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Baidwan v. Crawfordsville Police Department

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

October 27, 2017

JASPAL BAIDWAN, Plaintiff,
v.
CRAWFORDSVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT, and JARED COLLEY, Defendants.

          ENTRY GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants, Jared Colley (“Officer Colley”) and the Crawfordsville Police Department (“Crawfordsville PD, ” and collectively with Officer Colley, the “Defendants”). (Filing No. 26.) The disputes in this matter surround Plaintiff Jaspal Baidwan's (“Baidwan”) claims against the Defendants for false arrest, unlawful search, malicious prosecution and failure to train. Baidwan opposes the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. (Filing No. 31.) For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS the Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         As required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, the following facts are presented in the light most favorable to Baidwan as the non-moving party. See Zerante v. DeLuca, 555 F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009); see also, Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986).

         On July 1, 2014, Kenneth Lybrook (“Lybrook”) pulled into a Marathon gas station owned and operated by Baidwan to purchase gasoline. (Filing No. 28-1 at 1; Filing No. 32-1 at 1; Filing No. 32-2 at 1.) Lybrook went inside the station to pay the attendant, Gagandeep Kaur (“Kaur”), and then returned outside to fuel his vehicle. (Filing No. 28-1 at 1.) Lybrook believed that he prepaid $40.00, however, the fuel pump shut off after only providing $25.00 worth of gasoline. (Filing No. 28-1 at 1-2.) Lybrook returned to the station to inquire why the fuel pump had turned off early. Kaur informed him that he had only paid $25.00, instead of the $40.00 he believed he had paid. (Filing No. 28-1 at 2.)

         Baidwan noticed that Lybrook was arguing with Kaur, so he came out of his office to address the situation. (Filing No. 28-3 at 3.) After reviewing a surveillance video of the transaction, Baidwan informed Lybrook that he had only paid $25.00. (Filing No. 28-3 at 3.) The conversation between Baidwan and Lybrook became heated, and Lybrook ended up falling to the floor. (Filing No. 28-1 at 2-3; Filing No. 28-3 at 3-4.) Baidwan then called Crawfordsville PD to report Lybrook's fall. (Filing No. 28-3 at 6.)

         Officer Colley responded to Baidwan's call at the Marathon gas station to investigate the situation. (Filing No. 28-3 at 7.) Upon his arrival, Officer Colley observed the scene and conducted interviews of Baidwan, Lybrook, and Kaur about what had happened and about how Lybrook ended up on the floor. (Filing No. 28-3 at 7; Filing No. 28-5 at 2-3.) Lybrook informed Officer Colley that Baidwan had pushed him to the floor, but Baidwan and Kaur both reported that Baidwan did not push Lybrook, rather he had fallen on his own. (Filing No. 28-5 at 2-3.) Baidwan took Officer Colley into his office to allow the officer to watch a surveillance video of the incident between Baidwan and Lybrook. (Filing No. 28-1 at 5; Filing No. 28-3 at 8.) Officer Colley did not take any photographs of the scene and did not write any field notes regarding the incident. (Filing No. 32-3 at 1-2.) Lybrook stated that he did not want to press charges at that time, and Officer Colley left the Marathon station without arresting Baidwan. (Filing No. 28-3 at 8-9.)

         Two days later, on July 3, 2014, Lybrook changed his mind and decided to press charges against Baidwan for battery. Lybrook went to the police station and gave an official statement to Sergeant Geoff Payne (“Sergeant Payne”) of Crawfordsville PD. (Filing No. 32-4 at 1; Filing No. 32-10.) In his statement, Lybrook indicated that Baidwan “shoved [him] with both hands, ” causing him to fall to the floor and to sustain injuries to his head, elbow, hands, hip, and back. (Filing No. 32-10.) When taking the statement, Sergeant Payne also took several photographs of Lybrook's visible injuries, which depicted several bruises to his arms and head. (Filing No. 32-4 at 2; Filing No. 32-5.) Sergeant Payne assured Lybrook that he would forward his statement and the photographs to Officer Colley so that he could follow up with the employees at Baidwan's Marathon station. (Filing No. 32-5.)

