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Ankh El v. Shelton

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

March 24, 2017

MENES ANKH EL, Plaintiff,
v.
WAYNE SHELTON Prosecutor herein known as State of Indiana, Detective, in professional and private capacities, Defendants.

          ENTRY DISCUSSING MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge

         Plaintiff Menes Ankh El (aka Wendell Brown) brought this action to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Detective Wayne Shelton and a number of other defendants for malicious prosecution based on the filing of forgery charges that were later dropped. In the Entry of December 16, 2015, all claims were dismissed except for the malicious prosecution claim against Shelton. Ankh El has moved for summary judgment and Shelton has responded with a cross-motion for summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, Shelton's motion for summary judgment [dkt 65] is granted and Ankh El's motion for summary judgment [dkt 61] is denied.

         I. Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the admissible evidence presented by the non-moving party must be believed and all reasonable inferences must be drawn in the non-movant's favor. Hemsworth v. Quotesmith.com, Inc., 476 F.3d 487, 490 (7th Cir. 2007); Zerante v. DeLuca, 555 F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009) (“We view the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor.”). However, “[a] party who bears the burden of proof on a particular issue may not rest on its pleadings, but must affirmatively demonstrate, by specific factual allegations, that there is a genuine issue of material fact that requires trial.” Hemsworth, 476 F.3d at 490. Finally, the non-moving party bears the burden of specifically identifying the relevant evidence of record, and “the court is not required to scour the record in search of evidence to defeat a motion for summary judgment.” Ritchie v. Glidden Co., 242 F.3d 713, 723 (7th Cir. 2001). Even though the parties have filed cross motions for summary judgment, the general standards for summary judgment do not change: with “cross summary judgment motions, we construe all facts and inferences therefrom ‘in favor of the party against whom the motion under consideration is made.'” In re United Air Lines, Inc., 453 F.3d 463, 468 (7th Cir. 2006) (quoting Kort v. Diversified Collection Services, Inc., 394 F.3d 530, 536 (7th Cir. 2005)).

         II. Undisputed Facts

         Consistent with the foregoing standard, the following statement of facts is taken from evidence presented in support of both motions for summary judgment.

         In 2011, Ankh El issued a number of checks to the Marion County Clerk's Office for payment of traffic citations and child support. According to Anhk El, those checks cleared without incident. But Shelton nonetheless later instituted criminal forgery charges against him based on those checks.

         The inquiry into the alleged forgery began in the fall of 2012.[1] On September 13, 2012, Melanie Chastain, Chief Financial Officer for the Marion County Clerk's Office, contacted Shelton about Ankh El. Chastain recognized Ankh El from a news story and wanted to report him for presenting checks from his Chase account number XXXXX7532 to the Clerk's Office for payment of child support and traffic violations. Chastain reported that the checks submitted by Ankh El were all returned from Chase as “unable to locate account.” On September 17, 2012, Shelton met with Chastain and obtained copies of nine checks presented by Ankh El to the Clerk's Office, nine letters mailed to Ankh El's address, and five response letters from Ankh El. The following table lists the checks Ankh El presented to the Clerk's Office along with the dollar amounts and the reason for payment.

Check Number

Amount

Date

Purpose

1003

$225.00

5/16/2011

Traffic citation

1004

$281.25

5/16/2011

Traffic citation

1005

$31.25

5/16/2011

Traffic citation

1006

$337.50

5/16/2011

Traffic citation

1007

$90.00

5/16/2011

Traffic citation

1008

$165.00

5/16/2011

Traffic citation

1009

$125.00

5/16/2011

Traffic citation

1012

$20, 000.00

5/31/2011

Child support

1278

$136.00

12/15/2011

Traffic citation

1289

$225.00

1/9/2012

Traffic citation

Total = $21, 616.00

         Shelton subpoenaed banking information for Chase account number XXXXX7532. The information indicated that Ankh El opened the account on December 15, 2006. Ankh El deposited $296.00 into the account on December 28, 2006. He continued to make deposits and withdrawals throughout January, February, and March 2007. At the end of March 2007, this account had a balance of negative $140.11.

         In April 2007, Chase sent a statement to Ankh El's home address. The statement read, “Beginning Balance -$140.11 and Ending Balance -$150.11.” In May 2007, Chase sent another statement indicating that his account had a beginning balance of -$150.11 and an ending balance of $0.00. On May 8, 2007, Chase closed Ankh El's account due to the negative balance. Ankh El's address on file with Chase was 1317 Congress Avenue, not 1443 West 29th Street or P.O. Box 88045 as printed on check numbers 1003 through 1289.

         After speaking with Chastain, Shelton met with Patty Morris, Finance Manager for the Clerk's Office. Morris stated that on May 31, 2011, Ankh El presented check number 1012 for $20, 000.00 to Carrie Houston, Senior Accounting Technician for the Clerk's Office. Ankh El instructed Houston to accept the check as payment for the child support he owed. Houston contacted Morris, who was already familiar with Ankh El, and showed her the check. Morris informed Ankh El that the Clerk's Office was unable to accept his check as payment. Ankh El demanded that the Clerk's Office process his payment. To avoid creating a disturbance, the Clerk's Office collected the check.

         Morris forwarded the check to Kim Logan, Deputy Treasurer for the Indiana State Treasurer's Office, for processing. The State Treasurer's Office attempted to process the check, but it was returned on June 15, 2011 as “unable to locate account.” Logan verified to Shelton that no child support payment was posted or disbursed. She provided Shelton with a copy of check number 1012 and the not sufficient funds report.

         Morris contacted Ankh El and informed him that the Clerk's Office was unable to accept any checks from him because of the status of his checking account. Ankh El sent Morris a letter demanding that she return his check, issue him a check for $20, 000.00, or show his child support as paid in full. He wrote, “If I have not received a written response within the allotted time, I will be forced to initiate legal proceedings.” Shelton located a criminal history for Ankh El under gallery number 409402. He created a photo array under Lineup ID # 108341 using a booking photo of ...


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