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Ball v. City of Indianapolis

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

July 25, 2014

TONI BALL, Plaintiff-Appellant,
CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS, et al., Defendants-Appellees

Argued November 12, 2013

Page 637

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 638

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. No. 1:12-cv-00179-SEB-DKL -- Sarah Evans Barker, Judge.

For Toni Ball, Plaintiff - Appellant: Gregory Pierce Gadson, Attorney, Nathaniel Lee, Attorney, Lee & Fairman, Llp, Indianapolis, IN.

For City of Indianapolis, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Clifton Jones, Defendants - Appellees: Angela S. Joseph, Attorney, Office of The Corporation Counsel, Indianapolis, IN.

For Indiana State Police Department, State of Indiana, Defendants - Appellees: Kyle Hunter, Attorney, Office of The Attorney General, Indianapolis, IN.

Before ROVNER and SYKES, Circuit Judges, and DURKIN, District Judge.[*]


Page 639

Rovner, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff Toni Ball sued Indianapolis police detective Clifton Jones and various state and municipal defendants after she was arrested in error based on a probable cause affidavit that Jones prepared. The district court dismissed Ball's claims against the state defendants and granted judgment on the pleadings as to all of the municipal defendants, leaving only her Fourth Amendment claim against Jones. Ball then sought leave to amend her complaint to abandon the remaining federal claim and assert only state-law claims against Jones. The court granted the motion to amend and, at Ball's request, remanded the case to state court, where it had originated. Ball now appeals the district court's adverse rulings on her other claims. We affirm.


A warrant was issued for Ball's arrest in December 2010 based on an affidavit prepared and signed by Jones. Federal, state, and Indianapolis law enforcement officials had been investigating a suspected drug trafficking gang known as the Detroit Boys. Pursuant to that investigation, they had obtained authority to monitor telephone " call centers" that were used to field calls from the gang's customers and direct them to one of two drug distribution houses in Indianapolis, where customers could pick up the cocaine or heroin that they wished to purchase. According to the affidavit that Jones prepared, some thirteen of the intercepted calls either were placed by or made reference to an individual whose street name was " Mama Toni." Based in part on Jones' and another detective's familiarity with Ball's voice, Ball was believed to be the person making and/or referenced in these calls. The affidavit also averred that Ball had been seen at the gang's drug distribution houses. On these grounds, the affidavit asserted that Ball had conspired with gang members to possess cocaine and/or heroin.

Ball was arrested by Jones on December 16, 2010, and was charged with two counts of narcotics possession. She posted bond. But local prosecutors soon concluded that the wrong person had been arrested and charged. The State dismissed all charges against Ball on January 13, 2011.

Within a matter of weeks, Ball filed suit in the Marion County, Indiana superior court against the City of Indianapolis, its police department, the Indiana State Police, the State of Indiana, and Jones. The overall thrust of the complaint was that Jones had knowingly included falsehoods in the affidavit on which the warrant for Ball's arrest was based and that others involved in the investigation had failed to verify the accuracy of the affidavit. The complaint included, inter alia, federal claims under 42 U.S.C. § § 1981 and 1983 against all defendants based on asserted violations of Ball's Fourteenth Amendment right to due process; claims under both the Fourth Amendment and Indiana law (including the Indiana constitution) against Jones for false arrest and imprisonment; a state-law claim for conspiracy to commit perjury against all defendants; state-law claims for fraud, perjury, and official misconduct against Jones; and respondeat superior claims against Indianapolis, the Indianapolis police department, the State, and the state police, premised on Jones' actions. Based on the federal claims, Jones and the municipal defendants (representing that they had the ...

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