United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division
G. CARR SR. U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 dispute over the death of Thomas
Przybysz, who was murdered after agreeing to act as an
informant for the Toledo Police Department. Scott Warnka,
Thomas' cocaine dealer, realized Thomas had set him up
when unnamed officers told Warnka “at the scene of his
arrest” that he had “just sold [narcotics] to an
of identifying the offending officers through discovery,
counsel for Marcia Przybysz (Thomas' mother and personal
representative of his estate) sought to hold Police Sergeant
Karrie Williams individually liable for Thomas' death,
despite the dearth of evidence connecting her to the
disclosure. They also pursued a Monell
failure-to-train claim against the City without explaining
how a year of on-the-job training in the vice unit and an
“undercover survival” course failed to prepare
Sgt. Williams for her role in the Warnka
reasons expressed in an earlier opinion, I concluded, after
lengthy and detailed consideration, that Przybysz failed to
demonstrate a violation of her son's constitutional
rights and likewise failed identify a constitutional
deficiency in the City's training policies. And because
her Ohio-law wrongful death action was equally lacking in
merit, I denied her motion for summary judgment, and granted
summary judgment in favor of defendants on plaintiff's
claims in their entirety. See Przybysz v. City of
Toledo, 2017 WL 4654387, *8-14 (N.D. Ohio).
pending is Przybysz's motion to alter or amend my
judgment see Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e), which defendants
oppose. (Docs. 63, 64). On initial review, I concluded
plaintiff's motion was, at worst, an attempt to
“relitigate previously considered issues, ”
Keweenaw Bay Indian Cmty. v. United States, 940
F.Supp. 1139, 1141 (W.D. Mich. 1996), and at best, an effort
to “raise arguments which could, and should, have been
made before judgment issued.” Sault St. Marie Tribe
of Chippewa Indians v. Engler, 146 F.3d 367, 374 (6th
Cir. 1998). Neither is a proper basis for a motion to alter
in an email dated December 27, 2017, I informed the parties
that if a litigant submits a frivolous motion for
reconsideration and/or to alter or amend an earlier judgment,
I may sanction the filing counsel pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 11
in the amount of $ 2, 000 or in the amount of attorney's
fees the opposing party incurred in responding to the motion,
whichever is less. See, e.g., Andersons, Inc. v.
Consol, Inc., 221 F.Supp.2d 810 (N.D. Ohio 2002);
Miller v. Norfolk S. Rwy., Co., 208 F.Supp.2d 851
(N.D. Ohio 2002). I further warned plaintiff's counsel
that if they did not withdraw plaintiff's motion to alter
or amend by January 4, 2018, I would adjudicate it consistent
with this policy.
4, 2018, came and went, and Przybysz's attorneys declined
to withdraw her motion. For the reasons that follow, I deny
plaintiff's motion to alter or amend, and sanction her
grant Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend the judgment only
if “there is a clear error of law, newly discovered
evidence, an intervening change in controlling law, or to
prevent a manifest injustice.” GenCorp, Inc. v. Am.
Int'l Underwriters, 178 F.3d 804, 834 (6th Cir.
1999) (citations omitted). Przybysz identifies none of these
said in my initial order, “nothing in the language of
the Due Process Clause itself requires the State to protect
the life, liberty, and property of its citizens against
invasion by private actors” absent a special
relationship or state-created danger. Przybysz, 2017
WL 4654387, at *8 (citation omitted). I explained that Sgt.
Williams did not have a special relationship with Thomas
because “[a]sking an individual to serve as an
informant does not ‘impose' any constraint
‘on his freedom to act, '” or otherwise
obligate a state actor to protect him. Id. (citation
explained (at length) why, under the proofs Przybysz
presented, there is no genuine issue of fact as to whether
Sgt. Williams created the danger to Thomas:
Section 1983 is an individual-liability statute. Thus,
“case law teaches that in order to impose individual
liability upon a law officer engaging in unconstitutional
misconduct, it is a plaintiff's burden to specifically
link the officer's involvement to the constitutional
infirmity.” Burley v. Gagacki, 834 F.3d 606,
615 (6th Cir. 2016). “Each defendant's liability
must be assessed individually based on his actions, ”
Binay v. Bettendorf, 601 F.3d 640, 650 (6th Cir.
2010), because each defendant “is only liable for his
or her own misconduct.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 677 (2009).
Przybysz does not “specifically link” Sgt.
Williams to the alleged disclosure. Even if telling Warnka
that he “just sold to an undercover cop” is
comparable to the “explicit[ ]” identification in
Nelson [v. City of Madison Heights], 845
F.3d [695, ] 698 [(6th Cir. 2017)], there is no evidence that
Sgt. Williams actually made that statement. Warnka never
claimed she did.
He testified only that an unidentified “[t]hey”
told him “right at the scene” that he “just
sold to an undercover cop.” (Warnka Dep. at 43).
“They” is not the same as Sgt. Williams. See
Nichols v. Fernandez, 686 Fed.Appx. 532, 534 (9th Cir.
2017) (affirming summary judgment for individual officers
where “Plaintiffs d[id] not provide evidence that