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McBride v. Odle

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

March 19, 2018

DIONTA McBRIDE, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER CHAD ODLE, OFFICER BRANDON ROUNDTREE, OFFICER ANDREW WHITMEYER, and SGT. BRIAN SCHROTH, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          RUDY LOZANO, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Summary Judgment, filed on April 3, 2017 (DE #15). For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion for summary judgment (DE #15) is GRANTED. The Clerk is DIRECTED to close this case.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Dionta McBride (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint in alleging that Elkhart Police Department officers Chad Odle, Brandon Roundtree, and Andrew Whitmeyer, and Sergeant Brian Schroth (together, “Defendants”) subjected him to false arrest, false imprisonment, and unreasonable search in violation of Fourth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in connection with a traffic stop on May 5, 2014. Defendants filed motion for summary judgment based on Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d). The motion is fully briefed and are ripe for adjudication.

         DISCUSSION

         Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary judgment must be granted when “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A genuine dispute of material fact exists when “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). Not every dispute between the parties makes summary judgment inappropriate; “[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.” Id. To determine whether a genuine dispute of material fact exists, the Court must construe all facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. See Ogden v. Atterholt, 606 F.3d 355, 358 (7th Cir. 2010).

         A party opposing a properly supported summary judgment motion may not rely on allegations in her own pleading but rather must “marshal and present the court with the evidence she contends will prove her case.” Goodman v. Nat'l Sec. Agency, Inc., 621 F.3d 651, 654 (7th Cir. 2010). “[I]nferences relying on mere speculation or conjecture will not suffice.” Stephens v. Erickson, 569 F.3d 779, 786 (7th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). If the nonmoving party fails to establish the existence of an essential element on which he bears the burden of proof at trial, summary judgment is proper. See Massey v. Johnson, 457 F.3d 711, 716 (7th Cir. 2006).

         Undisputed Facts

         In May 2014, Plaintiff, a resident of Texas, was in Elkhart for the purpose of recording a comedy CD and performing comedy live at various locations in Elkhart. (Defs. Ex. A, at 14, 46-48.) While in Elkhart, Plaintiff drove his sister's vehicle, a dark blue Dodge Intrepid (“Intrepid”). (Id. at 57.) On May 5, 2014, Plaintiff was at the house located at 2301 South 6th Street in Elkhart, Indiana (“Residence”). (Id. at 46.) He was there to use a recording studio located in the basement of the Residence. (Id. at 46-47.) Plaintiff had visited the Residence approximately three times for the purpose of utilizing the recording studio. (Id. at 50.) He did not know who owned or lived in the Residence, and was only familiar with the producer with whom he was working during the studio sessions. (Id. at 50-51.)

         On May 5, 2014, defendant Sergeant Brian Schroth (“Schroth”) was a member of the Elkhart Police Department Drug Unit, which was conducting a short term drug investigation into the Residence. (Defs. Ex. B, ¶¶ 1-3.) That day, a confidential informant had purchased marijuana at the Residence. (Id., ¶4.) At 9:00 a.m., Schroth drove past the Residence and observed a dark blue Dodge Intrepid bearing Indiana license plate RLO899 parked in the driveway of the Residence. (Id., ¶5.) Schroth ran the license plate and it was registered to Donisha McBride, Plaintiff's sister. (Id.) Several times throughout the day, Schroth drove past the Residence and observed the Intrepid parked in the driveway. (Id., ¶6.)

         On May 5, 2014, Plaintiff arrived at the Residence at approximately 5:30 p.m. and was there for approximately one hour and twenty minutes. (Defs. Ex. A, at 59-60.) He had driven the Intrepid there and parked it in the driveway. (Id. at 65.) Plaintiff saw Steven Randall (“Randall”) inside the Residence. (Id. at 61.) Plaintiff had no knowledge of any illegal activity occurring in the Residence and had never personally seen drugs, drug use, or drug sales occurring at the Residence. (Id. at 56-57.)

         At approximately 6:30 p.m., Schroth and defendant Officer Andrew Whitmeyer (“Whitmeyer”) were conducting surveillance on the Residence and observed the Intrepid backed into the driveway. (Defs. Ex. B, ¶7.) Schroth then observed a black male, later identified as Randall, exit the Residence and leave in the Intrepid. (Id., ¶8.) Schroth and Whitmeyer followed Randall to a store, then to a gas station and back to the Residence. (Id.)

         At approximately 7:28 p.m., Schroth and Whitmeyer observed a black male exit the Residence and leave in the Intrepid. (Id., ¶9.) Schroth and Whitmeyer followed the Intrepid to West Lusher Avenue, where they directed defendants Corporal Brandon Roundtree (“Roundtree”) and Corporal Chad Odle (“Odle”) of the Elkhart Police Department to execute a traffic stop of the Intrepid “for visiting a common nuisance” at the Residence. (Id., ΒΆ10.) Schroth and Whitmeyer requested that Roundtree and Odle execute the traffic stop because they were in uniform and a ...


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