6th Cir. 2022))).) Plaintiff argues that this deference does not
save Santiago, because Santiago had the ability to enter a lower bunk alert without the permission
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of medical staff. Plaintiff provides no support for this assertion. The deliberate indifference
analysis entitles non-medical staff to defer to medical judgments, see Greene, 22 F.4th at 608, and
it is undisputed that Santiago was aware that medical staff removed Plaintiff’s lower bunk detail.
Therefore, the Court will overrule Plaintiff’s objection as to Santiago.
(b) Defendant Cole
Plaintiff contends that Cole was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs
because Cole failed to ensure Plaintiff had a lower bunk when transporting Plaintiff to his new cell
after Plaintiff had informed Cole of his health issues. By Plaintiff’s own testimony, Cole went to
double check and set Plaintiff’s lower bunk detail after hearing Plaintiff’s complaints. (Olmetti
Dep., ECF No. 90-2, PageID.1874 (“So after about 15, 20 minutes Cole says hey, go back to your
cell so I can figure this out. . . . So finally they call me up again. . . . Okay. Lower bunk detail.
Yep, it’s all set. That is exactly what he said.”) When Plaintiff arrived at his cell, he found another
inmate there who had a lower bunk detail as well. When Plaintiff turned to report this to Cole,
Cole was gone. Because Cole stopped at the dayroom door to speak with two guards, he was not
at Plaintiff’s cell when Plaintiff arrived and found out about the other inmate. (Olmetti Dep.,
PageID.1876.) Plaintiff has failed to establish that Cole “knew that his failure to respond would
pose a serious risk to the pretrial detainee and ignored that risk,” Trozzi, 29 F.4th at 547-758,
because Plaintiff has not shown that Cole was aware that Plaintiff had not received a lower bunk.
Therefore, Cole is entitled to summary judgment on this count.
(c) Defendants King and Linsea
The magistrate judge determined that King and Linsea were entitled to summary judgment
on this count because Olmetti’s claims against them only arose after he fell from the top bunk, i.e.,
the way that King and Linsea treated him in transporting him from the hospital, and the handling
of the medical equipment. Plaintiff argues that the R&R fails to address that King and Linsea were
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involved in Plaintiff failing to receive medical devices and prescriptions after leaving the hospital.
Plaintiff fails to explain how these actions amount to a deliberate indifference claim. Therefore,
the Court agrees with the magistrate judge and will overrule this objection.
4. Fourth Objection – Conditions of Confinement
The magistrate judge found that Plaintiff failed to establish a conditions of confinement
claim based on the missing medical equipment after Plaintiff returned from the hospital. Plaintiff
argues that his conditions of confinement claim is not limited to those facts, but also includes
Defendants’ previous refusals to provide him with a lower bunk before his fall. As Defendants
pointed out in their motion for summary judgment, this Court’s previous order held that “Count II
alleges a Fourteenth Amendment violation based on the prison conditions Olmetti was subjected
to after he returned from the hospital.” (12/31/2020 Order 5, ECF No. 23.) Plaintiff did not argue
in his response to Defendants’ motion for summary judgment that his conditions of confinement
claim should be based on the facts before his fall, and therefore the R&R did not consider those
facts. Plaintiff does not provide argument in his objection on how the events before his fall would
constitute a conditions of confinement claim, merely objecting that the R&R did not consider those
events. In any case, the Court would not address those issues now as “‘absent compelling reasons,
[the Magistrate Judge Act] does not allow parties to raise at the district court stage new arguments
or issues that were not presented to the magistrate.’” Enyart v. Coleman, 29 F. Supp. 3d 1059,
1070 (N.D. Ohio 2014) (quoting Murr v. United States, 200 F.3d 895, 902 n.1 (6th Cir. 2000)).
