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Ramsey v. City of Cleveland

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

June 21, 2017



          CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO, United States District Judge

         This matter comes before the Court upon the Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF DKT #25) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) by Defendants City of Cleveland, et al., to dismiss Plaintiff's claims made under R.C §149.43 and 42 U.S.C. §1983. For the following reasons, the Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED in part, and DENIED, in part.


         Plaintiff Renisha Ramsey has brought suit against the City of Cleveland (“City”), the Cleveland Municipal Court (“Municipal Court”), Municipal Court probation officer Spencer Bellamy (“Bellamy”), Municipal Court probation officer Lacora Turner (“Turner”), Municipal Court bailiff Denise Rudolph (“Rudolph”) and unnamed Defendants. On May 19, 2014, Plaintiff was found guilty of two misdemeanors in Municipal Court for violating motor vehicle operation laws. State of Ohio/City of Cleveland v. Renisha Ramsey, Case No. 2013 TRD 064344. Plaintiff was ordered to perform 30 hours of community service and enter the “Get on Track” program. She completed her community service on June 26, 2014. On October 17, 2014 the Municipal Court entered judgement that her sentence was satisfied. However, Defendant City alleges that Plaintiff did not complete her “Get on Track” program. As a result, the Municipal Court scheduled a “Get on Track” compliance hearing for January 16, 2015. Plaintiff alleges that she never received notice of the hearing because it was mailed to the wrong address. Plaintiff also alleges the Municipal Court issued that notice on February 19, 2015, after the hearing occurred. The Municipal Court then issued a capias on March 6, 2015 for failure to appear. Plaintiff received notice of the capias on or about March 15, 2016. Plaintiff attempted to call Turner and was unable to reach him. Plaintiff then called Bellamy, who told Plaintiff to come to the Justice Center to resolve the issue.

         On March 19, 2016, Plaintiff arrived at the Justice Center. Plaintiff told the front desk that she needed to talk to Bellamy. Plaintiff was directed to the probation floor to wait for Bellamy. Plaintiff alleges that an unnamed Defendant told her she would be arrested and that she should give her property to family waiting in the reception area. Plaintiff also alleges that when she questioned these instructions that an unnamed Defendant told her: “You must think this is Burger King.” Plaintiff alleges she waited for Bellamy for approximately one hour and that Bellamy would be able to correct the improperly issued capias. Plaintiff alleges that Ruldoph approached with an unnamed Defendant, told Plaintiff that she was going to be brought to the holding cell in accordance with Municipal Court policies and stated “get your ass up.” Plaintiff protested and wrapped her arms around the bench where she sat. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants lifted her up while she still held the bench. Shortly afterward, Plaintiff alleges that she was accosted by “maybe ten to fifteen people...” According to Plaintiff, those Defendants grabbed her head, pulled her hair and one Defendant “put [her] head between his legs...” Plaintiff alleges Rudolph and unnamed Defendants then threw her to the ground where Defendant Rudolph twisted her arm behind her back and cut her wrists with handcuffs. Plaintff further alleges when she complained to Rudolph that Rudolph responded “I don't give a fuck. I'll whip your ass down the hall.” Defendants placed Plaintiff in a cell for approximately 30 minutes. Defendants took Plaintiff to a court room where she received an apology from a Municipal Court judge for the “misunderstanding.”


         A. Standard of Review

         Summary judgment shall be granted only if “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The burden is on the moving party to conclusively show no genuine issue of material fact exists. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986); Lansing Dairy. Inc. v. Espy, 39 F.3d 1339, 1347 (6th Cir. 1994). The moving party must either point to “particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations, admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials” or show “that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.” See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A), (B). A court considering a motion for summary judgment must view the facts and all inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). Once the movant presents evidence to meet its burden, the nonmoving party may not rest on its pleadings, but must come forward with some significant probative evidence to support its claim. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324; Lansing Dairy, 39 F.3d at 1347.

         This Court does not have the responsibility to search the record sua sponte for genuine issues of material fact. Betkerur v. Aultman Hospital Ass 'n., 78 F.3d 1079, 1087 (6th Cir. 1996); Guarino v. Brookfield Township Trustees, 980 F.2d 399, 404-06 (6th Cir. 1992). The burden falls upon the nonmoving party to “designate specific facts or evidence in dispute, ” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986); and if the nonmoving party fails to make the necessary showing on an element upon which it has the burden of proof, the moving party is entitled to summary judgment. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Whether summary judgment is appropriate depends upon “whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law.” Amway Distributors Benefits Ass 'n v. Northfield Ins. Co., 323 F.3d 386, 390 (6th Cir. 2003) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52).

         B. Ohio Public Records Act, R.C. §149.43

         R.C §149.43 states “all public records responsive to the request shall be promptly prepared and made available for inspection to any person at all reasonable times during regular business hours.” R.C. §149.43(B)(1) (2016). The purpose of the statute is to “facilitate broader access to public records...” and to do so in a reasonable period of time. R.C. §149.43(B)(1-2). R.C. §149.43(C)(1)(a-b) states when a request is not filled in a reasonable amount of time, the aggrieved party may do one and only one of the following:

(a) File a complaint with the clerk of the court of claims or the clerk of the court of common pleas under section 2743.75 of the Revised Code; [or] (b) Commence a mandamus action to obtain a judgment that orders the public office or the person responsible for the public record to comply with division (B) of this section.

         In this case, the Plaintiff did neither (a) nor (b). As a matter of law, there is no claim upon which relief may be granted. The Court grants Defendant City's Motion for Summary Judgment.

         C. ...

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