United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
LOZANO, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint, filed by
Porter County, Indiana, and Terri Wood on December 14, 2016
(DE #57). For the reasons set forth below, the motion is
GRANTED. The claims against Porter County,
Indiana, and Terri Wood are dismissed WITH
PREJUDICE. This case will proceed as to Defendants
LaPorte County, Indiana and Westville, Indiana.
Jendrzejczyk (“Jendrzejczyk”) initiated this
action in the Porter County Superior Court on October 31,
2014. The complaint was later amended to add claims pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In response to the addition of
federal claims, the action was removed to this Court.
Following removal, Jendrzejczyk sought leave to amend his
complaint again, indicating that the proposed amended
complaint provided “a substantially clearer statement
of his causes of action against the Defendants.” (DE
#19 at 1). Leave to amend was granted, and the Amended
Complaint (in reality a second amended complaint) was filed
on October 28, 2015. (DE #21). The Defendants Porter County,
Indiana (“Porter County”) and Terri Wood
(“Wood”) filed a motion to dismiss. The Amended
Complaint was dismissed without prejudice, and Jendrzejczyk
was granted until October 31, 2016, to file a Third Amended
Complaint. The Third Amended Complaint was filed and
Defendants Porter County and Wood have now moved to dismiss
the Third Amended Complaint.
Third Amended Complaint, although considerably longer than
previous complaints, asserts essentially the same legal
claims. Jendrzejczyk alleges that Porter County, Indiana;
LaPorte County, Indiana; Westville, Indiana; and Wood are
liable for “unreasonable searches, unreasonable
seizures, unreasonable uses of force, assault, defamation,
malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, false arrest,
negligence, illegal conspiracy, and illegal conspiracy to
violate the civil rights of Plaintiff, Richard
Jendrzejczyk.” (DE #47 at ¶ 1).
claims stem from his arrest on November 8, 2012.
to the Third Amended Complaint, on that day:
[W]hile Plaintiff was making his normal delivery for
Dustcatchers, Inc., his employer, to Ramsay's West Point
Lounge, a tavern in Westville[, ] Indiana, Defendant Wood,
who was heavily intoxicated, confronted him in a violent and
threatening manner within the sight and hearing of patrons of
the tavern, of the bartender, and of friends and associates
of the Plaintiff and accused Plaintiff of being a criminal,
of having an outstanding warrant for his arrest, and cursed
Plaintiff with abusive names and with foul language.
at ¶ 12). Wood indicated she would “call her
friends” on the police department to arrest him. (DE
#47 at ¶ 13). Shortly thereafter, Westville Police
Officer Steve Aimes arrested Plaintiff, allegedly based on an
outstanding warrant for failure to appear. (DE #47 at ¶
14). Jendrzejczyk was initially held at the LaPorte County
Jail but he was then transferred to the Porter County Jail.
(DE #47 at ¶ 15). He was held for six days without a
hearing and then released without explanation. (DE #47 at
claims that he was denied medical care during his six-day
incarceration. (DE #47 at ¶ 17). More specifically, he
alleges that Defendants (as with the previous complaint, he
does not specify which defendants) refused to give him a
necessary and expensive medication ($2, 000 per treatment)
prescribed by his doctor for arthritis and psoriasis. (DE #47
at ¶ 17). He claims he missed his uncle's funeral
due to his unlawful incarceration. (DE #47 at ¶ 18). He
also alleges that he was demoted and later fired from his job
with Dustcatchers, Inc., due to this incident. (DE #47 at
alleges that the Porter County Sheriff's Department,
either intentionally or through gross negligence, issued an
invalid warrant for his arrest. (DE #27 at 20). He further
alleges that the Prosecutor's office and the courts knew
he was being held unlawfully and delayed notifying the jail
that he should be released. (DE #47 at ¶¶ 21-23).
Jendrzejczyk alleges that the Defendants (he does not specify
which ones) knew or should have known that their fellow
officers had no probable cause to stop, search, or arrest him
or use any force, and failed to intervene on his behalf. (DE
#25 at ¶ 25). Additionally, he alleges that the
Defendants (again, he does not specify which ones) had an
opportunity to prevent harm but did not, and that they
attempted to cover up their illegal acts. (DE #47 at
¶¶ 26-27). He claims that Porter County failed to
supervise Defendant Wood and all other Porter County
employees, and that Defendant Wood “acted willfully,
wantonly, oppressively, and with reckless disregard for
Plaintiff's federally protected rights or for the truth
of the matter.” (DE #47 at ¶¶ 28-29).
Porter County and Wood argue that Jendrzejczyk's Third
Amended Complaint fails for a variety of reasons and must be
dismissed. The motion is fully briefed and ripe for
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a complaint to be
dismissed if it fails to “state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
Allegations other than fraud and mistake are governed by the
pleading standard outlined in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
8(a), which requires a “short and plain
statement” that the pleader is entitled to relief.
Maddox v. Love, 655 F.3d 709, 718 (7th Cir. 2011).
order to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint
“must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct.
1937, 1949 (2009)(quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). All well-pleaded
facts must be accepted as true, and all reasonable inferences
from those facts must be resolved in the plaintiff's
favor. Pugh v. Tribune Co., 521 F.3d 686, 692 (7th
Cir. 2008). However, pleadings consisting of no more than
mere conclusions are not entitled to the assumption of truth.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79. This includes legal
conclusions couched as factual allegations, as well as
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements.”
Id. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
Seventh Circuit has instructed that plaintiffs may not
“merely parrot the statutory language of the claims
that they are pleading (something that anyone could do,
regardless of what may be prompting the lawsuit)” but
must provide “some specific facts to ground those legal
claims.” Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581
(7th Cir. 2009). The court clarified the standard for
dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) as follows:
First, a plaintiff must provide notice to defendants of her
claims. Second, courts must accept a plaintiff's factual
allegations as true, but some factual allegations will be so
sketchy or implausible that they fail to provide sufficient
notice to defendants of the plaintiff's claim. Third, in
considering the plaintiff's factual allegations, courts
should not accept as adequate abstract recitations of the
elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal statements.
Court's order dismissing Jendrzejczyk's previous
complaint, the Court noted “that a scatter-shot
approach to pleading is often ill-advised.” (DE #46 at
12). Nonetheless, he has again taken the scatter-shot
approach, including claims in the Third Amended Complaint
that clearly fail as a matter of law and giving little
consideration to the arguments raised in previous motions to
dismiss. Each of Jendrzejczyk's eleven claims will be
dismissed with prejudice as to Defendants Porter County and
Wood for the reasons explained below.
I: 42 U.S.C. § 1983
of the Amended Complaint alleges that the Defendants (all of
them, although they are named in this version of the
complaint, as opposed to being referred to collectively),
acting under color of law:
unreasonably searched, seized, and used force against
Plaintiff without probable cause that Plaintiff had committed
any infraction, misdemeanor, or felony; further only relying
on an invalid arrest warrant containing no details or terms.
That doing so deprived the Plaintiff of his rights,
privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution or law
of the United States. Defendant Wood in initiating law
enforcement contact, Westville/Officer Aimes in arresting
Plaintiff, LaPorte and Porter County by detaining the
Plaintiff unlawfully while knowing that the said warrant was
not valid and Plaintiff had not ...