         On July 4, 2014, after learning of Lybrook's statement, viewing the photos of Lybrook's injuries, and discussing the situation with Lieutenant Largent of Crawfordsville PD and a deputy prosecutor, Officer Colley returned to the Marathon gas station and arrested Baidwan on a charge of misdemeanor battery. (Filing No. 2 at 5; Filing No. 10 at 4; Filing No. 32-3 at 2). Although Officer Colley did not obtain a warrant to arrest Baidwan (Filing No. 32-3 at 3), he did write a probable cause report to support the arrest. (Filing No. 32-6.) In the probable cause report, Officer Colley noted that he had good cause to believe Baidwan committed a battery against Lybrook based on his own observations and Lybrook's credible statements that Baidwan had pushed him to the floor and caused injury. (Filing No. 32-6.) Specifically, Officer Colley indicated that he believed Lybrook's statements to be “credible because [Lybrook] was the Victim [sic] to this incident, who reported His [sic] observations to the Police immediately and prepared a Statement that could subject him/her to criminal liability should they later be proven false.” (Filing No. 32-6.)

         At the time of Baidwan's arrest, Officer Colley entered Baidwan's office to find the surveillance video that he had previously viewed of the incident. (Filing No. 28-4 at 7.) After “looking through the monitor for the video” and failing to find it on his own, Officer Colley asked Baidwan's son, Navpreet Baidwan (“Navpreet”), to help him retrieve the video. Navpreet indicated that he did not know how to access the surveillance footage. (Filing No. 28-4 at 7.) Officer Colley then left Baidwan's office without a copy of the video. (Filing No. 28-4 at 7.)

         Officer Colley took Baidwan to the Montgomery County Jail. (Filing No. 28-3 at 11.) Baidwan was released from jail within twelve hours of his arrest. (Filing No. 28-3 at 2.) Charges against Baidwan were ultimately dismissed. While Baidwan does not assert that he sustained any physical harm, he does claim that he suffered reputational harm to his businesses as a result of his arrest. (Filing No. 28-3 at 12.)

         On July 1, 2016, Baidwan filed the instant Complaint, asserting claims of false arrest, unlawful search, and malicious prosecution against Officer Colley, as well as a claim of failure to train against Crawfordsville PD, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Filing No. 2.) Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on May 16, 2017, arguing that Officer Colley had, or at least reasonably believed he had, probable cause to arrest Baidwan for misdemeanor battery at the time of the arrest. (Filing No. 27 at 6-12.) Defendants further contend that Baidwan failed to provide sufficient evidence to support his claims of unlawful search and malicious prosecution. (Filing No. 27 at 9-11.) Moreover, Defendants assert that Crawfordsville PD is not a proper party to this action as a municipal police department and that Baidwan has not provided a sufficient factual basis to support his claim of failure to train against Crawfordsville PD. (Filing No. 27 at 12-16.) In response, Baidwan argues that the facts of this case do not support a finding that Officer Colley had probable cause to arrest him. (Filing No. 31 at 4-13.) Baidwan also argues that Officer Colley knowingly and plainly violated his rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments when the officer executed a warrantless arrest and search of his office. (Filing No. 31 at 13-15.)

         II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         The purpose of summary judgment is to “pierce the pleadings and to assess the proof in order to see whether there is a genuine need for trial.” Matsushita Elec. Indust. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that summary judgment is appropriate if “the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Hemsworth v. Quotesmith.com, Inc., 476 F.3d 487, 489-90 (7th Cir. 2007). In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court reviews “the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw[s] all reasonable inferences in that party's favor.” Zerante, 555 F.3d at 584 (citation omitted). “However, inferences that are supported by only speculation or conjecture will not defeat a summary judgment motion.” Dorsey v. Morgan Stanley, 507 F.3d 624, 627 (7th Cir. 2007) (citation and quotation marks omitted). Additionally, “[a] party who bears the burden of proof on a particular issue may not rest on its pleadings, but must affirmatively demonstrate, by specific factual allegations, that there is a genuine ...


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