United States District Court, D. Delaware
JASON W. GRUBBS, Plaintiff,
CPL. JAMES MARCONI, et al., Defendants.
W. Grubbs, Plaintiff, Avondale, Pennsylvania, pro se.
Richard D. Abrams, Esquire and Daniel P. Bennett, Esquire of
Mintzer, Sarowitz, Zeris, Ledva & Meyers, LLP,
Wilmington, Delaware. Attorneys for Defendants James Marconi,
Greg D'Elia, Andrew Rubin and James Skinner.
Darlington Taylor, Jr., Esquire, Allison Jean McCowan,
Esquire and Dawn Kurtz Crompton, Esquire, of Saul Ewing LLP,
Wilmington, Delaware. Attorneys for Michael Jon Maier, Jay
Protz and Sean Hogan.
ROBINSON, SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE
March 2, 2015, pro se plaintiff Jason W. Grubbs
("plaintiff') filed this action against thirty-five
different individuals and entities for claims revolving
around his arrest and prosecution. (D.I. 1) The complaint
alleges civil rights violations pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§§ 1983, 1985 and the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth,
and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution
and asserts violations of Delaware state law, including
claims of false arrest, false imprisonment, assault, battery,
defamation, invasion of privacy, negligent publication, gross
negligence, malice, negligent infliction of emotional
distress, malicious prosecution, abuse of process,
conspiracy, and tortious interference. Many of the counts and
defendants were dismissed upon defendants' motions. (D.I.
before the court are fully briefed motions for protective
orders filed by plaintiff, cross motions for summary judgment
filed by plaintiff and remaining defendants, and a motion for
discovery filed by plaintiff. (D.I. 195-200, 205-207,
212-216, 218, 219, 221-227, 230-232) The court has
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1331.
PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND
allegations in the unverified complaint are set forth in
detail in the court's March 29, 2016 memorandum opinion.
(See D.I. 184) Counts three, four, five, and six (raised
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983) and count seventeen (raised
pursuant to Delaware law) against Newark Police Department
("NPD") defendants Cpl. James Marconi
("Marconi"), MS/Cpl. Greg D'Elia
("D'Elia"), Sgt. Andrew Rubin
("Rubin"), and detective James Skinner
("Skinner") (collectively "NPD
defendants") and University of Delaware Police
Department ("UDPD") defendants Sgt. Michael Jon
Maier ("Maier"), detective Jay Protz
("Protz") and officer Sean Hogan
("Hogan") (collectively "UDPD
defendants") survived defendants' dismissal motions.
(D.I. 184, 185) After the court ruled on defendants'
motions to dismiss, it entered a scheduling and discovery
order on March 31, 2016, that set a discovery deadline of
October 3, 2016, and a dispositive motion deadline of
November 4, 2016. (D.I. 186)
commenced and, on April 13, 2016, plaintiff filed a motion
for a protective order from unwarranted discovery from
defendants and a motion for summary judgment. (D.I. 195, 197)
Plaintiff filed a second motion for a protective order on May
4, 2016. (D.I. 212) Plaintiff did not respond to any of
defendants' discovery requests or provide defendants any
discovery. Defendants responded to interrogatories served
upon them by plaintiff. (D.I. 208-211, 217, 233) Defendants
filed motions for summary judgment on November 4, 2016 and,
approximately one month later, plaintiff filed a motion for
submission of new evidence. (D.I. 221, 222, 230)
Facts Presented by the Parties
April 20, 2013, at around 10:45 p.m., NPD and UDPD officers
responded to a complaint of a naked man exposing himself to
two female victims in the area of Beverly Road in Newark,
Delaware. (D.I. 198, ex. C; D.I. 223, ex. 1) A perimeter was
set up, the NPD initiated a K-9 track in the area, and
officers operated as mobile units in vehicles and on foot.
(D.I. 198, ex. C) Marconi and Maier saw an individual
matching the description provided by the victims (later
identified as plaintiff) hiding in a group of bushes and
trees. (D.I. 198, ex. C; D.I. 223, exs. 1, 4) Plaintiff, who
emerged from the bushes and trees, fled on foot; he was
pursued by Marconi and Maier, who were also on foot.
(Id.) When Maier saw plaintiff, he shouted
"hey, " and plaintiff began running. (D.I. 223, ex.
4) Maier pursued plaintiff and announced "police stop,
" but plaintiff continued to run. (Id.)
Plaintiff was apprehended by Marconi and Maier while he was
attempting to climb a fence. (D.I. 198, ex. C; D.I. 223, exs.
1, 4) Maier was holding onto plaintiff's leg while the
rest of plaintiffs body was on the other side of the fence.
(D.I. 198, ex. C) Marconi grabbed plaintiff by his shoulders
and physically pulled plaintiff back over to the side of the
fence causing all three to fall to the ground. (Id.)
In pulling plaintiff back over the fence, one of the fence
pickets broke. (D.I. 208-211) Maier handcuffed plaintiff.
(D.I. 223, ex. 4) Marconi and Maier placed plaintiff into
custody with no further resistence, and plaintiff was placed
in a NPD patrol unit. (Id.) Maier denies striking
plaintiff on the ankle or stomping on his ankle. (D.I. 223,
ex. 1) Maier states that he did not deploy or have a police
K-9 under his control during the arrest and did not permit or
otherwise cause a police K-9 to bite plaintiff's thigh.
(D.I. 223, ex. 1) Maier asked plaintiff if he was hurt, and
plaintiff did not complain of injuries. (D.I. 198, ex. C,
D.I. 223, ex. 1) Police reports prepared by the NPD and UDPD
make no mention that plaintiff complained of injuries. (D.I.
191, ex. C; D.I. 223, exs. 1, 4)
called out that the suspect was in custody and D'Elia
responded to the area to assist. (D.I. 198, ex. C) During
this time, Rubin contacted the victims and transported them
to the area to conduct a show-up. (D.I. 198, ex. C) Following
the show-up, plaintiff was placed in a NPD police car and
transported to the NPD precinct for processing, questioning
and detention. (D.I. 198, ex. C; D.I. 223, ex. 2) Plaintiff
was questioned by NPD detective Skinner and UDPD detective
Protz. (Id.) According to Skinner's
report, plaintiff stated that he went for a run in the area
and, when he saw uniformed police, he fled because he had
marijuana inside his vehicle and he was afraid. (D.I. 198,
ex. C) Plaintiff did not complain of any injuries or request
any medical care when he was interviewed by Protz. (D.I. 223,
was charged with sixteen criminal counts including lewdness,
resisting arrest and indecent exposure for a total of six
incidents dating to 2011. (D.I. 141, exs. A, B) Plaintiff
agreed to plead guilty to one count of resisting arrest and
no contest to one count of lewdness in exchange for ...