United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION AND ORDER
M. PARKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
City of Cleveland (“Cleveland”) moves for
judgment on the pleadings on the claims asserted in Plaintiff
Antonio Baez's (“Baez”) first amended
complaint. ECF Doc. 27. The parties consented to my
jurisdiction. ECF Doc. 16. After construing the allegations
in the complaint in a light most favorable to Baez, the court
must GRANT Cleveland's motion for judgment on the
pleadings as further explained below. The court will DENY
Baez's alternative motion for leave to file second
Statement of Facts
following facts, taken from the pleadings, must be assumed to
be true for purposes of this motion. On January 9, 2017,
Richard Jackson, an employee of the Cleveland Police
Department began investigating a sex crime involving a minor
who was “touched” by a family friend named
Antonio Baez. ECF Doc. 24 at 3-4. The case was referred to a
grand jury on September 13, 2017; and, unfortunately, an
indictment was returned on January 18, 2018, which charged
the wrong Antonio Baez with rape, gross sexual imposition and
kidnapping. ECF Doc. 24 at 5 and ECF Doc. 24-2 at 3.
who is the “wrong” Antonio Baez
(“Baez”), works as a deputy sheriff with the
Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office providing security in
the Parma City School District. He is also an active member
of the United States Army Reserve. He was deployed on active
duty from approximately June 2018 to May 2019. ECF Doc. 24 at
February 2018, Baez was informed by law enforcement that
there was an active arrest warrant against him. His school
employer was also informed and received a copy of the
indictment charging Baez with crimes against a minor. When
Baez's mistaken identity was realized, the case against
him was dismissed and expunged on February 27, 2018. ECF Doc.
24 at 6-7.
November 19, 2018, Baez filed a complaint against the City of
Cleveland and (ironically) the wrong detective, Quentin
Johnson. His complaint was filed in the Cuyahoga County Court
of Common Pleas and removed to this court on March 21, 2019.
On September 4, 2019, Baez sought leave to name Defendant
Richard Jackson as the detective who investigated and
incorrectly charged Baez. ECF Doc. 19. The City of Cleveland
opposed Baez's motion. ECF Doc. 22. However, on October
7, 2019, the court granted Baez's motion to amend (ECF
Doc. 23); and he filed an amended complaint on October 15,
2019. ECF Doc. 24.
amended complaint asserts the following claims: 1) a §
1983 action against Jackson for unlawful search and seizure;
2) a § 1983 action against Jackson for malicious
prosecution; 3) a § 1983 action against Cleveland for
customs and policies causing constitutional violations (a
Monell claim); 4) defamation claims against both
defendants; and 5) a malicious prosecution claim against both
defendants. ECF Doc. 24.
November 4, 2019, Cleveland filed a motion for judgment on
the pleadings. ECF Doc. 27. Cleveland argues that Baez's
Monell claim should be dismissed because he has
failed to state, with any clarity, what constitutional rights
were violated and has failed to articulate any factual
allegations regarding a policy or custom that violated his
constitutional rights. Cleveland also asserts that it is
immune from Baez's state law tort claims pursuant to Ohio
Rev. Code § 2744 et seq. ECF Doc. 27. Baez
filed an opposition to Cleveland's motion on December 4,
2019. ECF Doc. 28. Cleveland filed a reply in support of its
motion for judgment on the pleadings on December 17, 2019.
ECF Doc. 30.
Standard of Review
“motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c)
is generally reviewed under the same standard as a Rule
12(b)(6) motion.” Mellentine v. Ameriquest Mortg.
Co., 515 Fed.Appx. 419, 423, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 3353
(6th Cir. 2013) (citing EEOC v. J.H. Routh Packing
Co., 246 F.3d 850, 851 (6th Cir. 2001)). The court must
construe the complaint in a light most favorable to the
plaintiff and accept all factual allegations as true.
Kottmyer v. Maas, 436 F.3d 684, 688 (6th Cir. 2006).
The factual allegations must raise a right to relief above
the speculative level. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). In
other words, the Rule 12(b)(6) standard requires that a
plaintiff provide enough facts to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face. Id. at 569.
legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint,
they must be supported by factual allegations. Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d
868 (2009). Bare allegations without a factual context do not
create a plausible claim. Ctr. for Bio-Ethical Reform,
Inc. v. Napolitano, 648 F.3d 365, 374 (6th Cir. 2011). A
complaint must contain direct or inferential factual
allegations respecting all the material elements under some
viable legal theory. Mezibov v. Allen, 411 F.3d 712,
716 (6th Cir. 2005). The bare assertion of legal conclusions
is not enough to constitute a claim for relief. Id.