United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
A. TRAUGER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Judge Joe Brown entered a Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”) (Doc. No. 177) recommending that the
defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 121) be
granted in part and denied in part. Now before the court are
the defendants' Motion for Review (Doc. No. 184) of that
portion of the R&R recommending denial of summary
judgment and the plaintiff's Partial Objection (Doc. No.
185) to that portion of the R&R recommending that summary
judgment be granted in part. The court stayed the filing and
briefing of objections while the parties attempted to reach a
settlement agreement. Those attempts were ultimately
unfruitful, and both parties' objections to the R&R
have now been fully briefed and are ripe for review.
reviewed the parties' objections in light of the record
as a whole and the governing legal standards, for the reasons
set forth herein, the court will overrule both parties'
objections and adopt the findings and recommendations set
forth in the R&R in their entirety.
Procedural Background and Factual Overview
Fifth Amended Complaint (Doc. No. 169), plaintiff Patrick
Reeners brings claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state
law against four individual officers with the Gallatin Police
Department (“GPD”), including defendants Rickey
Troup, Lamar Ballard, Bradley Jones, and Jamie Helson
(collectively, the “individual defendants” or
“officer defendants”), the GPD Chief of Police
Donald Bandy, and the City of Gallatin. More specifically, he
asserts claims of false arrest under § 1983 and
Tennessee common law against the individual defendants
(Counts I and II), a claim under § 1983 against
defendants Jones and Helson based on the alleged use of
excessive force (Count III), a § 1983 false arrest claim
against Chief Bandy and the City of Gallatin (Count IV), and
a Tennessee common law false imprisonment claim against Bandy
only (Count V). The claims all stem from an incident that
took place on June 12, 2014, when Reeners was forcibly taken
into custody, transported first to Sumner Regional Medical
Center (“SRMC”) and later to the Middle Tennessee
Mental Health Institute (“MTMHI”), where he was
involuntarily committed until June 18, 2014.
August 3, 2016, the defendants filed their Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc. No. 121), asserting that the individual
defendants and Chief Bandy were entitled to qualified
immunity from suit and that the City of Gallatin was entitled
to summary judgment because the plaintiff could not show that
a constitutional violation occurred. The defendants later
agreed to withdraw from the motion any argument that the
municipal liability claims against the City of Gallatin
should be dismissed, leaving for resolution only the issue of
whether the claims against the officer defendants and Chief
Bandy should be dismissed. (See Doc. No. 174.)
Although discovery was partially stayed pending disposition
of the qualified-immunity issue, the motion was fully
briefed, and both parties submitted a substantial amount of
evidence in support of their positions, including affidavits,
medical records, transcripts of the recordings of various
conversations, and other documents.
R&R, issued on August 11, 2017, includes a detailed
summary of the factual record, which the court adopts in full
and will not reiterate here. The R&R ultimately
(1) summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity to
Counts I and II be denied because (a) the plaintiff had a
clearly established right not to be seized and detained for a
psychiatric evaluation unless the seizing officers had
probable cause to believe that he posed a danger to himself
or others; and (b) a reasonable factfinder, construing the
facts in the plaintiff's favor, could find that the
officer defendants lacked probable cause to seize the
(2) summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity to
Count III be denied because (a) “unduly tight or
excessively forceful handcuffing is a clearly established
violation of the Fourth Amendment, ” Baynes v.
Cleland, 799 F.3d 600, 613 (6th Cir. 2015); and (b) a
reasonable finder of fact could conclude defendants Jones and
Helson subjected Reeners to excessive force when they
handcuffed him for transportation to SRMC and thereafter kept
him in handcuffs; and
(3) summary judgment as to Counts IV and V against Bandy be
granted on qualified immunity grounds, as the plaintiff
failed to point to evidence in the record to support his
claim that Bandy had any input in the decision to commit
Reeners at MTMHI or keep him there until June 18, 2014.
defendants thereafter filed objections only to the
recommendation that summary judgment be denied as to Counts I
and II. They do not expressly object to the recommendation
that summary judgment on the excessive force claim be denied.
For his part, the plaintiff objects to the recommendation
that the claims against Bandy be dismissed.
Standard of Review
unless an extension is granted, any party has fourteen days
after being served with a report and recommendation to
“serve and file specific written objections to the
proposed findings and recommendations.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
72(b)(2). When reviewing an R&R on a dispositive motion,
as here, the district court must review de novo any
portion of the “magistrate judge's disposition that
has been properly objected to.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3).
In conducting its review, the district court “may
accept, reject, or modify the recommended disposition;
receive further evidence; or return the matter to the
magistrate judge with instructions.” Id.
court may decline to review any objections that are not
sufficiently specific “to enable the district court to
discern those issues that are dispositive and
contentious.” Miller v. Currie, 50 F.3d 373,
380 (6th Cir. 1995). “The filing of vague, general, or
conclusory objections does not meet the requirement of
specific objections and is tantamount to a complete failure
to object.” Cole v. Yukins, 7 Fed.Appx. 354,
356 (6th Cir. 2001) (citing Miller, 50 F.3d at 380).
several circuits have held that “arguments not made
before a magistrate judge are normally waived.”
United States v. Melgar, 227 F.3d 1038, 1040 (7th
Cir. 2000); see also, e.g., Williams v.
McNeil, 557 F.3d 1287, 1288 (11th Cir. 2009) (holding
that the district court has the discretion to not consider an
argument not presented to the magistrate judge); United
States v. Howell, 231 F.3d 615, 621-22 (9th Cir. 2000)
(same); Madol v. Dan Nelson Auto. Group, 372 F.3d
997, 1000 (8th Cir. 2004) (a party must present all claims to
the magistrate judge to preserve them for review);
Marshall v. Chater, 75 F.3d 1421, 1426 (10th Cir.
1996) (“Issues raised for the first time in objections
to the magistrate judge's recommendation are deemed
waived.”); Paterson-Leitch Co. v. Mass. Mun.
Wholesale Elec. Co., 840 F.2d 985 (1st Cir. 1988)
(same). Although the Sixth Circuit has not squarely addressed
this issue, it has “indicated that a party's
failure to raise an argument before the magistrate judge
constitutes a waiver.” The Glidden Co. v.
Kinsella, 386 Fed.Appx. 535, 544 n.2 (6th Cir. 2010)
(citing Murr v. United States, 200 F.3d 895, 902 n.1
(6th Cir. 2000)).