Rudolph v. Babinec, No. 18-1901 (6th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Rudolph’s son texted Rudolph's ex-husband, Kyle: “[S]he has the .22 out”. Kyle went Rudolph’s home, the two spoke and Rudolph allowed Kyle to take Rudolph’s gun. After Kyle left, Rudolph went to sleep. Around 3:00 A.M., Officer Hodges stopped Kyle for speeding. Kyle admitted he was carrying a gun, explaining that he took it from his ex-wife. Kyle showed Hodges the text from his son and a text from Rudolph saying “goodbye.” The officers let Kyle go but felt obligated to do a wellness check. Two officers went to Rudolph’s home and banged on her doors. Asleep, she did not answer. Officer Hodges told Kyle to call Rudolph. Rudolph answered. Hodges stated that his officers were at the door. Rudolph opened the door. The officers entered without her permission. Rudolph stated that she was not suicidal and generally cooperated. The officers gave her the option of going voluntarily to the hospital or being taken into custody involuntary for a mental-health check. Rudolph says that they grabbed her, slammed her into the wall, and handcuffed her “really tight.” The officers “manhandled” her outside, without shoes, dragging her so that she hurt her ankle. She later needed surgeries to treat that injury. She complained repeatedly about the handcuffs. The hospital had to wait for Rudolph’s blood-alcohol level to go down to perform psychiatric evaluation, then determined that “[Rudolph] is at extremely low risk of self-harm.” The Sixth Circuit affirmed the denial of qualified immunity summary judgment on three claims but reversed the denial on Rudolph’s state-law false arrest and imprisonment claims. Although the officers had a reason to show up at Rudolph’s door, a jury could reasonably find that they lacked probable cause to execute this mental-health seizure. The officers violated Rudolph’s clearly established right to be free from excessive force.