Stillwagon v. City of Del., Case No. 2:14–cv–807

CourtUnited States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
Writing for the CourtEDMUND A. SARGUS, JR., CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Citation274 F.Supp.3d 714
Parties James R. STILLWAGON, Plaintiff, v. The CITY OF DELAWARE, et al., Defendants. James R. Stillwagon, Plaintiff, v. Officer James Ailes, et al., Defendants.
Decision Date15 August 2017
Docket NumberCase No. 2:14–cv–807, Case No. 2:14–cv–1606

274 F.Supp.3d 714

James R. STILLWAGON, Plaintiff,
v.
The CITY OF DELAWARE, et al., Defendants.


James R. Stillwagon, Plaintiff,
v.
Officer James Ailes, et al., Defendants.

Case No. 2:14–cv–807
Case No. 2:14–cv–1606

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division.

Signed August 15, 2017


274 F.Supp.3d 725

James Donald McNamara, Columbus, OH, for Plaintiff.

Michael S. Loughry, Douglas C. Boatright, Douglas Paul Holthus, Stacy Virginia Pollock, Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder Co., LPA, Robert Henry Stoffers, Williams & Schoenberger Co., LLC, Columbus, OH, for Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

EDMUND A. SARGUS, JR., CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

This matter is before the Court on the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. Defendants The City of Delaware (the "City"), Detective Benjamin Segaard, Former Detective Patrick Gerke, Officer Adam Willauer, Detective Sergeant Jonathan Radabaugh, Officer James Ailes, and Officer Jason Flynn (collectively, the "Municipal Defendants")1 have moved for summary judgment on all of Plaintiff James R. Stillwagon's ("Stillwagon") claims against them. (Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. at 1 [ECF No. 203].)2 Stillwagon, in turn, seeks summary judgment against several of the Municipal Defendants on his § 1983 false arrest, malicious prosecution, and excessive force claims, his Ohio law malicious prosecution claim, and his municipal liability claim relating to excessive force. (Pl.'s Mots. for Summ. J. [ECF Nos. 205, 206, 207].)

Also before the Court are two additional motions: the Municipal Defendants' Motion to Strike [ECF No. 231] and the Municipal Defendants' Motion to Exclude Certain Expert Testimony [ECF No. 232].

For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART the Municipal Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 203; '1606 ECF No. 189] and Motion to Strike [ECF No. 231; '1606 ECF No. 217], DENIES Stillwagon's motions for summary judgment [ECF Nos. 205, 206, 207; '1606 ECF Nos. 191, 192, 193], and GRANTS the Municipal Defendants' Motion to Exclude [ECF No. 232; '1606 ECF No. 218].

I. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

This case stems from a series of widely publicized events that occurred in Delaware, Ohio, and the surrounding highways on September 30, 2012. The Court provides the following description of that

274 F.Supp.3d 726

day's events based primarily on Stillwagon's deposition testimony. Several witnesses observed portions of these events. And Defendant Mattingly has provided his own account of some of the events. The Court reviews the witness statements and Mattingly's account later.

1. Events on Route 42

On September 30, Stillwagon was riding his motorcycle northeast on Route 42 toward Delaware, Ohio. (See Stillwagon Dep. Vol. I at 60–62 [ECF No. 200–1].) Stillwagon had a handgun in the tank bag of the motorcycle. (Id. at 95.) He carried the weapon legally, as he had obtained a concealed carry permit several years earlier. (See id. at 35.)

Defendant Richard O. Mattingly was also driving on Route 42 on September 30. (See Mattingly Interview Tr. 1 at 5 [ECF No. 155–5].) Mattingly had consumed some beer at home. (Mattingly Interview Tr. 2 at 48 [ECF No. 184–4].) He then continued drinking as he drove his pickup truck. (See id. at 49.)

Stillwagon and Mattingly first came into contact at a Marathon station located at the intersection of Routes 42 and 33. (See Marathon Video at 15:07:52.) Stillwagon had stopped to buy gas; Mattingly had stopped for beer and cigarettes. (See id. at 15:07:38 to 15:13:17.) Both Stillwagon and Mattingly were parked at gas pumps. (Id. at 15:07:53 to 15:13:09.) Mattingly was parked behind Stillwagon. (Id. ) Stillwagon pulled out of the station, and Mattingly left immediately behind him. (Id. at 15:13:02 to 15:13:20.)

