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Goodnight v. Robinson

United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division

April 23, 2014

THOMAS GOODNIGHT, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPUTY ARRON ROBINSON, Defendant.

ENTRY GRANTING DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT

Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge

Plaintiff Thomas Goodnight filed this civil action against defendant Deputy Robinson alleging the violation of his constitutional rights. Specifically, Goodnight alleges that Deputy Robinson is liable for his role in securing a warrant for Goodnight’s arrest. Deputy Robinson denies Goodnight’s claims and seeks resolution of this action through summary judgment. For the reasons explained below, the defendant’s motion for summary judgment [dkt. 34] is granted and the plaintiff’s request to dismiss the defendant’s motion for summary judgment [dkt. 38] is denied.

I. Goodnight’s Motion to Dismiss

Goodnight seeks the dismissal of Deputy Robinson’s motion for summary judgment because it is “nonfactual, untruthful[], and filed in an untimely manner.” Dkt. 38 at p. 2. Goodnight states that he believes the evidence proves that Deputy Robinson’s motion for summary judgment is untruthful. See Dkt. 39. For the reasons explained below, Goodnight is not entitled to relief on this basis.

First, opposing parties in a lawsuit often have differing views of the facts and the provisions of Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure give each party the opportunity to support its version of the facts with admissible evidence. A motion for summary judgment will not be dismissed based on the fact that there is a disagreement between the parties regarding the accuracy of certain facts.

Next, Goodnight points out that Deputy Robinson filed his motion for summary judgment on January 21, 2014, even though the Order of January 9, 2014, gave him only through January 20, 2014, to file his dispositive motion. However, January 20, 2014, was a legal holiday (Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday). See Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(a)(6). Thus, Deputy Robinson’s time to file the motion for summary judgment was automatically extended until the next day. Fed.R.Civ.P. 6(a)(1)(C).

For these reasons, Goodnight’s motion to dismiss [dkt. 38] Deputy Robinson’s motion for summary judgment is denied.

II. Deputy Robinson’s Motion for Summary Judgment

A. Summary Judgment Standard

The motion for summary judgment in this civil rights action, as with any such motion, must be granted if “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The substantive law identifies which facts are material. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute about a material fact is genuine only “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. If no reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party, then there is no “genuine” dispute. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372 (2007).

In this case, the defendant has met his burden. Goodnight did not support his response to the motion for summary with any citations to admissible evidence. By not properly responding to the motion for summary judgment, Goodnight has conceded the defendant’s version of the facts. Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003) (“[F]ailure to respond by the nonmovant as mandated by the local rules results in an admission.”). This is the result of Local Rule 56-1(f), of which Goodnight was notified. This does not alter the standard for assessing a Rule 56 motion, but does “reduc[e] the pool” from which the facts and inferences relative to such a motion may be drawn. Smith v. Severn, 129 F.3d 419, 426 (7th Cir. 1997).

B. Factual Background

The following facts, taken in the light most favorable to the non-movant, are undisputed.

On August 21, 1997, Goodnight was convicted by a jury on three counts of sexual misconduct with a minor. Goodnight was sentenced to fourteen concurrent years, with ten years suspended, and 1, 095 days on probation. Goodnight was released from Indiana Department of ...


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