United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
MARA MANCINI, et al. Plaintiffs,
CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS, et al. Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
J. Dinsmore United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss. [Dkt. 12.] Plaintiff Mara Mancini alleges
that she was mauled by a police dog who was released in an
effort to apprehend a fleeing suspect. Ms. Mancini and son
K.C., with whom Ms. Mancini was pregnant at the time of the
incident, allege constitutional claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint [Dkt.
11] alleges horrendous injuries and a grievous lack of
discretion by the actors. But because a grievous lack of
discretion does not suffice to state a constitutional cause
of action under binding Seventh Circuit precedent, the
Magistrate Judge recommends that the Court GRANT
Defendants' Motion in its entirety.
Standard of Review
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted challenges the legal sufficiency of a
plaintiff's complaint. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 8 provides that a complaint must
contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). In assessing the complaint under Rule
12(b)(6), Court takes all well-pleaded allegations as true
and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the
non-movant, Hayes, 670 F.3d at 813, “but legal
conclusions and conclusory allegations merely reciting the
elements of the claim are not entitled to this presumption of
truth, ” McCauley v. City of Chicago, 671 F.3d
611, 616 (7th Cir. 2011). After thus “excising”
such conclusory allegations, McCauley, 671 F.3d at
616, the Court must determine whether the plaintiff's
complaint “state[s] a claim to relief that is plausible
on its face, ” Adams v. City of Indianapolis,
742 F.3d 720, 728 (7th Cir. 2014) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A complaint
meets this standard where it contains “factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Id. (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009)).
16, 2015, around 10:30 pm, officers from the Indianapolis
Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) chased after a suspect
fleeing a traffic stop. [Dkt. 11 at 4 (¶¶
17).] At some point in the chase, an officer released a dog
to aid in their pursuit of the suspect. [Id.
(¶18).] The search led to Ms. Mancini's
neighborhood. [Id. (¶ 17).] This caused a
commotion outside of Ms. Mancini's home, and Ms.
Mancini's dogs began barking. [Id. (¶ 23).]
Mancini stepped out of her home to see what was causing the
commotion. [Id. (¶¶ 24-25).] When she did
so, the IMPD's dog attacked and mauled her, dragging her
to the ground and biting her elbow, arm, and thigh.
[Id. (¶¶ 25-30).] It took assistance from
an officer at the scene to free Ms. Mancini from the
dog's grasp, and Ms. Mancini was left bleeding on the
ground with puncture wounds. [Dkt. 11 at 4-5
(¶¶ 30-33).] Another officer was injured in the
struggle with the dog. [Dkt. 11 at 5 (¶ 32).]
Mancini, pregnant with Plaintiff K.C., required emergency
care and surgery as a result of the dog attack. [Dkt. 11
at 4-5 (¶¶ 21-22, 35-41).] The wounds became
infected and, a month later, required additional emergency
surgery. [Dkt. 11 at 6 (¶¶ 42-45).] Due to
the extreme stress from the injuries, Ms. Mancini experienced
complications with her pregnancy and delivered K.C. one month
early. [Dkt. 11 at 5-6 (¶¶ 39-40, 46-49,
53).] K.C. was born with signs of his mother's infection
and was addicted to the narcotics prescribed for Ms.
Mancini's pain following the dog attack. [Dkt. 11 at
6-7 (¶¶ 50-53, 57-58).]
Mancini and K.C. brought suit in this Court on July 29, 2016
[Dkt. 1], filing their operative Amended Complaint
on August 25, 2016 [Dkt. 11]. Plaintiffs have sued
various officers by name in their individual and official
capacities (“Officer Defendants”); anonymous
individuals and corporations (“Unnamed
Defendants”); the former IMPD chief; the IMPD; and the
City of Indianapolis (“City”). Plaintiffs allege
unreasonable seizure and substantive due process claims under
the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments against the Officer
Defendants and against the City of Indianapolis pursuant to
Monell v. Department of Social Services of the City of
New York, 436 U.S. 658 (1978). [Dkt. 11 at 7-9
(¶¶ 63-77).] Defendants filed their Motion to
Dismiss on September 8, 2016 [Dkt. 12], which Motion
is now fully briefed and ripe for determination [Dkt.
13; Dkt. 21; Dkt. 22].
move to dismiss the Amended Complaint in its entirety. The
Court first addresses Defendants' uncontested arguments
that several Defendants were improperly named. Defendants
direct specific arguments to the merits of Plaintiffs'
excessive force and substantive due process claims; argue
that Plaintiffs may not maintain their Monell claim;
and argue in the alternative that the Officer Defendants are
entitled to qualified immunity. The Court addresses each of
these issues in turn.
raise several issues to which Plaintiffs did not respond
regarding the Defendants named in the Amended Complaint.
Where a movant provides “plausible reasons” to
support an argument for dismissal, Kirksey v. R.J.
Reynolds Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 1039, 1042 (7th Cir.
1999), “[f]ailure to respond to [the] argument . . .
results in waiver, ” Bonte v. U.S. Bank, N.A.,
624 F.3d 461, 466 (7th Cir. 2010).
considered Defendants' arguments and Plaintiffs'
waiver, the undersigned recommends that the Court DISMISS all
claims against each of the following:
• the IMPD as an entity not subject to suit [Dkt. 21
at 7 (citing Sow v. Fortville Police Dep't,
636 F.3d 293, 200 (7th Cir. 2011))];
• the Officer Defendants in their official capacities as
duplicative of the claims against the City [id.
(citing Ball v. City of Muncie, 28 F.Supp.3d 797,
802, 809 (S.D. Ind. 2014))];
• Rick Hite in his official capacity because he no
longer holds the position of chief of IMPD [id.
(citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 25(d))];
• all named police officers in their individual and
official capacities for failure to allege personal
involvement in the constitutional deprivations [id.
at 7-8 (citing Kuhn v. ...