496 F.3d 609 (6th Cir. 2007), 06-3357, Radvansky v. City of Olmsted Falls

Docket Nº:06-3357.
Citation:496 F.3d 609
Party Name:Geoffrey M. RADVANSKY, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. CITY OF OLMSTED FALLS, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:July 27, 2007
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
 
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496 F.3d 609 (6th Cir. 2007)

Geoffrey M. RADVANSKY, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

CITY OF OLMSTED FALLS, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 06-3357.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit.

July 27, 2007

Argued: June 1, 2007.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio at Cleveland. No. 02-00634-John R. Adams, District Judge.

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ARGUED:

L. Bryan Carr, Carr Law Firm, Mayfield Heights, Ohio, for Appellant.

John T. McLandrich, Mazanec, Raskin, Ryder & Keller Co., Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellees.

ON BRIEF:

L. Bryan Carr, Leonard F. Carr, Carr Law Firm, Mayfield Heights, Ohio, for Appellant.

John T. McLandrich, James A. Climer, Robert F. Cathcart, Mazanec, Raskin, Ryder & Keller Co., Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellees.

Before: GIBBONS and COOK, Circuit Judges, and CLELAND, District Judge.[*]

OPINION

COOK, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff Geoffrey Radvansky appeals from a jury verdict rendered for Defendant police officers Ralph Saxer and Thomas Telegdy in his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against them. Radvansky appeals to the Sixth Circuit for the second time in this case, as he successfully sought a reversal of the district court's grant of summary judgment to the defendants on this claim in Radvansky v. City of Olmsted Falls (Radvansky I), 395 F.3d 291 (6th Cir. 2005). He now seeks a reversal of the district court's denial of his motions made pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 49, 50, and 59; challenges the court's jury instructions as prejudicially erroneous; and requests a grant of fees due to his previous success in this court. Because the jury's verdict was reasonable, the instructions not prejudicial, and Radvansky not a "prevailing party," we affirm.

I

Geoffrey Radvansky was arrested for burglary on the night of May 15, 2001, by Olmsted Falls, Ohio, police officers Ralph Saxer and Thomas Telegdy ("the officers"). A grand jury indicted him, but the prosecutor eventually dismissed the charges, apparently after Radvansky agreed to pay the owner of the burgled home $400 in restitution. Radvansky then sued officers Saxer and Telegdy, along with the City of Olmsted Falls, the Olmsted Falls Police Department, and several other police personnel involved in the incident. Radvanksy asserted myriad claims, including a Fourth Amendment false arrest claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The district court granted summary judgment to the defendants on all claims. This court reversed the district court's judgment on the Fourth Amendment claim but affirmed in all other respects in Radvansky I, concluding that a material issue of fact remained whether the officers had probable cause to arrest Radvansky.

A jury then heard the case and rendered a general verdict for the defendants, with interrogatory answers confirming that the officers arrested Radvansky with probable cause. Radvansky moved for a directed verdict or a new trial and also for relief under Fed.R.Civ.P. 49, complaining that the jury's answers to the interrogatories were "incorrect and inconsistent." He failed, however, to raise the interrogatories issue before the court discharged the jury. The district court denied each motion. Radvansky now appeals.

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For at least some of the time between June 2000 and May 2001, Radvansky lived at 26060 Redwood Drive in Olmsted Falls under an oral agreement with Derrick Rosemark, the home's owner, who apparently lived there as well. Around the end of April or the beginning of May 2001, Rosemark called the Olmsted Falls Police Department and spoke with Detective Caine about problems he was experiencing with Radvansky, who, he told Caine, had left for Florida without paying him all the rent he was due. Depending on one's view of Radvansky's status at the time-whether he had abandoned the premises or remained a tenant-Caine may have given Rosemark erroneous legal advice, telling him that he could lock Radvansky out of the house. The extent to which Caine told other officers in the department about this conversation remained in dispute at trial; both Saxer and Telegdy testified that they did not know about this conversation prior to arresting Radvansky.

On May 14, 2001, Radvansky sought to reenter the house. Finding the locks changed, he walked across the street and asked neighbor Ken Winland for "a butter knife or something [he] could use to break in," because he had "some guns in there," and he wanted to get his "personal stuff." Winland testified that he gave Radvanksy nothing and instead told him to call the police. Radvansky testified that Winland gave him "an implement." Either way, Radvansky departed and Winland told his wife to call the police, which she did. Officer Telegedy and Officer Dan Gilles responded to the call, canvassed the area for a "suspicious person" and, finding no one, left.

The next evening, May 15, 2001, Radvansky returned to try again. Armed with a curtain rod or shower pole and a towel, Radvansky was again spotted by Winland, who again told his wife to call the police. Shortly thereafter, Winland heard the sound of breaking glass coming from the back of the house. According to Radvansky, he was at the back of the house trying to "tilt the screen--or the glass door sideways, but [he] couldn't get the rod in there to lift up the wooden piece," so he "started panicking." He was nervous about "getting those guns," because "he did not want them to fall in the wrong hands." So, he "panicked and . . . kicked the window that goes into the lower living room." He crawled through the window and retrieved a "stun gun" that he had hidden "up in the rafters" in "the utility room." He apparently went to his bedroom to find his lock destroyed and his belongings strewn about. He claims he cut his hand while attempting to unlock the door.

When Officers Saxer and Telegdy arrived, they approached the house cautiously, moving towards the rear of the house with weapons drawn. The officers noticed that the window was broken and the window screen was cut. Radvansky then emerged quickly from the building. They noticed that his hand was bleeding and ordered him to the ground. The officers asked if he was armed, and he responded that he had a stun gun. The stun gun was later found inside the house near the broken window. He protested to the officers that he lived at the house, and when the officers removed his wallet, his driver's license and several paychecks listed 26060 Redwood as his address. He offered a note from Rosemark, which the Radvansky I court interpreted to read as follows:

Geoff, I have locked the door for my own security. I am informing you not [sic] break in. [A]lso there is a matter of partial rent you owe of $100 partial rent. None of these belongings until this is settler [sic]. Otherwise I am kicking you out of this house. [D]o not

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attempt to enter the premises. You can call me at work to settle this.

I also informed the [O]lmsted [F]alls police department of you leaving the property and not to enter the house.

395 F.3d at 298 n. 2. He also told the police that he had merely "lost his keys." The officers called in his social security number to the police dispatcher to run a LEADS report, which collects the individual's address and his traffic offense history. The LEADS indicated the same address as the driver's license, though the officers were unsurprised because the LEADS information comes from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

The officers handcuffed him and arrested him. They then took him to the hospital in an ambulance, where doctors treated his hand wound. Other officers showed up to investigate the scene, and, during this investigation, Sergeant Gilles called the Olmsted Falls...

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