660 Fed.Appx. 350 (6th Cir. 2016), 15-1993, Galinis v. County of Branch

Docket Nº:15-1993, 15-2015
Citation:660 Fed.Appx. 350
Opinion Judge:BOGGS, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:PETER GALINIS, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. COUNTY OF BRANCH, et al., Defendants, CITY OF COLDWATER, MI; COLDWATER POLICE DEPARTMENT; BRIAN WOHLHETER; DAVID PIPE; NICK THORNTON, City of Coldwater Police Officers both individually and as members of the City of Coldwater Police Department (15-1993) and C. JOHN POLLACK, Branch County Sheriff, both...
Attorney:For PETER GALINIS (15-1993, 15-2015), Plaintiff - Appellee: Peter Galinis, Jackson, MI; William Frank Piper, II, Law Office Portage, MI. For CITY OF COLDWATER, MI, COLDWATER POLICE DEPARTMENT, BRIAN WOHLHETER, DAVID PIPE, NICK THORTON, Defendants - Appellants (15-1993): Mary Massaron, Plunkett Co...
Judge Panel:BEFORE: GUY, BOGGS, and MOORE, Circuit Judges. KAREN NELSON MOORE, Circuit Judge, concurring in the judgment. KAREN NELSON MOORE, Circuit Judge, concurring in the judgment.
Case Date:August 22, 2016
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
 
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Page 350

660 Fed.Appx. 350 (6th Cir. 2016)

PETER GALINIS, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

COUNTY OF BRANCH, et al., Defendants,

CITY OF COLDWATER, MI; COLDWATER POLICE DEPARTMENT; BRIAN WOHLHETER; DAVID PIPE; NICK THORNTON, City of Coldwater Police Officers both individually and as members of the City of Coldwater Police Department (15-1993) and C. JOHN POLLACK, Branch County Sheriff, both individually and as a member of the Branch County Sheriff's Department (15-2015), Defendants-Appellants

Nos. 15-1993, 15-2015

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

August 22, 2016

NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PUBLICATION

Editorial Note:

Sixth Circuit Rule 28(g) limits citation to specific situations. Please see Rule 28(g) before citing in a proceeding in a court in the Sixth Circuit. If cited, a copy must be served on other parties and the Court.

ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN.

For PETER GALINIS (15-1993, 15-2015), Plaintiff - Appellee: Peter Galinis, Jackson, MI; William Frank Piper, II, Law Office Portage, MI.

For CITY OF COLDWATER, MI, COLDWATER POLICE DEPARTMENT, BRIAN WOHLHETER, DAVID PIPE, NICK THORTON, Defendants - Appellants (15-1993): Mary Massaron, Plunkett Cooney, Bloomfield Hills, MI.

For C. JOHN POLLACK, Branch County Sheriff, both individually and as a member of the Branch County Sheriff's Department, Defendant - Appellant (15-2015): Marcelyn A. Stepanski, Johnson, Rosati, Schultz & Joppich, Farmington Hills, MI.

BEFORE: GUY, BOGGS, and MOORE, Circuit Judges. KAREN NELSON MOORE, Circuit Judge, concurring in the judgment.

OPINION

BOGGS, Circuit Judge.

Peter Galinis was arrested and removed from the Branch County Courthouse after he refused to stop recording on his cell phone his interactions with a clerk and police officers. At the time of the arrest, no law prohibited Galinis from recording in the courthouse. Galinis sued the officers who arrested him--John Pollack from the Branch County Sheriff's Office, and Brian Wohlheter, David Pipe, and Nick Thornton from the City of Coldwater Police Department--for various federal and state claims. At summary judgment, the district court denied qualified immunity to the officers on Galinis's federal claims for unlawful arrest and unlawful imprisonment, and his Michigan claims for false arrest, false imprisonment, and battery. We affirm.

I

On August 1, 2011, Peter Galinis visited the clerk's office at the Branch County Courthouse to return a DVD of a 2009 trial that he had purchased from the office earlier that day. He was distressed because the DVD was not functional and he was of the opinion that the DVD had deliberately been made defectively. After recording his interaction with the clerk on his cell phone, police officers told him to stop recording and to leave the courthouse. When Galinis refused to leave, the officers arrested him and removed him from the building.

Three video clips from Galinis's cell phone recording are publicly available on YouTube, and although they contain low-quality video, they do have some audio. Those videos can be found at: Branch County 1 of 3 Cop Caught Breaking the Law, YouTube (Aug. 21, 2011), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWb9g8S_CmI; Branch County 2 of 3 Cop Caught Breaking the Law, YouTube (Aug. 21, 2011), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJynaZJcoUQ; Branch County 3 of 3 Cop Caught Breaking the Law, YouTube (Aug. 21, 2011), https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=cLHQSCkQXXY. The events of that afternoon were also recorded by the video surveillance system at the courthouse, but those recordings do not have sound.

According to the surveillance video, Galinis arrived at the clerk's window at around 4:15 PM. After ringing the call bell, Galinis took out his cell phone and began to record. The first YouTube video shows that after clerk Julie Morrison arrived, Galinis told her about his inability to play the DVD and demanded either a refund or a new disc. Morrison did not wish to be recorded, and the second YouTube video shows that Morrison said: " When you get rid of your recording devices we will discuss this." Galinis responded by telling Morrison that he would put his phone in his pocket, and he did so, although it was still recording. Shortly thereafter, Branch County sheriff's deputy Carl Sevidal arrived and asked: " What's going on?" Galinis responded: " The disc she gave me was deliberately defective, okay. Maybe it's just my opinion, but it's highly coincidental. And I need a refund immediately of my funds here of $25 in extortion fees or a new disc right now that will play in any standard DVD player." After listening to Galinis's complaints, Sevidal asked him: " Well, are you going to give up your recording devices?" The second YouTube video ends at that point.

The surveillance video shows that Sevidal then left the hallway, and Galinis pressed the call button at the clerk's window again. A few minutes later, Sevidal returned and continued talking to Galinis. During that conversation, Galinis pressed the call button again. Sevidal then left and returned with two Coldwater police officers. A minute later, another Coldwater police officer arrived. The three Coldwater officers who arrived were defendants Brian Wohlheter, David Pipe, and Nick Thornton. According to Galinis's deposition testimony, one of the officers said: " [Branch County Circuit Court] Judge [P. William] O'Grady says ask him to leave or arrest him." In addition, Sevidal informed Michigan Magistrate Judge David Coyle that Galinis had refused to leave and cease recording. Judge Coyle stated in an affidavit that he " advised Deputy Sevidal that if Mr. Galinis was being disorderly that in my opinion he could be arrested." Judge Coyle...

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