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Greer v. City of Highland Park

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

March 2, 2018

Haskell G. Greer, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
City of Highland Park, Michigan, et al., Defendants-Appellants.

          Argued: January 24, 2018

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan at Ann Arbor. No. 5:15-cv-12444-Judith E. Levy, District Judge.

         ARGUED:

          James W. McGinnis, LAW OFFICE OF JAMES W. MCGINNIS, Detroit, Michigan, for Appellants.

          Elizabeth A. Downey, ELIZABETH A. DOWNEY, P.C., Farmington Hills, Michigan, for Appellees.

         ON BRIEF:

          James W. McGinnis, LAW OFFICE OF JAMES W. MCGINNIS, Detroit, Michigan, for Appellants.

          Elizabeth A. Downey, ELIZABETH A. DOWNEY, P.C., Farmington Hills, Michigan, Jeffrey T. Stewart, SEIKALY, STEWART & BENNETT, P.C., Farmington Hills, Michigan, for Appellees.

          Before: COLE, Chief Judge; SILER and COOK, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          SILER, Circuit Judge.

         Individual defendants ("the officers") in this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 matter appeal the district court's denial of their motion for judgment on the pleadings based on qualified immunity. Because we find that the complaint states a plausible claim that the officers violated the plaintiffs' clearly established Fourth Amendment rights by executing a search warrant on their home in an unreasonable manner, we AFFIRM the district court's decision.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY[1]

         Plaintiffs are family members who live in West Bloomfield Township, Michigan. They include a mother, father, three daughters, and a nephew, Alexander Lawrence, who was an overnight guest on the evening at issue ("the Greers"). On October 29, 2014, at approximately 4:00 a.m., thirteen police officers wearing SWAT gear and face masks blew open the door of the Greers' home with a shotgun. The officers did not knock or announce their presence. The parents and their daughters were ordered onto their knees at gunpoint, and the officers handcuffed the nephew after bringing him up from the basement. The Greers asked to see the search warrant on multiple occasions, but the officers refused to show it. The officers also did not allow the mother to sit with her youngest daughter, who was seven years old at the time.

         The officers stated that they were searching for a "dangerous Russian, " Vitaliy Strugach, who had evidently resided at the Greers' home more than a year prior to the search. Neither the suspect nor any contraband was located at the residence. The Greers thereafter filed a complaint with local law enforcement, and West Bloomfield officers investigated the circumstances of the search. The Highland Park Police Department, which had evidently conducted the search of the Greers' home, produced the underlying search warrant in response to the complaint. The search warrant described ...


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