United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
P. Rodovich United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the court on the Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff's Claims for Relief Under the Equal Protection
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States
Constitution, §504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Title II
of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Claims Under
Indiana State Law for False Imprisonment and Negligent
Infliction of Emotional Distress [DE 17] filed by the
defendants, Sheriff Matthew Hassel and Captain Daniel Butt,
on February 26, 2018. For the following reasons, the motion
is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
plaintiff, Amy Bacewic, initiated this matter on January 11,
2018, in the Marshall Superior Court alleging claims under
the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; the Equal
Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; §504 of
the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. §794(a); Title II of
the American with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §12132
(ADA); and under Indiana state law for false imprisonment,
negligence, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
This matter was removed to this court by the defendants,
Sheriff Matthew Hassel and Captain Daniel Butt (defendants),
on January 19, 2018. At the time of this incident, Sheriff
Hassel was the sheriff of Marshall County, and Captain Daniel
Butt was a deputy who served as a supervisor for the
correctional staff at the Marshall County Jail.
complaint has alleged that on November 16, 2016, Bacewic was
taken into custody by the Marshall County Jail as a pretrial
detainee. Upon arrival at the jail, she notified the
defendants of her medical conditions and disabilities,
including her advanced stage-chronic kidney disease. Bacewic
received dialysis while detained at the jail, which
subsequently led to an infection. She notified the defendants
of the infection and requested immediate care and emergency
assistance. However, she has alleged that the defendants, in
response to her continuous requests for assistance,
retaliated against her by locking her in solitary confinement
for approximately 28 days. After her release from solitary
confinement, she was rushed to the hospital because of the
severity of her illness.
defendants now move to dismiss Bacewic's claims under the
Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, Title II
of the ADA, §504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the
Indiana state law claims for false imprisonment and negligent
infliction of emotional distress pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The defendants are not challenging
Bacewic's claim under the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment. Moreover, the defendants have not
presented arguments challenging the negligence claim. Bacewic
filed a response in opposition on March 1, 2018, and the
defendants filed a reply on March 6, 2018.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows for a
complaint to be dismissed if it fails to “state a claim
upon which relief can be granted.” Allegations other
than those of fraud and mistake are governed by the pleading
standard outlined in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2),
which requires a “short and plain statement” to
show that a pleader is entitled to relief. See Cincinnati
Life Ins. Co. v. Beyrer, 722 F.3d 939, 946 (7th Cir.
2013). The Supreme Court clarified its interpretation of the
Rule 8(a)(2) pleading standard in a decision issued in May
2009. While Rule 8(a)(2) does not require the pleading of
detailed allegations, it nevertheless demands something more
“than an un-adorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). In order
to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a complaint “must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570,
127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)); Cincinnati Life
Ins., 722 F.3d at 946 (“The primary purpose of
[Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 and 10(b)] is to give defendants fair notice
of the claims against them and the grounds supporting the
claims.”) (quoting Stanard v. Nygren, 658 F.3d
792, 797 (7th Cir. 2011)); Peele v. Clifford Burch,
722 F.3d 956, 959 (7th Cir. 2013) (explaining that one
sentence of facts combined with boilerplate language did not
satisfy the requirements of Rule 8); Joren v.
Napolitano, 633 F.3d. 1144, 1146 (7th Cir. 2011). This
pleading standard applies to all civil matters.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 684.
decision in Iqbal discussed two principles that
underscored the Rule 8(a)(2) pleading standard announced by
Twombly. See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555
(discussing Rule 8(a)(2)'s requirement that factual
allegations in a complaint must “raise a right to
relief above the speculative level”). First, a court
must accept as true only factual allegations pled in
a complaint-“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a
cause of action” that amount to “legal
conclusions” are insufficient. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678. Next, only complaints that state
“plausible” claims for relief will survive a
motion to dismiss. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. If the
pleaded facts do not permit the inference of more than a
“mere possibility of misconduct, ” then the
complaint has not met the pleading standard outlined in Rule
8(a)(2). Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79; see Brown v.
