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Perkins v. Jordan

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

June 6, 2018



          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, United States District Court Chief Judge

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Dan Gordon's motion for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the motion must be granted, and all claims against Mr. Gordon must be dismissed.

         I. Summary Judgment Standard

         A motion for summary judgment asks the Court to find that a trial is unnecessary because there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and, instead, the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). Whether a party asserts that a fact is undisputed or genuinely disputed, the party must support the asserted fact by citing to particular parts of the record, including depositions, documents, or affidavits. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A).

         On summary judgment, a party must show the Court what evidence it has that would convince a trier of fact to accept its version of the events. Gekas v. Vasilades, 814 F.3d 890, 896 (7th Cir. 2016). The moving party is entitled to summary judgment if no reasonable fact-finder could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Nelson v. Miller, 570 F.3d 868, 875 (7th Cir. 2009). The Court views the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draws all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Skiba v. Illinois Cent. R.R. Co., 884 F.3d 708, 717 (7th Cir. 2018). It cannot weigh evidence or make credibility determinations on summary judgment because those tasks are left to the fact-finder. Miller v. Gonzalez, 761 F.3d 822, 827 (7th Cir. 2014). The Court need only consider the cited materials, Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3), and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has repeatedly assured the district courts that they are not required to “scour every inch of the record” for evidence that is potentially relevant to the summary judgment motion before them. Grant v. Trustees of Indiana University, 870 F.3d 562, 573-74 (7th Cir. 2017). Any doubt as to the existence of a genuine issue for trial is resolved against the moving party. Ponsetti v. GE Pension Plan, 614 F.3d 684, 691 (7th Cir. 2010).

         Plaintiff Lance Perkins failed to respond to Mr. Gordon's summary judgment motion. Accordingly, facts alleged in the motion are deemed admitted so long as support for them exists in the record. See 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”); Brasic v. Heinemanns, Inc., 121 F.3d 281, 285-286 (7th Cir. 1997) (affirming grant of summary judgment where the nonmovant failed to properly offer evidence disputing the movant's version of the facts). See also S.D. Ind. Local Rule 56-1 (“A party opposing a summary judgment motion must . . . file and serve a response brief and any evidence . . . that the party relies on to oppose the motion. The response must . . . identif[y] the potentially determinative facts and factual disputes that the party contends demonstrate a dispute of fact precluding summary judgment.”). This does not alter the summary judgment standard, but it does “reduce the pool” from which facts and inferences relative to the motion may be drawn. Smith v. Severn, 129 F.3d 419, 426 (7th Cir. 1997).

         II. Facts

         Mr. Gordon has supported the following factual assertions with admissible evidence, and Mr. Perkins has not rebutted them. Therefore, they are undisputed for purposes of the motion for summary judgment. However, the Court views these undisputed facts in the light most favorable to Mr. Perkins as the non-moving party and draws all reasonable inferences in his favor. See Skiba, 884 F.3d at 717.

         Mr. Perkins was arrested on February 11, 2013. At the time, Mr. Perkins had $6, 530 in U.S. currency on his person. Law enforcement officers seized that money. After his arrest, Mr. Perkins was detained at the Wayne County Jail and released on bond on February 12, 2013. Mr. Perkins did not return to the Jail until April 27, 2013, when he was arrested for failing to appear.

         On the same day, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at a residence shared by Timothy Price and Ashley Brooke Osborne. Officers found $2, 820 in U.S. currency and seized it for purposes of forfeiture. No evidence indicated that Mr. Perkins lived at the Price-Osborne residence or that he was otherwise connected to the $2, 820 found there.

         The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) initiated administrative forfeiture proceedings for both the $6, 530 seized from Mr. Perkins and the $2, 820 seized from the Price-Osborne residence. On March 8, 2013, the DEA sent written Notices of Seizure concerning the $6, 530 to Mr. Perkins at three addresses, all by certified mail. Two of these addresses were taken from court documents generated following Mr. Perkins's arrest. A DEA investigation identified the third address as Mr. Perkins's residence. The Postal Service returned each notice, indicating that Mr. Perkins did not reside at the address and that it did not have a forwarding address for him.

         On March 8, 2013, the DEA also sent a Notice of Seizure to Mr. Perkins by certified mail at the address of attorney David Jordan, who represented Mr. Perkins in the criminal action that was then pending. This notice was delivered and accepted.

         In addition to sending Mr. Perkins written Notices of Seizure, the DEA posted notice online from March 25 through April 23, 2013, at www.

         With respect to the $2, 820 seized from the Price-Osborne residence, the DEA again posted notice online and sent written Notices of Seizure to addresses associated with Mr. Price and Ms. Osborne. The DEA did not attempt to send written notice of this forfeiture proceeding to Mr. Perkins because no evidence indicated that he lived at the ...

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