United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
ANGELA CARRICO, Individually and as administrator of the Estate on behalf of David Dehmann Plaintiff,
KNOX COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, et al, Defendants.
Chelsey M. Vascura, Magistrate Judge
OPINION AND ORDER
A. SARGUS, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court for consideration of
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 52),
Plaintiffs Memorandum in Opposition (ECF No. 62), and
Defendants Reply in Support. (ECF No.64.) For the reasons
that follow, Defendants' Motion is GRANTED in part and
DENIED in part.
Angela Carrico brings suit individually and as administrator
for the Estate of David Levi Dehmann against
Defendants, the Knox County Sheriffs Office, Knox
County, Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer
("Shaffer"), Deputy Chase Wright
("Wright"), Sergeant Alan Hackman
("Hackman"), Deputy Terry Wolfe
("Wolfe"), and Deputy Brianna Copley ("Copley,
together "Defendants") alleging use of excessive
force in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as
failure to intercede, deliberate indifference to Mr.
Dehmann's need for medical treatment, ratification, and
other state claims for acts that took place while Mr. Dehmann
was in custody at the Knox County Jail.
move for summary judgment on all counts. Plaintiff opposes.
April 21, 2015, Corporal Tharp of the Mt. Vernon Police
Department arrested David Dehmann for disorderly conduct and
transported him to the Knox County Jail. (Compl. ¶¶
16-18, ECF No. 1.) Mr. Dehmann was intoxicated at the time
and unbeknownst to Defendants, was on blood thinning
medication. (Wright Deck ¶ 19.) Following a preliminary
examination and the removal of Mr. Dehmann's handcuffs,
Sergeant Hackman directed Mr. Dehmann to walk down the intake
hallway towards a holding cell. (Wright Deck ¶ 35, ECF
No. 52-1.) Sergeant Hackman and Deputy Wolfe then proceeded
to escort Mr. Dehmann down the hall. (Wright Dep. at
9:28-29.) Deputies Copley and Wright were also present in the
walking down the hallway, Mr. Dehmann slowed in front of
Deputy Wright, pointed his finger in Deputy Wright's
face, and said something to him. (Wright Deck ¶ 38;
Defs.' Exhibit C, Intake Video at 8:04:02; Wright Deck
¶ 38; Copley Deck ¶ 17; Wolfe Deck ¶ 27).
Deputy Wright swatted Mr. Dehmann's hand away and told
Mr. Dehmann not to point at him. (Wright Deck ¶ 39);
(Defs.' Exhibit C, Intake Video at 8:04:03; Copley Deck
¶ 18; Wolfe Deck ¶ 28.) Deputy Wright testified
that in response Mr. Dehmann stated, "[o]h you want to
fight me" and as illustrated in the image captured by
the intake camera, moved into a "fighting stance."
(Wright Deck ¶ 40); Defs.' Exhibit C, Intake Video
at 8:04:03.) Mr. Dehmann then swung at Deputy Wright.
(Defs.' Exhibit C, Intake Video at 8:04:05.) Deputy
Wright avoided being struck by Mr. Dehmann. (Wright Decl.
¶ 42.) He describes that he sidestepped Mr.
Dehmann's "swing" and then "moved towards
Dehmann (closing the gap). I got my right arm underneath his
right arm and around Dehmann's chest. I positioned my
body up against Dehmann's body and took Mr. Dehmann down
to the floor." (Id. ¶ 43.) Deputy Wright
testified that Mr. Dehmann's body landed on top of his,
but Mr. Dehmann's head struck the floor. A review of the
video shows Deputy Wright lifting Mr. Dehmann off the ground
before taking him to the floor, where it appears he hit head
first. (Defs.' Exhibit C, Intake Video at 8:04:03.) Mr.
Dehmann lost consciousness briefly after the takedown.
(Hackman Decl. ¶ 29-30); (Copley Decl. ¶ 20.)
Defendants then placed a towel under Mr. Dehmann's head
to stop the bleeding, retrieved smelling salts to improve his
level of consciousness, and called for an ambulance. The call
for the ambulance took place less than two minutes after the
takedown. (Defs.' Exhibit 8.) The paramedics arrived
around 8:16 PM, within twelve minutes of the call.
(Id.) Mr. Dehmann was checked into the hospital
around 8:47 PM, (McCann Dep. 18:19-22.)
examined Mr, Dehmann at the emergency room and determined
that he suffered a contusion to the left frontal parietal
area of his head. (McCann Dep. 16:12 21.) Because the
hospital he was initially transported to had no neurosurgical
coverage, Mr. Dehmann was flown to Grant Hospital in
Columbus, Ohio. (McCann Dep. 19:3-18.) Three days after the
incident, he passed away.
judgment is appropriate "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."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The movant has the burden of establishing
that there are no genuine issues of material fact, which may
be accomplished by demonstrating that the nonmoving party
lacks evidence to support an essential element of its case.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23
(1986); Barnhart v. Pickrel, Schaeffer & Ebeling
Co., 12 F.3d 1382, 1388-89 (6th Cir. 1993). To avoid
summary judgment, the nonmovant "must do more than
simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the
material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986); accord
Moore v. Philip Morris Cos., 8 F.3d 335, 340 (6th Cir.