Next, Plaintiff objects to the R&R’s conclusion that there is no evidence to support his
conditions of confinement claim based on the missing medical equipment. The magistrate judge
found that Plaintiff provided no factual basis that any of the named defendants denied him medical
equipment. Plaintiff argues that, at a minimum, the evidence supports a claim against King and
Linsea because when they returned from the hospital, King and Linsea took Plaintiff’s sling,
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incentive spirometer and prescription for pain medication at intake. However, Nurse Sherwood
wrote Plaintiff a prescription for the medical equipment recommended by the hospital. Plaintiff
has not presented any evidence that King and Linsea were the ones who refused to fill Plaintiff’s
prescription; the fact that they took the hospital supplied items at intake is not sufficient to carry
this conditions of confinement claim.
The magistrate judge also determined that Plaintiff failed to establish that Defendants threw
away inmate kites. In his objection, Plaintiff concedes that he could not identify any corrections
officer by name but argues that his testimony that he saw unnamed guards throw away kites
supports a Monell claim against Kent County. Again, this argument was not made before the
magistrate judge. Therefore, the Court agrees with the magistrate judge and will grant summary
judgment on Count II to all Defendants.
5. Fifth Objection – Excessive Force (Handcuffing)
Plaintiff objects to the finding that there was no evidence to support the claim that King
and Linsea used excessive force against Plaintiff when they handcuffed him. The magistrate judge
found that Plaintiff alleged only subjective pain in response to the overly tight handcuffs, which
the R&R stated is not enough to establish such a claim. Plaintiff argues that, rather than just
subjective pain, he presented some evidence of physical injury. Among other things, Plaintiff
points to his medical records which document hand pain and numbness. (See Medical Records,
ECF No. 118-6, PageID.3176-80.) In Hughey v. Easlick, 3 F.4th 283 (6th Cir. 2021), the Sixth
Circuit favorably cited a similar case where the plaintiff had asserted that his “‘hands were numb
and swelling’ because of too-tight handcuffing.” Id. at 290 (quoting Martin v. Heideman, 106 F.3d
1308 (6th Cir. 1997)). The Sixth Circuit stated,
“[N]otwithstanding the absence of evidence that Martin continued to suffer
numbness and swelling after the handcuffs were removed, or otherwise incurred
injury,” we concluded that he had created a genuine dispute of material fact about
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excessive force. Martin suffered no bruising, and the court did not even comment
on whether his injuries lasted after release from the handcuffs. Yet we still
determined that Martin survived summary judgment.
Id. at 290-91 (quoting Morrison v. Bd. of Trs. of Green Twp., 583 F.3d 394 (6th Cir. 2009)
(describing Martin, 106 F.3d at 1310)). In response, Defendants argue that Plaintiff presents this
argument for the first time in his objection to the R&R. However, Plaintiff’s response to
Defendants’ motion for summary judgment made similar arguments. (See Pl.’s Resp. to Defs.’
Mot. for Summ. J. 32, ECF No. 89-1 (“[T]he nursing records record that Plaintiff had a swollen
and numb hand.”).)
Defendants also argue that there is no evidence to support the claim that the handcuffing
caused Plaintiff’s injuries other than his own testimony. The medical records document that
Plaintiff suffered hand pain and numbness, but it is not clear from the records whether tight
handcuffing caused or exacerbated Plaintiff’s injuries. Plaintiff’s testimony is sufficient to create
a factual dispute.
Lastly, Defendants point to Plaintiff’s testimony where he was asked, “relative to them
handcuffing you, just that, did you sustain injury because they handcuffed you?” (Olmetti Dep.,
PageID.1903.) In reply, Plaintiff said, “The injury I substained [sic] is the pain -- they cause me a
lot more pain than I needed to be put through, and that I shouldn’t have been put through is what
the answer to that would be.” (Id.) In Hughey, the plaintiff had similarly answered “‘[n]o’” to the
question “‘[d]id you have any wrist injuries because of the handcuffs.’” Id. However, the Sixth
A layperson like Hughey is likely unfamiliar with the complicated caselaw
governing excessive-force handcuffing claims. She may have answered “no”
because she did not equate wrist marks from handcuffs with an “injury”; the word
“injury” to her might have invoked a more painful experience, such as a fracture.
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Id. Plaintiff’s testimony does not sink his claim, because “[a]t the summary-judgment stage, 
[his] statement [that he experienced pain] does not preclude a genuine dispute of material fact.”
