United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
Jane Magntis-Stinson, Chief Judge
Heather Stone claims that Defendant Deputy Chief of Police
for the City of Clinton, Doyle Wright (“Deputy
Chief Wright”), conspired with the Deputy
Prosecutor of Vermillion County to arrest and charge Ms.
Stone with battery resulting in serious bodily injury, a D
Felony. [Filing No. 1-1 at 1-2.] On October 11, 2016, Ms.
Stone initiated this litigation against Deputy Chief Wright
and the City of Clinton (collectively,
“Defendants”) in state court alleging
false arrest and malicious prosecution claims pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, and state law claims of false arrest and
malicious prosecution. [Filing No. 1-1 at 1 (Second Amended
Complaint); Filing No. 1-1 at 8 (original Complaint).]
Defendants filed a Notice of Removal arguing that this Court
has subject matter jurisdiction. [Filing No. 1.] Presently
pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss. [Filing No. 5.] Ms. Stone opposes that motion.
[Filing No. 9.] The motion is now ripe for the Court's
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) “requires only ‘a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.'” Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting Fed. R. Civ.
Pro. 8(a)(2)). “Specific facts are not necessary, the
statement need only ‘give the defendant fair notice of
what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.'” Erickson, 551 U.S. at 93 (quoting
Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
motion to dismiss asks whether the complaint
“contain[s] sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
In reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint, the Court must
accept all well-pled facts as true and draw all permissible
inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Active
Disposal, Inc. v. City of Darien, 635 F.3d 883, 886 (7th
Cir. 2011). The Court will not accept legal conclusions or
conclusory allegations as sufficient to state a claim for
relief. See McCauley v. City of Chicago,
671 F.3d 611, 617 (7th Cir. 2011). Factual allegations must
plausibly state an entitlement to relief “to a degree
that rises above the speculative level.” Munson v.
Gaetz, 673 F.3d 630, 633 (7th Cir. 2012). This
plausibility determination is “a context-specific task
that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense.” Id.
relevant background is set forth pursuant to the applicable
standard of review, which requires the Court to accept all of
Ms. Stone's well-pled allegations as true at this stage
of the proceedings.
March 21, 2014, the Vermillion County Department of Child
Services conducted an investigation involving Ms. Stone and
her ward, a two-year old child, regarding allegations of
injury and abuse. [Filing No. 1-1 at 2.] The Department of
Child Services determined that such allegations were
unsubstantiated given that they found no evidence of injury
or abuse. [Filing No. 1-1 at 2.] On May 6, 2014,
Deputy Chief Wright executed a false Affidavit for Probable
Cause alleging that on March 19, 2014, Ms. Stone
“touched [the child] in a rude, insolent or angry
manner, resulting in bodily injury. . . .” [Filing No.
1-1 at 1.] Despite the fact that the evidence from the
Department of Child Services determined that no injury
occurred, Chief Deputy Wright requested that felony battery
charges be filed against Ms. Stone. [Filing No. 1-1 at 2.] On
May 9, 2014, “knowing the charges to be false, ”
the Deputy Prosecutor requested and the Vermillion Circuit
Court issued a warrant for the arrest of Ms. Stone, alleging
battery resulting in serious bodily injury, a D Felony.
[Filing No. 1-1 at 2.] Ms. Stone was subsequently arrested
and held in the Vermillion County Jail under a $10, 000 bond.
[Filing No. 1-1 at 2.] Upon her release, a “no contact
order” was issued prohibiting Ms. Stone from having
contact with the child until the conclusion of the case.
[Filing No. 1-1 at 2.] On November 22, 2015, the Vermillion
Circuit Court dismissed the criminal charges against Ms.
Stone. [Filing No. 1-1 at 2.] Ms. Stone “has suffered
damages by reason of such false charges, and prosecution, by
her estrangement from her ward and family, the expenses of
living apart from her husband and family, the disruption of
her marriage and home and the embarrassment in her
community.” [Filing No. 1-1 at 2.]
Stone filed this cause of action against Defendants in state
court on October 11, 2016, alleging false arrest and
malicious prosecution claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983, and state law claims of false arrest and malicious
prosecution. [Filing No. 1-1 at 1 (Second Amended Complaint);
Filing No. 1-1 at 8 (original Complaint).] On
February 23, 2017, Defendants removed this litigation to this
Court. [Filing No. 1.] Presently pending before the
Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. [Filing No.
challenge all of Ms. Stone's claims. [Filing No. 6 at 1.]
They argue that Ms. Stone's § 1983 false arrest
claim is time-barred by the statute of limitations. [Filing
No. 6 at 7.] They further argue that her § 1983
malicious prosecution claim fails because she does not assert
a distinct constitutional violation, and does not demonstrate
that Defendants acted with malice or without probable cause.
[Filing No. 6 at 2.] With respect to Ms. Stone's state
law claims, Defendants argue that Ms. Stone's false
arrest claim is time-barred by the Indiana Tort Claims Act
and the ...