JP Morgan Chase Bank, 2009 WL 1761101, at *1 (7th Cir.
June 23, 2009) (defining “facially plausible”
claim as a set of facts that allows for a reasonable
inference of liability). The Supreme Court has suggested a
two-step process for a court to follow when considering a
motion to dismiss. First, any “well-pleaded factual
allegations” should be assumed to be true by the court.
Next, these allegations can be reviewed to determine if they
“plausibly” give rise to a claim that would
entitle the complainant to relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678-79; Bonte v. U.S. Bank, N.A., 624 F.3d 461,
465 (7th Cir. 2010). Reasonable inferences from well-pled
facts must be construed in favor of the plaintiff. Murphy
v. Walker, 51 F.3d 714, 717 (7th Cir. 1995); Maxie
v. Wal-Mart Store, 2009 WL 1766686, at *2 (N.D. Ind.
June 19, 2009) (same); Banks v. Montgomery, 2009 WL
1657465, at *1 (N.D. Ind. June 11, 2009) (same).
complaint that lacks organization and coherence so that it is
too confusing to understand the factual basis of the wrongful
conduct also is subject to dismissal. Cincinnati Life
Ins., 722 F.3d at 946. The court assesses this by
considering whether it can make out the essence of the
claims. Cincinnati Life Ins., 722 F.3d at 946. A
complaint is not unintelligible simply because it contains
repetitive and irrelevant matter. Cincinnati Life
Ins., 722 F.3d at 946. “Rather, we have found
complaints wanting when they present a ‘vague,
confusing, and conclusory articulation of the factual and
legal basis for the claim and [take] a general “kitchen
sink” approach to pleading the case.' . . .
[D]ismissal is the appropriate remedy for district courts
presented with ‘a bucket of mud.'”
Cincinnati Life Ins., 722 F.3d at 946-47 (quoting
Stanard, 658 F.3d at 798).
defendants have argued that Bacewic has failed to allege
sufficient facts to establish a claim under the Equal
Protection clause. Specifically, the defendants have argued
that the complaint does not present any factual allegations
that Bacewic was treated differently than other similarly
situated pretrial detainees. Bacewic has indicated that the
defendants' argument has no basis. However, she has not
presented an argument to the contrary.
Equal Protection clause forbids a state to “deny to any
person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the
laws.” U.S. CONST. amend. XIV, § 1. An
equal-protection claim brought by a “class of
one” can succeed only if the plaintiff proves that she
has been intentionally treated differently from others
similarly situated and that there is no rational basis for
the different treatment. Engquist v. Or. Dep't of
Agric., 553 U.S. 591, 601, 128 S.Ct. 2146, 170 L.Ed.2d
975 (2008); Vill. of Willowbrook v. Olech, 528 U.S.
562, 564, 120 S.Ct. 1073, 145 L.Ed.2d 1060 (2000). A
similarly situated individual is one who is "prima facie
identical in all relevant respects." Racine Charter
One, Inc. V. Racine Unified School District, 424 F.3d
677, 680 (7th Cir. 2005) (quoting Purze v. Village of
Winthrop Harbor, 286 F.3d 452, 455-56 (7th Cir. 2004)).
Equal Protection claim fails because the complaint does not
allege that Bacewic's treatment as a pretrial detainee
was different than other pretrial detainees who were
similarly situated. See Tasby v. Heimlick, 2011 WL
663080, at *2 (N.D. Ind. 2011) (The court dismissed the
plaintiff's Equal Protection claim because he did not
allege that he was being treated worse than similarly
situated inmates.) The complaint alleges that, “Under
the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment,
Defendants may not discriminate against disabled detainees
without a reason rationally related to a legitimate
governmental interest.” The plaintiff must plead
factual content that allows the court to draw reasonable
inferences that ...