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Freeman v. State

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

May 17, 2018

STATE OF INDIANA, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Dimitric Freeman filed a state court Complaint [ECF No. 4] on May 26, 2017, against Defendants the State of Indiana, the City of Fort Wayne, Detective Marc DeShaies, and Sheriff David Gladiuex. Defendant Gladiuex has already been dismissed from this case. (See ECF No. 19.) This case was removed to federal court [ECF No. 1] on July 27, 2017. The State of Indiana (State) filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings [ECF No. 22] on March 27, 2018. The Plaintiff was granted an extension of time until April 30, 2018, [ECF No. 34] in which to respond to the State's Motion, but to date, he has failed to respond or request a further extension of time. In response to the Court's Order [ECF No. 35], the State filed its Answer [ECF No. 36] into the record on May 17, 2018.


         The Plaintiff alleges that on March 7, 2016, Defendant DeShaies, while acting under color of law, applied for a search and arrest warrant for the Plaintiff based upon a tip from an informant that the Plaintiff was driving a blue Dodge Charger in violation of his designation as a habitual traffic violator. (Compl. at 2 ¶ 1, ECF No. 4.) The alleged tip was received on January 2, 2016. (Id.) The Plaintiff asserts that the blue Dodge Charger in question belonged to Jernard Freeman and that the Plaintiff could not have been driving the Charger at the alleged time because the Charger was being repaired from January 4, 2016, until February 11, 2016. (Id. at 2 ¶ 3.) Therefore, the Plaintiff asserts that the warrant was based on false information, which was communicated in reckless disregard for the truth. (Id. at 2 ¶ 5.) The search and arrest warrant was served on the Plaintiff on March 2, 2016. (Id. at 3 ¶ 7.) As a result, the Plaintiff's dogs and puppies were confiscated, and the Plaintiff was arrested. (Id. at 3 ¶ 8.)

         The Plaintiff alleges false arrest, conversion/overbroad search, malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against all of the Defendants. The only Defendant relevant to the instant Motion is the State.


         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c), a party may move for judgment on the pleadings after the plaintiff has filed a complaint and the defendant has filed an answer. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c). “A motion for judgment on the pleadings is generally not favored and courts apply a fairly restrictive standard in ruling on the motion.” Urbanski v. Tech Data, No. 3:07-cv-17, 2008 WL 141574, at *10 (N.D. Ind. Jan. 11, 2008) (citing Fox v. Terra Haute Indep. Broadcasters, Inc., 701 F.Supp. 172, 173 (S.D. Ind. 1988)). Where no evidence outside of the pleadings is submitted, and none has been submitted here, a motion for judgment on the pleadings will be reviewed under the standard of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. Paist v. Town & Country Corp., 744 F., Supp. 179 (N.D. Ill. 1990).

         When reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court must accept all of the factual allegations as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the Plaintiff. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007). The Complaint need not contain detailed facts, but surviving a Rule 12(b)(6) motion “requires more than labels and conclusions . . . . Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when the pleaded factual content 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).


         A. 42 U.S.C. § 1983

         The Defendant argues that the Plaintiff cannot bring a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against a state because a state is not a “person” within the meaning of the statute. In relevant part, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 states:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof 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 . . . .

         “[I]t is well established that neither a state nor a state agency . . . is a ‘person' for the purposes of § 1983.” Ryan v. Ill. Dep't of Children and Family Servs., 185 F.3d 751, 758 (7th Cir. 1999) (citing Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58 (1989) (“We hold that neither a State nor its officials acting their official capacities are ‘persons' under § 1983.”)). Therefore, the Plaintiff cannot bring this claim against the State, and the Court will enter judgment on the pleadings in favor the State.

         B. Intentional Infliction of Emotional ...

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