1993). "[S]ummary judgment will not lie if the dispute
about a material fact is 'genuine,' that is, if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
evaluating a motion for summary judgment, the evidence must
be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144,
158-59 (1970); see Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods.,
Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000) (stating that the court
must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving
party and must refrain from making credibility determinations
or weighing evidence). Furthermore, the existence of a mere
scintilla of evidence in support of the nonmoving party's
position will not be sufficient; there must be evidence on
which the jury reasonably could find for the nonmoving party.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251; see Copeland v.
Machulis, 57 F.3d 476, 479 (6th Cir. 1995); see also
Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587-88 (finding reliance upon
mere allegations, conjecture, or implausible inferences to be
insufficient to survive summary judgment).
LAW AND ANALYSIS
brings forth a number of constitutional claims under §
1983 to which Defendants assert qualified immunity. "In
§ 1983 constitutional torts like this one, qualified
immunity prevents government officials from being held liable
if (1) the officers did not violate any constitutional
guarantees or (2) the guarantee, even if violated, was not
'clearly established' at the time of the alleged
misconduct." Arrington-Bey v. City of Bedford
Heights, 858 F.3d 988, 992 (6th Cir. 2017) (citing
Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 232 (2009)). The
defense of qualified immunity "ordinarily applies unless
it is obvious that no reasonably competent official would
have concluded that the actions taken were unlawful.
Chappell v. City of Cleveland, 585 F.3d 901, 907
(6th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). When qualified immunity
is asserted, the plaintiff bears the burden of showing that
defendants are not entitled to the defense. Id.
(citing Untalan v. City of Lorain, 430 F.3d 312, 314
(6th Cir. 2005)). A. Excessive Force Plaintiff brings a claim
for use of excessive force against Deputy Wright in violation
of the Fourth Amendment. Plaintiffs claim as a pretrial
detainee, however, is governed by the Fourteenth
Amendment's Due Process Clause. Ayala-Rosales v.
Teal, 659 Fed.Appx. 316, 319 (6th Cir. 2016) (citing
Kingsley v. Hendrickson, 135 S.Ct. 2466, 2473
(2015)); see also Leary v. Livingston City., 528
F.3d 438, 443 (6th Cir. 2008) (explaining that pretrial
detainees bring excessive-force claims under the Fourteenth
Amendment Due Process clause, whereas, "convicted
prisoners may bring excessive-force claims under the Eighth
Amendment.. . and 'free citizen[s]' may bring such
claims under the Fourth Amendment."). Accordingly, the
claim will be examined under the Fourteenth Amendment,
although this differentiation is insignificant as the Supreme
Court's decision in Kingsley, held that "a
pretrial detainee's excessive force claim brought under
the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause is subject
to the same objective standard as an excessive force claim
brought under the Fourth Amendment. Clay v. Emmi,
797 F.3d 364, 369 (6th Cir. 2015).
establish a Fourteenth Amendment excessive-force claim,
"a pretrial detainee must show only that the force
purposely or knowingly used against him was objectively
unreasonable." Kingsley, 135 S.Ct. at 2473. To
determine the objective reasonableness of a Defendant's
conduct, the Supreme Court provided a non-exhaustive list of
considerations including: "the relationship between the
need for the use of force and the amount of force used; the
extent of the plaintiffs injury; and effort made by the
officer to temper or to limit the amount offeree; the
severity of the security problem at issue; the threat
reasonably perceived by the officer; and whether the
plaintiff was actively resisting." Id. (citing
Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 396 (1989)).
Recognizing that "[o]fficers facing disturbances
'are often forced to make split-second judgments in
circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving
. . . [the] court must judge the reasonableness of the force
used from the perspective and with the knowledge of the
defendant officer." Id. at 2474. (internal
citations and quotations omitted). The objective
reasonableness analysis gives deference to the "policies
and practices needed to maintain order and institutional
security . . . ." Id. The test is
"reasonableness at the moment" force is used,
"judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on
the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of
hindsight." Graham, 490 U.S. at 396.
Kingsley decision directs the Court to review a
plethora of factors to determine whether the Defendant's
actions were objectively reasonable. Plaintiff asserts that
Deputy Wright's act in utilizing the takedown method was
objectively unreasonable to begin with and even if it was
reasonable to perform a takedown of Mr. Dehmann, Deputy
Wright used an excessive amount of force.