United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division
ROBERT N. BAKER PLAINTIFF
MICHAEL J. PAOLUCCI BRETT MULLINS DEFENDANTS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
William O. Bertelsman United States District Judge.
a civil rights action, in which Plaintiff brings claims under
42 U.S.C.A. § 1983 to redress alleged violations of the
Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as claims
for intentional infliction of emotional distress, false
arrest, and malicious prosecution. The matter now comes
before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment. (Doc. 39). Having reviewed the matter, and being
sufficiently advised, the Court now issues this Memorandum
Opinion and Order.
Baker is an approximately 37-year-old schizophrenic man. On
May 1, 2013, Baker spent the day walking approximately nine
miles from his home to his girlfriend's workplace.
(See Doc. 41, PageID# 210). Baker's girlfriend
then drove him home, where he ate dinner, watched television,
and took two antipsychotic pills. At approximately 11:30
p.m., Baker drove to a Kroger grocery store. (Doc. 41,
PageID# 213). An hour-and-a-half later, Baker left Kroger
with a bag of groceries that included milk and cookies.
(See Doc. 41, PageID# 210; Doc. 42, PageID# 243). He
ate the cookies as he drove toward his home. (Doc. 41,
Lakeside Park/Crestview Hills police officers, Officer Brett
Mullins and Sgt. Michael Paolucci, noticed Baker's Dodge
Durango “weaving in its lane.” (Doc. 43, PageID#
272). Baker acknowledges that he “might have”
been weaving, but claims “it was just for a brief
second, like barely a blink of a[n] eye probably.”
(Doc. 41, PageID# 214-15). After the officers pulled over
Baker's vehicle, Baker gave Mullins a Xerox copy of his
driver's license. (Doc. 42, PageID# 246). With Baker
still in the driver's seat, Mullins tried to give Baker
three tests for driving under the influence. Mullins
testified Baker refused to recite the alphabet, refused a
finger test, and made multiple mistakes when counting
backward from a designated number. (Doc. 42, PageID# 250).
Baker does not remember whether he took the alphabet or
finger test, but is “pretty sure” he accurately
counted backward from the designated number-though he admits
he was “kind of nervous.” (Doc. 41, PageID#
to the officers, Baker then got out of his vehicle and walked
slightly into an active traffic lane. (Doc. 42, PageID# 251).
Baker then remembers having trouble with a walk-and-turn test
and “probably fail[ing]” a one-leg stand test.
(Doc. 41, PageID# 218-20). The officers testify that Baker
showed signs of impairment on both a horizontal gaze
nystagmus test and walk-and-turn test, leading Mullins to
arrest Baker for driving under the influence and careless
driving in light of the total circumstances. (Doc. 42,
PageID# 253-57). It was only the second driving under the
influence arrest Mullins had made in his career. (Doc. 42,
officers drove Baker to a nearby hospital. (Doc. 43, PageID#
278). Baker thought he was merely going there to receive
psychiatric care. (Doc. 41, PageID# 220). After being denied
the use of the phone, Baker consented to blood and urine
tests. (Doc. 41, PageID# 221-22). While the nurse was taking
Baker's blood sample, Mullins and Paolucci noticed marks
on Baker's arm consistent with intravenous drug use.
(Doc. 42, PageID# 260; Doc. 43, PageID# 279). Finally, the
officers took Baker to the Kenton County Detention Center,
where Baker blew a 0.00 on the Intoxilyzer 5000. (Doc. 42,
results on Baker's blood and urine showed that Baker was
not under the influence of 34 drugs the lab tested for. (Doc.
39-8). After expressing her concerns about the lack of
evidence in the case, Kenton County District Judge Ann Ruttle
dismissed the charges against Baker, and the Circuit Court
and Court of Appeals affirmed on appeal.
one year after the arrest, Baker filed this § 1983
claim. As his damages, Baker reports “seeing
things” over the past few years and having nightmares
about police officers. (Doc. 41, PageID# 228). This Court
stayed the action pending final resolution of the state court
case (Doc. 10), and now Defendants have moved for summary
claims Mullins and Paolucci committed Constitutional
violations throughout the events of this case. First, he
claims the officers violated the Fourth Amendment both in
pulling over his vehicle and in arresting him. Second, he
claims the officers used excessive force while arresting him.
And third he alleges the officers participated in a malicious
prosecution against him in the subsequent months. He also
brings state law claims for outrage, false arrest, and
Court concludes that the record shows no Constitutional or
statutory violations by Defendants. But even if there were,
Mullins and Paolucci would be entitled to qualified immunity.
The officers' initial decision to pull Baker over. 1.
Officers had reasonable suspicion for traffic stop.
first claims the officers violated the Fourth Amendment by
pulling him over without reasonable suspicion of a crime. The
Terry v. Ohio reasonable suspicion standard applies
to traffic stops. Heien v. North Carolina, 574
U.S.___, 135 S.Ct. 530, 536 (2014); Arizona v.
Johnson, 555 U.S. 323, 327 (2009); United States v.
Bost, 606 Fed. App'x. 821, 823 (6th Cir.
2015)(citing Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. 1
Kentucky law the officers were enforcing at the time,
“a car weaving in its own lane is sufficient evidence
on its own to create a reasonable suspicion.” Baker
v. Commonwealth, 475 S.W.3d 633, 635 (Ky. App. 2015);
see also Gaddis ex rel. Gaddis v. Redford Tp., 364
F.3d 763, 771 (6th Cir. 2004)(applying Michigan law and
finding reasonable suspicion when motorist weaved twice to
touch the center lane). The Supreme Court of Kentucky has
also found that ...