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Welton v. Anderson

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

April 10, 2014

MARSHALL G. WELTON, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER SHANI J. ANDERSON, individually, and MICHAEL L. THOMPSON, Defendants.

ENTRY ON MOTION TO DISMISS

TANYA WALTON PRATT, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendant Michael L. Thompson's ("Mr. Thompson") Motion to Dismiss. Specifically, Mr. Thompson moves for dismissal of Plaintiff's supplemental state law claims filed against him, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The dispute in this case surrounds Plaintiff Marshall G. Welton's ("Mr. Welton") suit against Mr. Thompson and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officer, Shani Anderson ("Officer Anderson"), alleging that the two of them gave false testimony and made false reports against Mr. Welton which caused Mr. Welton to be criminally prosecuted. For the reasons set forth below, Mr. Thompson's Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 6), is DENIED.

I. BACKGROUND

For the purposes of a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept the complaint's wellpleaded allegations as true and draw all favorable inferences for the plaintiff. Killingsworth v. HSBC Bank Nevada, N.A., 507 F.3d 614, 618 (7th Cir. 2007). Thus, the factual allegations as alleged in Mr. Welton's Complaint are accepted as true for the purposes of this Motion to Dismiss.

Mr. Welton is the manager of Wong Ventures, LLC ("Wong"), an Indianapolis business engaged in buying, selling and renting residential real estate. In the winter of 2009, Mr. Welton and Mr. Thompson entered into an agreement whereby Wong would make repairs to a house located at 3508 N. Ireland Avenue which was owned by Mr. Thompson, thereafter, Mr. Welton would receive ownership of the property under alternative terms and conditions.

On July 14, 2010, Mr. Welton was charged with one count of forgery and two counts of theft, and he was subsequently arrested, incarcerated, and prosecuted. The charges stemmed from false allegations, made by Mr. Thompson and testified to by Officer Anderson, that Mr. Welton had sold the Ireland Avenue house, which he did not own and did so with intent to defraud. Additionally, Mr. Thompson reported that Mr. Welton had repaired the house belonging to Mr. Thompson without an agreement and that Mr. Welton expected the house to be conveyed to him without payment to Mr. Thompson. Mr. Thompson knew these reports to be false and made them willfully, intentionally, and maliciously in order to secure criminal prosecution of Mr. Welton.

On September 2, 2011, all charges against Mr. Welton were dismissed. Two years later, Mr. Welton brought the current action against Officer Anderson and Mr. Thompson for their roles in his wrongful prosecution. Against Officer Anderson, Mr. Welton brings a federal claim under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 for knowingly, intentionally, and maliciously causing false criminal charges to be brought against him by presenting false information in sworn statements and by withholding exculpatory evidence. Against Mr. Thompson, Mr. Welton brings a state law claim for knowingly, willfully, intentionally, and maliciously making false reports to law enforcement authorities. On September 12, 2013, Mr. Thompson filed his Motion to Dismiss.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A. Motions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1)

A 12(b)(1) motion "asks the court to dismiss an action over which it allegedly lacks subject matter jurisdiction." McGreal v. AT & T Corp., 892 F.Supp.2d 996, 1004 (N.D. Ill. 2012) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1)). The burden of proof is on the party asserting jurisdiction, Sapperstein v. Hager, 188 F.3d 852, 855 (7th Cir. 1999), but the court must accept the complaint's well-pleaded allegations as true and draw all favorable inferences for the plaintiff, Killingsworth, 507 F.3d at 618; Long v. Shorebank Dev. Corp., 182 F.3d 548, 554 (7th Cir. 1999). Additionally, the court "may properly look beyond the jurisdictional allegations of the complaint and view whatever evidence has been submitted on the issue to determine whether in fact subject matter jurisdiction exists." Id. at 554 (quoting Capitol Leasing Co. v. FDIC, 999 F.2d 188, 191 (7th Cir. 1993) (per curiam)). "If the court determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3).

B. Motions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)

Similarly, when reviewing a 12(b)(6) motion, the court takes all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and draws all inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Bielanski v. Cnty. of Kane, 550 F.3d 632, 633 (7th Cir. 2008) (citations omitted). However, the allegations must "give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests" and the "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Pisciotta v. Old Nat'l Bancorp, 499 F.3d 629, 633 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Stated differently, the complaint must include "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Hecker v. Deere & Co., 556 F.3d 575, 580 (7th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted). To be facially plausible, the complaint must allow "the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted).

III. DISCUSSION

A. The state claim against Mr. Thompson and the federal claim against Officer Anderson derive from a common nucleus of operative fact. Therefore, this Court has supplemental ...


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