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English v. Davis

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana

March 10, 2017



          William C. Lee, Judge.

         This matter is before the court on a motion for summary judgment filed by the defendant, Lorenzo Davis (“Davis”), on December 12, 2016. The plaintiff, Michael Dwayne English (“English”), proceeding pro se, filed his response on January 3, 2017, to which Davis replied on January 12, 2017.

         Also before the court is a motion to strike portions of English's Declaration, filed by Davis on January 12, 2017. English has not responded to the motion to strike.

         Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment must be granted when “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A genuine issue of material fact exists when “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Not every dispute between the parties precludes summary judgment, however, since “[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law” warrant a trial. Id. To determine whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the court must construe all facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Heft v. Moore, 351 F.3d 278, 282 (7th Cir. 2003). A party opposing a properly supported summary judgment motion may not rely merely on allegations or denials in its own pleading, but rather must “marshal and present the court with the evidence she contends will prove her case.” Goodman v. Nat'l Sec. Agency, Inc., 621 F.3d 651, 654 (7th Cir. 2010).


         On February 24, 2015, English filed a pro se prisoner complaint against Davis, a Gary police officer, and the City of Gary. [DE 1] On March 12, 2015, the case was dismissed without prejudice. On March 26, 2015, the court vacated the dismissal order and provided English up until April 30, 2015 in which to file an amended complaint. [DE 11].

         On April 30, 2015, English filed an Amended Pro Se Prisoner Complaint against Davis, the Gary Police Department, the City of Gary and Prosecutor Monica Rogina. [DE 14]. English claimed that he was denied due process because Davis allegedly maliciously coerced Tatiana Gant to testify that English was involved in a murder that occurred on June 15, 2005.

         English's Amended Complaint also alleges theories of relief which include the following: violation of 42 U.S.C. §1983; failure to protect and prevent (by inadequate training); malicious prosecution; malicious process; abuse of process; negligence; intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress; false arrest; false imprisonment; defamation of character; professional misconduct; cruel and unusual punishment; and various constitutional violations. English correctly alleged that Davis was a Gary Police officer. However, English did not file a Tort Claims Notice as required by I.C. 34-13-3-8. On May 4, 2015, the court dismissed claims against all the other Defendants, but allowed English's case to proceed against Davis. On May 2, 2016, Davis filed an answer with the court. [DE 40]

         English's Amended Complaint alleged that on January 31, 2013, Davis charged him with murder related to an offense that took place on June 6, 2005, but that he was never mentioned as a suspect in the offense. The Gary Police reports produced to English in discovery show that two Gary police officers, Detective Nielsen and Davis, arrested English on an active Tippecanoe County Warrant, and an active Lake County Warrant for murder. The warrant was issued by Judge Stefaniak, of Lake County.

         English claimed that Davis was “malevolent” towards English for personal reasons and that Davis coached and coerced Tatiana Gant to give false testimony and/or a statement. On September 9, 2016, Davis served a Request for Production of Documents on English. Davis requested English to produce the following: (1) Any and all documents that support that Ms. T. Gant confessed to being coached or coerced by Lorenzo Davis; (2) Any and all documents that support any contention that Defendant, Lorenzo Davis engaged in witness tampering; and (3) Any and all documents relating to or supporting any of the factual allegations contained in English's Complaint.

         To date, English has not responded to Davis' request to produce documents to support the allegations made in his Amended Complaint. In contrast, Davis has responded to discovery served by English and has provided the following information under oath: (1) The FBI and the Gary Police Department were involved in English's case and no one advised Davis to stop his investigation of English nor was he cited for any ethics violations; (2) Davis has been involved in more than 200 murder cases and all of his arrests have been with probable cause; (3) Davis had probable cause to arrest English; (4) Davis does not make the decision whether to prosecute an individual after being charged; (5) The arrest of English was with probable cause and Davis does not know English personally; and (6) Davis was not aware of what English was exposed to while in the Lake County Jail.

         In support of his motion for summary judgment, Davis first argues that English's state law claims are barred because he failed to comply with the Indiana Tort Claims Act as well as the applicable two-year statute of limitations for tort claims. Under Indiana law, a tort claim against a political subdivision is barred unless notice is filed with the governing body of the political subdivision and the subdivision's risk management commission within 180 days after the loss occurs. VanValkenburg v. Warner, 602 N.E.2d 1046 (Ind.Ct.App. 1992); See I.C. 34-13-3-8. The Notice of Tort Claim requirement applies not only to political subdivisions, but also to employees of political subdivisions as well. VanValkenburg, 602 N.E.2d at 1048. Furthermore, an action for injury to a person or character must be commenced within two years after the cause of action accrues. See I.C. 34-11-2-4.

         In the present case, English's Amended Complaint is based on an arrest by Davis that occurred on January 31, 2013. Davis arrested English in his capacity as a police officer for the Gary Police Department. Like in the VanValkenburg case, the Notice of Tort Claim requirements would not only apply to the City of Gary, but to its employees - i.e. Officer Davis. Davis argues ...

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