Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Ward v. Tanner

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

December 7, 2017



          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge

         Plaintiff Dacia Nakema Ward, an inmate at Westville Correctional Facility, an Indiana state prison, filed this civil action. The defendants are Jack Tanner and Vigo County.

         Ward alleges that he sought and was granted approval by a state court judge to participate in a drug treatment program called Jail Linkage. Ward completed phase one, a six-week program, which is held in the Vigo County jail. However, Ward was denied the opportunity to participate in phase two of the program. Ward alleges that he was denied the opportunity to go to a sober living halfway house called “Freebirds” and complete phase two of the program because he is a sex offender. He asserts that this decision was made by Jack Tanner consistent with Vigo County's policies in violation of Ward's right to equal protection.

         The screening Entry issued July 18, 2016, held that these allegations were sufficient to raise an equal protection claim under the Fourteenth Amendment pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Dkt. No. 6. Section 1983 provides:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State ... subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States ... to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress ....

42 U.S.C. § 1983. “Equal protection of the laws means that all persons similarly situated should be treated alike.” United States v. Brucker, 646 F.3d 1012, 1016-17 (7th Cir. 2011) (internal citation omitted).

         The defendants deny any wrongdoing. Now before the Court is the motion for summary judgment filed by defendant Jack Tanner. For the reasons explained below, the motion for summary judgment is granted and both defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Malak v. Associated Physicians, Inc., 784 F.2d 277, 280 (7th Cir. 1986) (“[W]here one defendant files a motion for summary judgment which the court grants, the district court may sua sponte enter summary judgment in favor of additional non-moving defendants if the motion raised by the first defendant is equally effective in barring the claim against the other defendants and the plaintiff had an adequate opportunity to argue in opposition to the motion.”).

         I. Standard of Review

         Summary judgment should be granted “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). A “material fact” is one that “might affect the outcome of the suit.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). “The applicable substantive law will dictate which facts are material.” National Soffit & Escutcheons, Inc., v. Superior Systems, Inc., 98 F.3d 262, 265 (7th Cir. 1996) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248).

         “[A] party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of ‘the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, ' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). “[T]he burden on the moving party may be discharged by ‘showing'--that is, pointing out to the district court--that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.” Id. at 325. The Court views the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and all reasonable inferences are drawn in the non-movant's favor. Ault v. Speicher, 634 F.3d 942, 945 (7th Cir. 2011).

         In this case, Tanner has met that burden through his unopposed motion for summary judgment. Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003) (“[F]ailure to respond by the nonmovant as mandated by the local rules results in an admission.”). By not responding to the motion for summary judgment, Ward has conceded to Tanner's version of the facts. Brasic v. Heinemann's Inc., 121 F.3d 281, 286 (7th Cir. 1997). This is the result of Local Rule 56-1(h), of which Ward was notified. This does not alter the standard for assessing a Rule 56 motion, but does “reduc[e] the pool” from which the facts and inferences relative to such a motion may be drawn. Smith v. Severn, 129 F.3d 419, 426 (7th Cir. 1997).

         II. Material Facts

         Ward was charged with possession of methamphetamine and possession of paraphernalia in Vigo Superior Court on February 23, 2015, and the court referred Ward for an evaluation at a sober living facility shortly thereafter on March 4, 2015.

         Freebirds Solution Center (“Freebirds”) is a faith based sober living facility in Terre Haute, Indiana. Jack Tanner, the Director of Operations of Freebirds, evaluated Ward for placement at the facility. Tanner performed a background check ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.