United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
Anthony C. Martin, Plaintiff,
Fort Wayne Police Department, Officer Rodgers, Unknown Officer, Unknown Officer, Unknown Officer, Unknown Officer, The City of Fort Wayne, Mayor Tom Henry, and Chief of Police Russell York, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
JOSEPH S. VAN BOKKELEN, District Judge.
In this § 1983 lawsuit, Plaintiff Anthony Martin complains about a February 5, 2011, traffic stop. He claims the officers wrongfully searched his person and car; used excessive force; failed to intervene; behaved vindictively; and harassed, retaliated, and defamed him. Plaintiff alleges this caused mental stress and anguish. He asserts that Defendants violated his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as his state law rights.
After discovery closed, Defendants Officer Mark Rodgers, the City of Fort Wayne, the Fort Wayne Police Department, Mayor Tom Henry, and Police Chief Russell York move for summary judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims. Upon review, the Court grants the motion as detailed below.
A. Defendants Provided Plaintiff with Sufficient Notice
Plaintiff claims he did not receive the Motion for Summary Judgment. (Pl.'s. Notice to the Court, DE 105.) "[A] district court cannot properly act on a motion for summary judgment without giving the opposing party a reasonable opportunity to submit affidavits that contradict the affidavits submitted in support of the motion." Lewis v. Faulkner, 689 F.2d 100, 101 (7th Cir. 1982). A reasonable opportunity requires notice, and mere time is not enough, if knowledge of the consequences of not making use of it is wanting. Id. The notice must include a short and plain statement of the need to respond, giving both the text of Rule 56(e) and an explanation of the rule in plain English. Id. at 102; see also N.D. Ind. L.R. 56-1(f).
Here, Defendants sent both the Motion for Summary Judgment and notice to Plaintiff at his stated address via certified mail, and Plaintiff's mother signed the receipt form at Plaintiff's listed address. (Defs.' Response to Pl.'s. Notice to the Court, DE 106-1 at 2; DE 106 at 2.) The motion quoted Rule 56, explained the rule in plain English, and provided the consequences of inaction. (Defs.' Notice of Filing Mot. Summ. J., DE 104.) This notice included all the requirements necessary when filing against a pro se plaintiff. Therefore, the Court rejects Plaintiff's lack of notice argument.
B. Summary Judgment Standard
A motion for summary judgment must be granted "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Rule 56(c) further requires the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery, against a party "who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
A party seeking summary judgment bears the initial responsibility of informing a court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Id. at 323. If the moving party supports its motion for summary judgment with affidavits or other materials, it thereby shifts to the non-moving party the burden of showing that an issue of material fact exists. Keri v. Bd. of Trust. of Purdue Univ., 458 F.3d 620, 628 (7th Cir. 2006).
Rule 56(e) specifies that once a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, "the adverse party's response, by affidavits or as otherwise provided in this rule, must set forth specific facts to establish that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). In viewing the facts presented on a motion for summary judgment, a court must construe all facts in a light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all legitimate inferences and resolve all doubts in favor of that party. Keri, 458 F.3d at 628. A court's role is not to evaluate the weight of the evidence, to judge the credibility of witnesses, or to determine the truth of the matter, but instead to determine whether there is a genuine issue of triable fact. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986).
C. Summary of Events
In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleged the Defendants committed several violations of federal and Indiana state law, but he never responded to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment or provided any evidence to support these allegations. When a party fails to properly address another party's facts, the court may consider those facts undisputed. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(C)(e)(2). Unlike Plaintiff, Defendants submitted their facts and supported them with evidence. Because Plaintiff did not challenge these facts, the Court considers them admitted.
(1) Plaintiff's Traffic Stop and Detainment
On February 5, 2011, Officer Mark Rodgers was on duty as a Fort Wayne police officer. (Rodgers Aff., DE 102-1 at 1.) That day he was in full police uniform in his marked police car using his radar gun to check for speeding cars and drunk drivers at the intersection of Coliseum Boulevard and Parnell Avenue. ( Id. ) He noticed a dark-colored car swiftly traveling westbound. ( Id. ) Officer Rodgers's radar gun showed the car going fifty miles per hour in a forty miles-perhour zone. ( Id. ) He then saw the car go through a red traffic light. ( Id. at 2.) He later learned that Plaintiff was the driver of the car.
Officer Rodgers turned onto Coliseum Boulevard to stop Plaintiff, but he pulled his car into the BP gas station parking lot. ( Id. ) Plaintiff walked out of his car and walked towards the gas station. ( Id. ) Officer Rodgers called for him to return to his car, which he did. ( Id. ) The officer asked Plaintiff for his driver's license and vehicle registration, to which he responded asking what he did wrong. ( Id. ) Officer Rodgers asked Plaintiff if he knew the speed limit on Coliseum, and he did not know. ( Id. ) The officer told him the speed limit was forty miles per hour, to which Plaintiff said he "was only going thirty-five." ( Id. )
Next, Plaintiff became irate and started "screaming" that he wanted a sergeant. ( Id. ) This was when Officer Rodgers smelled alcohol on his breath. ( Id. ) When the officer tried to perform a portable breath test, Plaintiff yelled an obscenity and asked his female passenger to come over because he did not like the officer's actions. ( Id. ...