Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
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.

Crabbs v. Scott

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

January 22, 2018

Keith Crabbs, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Zach Scott, Defendant-Appellee.

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio at Columbus. No. 2:12-cv-01126-Michael H. Watson, District Judge.

         ON BRIEF:

          Michael Garth Moore for Appellant.

          Nick A. Soulas, Jr. for Appellee.

          Before: NORRIS, SUTTON, and DONALD, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          SUTTON, CIRCUIT JUDGE

         Keith Crabbs filed a § 1983 claim alleging that the local police violated his Fourth (and Fourteenth) Amendment right to be secure from unreasonable searches. But he died before the case could be resolved. Anne Crabbs, Keith's mother and the personal representative of his estate, filed a motion to substitute as a party. The district court found that Keith's death extinguished his claim and dismissed the case. Because Keith's § 1983 action qualifies as a "cause[] of action for . . . injuries to the person" under the Ohio survivorship statute and thus outlasts his death, we reverse and remand.

         I.

         In December 2010, Keith Crabbs surrendered to the Franklin County Sheriff on charges of voluntary manslaughter. After spending a night in jail, the court released him on bond. Keith's trial did not begin until March 2012.

         Two days into the trial, the court revoked Keith's bond after he arrived late and quarreled with a witness outside of the courthouse. Ohio law requires county sheriffs to collect a DNA specimen of anybody "arrested on or after July 1, 2011, for a felony offense." Ohio Rev. Code § 2901.07(B)(1)(a). The jail officials failed to collect a sample of Keith's DNA when they took him back into custody, triggering an "ID hold" on him. R. 82-1 at 2. At the conclusion of trial, the jury acquitted Keith. But because of the hold, the County Sheriff required Keith to undergo a DNA cheek swab before releasing him.

         Keith filed a § 1983 action against Sheriff Zach Scott in his official capacity alleging that the Sheriff's DNA-collection and ID-hold policies, when applied to acquitted defendants, violate the Fourth Amendment. Before the litigation came to an end, however, Keith died. Anne Crabbs, Keith's mother and the personal representative of his estate, moved the court to allow her to take Keith's place under Civil Rule 25(a)(1). The district court denied the motion and dismissed the case. Anne appeals.

         II.

         "If a party dies and the claim is not extinguished, the court may order substitution of the proper party." Civil Rule 25(a)(1). We tend to review substitution determinations for an abuse of discretion. See Bauer v. Commerce Union Bank, 859 F.2d 438, 441 (6th Cir. 1988). But a district court necessarily abuses its discretion when it commits an error of law. United States v. Taylor, 286 F.3d 303, 305 (6th Cir. 2002). The district court denied Anne's motion to substitute because it determined that Keith's death extinguished his claim. All that was at issue then, and all that is at issue now, is whether Keith's claim survived his death. That is a question of law. Fresh review applies. See Bailey v. City of Ann Arbor, 860 F.3d 382, 385 (6th Cir. 2017).

         To determine whether § 1983 claims survive, we first look to federal law for an applicable rule of decision. Robertson v. Wegmann, 436 U.S. 584, 588-95 (1978). If no suitable federal rule exists, we use the law of the forum state to the extent it is "not inconsistent with the ...


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.