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Rodriguez v. Newton County Sheriff's Department

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

September 30, 2016

ANA L. RODRIGUEZ, Plaintiff,



         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Ana L. Rodriguez was involved in a rather unfortunate mix-up. Her troubles began on August 24, 2012, when she went to the Newton County Jail in Order to post bond for a friend in custody. (DE # 51-3 at 1.) Upon identifying herself to jail personnel, she was advised that there was an active warrant for an individual named Ana R. Rodriguez. (Id.) Plaintiff pointed out that her name and date of birth did not match the individual named in the warrant. (Id.) Nevertheless, she was taken into custody at the Newton County Jail and held for transfer to Lake County, which had originated the warrant. (Id.)

         Plaintiff would spend the next three days in the Newton County Jail before being transferred to the Lake County Jail on Monday, August 27, 2012, at 11:15 AM. (Id.; DE # 43-2.) At intake, she repeatedly advised Lake County Jail staff of the mix-up and pointed out the discrepancies with the warrant. (DE # 51-3 at 1.) Plaintiff claims that Lake County Jail staff ignored this information and processed her into custody. (Id.) She was ultimately held in custody for another eight hours before posting $1, 000 bond. (Id. at 2; DE # 43-4.)

         Defendants Lake County Jail and Lake County Sheriff's Department[1] claim that, at intake, Jail staff consulted a computer database called the “Wanted Person Table.” (DE # 42 at 2.) On that date and time, the information in the Wanted Person Table matched plaintiff's name and date of birth. (DE # 43-7.) Neither party offers any explanation for why the information in the Wanted Person Table did not match the information contained in the original warrant. Lake County defendants otherwise agree that they did not make any attempt to verify plaintiff's claims regarding the mix-up. (DE # 42 at 2-3.)

         The charges for which the warrant was issued were eventually dismissed against plaintiff on May 15, 2013. (DE # 51-3 at 2.) On September 8, 2013 plaintiff served a Notice of Tort Claim on Lake County Defendants as well as Newton County Jail and the Newton County Sheriff's Department (“Newton County Defendants”). (DE # 43-3.)

         Plaintiff then filed the instant suit against Lake County and Newton County defendants. In her second amended complaint (DE # 28), she brings four counts: (1) a state law claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”); (2) state law tort claim for false arrest; (3) a federal claim for deprivation of privileges and immunities in violation the 14th Amendment; and (4) a federal claim for deprivation of liberty without due process in violation of the 14th Amendment.

         Plaintiff and Newton County defendants have amicably resolved these claims and accordingly filed a stipulation of dismissal. (DE # 33.) The remaining defendants, Lake County Jail and the Lake County Sheriff's Department have filed a motion for summary judgment as to all claims. (DE # 41.) The motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for ruling.


         Defendants have moved for summary judgment. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 requires the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery, against a party “who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). “[S]ummary judgment is appropriate-in fact, is mandated-where there are no disputed issues of material fact and the movant must prevail as a matter of law. In other words, the record must reveal that no reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party.” Dempsey v. Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Ry. Co., 16 F.3d 832, 836 (7th Cir. 1994) (citations and quotation marks omitted).

         The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating that these requirements have been met. Carmichael v. Village of Palatine, Ill., 605 F.3d 451, 460 (7th Cir. 2010). “[T]he burden on the moving party may be discharged by ‘showing'-that is, pointing out to the district court-that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. Once the moving party has met his burden, the non-moving party must identify specific facts establishing that there is a genuine issue of fact for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986); Palmer v. Marion County, 327 F.3d 588, 595 (7th Cir. 2003) (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324). In doing so, the non-moving party cannot rest on the pleadings alone, but must present fresh proof in support of its position. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; Donovan v. City of Milwaukee, 17 F.3d 944, 947 (7th Cir. 1994). In viewing the facts presented on a motion for summary judgment, the court must construe all facts in a light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of that party. Chmiel v. JC Penney Life Ins. Co., 158 F.3d 966 (7th Cir. 1998).


         A. State Law Claims

         Defendants argue that they are entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff's state law claims (Counts 1 &2) because she has failed to comply with the requirements of the Indiana Tort Claims Act (“ITCA”). (DE # 42 at 4.) Plaintiff does not dispute that these two counts are subject to the ITCA's ...

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