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Altizer v. Retherford

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

June 22, 2015

GEORGE PAT ALTIZER, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
OFFICER JOHN ROBERT RETHERFORD, et al., Defendants.

ENTRY ON DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge.

This cause is before the Court on the Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 25). The motion is fully briefed, and the Court, being duly advised, GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART the motion for the reasons set forth below.[1]

I. STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment is appropriate “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.” In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the admissible evidence presented by the non-moving party must be believed and all reasonable inferences must be drawn in the non-movant’s favor. Hemsworth v. Quotesmith.com, Inc., 476 F.3d 487, 490 (7th Cir. 2007); Zerante v. DeLuca, 555 F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009) (“We view the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party’s favor.”). However, “[a] party who bears the burden of proof on a particular issue may not rest on its pleadings, but must affirmatively demonstrate, by specific factual allegations, that there is a genuine issue of material fact that requires trial.” Id. Finally, the non-moving party bears the burden of specifically identifying the relevant evidence of record, and “the court is not required to scour the record in search of evidence to defeat a motion for summary judgment.” Ritchie v. Glidden Co., 242 F.3d 713, 723 (7th Cir. 2001).

II. BACKGROUND

The facts that follow are those taken in the light most favorable to the Plaintiffs.

On November 14, 2012, Plaintiffs George and Jamie Altizer were at their home in Richmond, Indiana. At some point during the evening, Mr. Altizer’s daughter’s boyfriend came to the home. Mr. Altizer and the boyfriend got into a loud argument both inside and outside the home, and, due to the noise, a concerned neighbor called the police.

Defendant Officers Heather Edwards and Charles Irvin responded to the scene. While they were inside discussing the incident with Mr. and Mrs. Altizer, Mr. Altizer passed out and struck his head; he then began to vomit.[2] The officers promptly called for an ambulance.

When the ambulance arrived, the paramedics strapped Mr. Altizer to a gurney and took him to Reid Hospital. During the trip, Mr. Altizer grew uncooperative and attempted to loosen the restraints; the officers thus handcuffed him to the gurney.

Mr. Altizer was taken to the emergency room at Reid Hospital; Defendant Officer John Robert Retherford was at Reid Hospital at that time. When Mr. Altizer arrived, he was screaming and yelling. He was transferred from the gurney to a hospital bed and his hands were handcuffed to that bed. A nurse took Mr. Altizer’s vitals and attempted to remove his pants. Mr. Altizer then kicked a nurse, and several people restrained Mr. Altizer’s legs by holding them down. Officer Retherford then punched Mr. Altizer in the face three or four times. Mr. Altizer suffered injuries to his nose as a result of the punches, and Mrs. Altizer observed Mr. Altizer’s injuries.

Mr. Altizer was eventually arrested and booked at the Wayne County Jail; however, no charges were ever filed against him.

On January 10, 2014, Mr. and Mrs. Altizer filed a lawsuit in this Court against Officers Retherford, Edwards, and Irvin, and the City of Richmond, Indiana. Their Complaint (Dkt. No. 1) alleges nine counts: 1) Count One is a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim for excessive force against Officer Retherford; 2) Count Two is a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim for failure to intervene against Officers Edwards and Irvin; 3) Count Three is a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim for unlawful arrest against Officers Retherford, Edwards, and Irvin; 4) Count Four is a Monell claim against the City of Richmond; 5) Count Five is a claim for assault and battery under Indiana law against Officer Retherford and the City of Richmond; 6) Count Six is a claim for false arrest and false imprisonment under Indiana law against Officers Retherford, Edwards, and Irvin, and the City of Richmond; 7) Count Seven is a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”) under Indiana law against Officers Retherford, Edwards, and Irvin, and the City of Richmond; 8) Count Eight is a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress (“NIED”) under Indiana law against Officers Retherford, Edwards, and Irvin, and the City of Richmond; and 9) Count Nine is a claim for negligence under Indiana law against Officers Retherford, Edwards, and Irvin, and the City of Richmond.

III. DISCUSSION[3]

A. Excessive Force Against Officer ...


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