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Jendrzejczyk v. Laporte County Sheriff

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

September 21, 2016

LAPORTE COUNTY SHERIFF, et al., Defendants.


          RUDY LOZANO, Judge United States District Court.

         This matter is before the Court on: (1) Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint, filed by Porter County, Indiana, and Terri Wood on December 14, 2015 (DE #30); and (2) Defendants, LaPorte County, Indiana, and Westville, Indiana's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, filed on January 26, 2016 (DE #35). For the reasons set forth below, the motions are GRANTED. The Amended Complaint is dismissed WITHOUT PREJUDICE and Plaintiff is granted leave to file a Third Amended Complaint on or before October 31, 2016.


         Richard Jendrzejczyk (“Jendrzejczyk”) initiated this action in the Porter County Superior Court on October 31, 2014. The complaint was later amended to add claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In response to the addition of federal claims, the action was removed to this Court. Following removal, Jendrzejczyk sought leave to amend his complaint again, indicating that the proposed amended complaint “provides a substantially clearer statement of his causes of action against the Defendants.” (DE #19 at 1).

         Leave to amend was granted, and the Amended Complaint now before this Court (in reality a second amended complaint) was filed on October 28, 2015. (DE #21). The Amended Complaint asserts numerous claims under both the United States Constitution and the laws and Constitution of the State of Indiana. More specifically, Jendrzejczyk alleges that Porter County, Indiana; LaPorte County, Indiana; Westville, Indiana; and Terri Wood are liable for “unreasonable searches, unreasonable seizures, unreasonable uses of force, assault, defamation, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, false arrest, negligence, illegal conspiracy, and illegal conspiracy to violate the civil rights of Plaintiff, Richard Jendrzejczyk.” (DE #21 at ¶ 1).

         His claims stem from his arrest on November 8, 2012. According to the Amended Complaint, on that day:

[W]hile Plaintiff was making his normal delivery for Dustcatchers, Inc., his employer, to Ramsay's West Point Lounge, a tavern in Westville[, ] Indiana, Defendant Wood, who was heavily intoxicated, confronted him in a violent and threatening manner within the sight and hearing of patrons of the tavern, of the bartender, and of friends and associates of the Plaintiff and accused Plaintiff of being a criminal, of having an outstanding warrant for his arrest, and cursed Plaintiff with abusive names and with foul language.

(DE #21 at ¶ 12). Wood indicated she would “call her friends” on the police department to arrest him. (DE #21 at 13). Shortly thereafter, Westville Police Officer Steve Aimes arrested Plaintiff, allegedly based on an outstanding warrant for failure to appear. (DE #21 at ¶ 14). Jendrzejczyk was initially held at the LaPorte County Jail but later transferred to the Porter County Jail. (DE #21 at ¶ 15). He was held for six days without a hearing and then released without explanation. (DE #21 at ¶ 16).

         Jendrzejczyk alleges that he was denied medical care during his six-day incarceration. (DE #21 at ¶ 17). More specifically, he alleges that Defendants (all of them, apparently) refused to give him an expensive medication ($2, 000 per treatment) prescribed by his doctor for arthritis and psoriasis. (DE #21 at ¶ 17). The medication is to be taken once every two weeks.[1] (Id.) He also alleges that he was demoted and later fired from his job with Dustcatchers, Inc., due to this incident. (DE #21 at ¶ 18).

         Jendrzejczyk alleges that a warrant was reactivated when the Porter County Sheriff's Department “switched to a new computer system or when they arrested a relative of Plaintiff with the same last name.” (DE #21 at ¶ 19). He further alleges that the Prosecutor's office and the courts knew he was being held unlawfully, and that Porter County[2] intentionally delayed notifying the jail he should be released. (DE #21 at ¶ 20). Jendrzejczyk alleges that the Defendants knew or should have known they had no probable cause to stop, search, or arrest him or use any force. (DE #21 at ¶ 21). Additionally, he alleges that the Defendants had an opportunity to prevent harm but did not, and that they attempted to cover up their illegal acts. (DE #21 at ¶ 22-23). He claims that Porter County failed to supervise Defendant Wood and others, and that Defendant Wood “acted willfully, wantonly, oppressively, and with reckless disregard for Plaintiff's federally protected rights.” (DE #21 at ¶¶ 24-25).

         Defendants Porter County, Indiana, and Terri Wood moved to dismiss Jendrzejczyk's Amended Complaint, arguing that it fails for a variety of reasons, including that the arrest was pursuant to a facially valid warrant. Defendants Porter County, Indiana, and Westville, Indiana, also moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint, adopting the arguments of co-counsel and claiming that they are not proper parties to the action. The motions are fully briefed and ripe for adjudication.


         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a complaint to be dismissed if it fails to “state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Allegations other than fraud and mistake are governed by the pleading standard outlined in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a), which requires a “short and plain statement” that the pleader is entitled to relief. Maddox v. Love, 655 F.3d 709, 718 (7th Cir. 2011).

         In order to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face'.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)(quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). All well-pleaded facts must be accepted as true, and all reasonable inferences from those facts must be resolved in the plaintiff's favor. Pugh v. Tribune Co., 521 F.3d 686, 692 (7th Cir. 2008). However, pleadings consisting of no more than mere conclusions are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79. This includes legal conclusions couched as factual ...

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