Luna v. Bell, No. 17-5675 (6th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Toll was in solitary confinement at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution when he allegedly threw liquid at a correctional officer. The commander decided to extract Toll from his cell. After the cell extraction team (Doss and Horton) removed Toll from his cell, Toll became unresponsive. A doctor pronounced him dead. Toll’s mother, Luna, sued Horton and Doss in their individual capacities for excessive force, and Bell, the warden, for failure to train (42 U.S.C. 1983). In 2013, the district court entered judgments in favor of the defendants. In 2014, the New York Times published an article about the cell extraction team, based on a letter written by a former team member. Based on this new evidence, Luna was granted a new trial. The court declined to award sanctions because the defendants did not act in bad faith in failing to produce the letter and granted summary judgment, rejecting the claims. The Sixth Circuit affirmed the order granting a new trial and reversed the summary judgment. Luna acted diligently in requesting discovery responses that should have included the letter, which was material, controlling evidence. Summary judgment was inappropriate because the court granted a completely new trial, requiring a new jury to examine anew all factual disputes; the court should have reviewed all material facts in a light most favorable to Luna.