Just northeast of the Marathon station, Route 42 narrows from four lanes to two lanes. (See Stillwagon Dep. Vol. I at 68–69.) As Stillwagon approached this merger, Stillwagon has testified that Mattingly sped past him on the left, cutting Stillwagon off and nearly hitting him. (See id. at 68 70.) The truck came within several inches of Stillwagon's motorcycle. (See id. at 69.) As he made the pass, Mattingly was looking at Stillwagon and laughing. (See id. at 68–69.) Mattingly then sped off out of Stillwagon's sight, "skip[ing] his tires" along the way (i.e., tapping his brakes to "lay rubber down"). (Id. at 70, 72.)

Less than two miles up the road, Stillwagon testified that Mattingly stopped his truck half on the road and half on the berm. (See Stillwagon Dep. Vol. I at 70–72.) Mattingly was waving a blue metal baseball bat out of the driver's side window, and signaling for Stillwagon to go around him. (See id. ) Stillwagon did not drive around the truck; instead, he stopped and waited around 50 yards behind the truck. (See id. at 73.) Eventually Mattingly started moving again. (Id. ) He sped off out of Stillwagon's sight. "skipp[ing] his tires a few times." (Id. at 73.)

Farther up the road, Stillwagon testified that Mattingly again stopped half on the road and halt on the berm. (Stillwagon Dep. Vol. I at 74.) He waved for Stillwagon to pass him using the baseball bat. (Id. ) When Stillwagon did not pass him, Mattingly took off. peeling out and skipping his tires in the process. (See id. at 74–75.) Mattingly soon fell in behind a slower moving car though. (See id. at 75.) Stillwagon testified that he then passed Mattingly and the slower moving car. (Id. )

By riding north in the southbound lane, and forcing at least one car off the road in the process, according to Stillwagon, Mattingly caught up with him. (See Stillwagon Dep. Vol. I at 75–76; Oct. 1, 2012 Reninger Email at PageID 5110 [ECF No. 162–6].) Mattingly purportedly made three cut-in moves from Stillwagon's left, almost knocking Stillwagon off his bike. (Stillwagon Dep. Vol. I at 76–77.) On the third cut-in, Stillwagon braked. (Id. at 76.) Mattingly responded by making a sharp right turn

274 F.Supp.3d 727

immediately in front of Stillwagon and braking hard. (See id. at 76–78.) Stillwagon testified that he was able to stop just soon enough to avoid colliding with the back of Mattingly's truck. (See id. )

Mattingly and Stillwagon were approaching the traffic light at Watkins/Moore Road by this point. (See Stillwagon Dep. Vol. I at 78.) The light was red. (Id. ) Stillwagon testified that Mattingly drove through the red light and continued at a high rate of speed toward Delaware. (See id. ) Stillwagon stopped at the light and then, after the light turned green, pulled into a gravel parking area. (See id. at 78–79.) Stillwagon wanted to distance himself from Mattingly. (Id. at 79.) While Stillwagon waited in the parking area, two motorists who had witnessed Mattingly's maneuvers (a woman named Lois Reninger and a man) stopped to ask if Stillwagon was alright. (See id. at 79–80.) The male motorist called the police at Stillwagon's request. (See id. at 80.) The police indicated that Stillwagon could wait by the side of the road for an officer to come and take a report. (See id. ) Because the police had not given any indication of when an officer might come, Stillwagon decided that he would not make a report. (See id. ) Stillwagon waited on the side of the road for several minutes. (See Stillwagon Interview Tr. 2 at 37, 41, 43 [ECF No. 160–11].) Stillwagon thought that Mattingly would be far up the road by that point. (See Stillwagon Dep. Vol. I at 83.) As a precaution, though, in case Mattingly tried "to come back down the road [to] try to run [him] over," Stillwagon removed his firearm from the tank bag and secured it in his jacket before leaving the parking area. (See id. at 96.)

Stillwagon drove several miles northeast on Route 42; as he passed Section Line Road, Mattingly pulled back onto the road behind him. (See Stillwagon Interview Tr. 1 at 17 [ECF No. 160–10]; Stillwagon interview Tr. 2 at 43–44; Oct. 2, 2012 Reninger Email at PageID 5111 [ECF No. 162–6].) There were five or six cars between them. (See Stillwagon Dep. Vol. I at 89–90.) Mattingly entered the southbound lane and passed them all. (See id. ) Several cars in that lane had to pull off the road to avoid a head-on collision with Mattingly's truck. (See id. at 90.) Mattingly then pulled back into the right lane and accelerated. (See id. ) Stillwagon testified that the truck came within inches of his motorcycle. (See id. ) To avoid being rammed by the truck, Stillwagon sped up to almost 85 miles per hour. (See id. at 90–91.)

