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Stewart v. Fort Wayne Police Department

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

January 22, 2018

TYQUAN STEWART, Plaintiff,
v.
FORT WAYNE POLICE DEPARTMENT, UNKNOWN OFFICER, PARKVIEW HOSPITAL, and UNKNOWN EMPLOYEE, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          THERESA L. SPRINGMANN, CHIEF JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Fort Wayne Police Department's Motion to Dismiss [ECF No. 20]. Tyquan Stewart, the Plaintiff, has not filed a Response as of the date of this Opinion and Order. For the following reasons, the Court grants the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.

         BACKGROUND

         On September 6, 2017, the Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed his first Complaint [ECF No. 1] against the Fort Wayne Police Department (FWPD) and an Unknown Officer, as well as a Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis [ECF No. 2]. On September 20, 2017, The Court granted the Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis [ECF No. 3]. Shortly thereafter, the Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint [ECF No. 5], which contained largely the same allegations as the original Complaint, but added Parkview Hospital and an Unknown Parkview Employee as Defendants. The Plaintiff has not been able to secure private counsel, and has not convinced the Court to appoint counsel at this stage of the litigation [ECF Nos. 19, 27].

         The Plaintiff's claim is relatively straightforward. In June of 2016, he was involved in a car accident. (Compl. ¶ 1.) After the accident, he passed out in an ambulance. (Id.) While he was unconscious, a police officer and a Parkview Hospital employee drew his blood without his consent. (Id.) The Plaintiff contends that this blood draw violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free of an unreasonable search or unreasonable seizure. (Id.) He also asserts that the blood draw violated Parkview policy. (Id.) As a result of the blood draw, the Plaintiff spent thirty days in jail, where he was continuously mistreated. (Id.)

         The Fort Wayne Police Department argues that it should be dismissed from the instant action because (1) the FWPD cannot be sued under § 1983, and (2) the Plaintiff has not pleaded sufficient facts to establish municipal liability.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         A motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of the complaint, not the merits of the suit. Gibson v. City of Chi., 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990). The Court presumes that all well-pleaded allegations are true, views these well-pleaded allegations in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff, and accepts as true all reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the allegations. Whirlpool Fin. Corp. v. GN Holdings, Inc., 67 F.3d 605, 608 (7th Cir. 1995).

         The Supreme Court has articulated the following standard regarding factual allegations that are required to survive dismissal:

While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the “grounds” of his “entitlement to relief” requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).

Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal quotation marks, alterations, citations, and footnote omitted). A complaint must contain sufficient factual matter to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570. “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows 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).

         The instant case involves a pro se plaintiff, which means that the Court must liberally construe his pleading. Anderson v. Hardman, 241 F.3d 544, 545 (7th Cir. 2001). Additionally, pro se submissions are held “to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 546 (7th Cir. 2009).

         ANALYSIS

         The Fort Wayne Police Department argues that it should be dismissed from the instant action because (1) the FWPD cannot be sued under § 1983, and (2) the Plaintiff has not pleaded sufficient facts to establish ...


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