Hughey, 3 F.4th at 291.
Therefore, the Court will sustain Plaintiff’s objection and deny summary judgment to King
and Linsea on Plaintiff’s claim of excessively forceful handcuffing.
6. Sixth Objection – Monell Liability
Plaintiff alleged Monell liability against Kent County for constitutional violations based on
its failure to train and supervise its staff. The R&R found that Kent County could not be liable for
deliberate indifference to serious medical needs under Monell because Plaintiff failed to establish
that any of the Defendant Deputies had committed deliberate indifference. For Monell liability
based on the excessive force claims against King and Linsea, the magistrate determined that
Plaintiff “failed to present any evidence as to whether the escort or transport of an injured inmate
to an off-site hospital emergency room is a recurring situation at KCCF which would justify
additional training.” (R&R 26.) Plaintiff objects to both these determinations.
For municipalities to be held liable under § 1983, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the
alleged federal violation occurred because of a municipal policy or custom. Burgess v. Fischer,
735 F.3d 462, 478 (6th Cir. 2013). The plaintiff must establish that the policy or custom was the
“‘moving force’ behind the deprivation of the plaintiff’s rights.” Powers v. Hamilton Cnty. Pub.
Def. Comm’n, 501 F.3d 592, 607 (6th Cir. 2007). There are several ways a plaintiff can show an
illegal policy or custom: “(1) the existence of an illegal official policy or legislative enactment; (2)
that an official with final decision-making authority ratified illegal actions; (3) the existence of a
policy of inadequate training or supervision; or (4) the existence of a custom of tolerance or
acquiescence of federal rights violations.” Id.
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Plaintiff argues that a municipality can be subject to Monell liability in the absence of
underlying constitutional claims against a municipality’s officers. Plaintiff points to Winkler v.
Madison County, 893 F.3d 877 (6th Cir. 2018) in support. In Winkler, the Sixth Circuit discussed
the district court’s finding that “the County could not be held liable under § 1983 because ‘there
is no underlying unconstitutional conduct by any of the individual defendants in this case.’” Id. at
899. The Sixth Circuit clarified that such a sweeping proposition is not so clear in this circuit,
pointing to several cases where the circuit recognized that a “‘municipality may not escape liability
for a § 1983 violation merely because the officer who committed the violation is entitled to
qualified immunity.’” Id. at 900 (quoting Garner v. Memphis Police Dep’t, 8 F.3d 358, 365 (6th
Cir. 1993)). The court also pointed to several other circuits that have concluded that a municipality
may be held liable under § 1983 where no individual liability is shown. Id. at 900-901 (citing
cases). However, the Sixth Circuit did not decide whether this holds true in this circuit. Id. at 901
(“But we need not decide whether, under our court’s precedent, a municipality’s liability under §
1983 is always contingent on a finding that an individual defendant is liable for having committed
a constitutional violation.”).
“[T]o show that a municipality is liable for a failure to train its employees, a plaintiff
‘must establish that: (1) the city’s training program was inadequate for the tasks that officers must
perform; (2) the inadequacy was the result of the City’s deliberate indifference; and (3) the
inadequacy was closely related to or actually caused the injury.’” Jackson v. City of Cleveland,
925 F.3d 793, 834 (6th Cir. 2019) (quoting Ciminillo v. Streicher, 434 F.3d 461, 469 (6th Cir.
2006)). “[D]eliberate indifference is a stringent standard of fault.” Id. Deliberate indifference
can be shown by either (1) “prior instances of unconstitutional conduct demonstrating that the City
had notice that the training was deficient and likely to cause injury but ignored it or (2) evidence
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of a single violation of federal rights, accompanied by a showing that the City had failed to train
its employees to handle recurring situations presenting an obvious potential for such a violation.”
Id. at 836 (citing Campbell v. City of Springboro, 700 F.3d 779, 794 (6th Cir. 2012)); Griffith v.
Franklin Cnty., 975 F.3d 554, 583 (6th Cir. 2020).
