Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Phillips v. Manning

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

January 22, 2018




         Before the Court is the motion for partial summary judgment filed by defendants City of Campbell (the “City”), Eric Manning (“Manning”), Drew Rauzan (“Rauzan”), Robert Curtis (“Curtis”), and Kevin Sferra (“Sferra”) (collectively, “defendants”). (Doc. No. 15 [“Mot.”].) Plaintiff Mary Jo Phillips (“Phillips”) filed a brief in opposition (Doc. No. 17 [“Opp'n”]) and defendants filed a reply (Doc. No. 18 [“Reply”]). For the reasons discussed herein, the motion is granted, in part.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Phillips filed her complaint in the Mahoning County Court of Common Pleas on October 7, 2016. Defendants removed it to this Court on November 14, 2016. Subsequently, Phillips amended the complaint. (See Doc. No. 12, First Amended Complaint [“Compl.”].)

         The first amended complaint does not set forth any individual “claim for relief, ” as required by Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a), but asserts generally that it is brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 “for malicious impairment of Mary Jo Phillips' Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights against illegal and unreasonable rendition, search, seizure, and use of force.” (Compl. ¶ 1.)[1] It further asserts “pendent state law claims of assault and battery and statutory claims of ‘strip search, ' and ‘body cavity search, ' which derive from a common nucleus of operative facts with the Federal claims[.]” (Id. ¶ 2.)

         Phillips' claims are based on two incidents - one on March 7, 2016[2] and the other on June 4, 2016 - when defendant police officers pulled over vehicles in which she was a passenger. Defendants' motion is directed only at the federal and state claims based on the second incident.

         On June 4, 2016, Phillips was a passenger in a vehicle that she claims “was maliciously apprehended by the defendants[, ]” (Compl. ¶ 32), [3] allegedly in retaliation for the complaint she filed with the City after the March 7th incident. (Id. ¶ 38.) Manning testified that, at around 9:30 p.m. on June 4, 2016, he was patrolling an area of the City known for its high drug traffic and crime rate. He observed two occupants exit a vehicle, enter the Kirwan Homes development, and return to the vehicle less than five minutes later. Based on his experience of the area, Manning believed the vehicle might contain illegal substances. Therefore, when Manning witnessed the vehicle's failure to observe a stop sign as it drove away, he immediately pulled it over. (Doc. No. 15-3, Manning Deposition [“Manning Dep.”] at 214 (15-17)[4]; see also Doc. No. 15-1, Kotouch Affidavit [“Kotouch Aff.”].[5]) Manning used his dog to conduct “an exterior free air sniff” and the dog gave a positive alert for drugs. (Manning Dep. at 215 (20).) Phillips and the driver were both removed from the vehicle and handcuffed while Manning searched the interior of the vehicle. (Id. at 215 (20-21).) He found a sandwich baggie inside a plastic grocery bag on the floor of the front passenger seat. (Id. at 215-16 (21-22).) There were “little pieces of marijuana inside the baggie[.]” (Id. at 216 (22).) Both Phillips and the driver denied the baggie was theirs, but Manning arrested them both for possession of drug paraphernalia, after advising them of their Miranda[6] rights. (Id. at 216 (22).) Since Manning had the canine in his cruiser, another officer was called to transport the detainees to the Mahoning County jail. (Id. at 216 (24).) The driver of the vehicle was “medically refused” at the jail; she was returned to the City police station and issued a summons for a June 7, 2016 arraignment, and was released. Phillips was not medically refused, having indicated that she had no injuries or medical conditions. (Kotouch Aff. at 145, 167.) Phillips was detained for seven and one-half hours and released on personal recognizance. (Doc. No. 15-4, Phillips Deposition [“Phillips Dep.”] at 249 (94)).

         On August 9, 2016, during a pretrial, Phillips entered into an Ohio Rule 11 plea agreement whereby, she “stipulated to probable cause as to the arrest, underlying search, and traffic stop in exchange for a dismissal of all charges [i.e., possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree].” (Doc. No. 15-2, Macala Affidavit [“Macala Aff.”] ¶ 5 at 205 & 208-09.[7])

         Phillips subsequently filed a complaint about Officer Manning with the City (see Kotouch Aff. at 133-138), claiming, inter alia, that her left wrist was cut by the too-tight handcuffs and attempting to challenge the existence of probable cause for her arrest. At that time, she claimed to have photographs of the cut, but, during her deposition, she admitted that they had been deleted from her phone. (Phillips Dep. at 246 (84).) The City investigated Phillips' complaint and found it baseless. (Kotouch Aff. at 124-131.)

         This lawsuit followed, wherein, with respect to the June 4, 2016 traffic stop, Phillips appears to allege violations by the individual officers, and specifically Officer Manning, of her Fourth Amendment right to be free from unlawful search and seizure, as well as excessive force with regard to the handcuffing, plus retaliation and a state law claim of malicious prosecution. She also alleges constitutional violations against the City relating to failure to train officers and/or to implement appropriate policies and procedures.


         A. Summary Judgment Standard

         Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a), when a motion for summary judgment is properly made and supported, it shall be granted “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.” An opposing party may not rely merely on allegations or denials in its own pleading; rather, by affidavits or by materials in the record, the opposing party must set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). Affidavits or declarations filed in support of or in opposition to a motion for summary judgment “must be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant or declarant is competent to testify on the matters stated.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4). A movant is not required to file affidavits or other similar materials negating a claim on which its opponent bears the burden of proof, so long as the movant relies upon the absence of the essential element in the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986).

         In reviewing summary judgment motions, this Court must view the evidence in a light most favorable to the non-moving party to determine whether a genuine issue of material fact exists. Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157, 90 S.Ct. 1598, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970); White v. Turfway Park Racing Ass'n, 909 F.2d 941, 943-44 (6th Cir. 1990), impliedly overruled on other grounds by Salve Regina Coll. v. Russell, 499 U.S. 225, 111 S.Ct. 1217, 113 L.Ed.2d 190 (1991). A fact is “material” only if its resolution will affect the outcome of the lawsuit. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). Determination of whether a factual issue is “genuine” requires consideration of the applicable evidentiary standards. ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.