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Campbell v. Babaoglu

August 29, 2007


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas A. Varlan United States District Judge



This civil rights action is again before the Court on defendants' motion for summary judgment [Doc. 28]. The Court entered an order on April 2, 2007, granting in part and denying in part the instant motion [Docs. 56, 57] but later vacated that order with respect to plaintiff's claims of excessive force and unlawful arrest against defendants Babaoglu and Clark. [Doc. 63.] Oral argument on the remaining claims, including the issue of qualified immunity, was held on May 16, 2007.

The Court has carefully considered the pending motion, along with the parties' briefs, affidavits, other relevant pleadings, and oral arguments. For the reasons set forth herein, defendants' motion for summary judgment [Doc. 28] will be granted to the extent that all of plaintiff's remaining claims will be dismissed except for his claim of excessive force against Babaoglu arising from the events around Babaoglu's police cruiser. A jury will have to determine the merits of that claim because of genuine issues of material fact.

I. Relevant Facts

As the Court is required to do in reviewing a motion for summary judgment, all facts will be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).

The Court expressly adopts and reincorporates the relevant facts established in the Court's April 2, 2007, Memorandum and Opinion. [Doc. 56.] The Court also finds the following additional facts to be relevant or worthy of emphasis.

The dispatcher stated the following when dispatching the officers:

I have a 1083*fn1 at [plaintiff's home]. . . complainant states that she wants the husband removed from the house or to help her leave. She is advising that he is 1058*fn2 , doesn't have any weapons, but will not let her and the daughter leave. She is going to stay on the phone until you get 97*fn3 .

[Doc. 27, Exhibit 3.]

The record also establishes that the officers were at plaintiff's home somewhere between two and five minutes before the officers handcuffed him. [Doc. 36, Attachment 2 at p. 34.] During the struggle on and around the stairs inside plaintiff's home, Clark assisted Babaoglu in gaining control of plaintiff and in handcuffing plaintiff. [Doc. 29, Attachment 2 at p.3]. During that incident, plaintiff testified that the two officers "slam[med him] against the wall in the foyer," and "then slammed [him] down on the steps in the foyer." [Doc. 29, Attachment 4 at p.17]. Plaintiff clarified this statement by pointing out that he "went sideways and [the officers] fell on top of me." [Id.]. It must be emphasized that the steps were carpeted and plaintiff received only a minor injury to his nose and eye from that incident. [Id. at pp.18-19]. Plaintiff thought the officers were trying to hurt him. [Doc. 36, Attachment 2 at p.12]. Plaintiff admitted, however, that neither officer beat, punched, or otherwise attacked him at that time [Doc. 29, Attachment 4 at p.18].

Sometime after the incident on the stairs, Babaoglu escorted plaintiff to Babaoglu's vehicle. [Doc. 29, Attachment 4 at p.19]. On the way to the vehicle, plaintiff saw his wife standing outside and asked her something to the effect of "Did you really want this to happen?" [Id.]. According to plaintiff, Babaoglu then placed his right hand behind the back of plaintiff's head and slammed plaintiff's face into the back of the vehicle. [Doc. 36, Attachment 2 at p.13]. Babaoglu then escorted plaintiff around the side of the vehicle and again, according to plaintiff, slammed plaintiff's face against the vehicle, near the rear door on the driver's side. [Doc. 29, Attachment 4 at pp.19-20].

Additionally, while Babaoglu was escorting plaintiff to his cruiser, Mrs. Campbell asked Clark not to take plaintiff to jail because plaintiff had not assaulted her or their daughter. [Doc. 36, Attachment 2 at p.19]. In response, Clark told Mrs. Campbell that "[w]hen we come out, somebody's going to jail." [Id.]. Mrs. Campbell again told Babaoglu that she had not been assaulted. [Id. at p.22]. Finally, the Court observes that none of plaintiff's purported injuries resulted in his going to a doctor or an emergency room upon his release from jail; he did, however, put ice bags on his eyes when he went home. [Doc. 29, Attachment 4, at p.22].

II. Standard of Review

Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c), summary judgment is proper if "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." The burden of establishing there is no genuine issue of material fact lies upon the moving party. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 330 n.2 (1986). As noted earlier, the court must view the facts and all inferences to be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., 475 U.S. at 587; Burchett v. Kiefer, 310 F.3d 937, 942 (6th Cir. 2002). To establish a genuine issue as to the existence of a particular element, the non-moving party must point to evidence in the record upon which a reasonable jury could find in its favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The genuine issue must also be material; that is, it must involve facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Id.

The judge's function at the point of summary judgment is limited to determining whether sufficient evidence has been presented to make the issue of fact a proper jury question, and not to weigh the evidence, judge the credibility of witnesses, or determine the truth of the matter. Id. at 249. Thus, "[t]he inquiry performed is the threshold inquiry of determining whether there is the need for trial -- whether, in other words, there are any genuine factual issues that ...

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