Mattingly slowed down and backed away from the bike. (See Stillwagon Dep. Vol. I at 91.) However, according to Stillwagon's account, Mattingly soon accelerated into the southbound lane and started his cut-in moves again. (See id. at 91–92.) Stillwagon braked. (See id. at 92.) Mattingly then cut in front of Stillwagon and braked hard, causing Stillwagon to nearly crash into the back of Mattingly's truck for the second time. (See id. at 92–94.) Stillwagon narrowly avoided a collision by swerving and slamming on his brakes. (See id. ) Both vehicles came to a stop. (See id. at 94.) Mattingly then drove up the road and out of Stillwagon's sight....

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  • Phelps v. Tuscarawas Cnty., CASE NO. 5:16-cv-1936
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • May 16, 2018
    ...per se conclusion that the municipality has a policy of tolerating violations of citizens['] rights.'" Stillwagon v. City of Delaware, 274 F. Supp. 3d 714, 773 (S.D. Ohio 2017) (quoting Gorecki v. City of Cambridge, No. C2-07-420, 2009 WL 3242296, at *2 (S.D. Ohio Oct. 8, 2009). "As the Six......
  • Schwartz v. Univ. of Cincinnati Coll. of Med., Case No. 1:17-cv-284
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • January 29, 2020
    ...issue of material fact exists and that the party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Stillwagon v. City of Delaware , 274 F. Supp. 3d 714, 739-40 (S.D. Ohio 2017). In other words, the standard for cross-motions for summary judgment does not differ from the standard applied when ......
  • Johnson v. Kroger Co., Civil Action 2:18-cv-1240
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • July 17, 2020
    ..."In a spoliation case, the term 'willful' reflects an intentional and wrongful commission of the act." Stillwagon v. City of Delaware, 274 F. Supp. 3d 714, 779 (S.D. Ohio 2017), aff'd in part, appeal dismissed in part sub nom. Stillwagon v. City of Delaware, Ohio, 747 F. App'x 361 (6th Cir.......
  • Goodwin v. Am. Marine Express, Inc., CASE NO. 1:18-CV-01014
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • March 5, 2021
    ...for the pretrial setting" and "[t]here is no need to make a separate motion to strike"); see also Stillwagon v. City of Delaware, 274 F. Supp. 3d 714, 737 (S.D. Ohio 2017) ("If a party does file a separate motion to strike, the motion should be construed as an objection under Rule 56(c)(2).......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
14 cases
  • Phelps v. Tuscarawas Cnty., CASE NO. 5:16-cv-1936
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • May 16, 2018
    ...per se conclusion that the municipality has a policy of tolerating violations of citizens['] rights.'" Stillwagon v. City of Delaware, 274 F. Supp. 3d 714, 773 (S.D. Ohio 2017) (quoting Gorecki v. City of Cambridge, No. C2-07-420, 2009 WL 3242296, at *2 (S.D. Ohio Oct. 8, 2009). "As the Six......
  • Schwartz v. Univ. of Cincinnati Coll. of Med., Case No. 1:17-cv-284
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • January 29, 2020
    ...issue of material fact exists and that the party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Stillwagon v. City of Delaware , 274 F. Supp. 3d 714, 739-40 (S.D. Ohio 2017). In other words, the standard for cross-motions for summary judgment does not differ from the standard applied when ......
  • Johnson v. Kroger Co., Civil Action 2:18-cv-1240
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • July 17, 2020
    ..."In a spoliation case, the term 'willful' reflects an intentional and wrongful commission of the act." Stillwagon v. City of Delaware, 274 F. Supp. 3d 714, 779 (S.D. Ohio 2017), aff'd in part, appeal dismissed in part sub nom. Stillwagon v. City of Delaware, Ohio, 747 F. App'x 361 (6th Cir.......
  • Goodwin v. Am. Marine Express, Inc., CASE NO. 1:18-CV-01014
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Ohio
    • March 5, 2021
    ...for the pretrial setting" and "[t]here is no need to make a separate motion to strike"); see also Stillwagon v. City of Delaware, 274 F. Supp. 3d 714, 737 (S.D. Ohio 2017) ("If a party does file a separate motion to strike, the motion should be construed as an objection under Rule 56(c)(2).......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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