United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
T. MOODY JUDGE.
Paul LeDonne, a pro se prisoner, filed a complaint
against former Assistant United States Attorney Donald J.
Schmid, former Indiana State Police officer Roy M. Stuckey,
and Indiana State Police officer Joseph L. White, relating to
his arrest in May 2014. (DE # 1.) Pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A, the court must review the complaint and dismiss
it if the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a
claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
The court applies the same standard as when deciding a motion
to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
Lagerstrom v. Kingston, 463 F.3d 621, 624 (7th Cir.
2006). To survive dismissal, a complaint must state a claim
for relief that is plausible on its face. Bissessur v.
Indiana Univ. Bd. of Trs., 581 F.3d 599, 602-03 (7th
Cir. 2009). “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. at 603. The
court must bear in mind that “[a] document filed
pro se is to be liberally construed, and a pro
se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held
to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007) (quotation marks and citations omitted).
complaint, LeDonne states that his home and place of
employment were searched on May 9, 2014, and he was arrested
on May 19, 2014. He complains that the searches were in
violation of the Fourth Amendment because they were based on
a faulty probable cause affidavit. LeDonne also claims that
he was falsely arrested as there was no probable cause, also
in violation of the Fourth Amendment. However, these claims
have a statute of limitations problem. Though the statute of
limitations is an affirmative defense, “a plaintiff can
plead himself out of court. If he alleges facts that show he
isn't entitled to a judgment, he's out of
luck.” Early v. Bankers Life and Cas. Co., 959
F.2d 75, 79 (7th Cir. 1992) (citations omitted). Such is the
case here. “Indiana's two-year statute of
limitations . . . is applicable to all causes of action
brought in Indiana under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.”
Snodderly v. R.U.F.F. Drug Enforcement Task Force,
239 F.3d 892, 894 (7th Cir. 2001). The illegal search and
seizure claims and false arrest claim are time barred because
“Fourth Amendment claims for false arrest or unlawful
searches accrue at the time of (or termination of) the
violation.” Dominguez v. Hendley, 545 F.3d
585, 589 (7th Cir. 2008). Because LeDonne signed and filed
his complaint more than two years after these claims arose,
they are barred by the applicable two-year statute of
LeDonne alleges that his false arrest caused him to be
falsely imprisoned. Under the Fourth Amendment, this claim is
known as unreasonable post-arrest detention. Tibbs v.
City of Chicago, 469 F.3d 661, 665 (7th Cir. 2006).
Notably, though, in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477,
486-87 (1994), the Supreme Court held that “in order to
recover damages for allegedly unconstitutional conviction or
imprisonment, or for other harm caused by actions whose
unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence invalid, a
§ 1983 plaintiff must prove that the conviction or
sentence has been reversed on direct appeal, expunged by
executive order, declared invalid by a state tribunal
authorized to make such a determination, or called into
question by a federal court's issuance of a writ of
habeas corpus.” Here, LeDonne is currently facing a
number of federal charges stemming from the complained of
search and arrest. See United States v. LeDonne,
Case No. 3:14-CR-55 (N.D. Ind. filed May 14, 2014). Thus, his
unreasonable post-arrest detention claim is barred by
Heck because it rests on a presumption that the
charges against him are invalid. LeDonne cannot pursue a
claim for damages here unless and until the criminal charges
are terminated in his favor. Id. at 486-87; see
also Snodderly v. R.U.F.F. Drug Enforcement Task Force,
239 F.3d 892, 898 n.8 (7th Cir. 2001) (“[W]e have
interpreted Heck as barring damage claims which, if
successful, would necessarily imply the invalidity of a
potential conviction on a pending criminal charge.”).
LeDonne claims that all of the defendants defamed him in the
media. However, claims for slander or defamation are not
actionable as federal constitutional torts. Paul v.
Davis, 424 U.S. 693, 712 (1976). Defamation is not a
deprivation of liberty within the meaning of the due process
clause. Patton v. Przybylski, 822 F.2d 697, 700 (7th
Cir. 1987). Therefore, these allegations fail to state a
plausible federal claim for which relief could be granted.
LeDonne brings a property loss claim against the defendants.
He alleges that unspecified property was damaged or destroyed
during the May 2014 searches of his home and business. This
claim, too, falls outside the two year statute of
limitations. However, even if LeDonne had a timely claim, he
would have to pursue state remedies. Though the Fourteenth
Amendment provides that state officials shall not
“deprive any person of life, liberty, or property,
without due process of law”, a state tort claims act
that provides a method by which a person can seek
reimbursement for the negligent loss or intentional
deprivation of property meets the requirements of the due
process clause by providing due process of law. Hudson v.
Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 533 (1984) (“For
intentional, as for negligent deprivations of property by
state employees, the state's action is not complete until
and unless it provides or refuses to provide a suitable post
deprivation remedy.”). Indiana's tort claims act
(Indiana Code § 34-13-3-1 et seq.) and other
laws provide for state judicial review of property losses
caused by government employees, and provide an adequate
post-deprivation remedy to redress state officials'
accidental or intentional deprivation of a person's
property. See Wynn v. Southward, 251 F.3d 588, 593
(7th Cir. 2001) (“Wynn has an adequate post-deprivation
remedy in the Indiana Tort Claims Act, and no more process
was due.”). Thus, the property loss claim will be
dismissed without prejudice.
all the federal claims dismissed, the court turns its
attention to LeDonne's various state law claims. LeDonne
alleges that the court has subject matter jurisdiction over
these claims based on diversity of citizenship. (DE # 1 at
4.). “In order to support diversity jurisdiction under
28 U.S.C. sec. 1332, two basic requirements must be
satisfied: (1) complete diversity of citizenship between the
plaintiffs and the defendants and (2) the proper amount in
controversy (more than $ 75, 000).” Neuma, Inc. v.
AMP, Inc., 259 F.3d 864, 881 (7th Cir. 2001). The
complaint sets forth that the plaintiff and the defendants
are residents of Indiana. Thus, there is not complete
diversity between the parties. As a result, this court does
not have diversity jurisdiction over LeDonne's state law
claims. Thus, the court may, but is not required to hear
LeDonne's state law claims. Because the federal claims
must be dismissed, the court declines to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over LeDonne's remaining state
law claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3); Capeheart v.
Terrell, 695 F.3d 681, 686 (7th Cir. 2012). Accordingly,
LeDonne's state law claims will be dismissed without
prejudice and he is free to pursue those in state court.
it is usually necessary to permit a plaintiff the opportunity
to file an amended complaint when a case is dismissed sua
sponte, see Luevano v. Wal-Mart, 722 F.3d 1014
(7th Cir. 2013), that is unnecessary where the amendment
would be futile. Hukic v. Aurora Loan Servs., 588
F.3d 420, 432 (7th Cir. 2009) (“[C]ourts have broad
discretion to deny leave to amend where . . . the amendment
would be futile.”) Such is the case here. At this time,
no amendment could overcome the statute of limitations
problem or the bar of Heck v. Humphrey.
these reasons, the court:
(1) DISMISSES the Fourth Amendment search and seizure claim
and false arrest claim as time-barred; and
(2) DISMISSES WITHOUT PREJUDICE the remaining state and