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Bostic v. State

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

October 2, 2017

LORENA E. BOSTIC, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF INDIANA, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          PAUL R. CHERRY, MAGISTRATE JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This matter is before the Court on a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings [DE 61], filed by Defendants Salvador Vasquez, Clarence D. Murray, Diane Ross Boswell, Thomas P. Stefaniak, Jr., and Samual L. Cappas (collectively “Superior Court Judge Defendants”) on July 12, 2017. Plaintiff Lorena E. Bostic filed a response on September 15, 2017, and Defendants filed a reply on September 19, 2017.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed her Amended Complaint on December 1, 2015. Count I of the Amended Complaint is brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against several defendants, including the Superior Court Judge Defendants. Count II alleged a claim of negligence. On September 27, 2016, the Court dismissed the Count II negligence claim against the Superior Court Judge Defendants. As for Count I, the Court recognized that Plaintiff was not bringing official capacity claims against the Superior Court Judge Defendants but declined to address the propriety of the § 1983 individual capacity claims because the Superior Court Judge Defendants did not address the issue in the Motion to Dismiss. These claims remain pending and are the subject of the instant Motion to Dismiss.

         In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that she was sexually assaulted by Defendant Miroslav Radiceski while he was serving as her probation officer. The General Allegations of the Amended Complaint provide, in relevant part,

18. That the Defendants State of Indiana; Lake County, Indiana; the Lake County, Indiana, Board of Commissioners; and the Judges of the Superior Court of Lake County, Criminal Division, were charged with the duty, inter alia, of providing appropriate facilities and qualified staff for the operation of the felony Probation Department of the Superior Court of Lake County, Criminal Division, which was under the direct supervision of the Judges of the Superior Court of Lake County, Criminal Division, of which the Honorable Diane Ross Boswell was the Senior Judge.
19. That at all times relevant hereto, all of the Defendant Judges of the Superior Court of Lake County, Criminal Division and/or their employees and agents had the duty, inter alia, to take reasonable steps to protect probationers from injuries or damages caused by employees of the Defendants and to otherwise adequately assure the safety and supervision of probationers under the administration, supervision and control of the felony Probation Department of the Superior Court of Lake County, Criminal Division.
20. That at all times mentioned herein it was the further duty of the Defendant Judges of the Superior Court of Lake County, Criminal Division, and Jan Parsons, the Director and Chief Probation Officer of the felony Probation Department, to maintain proper and adequate supervision of the employees of the felony Probation Department, who had been entrusted with a position of authority and trust over probationers, to protect and preserve the safety of probationers and provide Lorena E. Bostic and other probationers with guidance, supervision and direction.
21. That at all times mentioned, it was the further duty of the Defendant Judges of the Superior Court of Lake County, Criminal Division, and Jan Parsons, the Director and Chief Probation Officer of the felony Probation Department, to take precautions reasonable under the circumstances to protect the life, health and safety of Lorena E. Bostic and other probationers.
22. That at all times relevant to this AMENDED COMPLAINT, Defendant Judges of the Superior Court of Lake County, Criminal Division, and Jan Parsons, Director and Chief Probation Officer of the felony Probation Department, were aware of problems and investigations involving deficiencies in the conduct of Miroslav Radiceski in his relations with and supervision of probationers.
23. That the Defendant Judges of the Superior Court of Lake County, Criminal Division, and Jan Parsons, Director and Chief Probation Officer of the felony Probation Department, notwithstanding their knowledge of problems which had occurred in the past, took little or no action to remedy such problems but instead were maliciously indifferent to the problems such that said Defendants, collectively and individually, knew or should have known that a serious breach of security, trust, guidance and protection was inevitable.

(ECF 5, ¶ 18-23). In relevant part, Count I alleges:

         53. That the Defendant Judges of the Superior Court of Lake County, Criminal Division; the Director of the Lake County felony Probation Department, Jan Parsons; and their employees and agents breached their duty to the Plaintiff, Lorena E. Bostic, through their denial to her of the rights, privileges and immunities guaranteed by the Constitution in their administration, supervision and management of the Lake County felony Probation Department in the following manner:

a. Hiring, retaining and entrusting, in a position of authority and trust, the supervision of probationers to an employee who was known or should have been known to said Defendants to be of such poor character, temperament and disposition as to be totally unfit to be hired, retained and ...

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