United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
DAVID A. JAROSCAK, Plaintiff,
The Times of Northwest Indiana, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
matter is before the Court on six motions to dismiss: (1) the
Motion to Dismiss, filed by Defendant, Aaron Ridgway, on
April 13, 2017 (DE #25); (2) the Motion to Dismiss, filed by
Defendants Town of Merrillville Police Department and Police
Chief Joseph Petruch, on April 17, 2017 (DE #27); (3) the
Motion to Dismiss, filed by Defendants Crown Point Police
Department, Officer Stanko Gligic, Officer Robert Ballas,
Officer Mille Knezevic, Officer D. Wilkins, Officer J.
Burkholder, and Police Chief Pete Land, on April 24, 2017 (DE
#30); (4) the Motion to Dismiss filed by Lee Publication,
Inc. d/b/a The Times Media Company (improperly Named as
“The Times of Northwest Indiana”) and Reginald
Edwards, on April 24, 2017 (DE #33); (5) the Motion to
Dismiss, filed by Defendants Officers John Doe, on April 27,
2017 (DE #38); and (6) the Motion to Dismiss, filed by
Defendants Lake County Sheriff's Department and Sheriff
John Buncich, on May 3, 2017 (DE #43).
reasons set forth below: the Motions to Dismiss (DE ## 25,
27, 30, 33, 38, and 43) are GRANTED as
follows: the federal claims (Counts V, VI, VII, VIII, X, and
XI) are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE and the
state claims (Counts I, II, III, IV, and IX) are dismissed
David A. Jaroscak, filed a complaint against numerous
plaintiffs on February 27, 2017 (DE #1), all stemming from an
occurrence at Jaroscak's house on March 1, 2015, when
defendant, Theresa Ridgway, was delivering newspapers for the
Times of Northwest Indiana, and got her vehicle stuck in the
snow in Jaroscak's driveway. Theresa's husband, Aaron
Ridgway (a police officer for the Town of Merrillville), got
into a verbal confrontation with Jaroscak, Aaron Ridgway
called the police, and Jaroscak was ultimately arrested by
the Lake County Police two days later. Defendants have moved
to dismiss the claims against them pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a
claim. Each of the motions has been fully briefed
and is ready for adjudication. Because the motions share the
same nucleus of facts, for the sake of judicial economy, this
Court has consolidated these motions into one order.
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
March 1, 2015, around 6:00 a.m. in the morning, Jaroscak was
in his home watching the news when he heard a thud on his
front porch. (Compl. ¶ 24.) Thinking that the noise was
simply the snow and cold he stayed in his home and continued
watching the news. Id. About forty-five minutes
later he took his dog outside when he noticed a car stuck in
his driveway, with about half the car in his yard.
(Id. ¶ 25.) Plaintiff's driveway is
approximately 350 feet long, none of which was plowed, and
the stuck car was approximately 100 feet from the street.
(Id. ¶¶ 25-26.) The vehicle belonged to
Theresa Ridgway, a co-defendant and the wife of Defendant,
Aaron Ridgway. (Id. ¶ 27.) Theresa was
delivering newspapers for The Times of Northwest Indiana
(“The Times”) the morning of the incident.
(Id. ¶ 5.)
seeing Theresa's stuck vehicle, Jaroscak noticed a SUV
pull into his driveway. (Id. ¶¶ 27-28.)
The SUV belonged to Reginald Edwards, a co-worker of
Theresa's from The Times. (Id. ¶¶ 7,
33.) Edwards ended up getting his vehicle stuck as well.
(Id. ¶ 28.) Plaintiff watched Theresa and
Edwards attempt to free their vehicles for about twenty
minutes, at which point he decided to put his dog back inside
the house and approach the drivers to ask why they were at
his home. (Id. ¶ 29.) Theresa told Jaroscak
that she was delivering his newspaper, to which he responded
that he doesn't get the paper and that she was
trespassing. (Id. ¶ 30.) Jaroscak asked Theresa
and Edwards to both leave, and they responded by ignoring
him. (Id. ¶ 32.) He then told the two of them
“I can go get my shotgun or call the police.”
