United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DISCUSSING MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Judge United States District Court.
Charles Allen brings this complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 based on his claims that he was falsely arrested.
Defendants Kevin White, Robert Hastings, and Granite City
Restaurant Operations Inc. (named by Allen as Bartinis Nite
Club and Cadillac Ranch Nite Club) (“Granite
City”) move for judgment on the pleadings on the claims
against them. Allen has not responded to the motion. For the
reasons that follow, the motion for judgment on the pleadings
[dkt 53] is granted.
motion for judgment on the pleadings brought pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) is governed by the same
standard that applies to a motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6). United States v. Wood, 925 F.2d 1580, 1581
(7th Cir. 1991). A “court may consider only matters
presented in the pleadings and must view the facts in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party.”
Nat'l Fid. Life Ins. Co. v. Karaganis, 811 F.2d
357, 358 (7th Cir. 1987) (citing Republic Steel Corp. v.
Pennsylvania Eng'g Corp., 785 F.2d 174, 177 n. 2
(7th Cir. 1986)). The Court should “take all
well-pleaded allegations in the plaintiffs' pleadings to
be true, and [should] view the facts and inferences to be
drawn from those allegations in the light most favorable to
the plaintiffs. Republic Steel Corp., 785 F.2d at
177 n. 2. However, “a court is ‘not bound to
accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation.'” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Papasan
v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286, 106 S.Ct. 2932, 2944
(1986)). The documents a court may consider under Rule 12(c)
include the complaint, the answer, and any written exhibits
attached as exhibits [to either].” N. Indiana Gun
& Outdoor Shows, Inc. 163 F.3d at 452 452 (7th Cir.
1998) (citing Fed R. Civ. P. 10(c)) “A motion for
judgment on the pleadings may be granted only if the moving
party clearly establishes that no material issue of fact
remains to be resolved and that [the moving party] is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Karaganis, 811 F.2d at 358 (citing Flora v. Home
Fed. Savings & Loan Ass'n, 685 F.2d 209, 211
(7th Cir. 1982)).
alleges that the defendants violated his civil rights under
42 U.S.C. §1983; and that he was “falsely
implicated, ” “falsely arrested, ” and
“wrongfully incarcerated.” In screening the
complaint, the Court ruled that Allen had stated a claim for
false arrest and malicious prosecution against defendants
Robert Hastings and Kevin White and that he had stated tort
claims for malicious prosecution against Granite City. Dkt.
alleged in the Complaint, Allen was identified by several
police officers as well as Hastings and White, as the
individual who battered a police officer on September 14,
2013. Dkt. 1. Subsequent to this identification, Allen was
arrested by an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department
(“IMPD”) officer, and then incarcerated for
battery and resisting arrest. Id.
time, White and Hastings were employed by Granite City.
Id. (“Claim 2”). Officers Timothy
Elliot, Kimberly Evans, Chris Faulds, William Slayton, A.
Hotseller, and Carpenter (collectively the
“Officers”) along with White, Hastings, and
Granite City, all state in their respective Answers that
White and Hastings are not police officers. (Defendants'
Answer to Plaintiff's Complaint and Affirmative Defenses,
defendants Hastings, White, and Granite City move for
judgment on the pleadings on Allen's § 1983 and
state law claims.
Allen's Claims under 42 U.S.C. §
White and Hastings move to dismiss Allen's § 1983
claims because they were not acting under color of state law
for purposes of Allen's claims.
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution
or laws of the United States and must show that the alleged
deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of
state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
“The color of state law element is a threshold issue;
there is no liability under [Section] 1983 for those not
acting under color of law.” Groman v. Twp. of
Manalapan, 47 F.3d 628, 638 (3d Cir. 1995). A person
acts under color of state law only when exercising power
“possessed by virtue of state law and made possible
only because the wrongdoer is clothed with the authority of
state law.” United States v. Classic, 313 U.S.
299, 326 (1941).
alleges in his complaint that White and Hastings were off
duty police officers acting as nightclub bouncers at the time
of the allegations of his complaint. Whether or not they were
also separately employed as police officers at the time does
not cloak them with the authority of state law. A
determination that an individual acts under the color of the
law turns largely on the “nature of the specific acts
the police officer performed.” Pickrel v. City of
Springfield,45 F.3d 1115, 1118 (7th Cir. 1995).
“The acts of officers in the ambit of their personal
pursuits are plainly excluded” from what is meant by
under the color of the law. Screws v. United States,325 U.S. 91, 111 (1944). Thus, the correct “inquiry is
whether the police officer's actions related in some way
to the performance of a police duty.” Gibson v.
Chicago,910 F.2d 1510, 1517 (7th Cir.1990). “To
convert an off-duty status to one where the officer was
acting under the color of the law, the off-duty officer must
purport to exercise police authority in some manner, such as
flashing a badge, identifying himself as a police officer,
placing an individual under arrest, or performing a duty
imposed by police department regulations.” Mendez
v. Village of Tinley Park, 2008 WL 427791 (N.D.Ill.
2008) (citing Rivera v. La Porte,896 F.2d 691, 696
(2d Cir.1990)). Allen does not allege that White and Hastings
identified themselves as police officers, placed him under
arrest, or performed any other police duty. He ...