The Supreme Court explained the single-
violation theory in City of Canton v. Harris, stating “it may happen that in light of the duties
assigned to specific officers or employees the need for more or different training is so obvious,
and the inadequacy so likely to result in the violation of constitutional rights, that the policymakers
of the city can reasonably be said to have been deliberately indifferent to the need.” 489 U.S. 378,
(a) Monell Liability Based on Deliberate Indifference to Serious
Under the first manner of showing Kent County’s deliberate indifference in failing to train
or supervise its employees, Plaintiff has failed to provide specific prior instances of
unconstitutional conduct under similar circumstances that would have put Kent County on notice
of a problem with its training. Under the second, Plaintiff has neither provided evidence of a single
violation of federal rights, nor has he shown that “the risk of the constitutional violation is so
obvious or foreseeable that it amounts to deliberate indifference” for the County to fail to prepare
officers for it. Ouza v. City of Dearborn Heights, 969 F.3d 265, 287 (6th Cir. 2020). Therefore,
whether or not the County can be held liable in the absence of underlying constitutional violations
by individual defendants, Kent County is entitled to summary judgment on this count.
(b) Monell Liability Based on Excessive Force
Plaintiff has not provided specific prior instances of unconstitutional conduct under similar
circumstances to put Kent County on notice of deficient training. However, because the R&R did
not recommend granting summary judgment to King and Linsea on the excessive force claim, the
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Plaintiff has provided evidence of a single violation of federal rights. Plaintiff argues that the
magistrate judge erred in not considering portions of Linsea’s testimony “that he had not received
training on handcuffing an inmate who has an injured limb,” although “the handcuffing of an
inmate with an injured limb occurred with some degree of regularity.” (Pl.’s Obj. 25.) Plaintiff
points to this portion of Linsea’s testimony:
. . . Does the – has any of your training addressed the handcuffing of
inmates, let’s say, for example, you have an inmate whose arm is injured?
And you have to take them out of the facility, is there any training about
how you handcuff that person if they have a limb that’s injured? Would
you still handcuff them? Let’s say, if their arm i[s] injured, would you still
put that arm in the handcuffs or is there training what to do in that situation?
There’s – you gotta make it work. If somebody’s arm is broken or in a sling
or has a cast on or I’ve even taken somebody to the hospital that didn’t have
an arm, you – what I do I apply the belly chains still and I will just secure
the one handcuff to the one hand that’s not injured and the other hand is just
Okay. Now, you indicated that’s what [you] would do in that situation. But
have you received any training on that?
I don’t recall any specific training on it. I believe, it’s just common sense.
(Linsea Dep., ECF No. 96-5, PageID.2257.) Contrary to Plaintiff’s assertion, Linsea does not
testify that handling an inmate with an injured limb occurred with regularity; he states that he has
“taken somebody to the hospital that didn’t have an arm.” (Id.) The magistrate judge did not err
in finding that Plaintiff failed to present any evidence that such an occurrence was a recurring
situation which would support additional training.
Furthermore, the deliberate indifference standard does not simply require evidence that
there was some lack of training from the municipality; there must be a showing that “the need for
more or different training is so obvious, and the inadequacy so likely to result in the violation of
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constitutional rights, that the policymakers of the city can reasonably be said to have been
deliberately indifferent to the need.” Harris, 489 U.S. at 390. Linsea’s testimony that it was
“common sense” to accommodate someone with an injured arm cuts against Plaintiff’s argument
that a need for additional or different training was so obvious.
Lastly, Plaintiff objects to the R&R’s failure to address Plaintiff’s Monell claim based on
a failure to supervise. As stated above, the standard for failure to train and failure to supervise is
related. Therefore, the result is the same. The Court will overrule Plaintiff’s objection.
7. Seventh Objection – Qualified Immunity
The R&R determined that Mezsets, Santiago, and Cole were entitled to qualified immunity
because Plaintiff failed to establish that they had committed any constitutional violations. Plaintiff
objects to this because he objects to the determination that these Defendants did not commit any
constitutional violations. Because the Court will overrule Plaintiff’s objections on those points,
this objection will be overruled as moot.
8. Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Objections – State Law Negligence
Plaintiff’s eighth to eleventh objections involve the R&R’s disposition of the negligence
claims in Count IV. In the eighth objection, Plaintiff finds fault with the magistrate judge’s
implication that it is unclear who the negligence claim is directed at, other than Nurse Sherwood.
Plaintiff argues that both the complaint and this Court’s previous order made clear that this claim
is against all Defendants. (See 12/31/2020 Order.) The previous order dealt only with claims
directed against Nurse Sherwood and does not address the negligence claim as it pertains to these
Defendants. In any case, the R&R dealt with the negligence claim on the assumption that it was
directed at all Defendants. Therefore, the Court will overrule this objection as moot.
Plaintiff’s ninth objection addresses the R&R’s grant of summary judgment to Mezsets on
the negligence claim. The magistrate judgment determined that Plaintiff did not identify any
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wrongful conduct that Mezsets committed. Plaintiff presents similar evidence as mentioned above
for the deliberate indifference claim. That Plaintiff frequently complained to guards passing by,
and that Mezsets was on duty at the time does not lead to an inference of wrongful conduct by
Mezsets above the speculative level. The Court will overrule Plaintiff’s objection.
The magistrate judge determined that Plaintiff had not alleged a negligence claim against
King and Linsea in his complaint. The R&R stated that Plaintiff “cannot attempt to transform” an
intentional tort claim “into a claim of gross negligence.” (R&R 29.) Plaintiff’s tenth objection
faults the R&R for only considering the allegations that King and Linsea manhandled Plaintiff and
not considering Plaintiff’s allegations regarding too-tight handcuffing and these defendants’
disregard of Plaintiff’s complaints.
Defendants argue that Plaintiff did not previously list in his Complaint the specific
allegations mentioned in his objection.
However, Plaintiff’s Complaint, indeed, contains
allegations of too-tight handcuffing and directs its negligence claim against all defendants,
including King and Linsea. (Compl. 5-6, 10, ECF No. 1.)
Defendants further argue that Plaintiff’s negligence claim as to handcuffing fails because
there must be a physical injury. (Defs.’ Resp. to Pl.’s Obj. 17, ECF No. 121 (quoting Oliver v.
Smith, 15 N.W.2d 314, 418 (Mich. App. 2006).) However, as stated above, Plaintiff has put forth
evidence that he suffered a physical injury. Therefore, the Court will sustain Plaintiff’s objection,
and King and Linsea are not entitled to summary judgment on the negligence claim based on
As to Plaintiff’s eleventh objection, the magistrate judge recommended denying summary
judgment on the negligence counts against Santiago and Cole, but in the alternative, if the Court
were to grant summary judgment to Santiago and Cole on the federal counts, the magistrate judge
Case 1:20-cv-00395-HYJ ECF No. 142, PageID.3683 Filed 09/15/22 Page 17 of 19
recommended declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law negligence count.
Plaintiff objects to this alternative recommendation. However, as the Court held in its order issued
on September 3, 2022, both comity and judicial economy favor dismissing the remaining
negligence claim to avoid needlessly deciding a state-law claim. (9/3/2022 Order.) As the
magistrate judge observed, if the Court were to exercise residual jurisdiction, this case would
present several issues that could confuse a jury. Further, exercising jurisdiction would extend trial.
Therefore, the Court will adopt the magistrate judge’s alternative recommendation.
B. Defendants’ Objections
1. First and Second Objections – Excessive Force & Qualified Immunity
The magistrate judge determined that a “genuine issue of material fact exists as to whether
Deputies King and Linsea used excessive force” “when transporting him to and from the hospital.”
(R&R 23.) Defendants object to the R&R’s analysis of the excessive force claim because they
point out that Plaintiff did not allege the use of excessive force on the way to the hospital.
Plaintiff’s allegations focused on King and Linsea’s conduct from the hospital back to KCCF.
