Garrett v. Fisher Titus Hosp.

Decision Date24 May 2004
Docket NumberCase No. 3:02 CV 7562.
Citation318 F.Supp.2d 562
PartiesRobert E. GARRETT, Plaintiff, v. FISHER TITUS HOSPITAL, et al., Defendant.
CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of Ohio

George Evans, Oglesby & Oglesby, Sandusky, OH, for Plaintiff.

Gregg A. Peugeot, Gregory T. Rossi, Douglas N. Godshall, Hanna, Campbell & Powell, Akron, OH, Thomas M. Coughlin, Sr., Thomas M. Coughlin, Jr., Ritzler, Coughlin & Swansinger, Cleveland, OH, Nick C. Tominom, Tomino & Latchney, Medina, OH, Edwin A. Coy, Robison, Curphey & O'Connell, Toledo, OH, for Defendant.


KATZ, District Judge.


Pending before the Court is Defendant Fisher-Titus Medical Center's ("Fisher-Titus") motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 49) as to which Plaintiff has filed a response (Doc. No. 52) and Fisher-Titus has filed a reply (Doc. No. 53); Defendants Perkins Township ("Perkins Township") and Al Jenkins' ("Jenkins") motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 51) as to which Plaintiff has filed a response (Doc. No. 54); Defendant Rebecca Hatfield's ("Hatfield") motion for summary judgment and supplement thereto (Doc. Nos. 59 & 63); and Defendant Gary Joiner's ("Joiner") motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 61).

The Court has jurisdiction to decide this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 1367. For the reasons stated below, Defendants' motions will be granted.


The underlying facts of this case are set forth in State v. Garrett, No. E-02-015, 2003 WL 22233542, 2003 Ohio App. LEXIS 4725 (Ohio App. 6th Dist. Sept. 30, 2003). In Garrett, the court stated:

On the night of October 18, 2001, [Garrett] took Denise Butler Joiner [("Denise")], who was pregnant with his child, to Fisher-Titus Medical Center in Norwalk, Ohio, to deliver their baby. Prior to leaving for the hospital, [Garrett] and [Denise] had argued heatedly. On October 19, 2001, [Denise] gave birth to a healthy baby boy but shortly after delivery she developed severe headaches. Her doctor treated her with a pain killer but she complained of continued pain in her head and upper back. She then experienced vomiting and incontinence, and four days after delivery began to experience chest pain and shortness of breath. For the next two days, [Denise] was intubated and unable to communicate. After a series of tests, doctors determined that [Denise's] heart was not functioning normally and that her lungs had filled with fluid. On October 27, [Denise] began to have seizures. When tests revealed a blood clot as well as hemorrhaging around the brain, [Denise] was transferred to St. Vincent/Mercy Medical Center in Toledo. She died on October 29, 2001. Following an autopsy, the coroner determined that there was evidence of trauma to the brain and ruled the cause of death homicide.

On November 5, 2001, [Garrett] was indicted on one count of murder in violation of R.C. 2903.02; one count of felonious assault in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(1); one count of attempted felonious assault in violation of R.C. 2923.02(A), and one count of domestic violence in violation of R.C. 2919.25(A). On January 9, 2002, [Garrett] was indicted on one count of abduction in violation of R.C. 2905.02(A)(2) and one count of assault in violation of R.C. 2903.13(A).

On January 9, 2002, two hours after the state filed the second indictment, [Garrett] moved for severance of any new charges filed in the case in what [Garrett] claimed would be an attempt to delay the trial or "bully the defense." On February 21, 2002, the trial court severed count 5, abduction, as it arose out of acts alleged to have occurred on January 3, 2001. On February 25, 2002, [Garrett] appeared before the trial court and indicated his desire to waive his right to a jury trial. [Garrett's] request for a trial to the bench led the trial court to reconsider its decision to sever the abduction charge. The trial court then asked [Garrett] whether he would still want to waive his right to a jury trial if the court reversed its decision on the severance. Upon further discussion with his attorney, [Garrett] executed a written jury waiver. Following trial to the bench, [Garrett] was found guilty of the domestic violence, abduction and assault charges. [Garrett] was sentenced to one year incarceration as to the domestic violence conviction, four years incarceration as to the abduction conviction, and six months on the assault conviction. The sentences were ordered to be served consecutively.

Id. at 2003 WL 22233542, *1-2, 2003 Ohio App. LEXIS 4725, *3-6.

The Garrett court affirmed Plaintiff's convictions for domestic violence, assault and abduction, and the state trial court's judgment in all other respects, but reversed "as to the imposition of consecutive sentences" and remanded the case for re-sentencing. Id. at 2003 WL 22233542, *9, 2003 Ohio App. LEXIS 4725, *24. Re-sentencing was required because the state trial court did not make "the mandatory findings set forth in relevant statutes ... or give its reasons for imposing the consecutive sentences." Id. at 2003 WL 22233542, *5, 2003 Ohio App. LEXIS 4725, *15.

Plaintiff has filed the instant action alleging false arrest and malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, abuse of process, slander and libel, organizational liability against Fisher-Titus pursuant to O.R.C. § 2901.23, civil conspiracy and violation of federal rights. Defendants removed to federal court. Before proceeding, the Court cannot help but observe that Garrett has opposed only Fisher-Titus', and Perkins Township and Jenkins' motions for summary judgment, and then in only a very limited fashion.


Summary judgment is appropriate where "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving party bears the initial responsibility of "informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of `the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2553, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). The movant may meet this burden by demonstrating the absence of evidence supporting one or more essential elements of the non-movant's claim. Id. at 323-25, 106 S.Ct. 2548. Once the movant meets this burden, the opposing party "must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2511, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)).

Once the burden of production has so shifted, the party opposing summary judgment cannot rest on its pleadings or merely reassert its previous allegations. It is not sufficient "simply [to] show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 1356, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). Rather, Rule 56(e) "requires the nonmoving party to go beyond the pleadings" and present some type of evidentiary material in support of its position. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324, 106 S.Ct. at 2553; see also Harris v. General Motors Corp., 201 F.3d 800, 802 (6th Cir.2000). Summary judgment must be entered "against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548.

"In considering a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view the facts and draw all reasonable inferences therefrom in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party." Williams v. Belknap, 154 F.Supp.2d 1069, 1071 (E.D.Mich.2001) (citing 60 Ivy Street Corp. v. Alexander, 822 F.2d 1432, 1435 (6th Cir.1987)). However, "`at the summary judgment stage the judge's function is not himself to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter,'" Wiley v. U.S., 20 F.3d 222, 227 (6th Cir.1994) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249, 106 S.Ct. 2505); therefore, "[t]he Court is not required or permitted ... to judge the evidence or make findings of fact." Williams, 154 F.Supp.2d at 1071. The purpose of summary judgment "is not to resolve factual issues, but to determine if there are genuine issues of fact to be tried." Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. v. Am. Eagle Outfitters, Inc., 130 F.Supp.2d 928, 930 (S.D.Ohio 1999). Ultimately, this Court must determine "whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52, 106 S.Ct. 2505; see also Atchley v. RK Co., 224 F.3d 537, 539 (6th Cir.2000).


Garrett seeks redress for alleged violation of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides in relevant part:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress....

42 U.S.C. § 1983. To establish a claim against a public official under § 1983, Plaintiff must prove that the conduct complained of was: (1) committed by a person acting under the color of state law; and (2)...

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