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Vaughan v. City of Shaker Heights

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

September 4, 2013

CITY OF SHAKER HEIGHTS, et al., Defendants.


GREG WHITE, Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the Court upon the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office's ("CCPO") Motion to Quash Plaintiff's Subpoena and Motion for a Protective Order. (Doc. No. 61.) For the following reasons, CCPO's Motion is granted in part and denied in part.

I. Background

On May 17, 2013, Plaintiff James Vaughan, III filed a Second Amended Complaint against Defendants City of Shaker Heights ("Shaker Heights") and Shaker Heights Detective Douglas K. Hyams ("Hyams").[1] (Doc. No. 49.) Therein, Plaintiff alleges the following.

On September 10, 2006, Vaughan was visiting Kelly Ross at her home in Shaker Heights. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 6.) Ross and her friend, Serena Miller ("Miller") were drinking heavily and holding a seance. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 7.) Miller's nine-year-old daughter, ("M.M."), fell asleep and Miller asked Vaughan to put her to bed. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 9.) Vaughan did so. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶¶ 10-11.)

Later, Miller called the Shaker Heights Police Department because M.M. allegedly stated that Vaughan had touched her inappropriately when he put her to bed. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶¶ 12-13.) Shaker Heights Police Officer Jody Srsen responded at approximately 6:50 a.m. on September 10, 2006, less than two hours after the incident had allegedly occurred. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 14.) Officer Srsen spoke with Miller, who indicated that M.M. had told her Vaughan had digitally penetrated her vagina and anus. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 15.) Srsen took statements from Miller and M.M., took several photographs, and transported M.M. to University Hospital for an examination. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 16.) The hospital examination showed no signs of trauma to M.M. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 18.)

On September 11, 2006, Defendant Hyams was assigned to investigate the allegations against Vaughan. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 19.) Social worker Terrie Stout was assigned by Summit County Children's Services ("SCCS") to interview and assess M.M. about the alleged acts committed by Vaughan. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 20.) Prior to Ms. Stout's assessment of M.M., she spoke briefly with Defendant Hyams and offered to meet with him in order to investigate the allegations together. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 22.) Defendant Hyams declined, stating that he did not want to "impede." (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 23.)

Ms. Stout met with M.M. on September 18, 2006. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 21.) Plaintiff alleges M.M. did not indicate to Stout that Vaughan had raped her. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 24.) Rather, M.M. allegedly described Vaughan as having touched her on the outside of her underwear in a way that made her uncomfortable and scared. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 26.) Plaintiff claims M.M. did not report that Vaughan had penetrated her anally or vaginally. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 25.)

Ms. Stout left a voice mail for Defendant Hyams on September 18, 2006 and had a telephone conversation with him two days later. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶¶ 27, 28-33.) During these communications, Ms. Stout allegedly told Defendant Hyams that "M.M. did not provide any facts or claims that could support a charge of rape by Vaughan" but that "the allegations made by M.M. could support sexual fondling.'"[2] (Doc. No. 49 at ¶¶ 39-41.) Defendant Hyams told Ms. Stout that "he did not want anyone from her agency involved with interviewing Vaughan because he thought they would impede.'" (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 32.) On September 20, 2006, Ms. Stout closed the file on M.M., noting that there was no trauma evident. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 36.) She mailed her dispositional letter to Defendant Hyams, but did not send it to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office or any other agency. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶¶ 42-43.) Plaintiff alleges that Hyams did not inform anyone at the Shaker Heights Police Department or the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office that "the only person who interviewed the alleged victim, Ms. Stout, had learned from the victim herself that Vaughan had not penetrated her either vaginally or anally." (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 50.)

Vaughan was arrested by the Shaker Heights Police Officers on September 23, 2006 and charged with gross sexual imposition. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 44.) Following a bind-over from Shaker Heights Municipal Court, on October 11, 2006, a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury indicted Vaughan for rape under Ohio Revised Code ("O.R.C.") § 2907.02(A)(1)(B). (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 45.) Defendant Hyams was the only witness who testified at the Grand Jury. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 47.) He did not disclose that M.M. had told Ms. Stout during her assessment that Vaughan had only touched her outside her underwear. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 54.) Plaintiff further alleges Hyams "manufactured false evidence that Vaughan had penetrated M.M." and then "disseminated the false and manufactured evidence in official investigatory documents that he completed for Shaker Heights Police Department and for Cuyahoga County." (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 55.)

On March 24, 2008, Vaughan's bench trial began. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 57.) Plaintiff alleges that "prior to and during Vaughan's [criminal] trial..., Hyams knowingly and intentionally withheld and suppressed exculpatory evidence and information from M.M. that directly contradicted that Vaughan had raped M.M." (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 58.) On March 28, 2008, Vaughan was convicted of rape in violation of O.R.C. § 2907.02(A)(1)(B) with sexual predator specifications and was given a mandatory sentence of life without parole. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 57.) He was immediately taken into custody and incarcerated. Id.

Vaughan later obtained a new legal team. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 61.) The new team hired an investigator, who interviewed Stout on May 10, 2008. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 62.) During this interview, Vaughan's investigator discovered "for the first time, the previously undisclosed relevant, material, exculpatory evidence that was provided to Defendant Hyams by Ms. Stout." (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 63.) Vaughan's new counsel moved for a new trial based, in large part, on the information obtained from Ms. Stout during this interview. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 64.) On March 17, 2009, the state trial court granted Vaughan a new trial based on the previously unheard testimony of Ms. Stout. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 65.) At the conclusion of the second trial, the jury spent an hour deliberating before finding Vaughan not guilty of rape. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 67.) He was thereafter released from custody. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶ 67.)

The Second Amended Complaint states four claims for relief. Claim One states a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 premised on Defendant Hyams' alleged failure to disclose exculpatory evidence, including "Hyams' knowledge that M.M.'s description of the alleged incident, related to Ms. Stout during her assessment, did [not] indicate that Vaughan had committed any act that constituted rape." (Doc. No. 49 at ¶¶ 76-86.) Count Two alleges a state law claim for malicious prosecution. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶¶ 87-92.) Count Three alleges a state law claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶¶ 93-101.) Count Four alleges an indemnification claim against the Defendant City of Shaker Heights. (Doc. No. 49 at ¶¶ 102-104.)

On July 24, 2013, Plaintiff issued a Subpoena pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 45(b) (Doc. No. 61-1) to Prosecutor Timothy McGinty of the CCPO. Therein, Plaintiff directs the CCPO to produce "the entire prosecutor's file including all notes in the following case: State v. Vaughan III, Case Number 06-CR-487022, Judge Joseph Russo." (Doc. No. 61-1.) The CCPO thereafter filed a Motion to Quash Plaintiff's ...

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