(Compl. 6 (“While Defendants King and Linsea took Plaintiff from the hospital to the transport
vehicle, they man-handled Plaintiff by dragging and pushing and pulling at him and laughing at
him.”).) Plaintiff responds by pointing to deposition testimony where he claims that King and
Linsea also manhandled him on the way to the hospital. (See Olmetti Dep., ECF No. 91-3,
PageID.2003.) However, this deposition testimony was not put before the magistrate on the
briefing for summary judgment. Therefore, Plaintiff’s excessive force claim based on King and
Linsea’s conduct includes only the conduct on the way from the hospital back to KCCF. The
Court will sustain Defendants’ objection.
Nevertheless, King and Linsea are not entitled to summary judgment on this count. The
magistrate judge was not persuaded by Defendants’ argument that their pushing and shoving the
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Plaintiff was de minimis force. See Wilkins v. Gaddy, 559 U.S. 34, 38 (2010) (“An inmate who
complains of a ‘push or shove’ that causes no discernible injury almost certainly fails to state a
valid excessive force claim.”); but see Williams v. Maurer, 9 F.4th 416, 439 (6th Cir. 2021) (“‘[A]
plaintiff may allege use of excessive force even where the physical contact between the parties did
not leave excessive marks or cause extensive physical damage.’” (quoting Miller v. Sanilac Cnty.,
606 F.3d 240, 246 (6th Cir. 2010) (internal citation omitted))). The R&R found that Plaintiff’s
undisputed significant injuries created a question of fact as to whether Defendants’ conduct was
objectively unreasonable. Defendants argue that the analysis changes if the conduct occurred after
rather than before the hospital visit because there was no longer an ongoing medical emergency.
However, Defendants do not provide support for why that fact makes a difference to the summary
judgment analysis. Plaintiff still sustained injuries after the emergency room visit.
Defendants also object to the R&R’s denial of qualified immunity to King and Linsea. The
R&R held that qualified immunity could not be granted because a genuine issue of material fact
exists. (R&R 27.) On the handcuffing claim, the Sixth Circuit has held since 1991 that “the right
to be free from too-tight handcuffing” has been “clearly established.” Hughey, 3 F.4th at 293
(citing Martin v. Heideman, 106 F.3d 1308, 1313 (6th Cir. 1997)); see also Baynes v. Cleland, 799
F.3d 600, 613 (6th Cir. 2015) (“[T]his Court [has] directly and unequivocally determined, time
and time again, that unduly tight or excessively forceful handcuffing is a clearly established
violation of the Fourth Amendment.”).
Defendants argue that Plaintiff “failed to identify established precedent that would make it
clear to Deputies King and Linsea that ‘pulling’ or ‘jerking’ a detainee during transport that caused
no injury would violate the Constitution.” (Defs.’ Obj. 4, ECF No. 116.) For a right to be clearly
established, the “unlawfulness must be apparent in the light of pre-existing law, but we need not
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find a case in which the very action in question has previously been held unlawful.” Greene, 22
F.4th at 615 (quoting Burwell v. City of Lansing, 7 F.4th 456, 476 (6th Cir. 2021)) (internal
quotation marks omitted). It is clearly established that when there is no safety risk, the use of
gratuitous violence is never reasonable. Williams, 9 F.4th at 440 (citing Walters v. Stafford, 317
F. App’x 479, 491 (6th Cir. 2009)); see also Shreve v. Jessamine Cnty. Fiscal Ct., 453 F.3d 681,
688 (6th Cir. 2006). It is undisputed that Plaintiff did not pose a safety risk. Therefore, Defendants
King and Linsea are not entitled to qualified immunity.
2. Third Objection
Santiago and Cole object to the R&R’s recommending denial of summary judgment as to
the negligence claim. Because the Court will decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over
the negligence claim against Santiago and Cole, the Court will overrule this objection as moot.
For the reasons stated above, the Court will sustain Plaintiff’s second, fifth, and tenth
objections, and overrule the rest. The Court will sustain Defendants’ second objection and
overrule the rest. An order will enter consistent with this Opinion.
Dated: September 15, 2022
/s/ Hala Y. Jarbou
HALA Y. JARBOU
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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