Id. Theresa responded by saying she would call the
telling Theresa that he could go get his shotgun or call the
police, Jaroscak began walking back towards his front porch.
(Id. ¶¶ 32-33.) He picked up the newspaper
which Theresa delivered earlier that morning, walked back and
placed the paper in Theresa's vehicle, and then went back
inside his home. Id.
after 8:00 a.m., about an hour after Jaroscak first noticed
that Theresa was stuck in his driveway, he heard a knock at
his door and the doorbell. (Id. ¶¶ 25,
34.) He went to the door and saw a man in plain clothes,
defendant Aaron Ridgway, who identified himself as the
husband of the woman stuck in the driveway, to which Jaroscak
responded “O.K.” (Id. ¶¶
35-36.) According to the complaint, Ridgway then
“accused the Plaintiff of threatening his wife, ”
“said he was a Crown Point Police Officer, ” and
“proceeded to verbal[ly] threaten, scream, spit and
yell at the Plaintiff through the Plaintiff's storm
door.” (Id. ¶ 37.) During this time,
Plaintiff's storm door remained closed between them, and
it was locked. (Id. ¶¶ 35-37.) Although
the complaint alleges that Ridgway identified himself as a
Crown Point Police Officer, he is actually a Police Officer
of the Town of Merrillville, Indiana. (Id.
¶¶ 38-39.) This conversation occurred on
Jaroscak's porch, which was approximately 200 feet from
Theresa and Reginald's stuck vehicles. (Id.
¶¶ 33, 38.) After exchanging words with Plaintiff,
the complaint alleges Ridgway then called the police on his
cell phone while standing on the Plaintiff's porch.
(Id. ¶ 38.)
also alleges that at 8:30 a.m., he received a telephone call
from the Crown Point Police Department, requesting that he go
outside of his home because police officers were there.
(Id. ¶ 40.) Plaintiff did not see any police
officers at that time, and he did not go outside - instead,
he requested the caller to send a supervisor to the door.
(Id.) He received a second phone call at 8:39 a.m.
from the Crown Point Police Department, requesting him to go
outside of his home. (Id. ¶ 41.) Plaintiff saw
officers standing by the woods, approximately 80 feet from
his front porch. (Id. ¶ 42.) He proceeded to
walk out onto his front porch and yell to the officers
“where is the supervisor.” (Id.)
According to Plaintiff, the officers then drew their weapons,
pointed them at Plaintiff, and yelled at him, so he retreated
into his house. (Id.) Plaintiff then observed from
inside the removal of the two stuck vehicles. (Id.
alleges he was arrested by Lake County Police officers two
days later, on March 3, 2015. (Id. ¶ 50.) He
was released after he posted bond in the amount of $500 to
the City of Crown Point on the charge of Intimidation and
another $500 at the Lake County Jail for the charge of
Resisting Law Enforcement. (Id. ¶ 54.) The
charge of Resisting Law Enforcement was never filed against
Jaroscak, and the charge of Intimidation was dismissed by the
State on February 16, 2016. (Id. ¶¶
complaint filed on February 27, 2017, Plaintiff alleges the
following claims: (1) trespass against Lee Publication, Inc.
d/b/a The Times Media Company (improperly Named as “The
Times of Northwest Indiana”) (hereinafter “the
Times Defendants”), Theresa Ridgway, and Reginald
Edwards (Count I); (2) slander against the Times Defendants,
Theresa Ridgway, and Reginald Edwards (Count II); (3)
trespass against Aaron Ridgway (Count III); (4) slander
against Aaron Ridgway (Count IV); (5) violations of 42 U.S.C.
1983: failure to train, refusing or neglecting to prevent,
against the Town of Merrillville Police Department and Chief
of Police Joseph Petruch (Count V); (6) violations of 42
U.S.C. 1983: false arrest, against the Crown Point Police
Department (Count VI); (7) violations of 42 U.S.C. 1983:
detention and confinement, against the Crown Point Police
Department (Count VII); (8) violations of 42 U.S.C. 1983:
failure to train, refusing or neglecting to prevent, against
the Crown Point Police Department and Chief of Police, Pete
Land as Chief for the Crown Point Police Department (Count
VIII); (9) trespass against the Crown Point ...