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Nelson v. City of Madison Heights

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

January 9, 2017

Lyniece Nelson, on behalf of herself individually and as Personal Representative of the Estate of Henry Hilliard a.k.a. Shelly Hilliard, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
City of Madison Heights, et al, Defendants, Chad Wolowiec, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued: October 18, 2016

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan at Ann Arbor. No. 5:13-cv-10632-Judith E. Levy, District Judge.

         ARGUED:

          Rick J. Patterson, POTTER, DEAGOSTINO, O'DEA & PATTERSON, Auburn Hills, Michigan, for Appellant.

          Kathryn Bruner James, GOODMAN & HURWITZ, P.C., Detroit, Michigan, for Appellee.

         ON BRIEF:

          Rick J. Patterson, Steven M. Potter, Robert C. Clark, POTTER, DEAGOSTINO, O'DEA & PATTERSON, Auburn Hills, Michigan, for Appellant.

          Kathryn Bruner James, William H. Goodman, Julie H. Hurwitz, GOODMAN & HURWITZ, P.C., Detroit, Michigan, for Appellee.

          Before: KEITH, BATCHELDER, and CLAY, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          DAMON J. KEITH, Circuit Judge.

         Oakland County Police Officer Chad Wolowiec ("Officer Wolowiec") appeals from the district court's order denying his motion for summary judgment against Lyniece Nelson's ("Nelson") § 1983 claims against him in connection with her daughter's death. We AFFIRM.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case involves the events that led to the unfortunate death of nineteen-year-old Shelly Hilliard ("Hilliard").[1] On October 19, 2011, Hilliard was staying at a Motel 6 in Madison Heights, Michigan. Officer Wolowiec was also at the motel that day conducting a narcotics investigation. According to Officer Wolowiec's deposition testimony, he walked by Hilliard's room and saw a bag of marijuana through one of the open windows. Officer Wolowiec called for assistance and police officer David Koehler ("Officer Koehler") arrived on the scene. Officers Wolowiec and Kohler initiated a "knock and talk" at the door of Hilliard's hotel room. After Hilliard consented to the officers' request to enter her room, they found a bag of marijuana in the bathroom.

         To avoid arrest, Hilliard asked whether she could "work off" the possession charge. Hilliard agreed to call her drug dealer, Qasin Raqib ("Raqib"), also known as "Red, " and order drugs from him. After she called Raqib and he spoke with Officer Wolowiec to confirm the order, Raqib agreed to meet them at the hotel room in twenty minutes with the drugs. However, Officer Wolowiec planned ...


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