Gerics v. Trevino, No. 19-1955 (6th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Gerics and Monahan were Flint, Michigan neighbors. Gerics was regarded as “unstable” and was notorious for occupying others’ property and digging holes. Monahan was the neighborhood association president. Gerics, over several months, used a megaphone to allege that Monahan “[i]s an HIV positive mother fucking pedophile.” Gerics filed multiple unsuccessful lawsuits against Monahan and put up signs alleging that Monahan had stolen from Gerics’s family and that Gerics would kill Monahan and his partner if they came near Gerics’s house. Sergeant Hall was sent to investigate. Given Hall’s knowledge of Monahan’s allegations and his observation that morning, Hall arrested Gerics. Another officer searched Gerics’s clothing and found a bag of marijuana.
The state court found Hall had no probable cause to arrest Gerics and quashed the proceedings against him. Gerics sought damages under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that Hall violated his Fourth Amendment rights by unlawfully arresting him and by unreasonably seizing his cell phone. A jury ruled in favor of the defendants. The Sixth Circuit dismissed an appeal for lack of jurisdiction. Gerics alleged the district court, at summary judgment, erroneously found a material question of fact on whether Hall had probable cause to arrest Gerics. Although the probable-cause issue was not one for the jury, a party may not appeal an order denying summary judgment after a full trial on the merits.