United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
MARA MANCINI, and K.C., by his next friend and father, CLYDE CLARK, Plaintiffs,
CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANAPOLIS METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT IMPD, and in their official and individual capacities the following officers, RICK HITE, TROY RIGGS, CRAIG HEDDEN, DOUGLAS HIMMEL, JASON NORMENT, KRISTOPHER KUNZ, GLEN GEISSER, DEBRA DOTSON, CONRAD SIMPSON, GREGORY STEWART K9 Ofc., KEITH SHELTON, CHARLES WHEELER Sgt., JOHN MONTGOMERY, JUSTIN MUSSER, CHARLES TICE, LONA DOUGLAS, MELISSA LEMRICK, JON KING, JEFFERY NEWLIN, CLAYTON PORTELL, JEREMY GRAY, DAVID KINSEY, DOES 1-50, ROE CORPORATIONS 1-10, Defendants.
ENTRY ON REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiffs Mara Mancini's
(“Ms. Mancini”) and her son K.C.'s
(“K.C.”) (collectively, the
“Plaintiffs”) Objection to Magistrate's
Report and Recommendation (Filing No. 43). On
January 6, 2017, the Magistrate Judge issued a
recommendation, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
72 and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), that the Court grant
Defendants Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Amended
Complaint (Filing No. 12). Plaintiffs filed this
action against Defendants, the City of Indianapolis,
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department
(“IMPD”), and numerous individual IMPD police
officers (the “Officer Defendants”)
(collectively, the “City”), alleging
constitutional claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The
Plaintiffs timely filed their Objection to the Magistrate
Judge's Report and Recommendation. For the reasons stated
below, the Court SUSTAINS in part and
OVERRULES in part Plaintiffs' objection
and ADOPTS in part the Magistrate
Judge's Report and Recommendation, with the additional
discussion and conclusions stated herein.
facts, taken from Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint, are set
forth in detail in the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation (Filing No. 34 at 2-3), and are
accepted as true. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007) (“[W]hen ruling on a defendant's
motion to dismiss, a judge must accept as true all of the
factual allegations contained in the complaint.”).
Accordingly, the Court adopts those facts, and they are only
summarized in this Entry. In summary, on July 16, 2015, IMPD
officers released an IMPD canine while in pursuit of a
suspect fleeing a traffic stop. Hearing a commotion and
hearing her dog barking, Ms. Mancini stepped out of the front
door to her home. When she did so, an IMPD canine, who was
inside of Ms. Mancini's fenced yard, attacked and mauled
her. The canine dragged her to the ground, biting her elbow,
arm, and thigh. It took assistance from an IMPD officer at
the scene to free Ms. Mancini from the dog's grasp. At
the time of the attack, Ms. Mancini was pregnant with K.C. As
a result of the dog attack, she required emergency care and
surgery. Her wounds became infected and additional emergency
surgery was required. The extreme stress of the injuries
caused Ms. Mancini to experience complications with her
pregnancy and K.C. was born one month early with signs of his
mother's infection, and he was addicted to the narcotics
prescribed for Ms. Mancini's pain following the dog
filed an Amended Complaint for damages, alleging unreasonable
seizure and substantive due process claims under the Fourth
and Fourteenth Amendments against the Officer Defendants and
the City. They allege:
Defendant Officers acted under color of law in using
excessive and unreasonable force against Ms. Mancini and her
unborn child when they restrained their liberty by directing
the IMPD canine onto the property of Plaintiffs, intending to
effect a seizure, knowing that the canine was specifically
trained to violently seize anyone in the space in which he
was deployed . . . .
(Filing No. 11 at 8 ¶66.) On September 8, 2016,
Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The undersigned referred the Motion
to the Magistrate Judge who issued a Report and
Recommendation for dismissal of Plaintiffs'
constitutional claims against all parties with prejudice and
dismissal of the Amended Complaint without prejudice.
district court may assign dispositive motions to a magistrate
judge, in which case the magistrate judge may submit to the
district judge only a report and recommended disposition,
including any proposed findings of fact. Schur v. L.A.
Weight Loss Ctrs., Inc., 577 F.3d 752, 760 (7th Cir.
2009). See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B);
Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). “The magistrate judge's
recommendation on a dispositive matter is not a final order,
and the district judge makes the ultimate decision to adopt,
reject, or modify it.” Schur, 577 F.3d at 760.
See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P.
72(b)(3). After a magistrate judge makes a report and
recommendation, either party may object within fourteen days.
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2). “A
judge of the court shall make a de novo
determination of those portions of the report or specified
proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is
made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
a judge “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in
part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate
Federal Pleading Requirements
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a defendant to move
to dismiss a complaint that has failed to “state a
claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). A party seeking dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6)'s
requirement that the complaint state a claim upon which
relief can be granted bears a heavy burden. In making this
determination, the court views the complaint in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff, accepting all well-pleaded
factual allegations as true and drawing all reasonable
inferences from those allegations in favor of the plaintiff.
Lee v. City of Chi., 330 F.3d 456, 459 (7th Cir.
2003). The plaintiff “receives the benefit of
imagination” at this stage “[as] long as the
hypotheses are consistent with the complaint.”
Sanjuan v. Am. Bd. of Psychiatry & Neurology,
Inc., 40 F.3d 247, 251 (7th Cir. 1994). Thus, a
complaint should only be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)
when “it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can
prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would
entitle him to relief.” Killingsworth v. HSBC Bank
Nev., N.A., 507 F.3d 614, 618 (7th Cir. 2007). “To
withstand a Rule 12(b)(6) challenge . . . ‘the
plaintiff must give enough details about the subject-matter
of the case to present a story that holds together, ' and
the question the court should ask is ‘could
these things have happened, not did they
happen.'” Estate of Davis v. Wells Fargo
Bank, 633 F.3d 529, 533 (7th Cir. 2011) (quoting
Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 404-05 (7th
Cir. 2010)) (emphasis in original). Additionally, the court
may not rely upon evidence and facts outside of those alleged
in the complaint in ruling on a motion to dismiss.
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 Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, the Supreme Court explained that the
complaint must allege facts that are “enough to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level.” 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007). The allegations must “give the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.” Id. Stated
differently, the complaint must include “enough facts
to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Hecker v. Deere & Co., 556 F.3d
575, 580 (7th Cir. 2009) (citation and quotation omitted). To
be facially plausible, the complaint must allow “the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
City moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint in its entirety
asserting that Defendants did not seize Ms. Mancini as she
was an innocent bystander unintentionally injured, therefore
her substantive due process, excessive force, and
Monell claims fail. The City argued in the
alternative that the Officer Defendants are entitled to
qualified immunity. The Magistrate Judge suggested in his
recommendation that the motion should be granted in its