United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
RICHARDX. YOUNG, JUDGE
early morning hours of January 6, 2016, Plaintiffs, Kenneth
Nash and his fiancée, Tammy Williams, were traveling
southbound on Interstate 65 near Lafayette, Indiana. Nash was
driving a rented U-Haul with an auto transport trailer-in-tow
that carried a 2004 Mercedes Benz owned by Williams. They
were pulled over by Senior Trooper Ryan Winters of the
Indiana State Police and his trainee, Trooper Colton Maynor.
Two and a half hours later, Nash was issued a Traffic Warning
Ticket. Between the initial stop and the issuance of the
warning, the U-Haul and vehicle were searched, and Nash and
Williams were interrogated in police squad cars at length.
and Williams sued the state of Indiana, the ISP, ISP Trooper
Winters, and ISP Trooper Peter Stephan under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, alleging Fourth Amendment claims of unreasonable
seizure, false arrest, and unreasonable search of the U-Haul
and vehicle. They also bring an unreasonable search and
seizure claim under Article I, § 11 of the Indiana
Constitution, and a false arrest and false imprisonment claim
under Indiana law. Defendants now move for summary judgment.
For the reasons explained below, the court
DENIES the motion.
and Williams, who are both African American, were traveling
southbound on Interstate 65 on their way to Atlanta, Georgia,
on January 6, 2016. (Filing No. 32-1, Deposition of Ryan
Winters (“Winters Dep.”) at 34; Filing No. 47-2,
Affidavit of Kenneth Nash (“Nash Aff.”) ¶ 5;
Filing No. 47-1, Affidavit of Tammy Williams (“Williams
Aff.”) ¶ 3). Nash was driving a rented U-Haul with
an auto transport trailer-in-tow that carried Williams'
vehicle. (Nash Aff. ¶ 3; Williams Aff. ¶ 6). At
approximately 6:30 a.m., ISP Trooper Maynor was on a field
training operation with Senior Trooper Winters in an unmarked
vehicle. (Nash Aff. ¶ 6; Williams Aff. ¶ 4).
testified he stopped Nash and Williams because the trailer
towing the vehicle crossed the fog line “almost five
times.” (Winters Dep. at 59). Nash and Williams both
testified they did not violate any traffic laws prior to the
stop. (Nash Aff. ¶¶ 8, 13; Williams Aff.
¶¶ 6, 10)
Winters approached the U-Haul, he noticed the vehicle in tow
was not weighted down with personal belongings and found that
suspicious. (Winters Dep. at 80). Winters asked Nash if he
was on his cell phone or had been drinking; he replied
“no.” (Nash Aff. ¶ 11; Williams Aff. ¶
14). Winters asked for Nash's driver's license and
registration and proceeded to his squad car for a few
minutes. When he returned, he ordered Nash into his squad car
for additional questioning. (Winters Dep. at 76; Nash Aff.
¶¶ 14-15). Winters asked Nash about his
relationship with Williams and where they were going, what
hotel they stayed in, whether they had a fight, and other
personal information. (Nash Aff. ¶ 19).
about twenty minutes of questioning in the squad car, Winters
asked if he and Maynor could search the U-Haul and vehicle in
tow because the area of Interstate 65 they were in was known
as a high drug trafficking area. (Nash Aff. ¶ 20). Nash
responded in the negative, and said he did not have drugs and
did not use drugs. (Id. ¶¶ 20-21).
Following additional questioning, during which Nash continued
to deny using or possessing drugs, Winters gave Nash a
consent to search form and told him to sign it.
(Id.). He reluctantly agreed to sign the form
because he did not feel he had a choice. (Id.
¶¶ 21-22; Filing No. 32-4, Consent Form).
ordered Nash to stay in the squad car while he went to the
U-Haul and asked Williams to sign a consent to search form.
(Nash Aff. ¶ 24; Williams Aff. ¶ 16). She, like
Nash, reluctantly agreed to sign the form because she did not
know what would happen if she did not. (Williams Aff. ¶
Peter Stephan and Ben Rector arrived on the scene.
(Id. ¶ 18; Nash Aff. ¶ 26). They
questioned Nash outside, asking him many of the same
questions as Winters. (Nash Aff. ¶ 26). Williams was
then told to get in Stephan's and Rector's squad car.
(Williams Aff. ¶ 19). At this juncture, a video of the
encounter began. (See Filing No. 34,
of the Jan. 6 stop).
quickly reading Williams her Miranda rights, Winters began
questioning her about her relationship with Nash, what hotel
they stayed in on their way from Atlanta to Chicago and what
form of payment they used, why she was returning to Georgia,
and whether he abused her. (Williams Aff. ¶ 20). Winters
asked her about the clothes found in the U-Haul; they were in
bags and many had tags on them. He asked her repeatedly how
she paid for them. When he discovered she used credit cards,
he asked her the last time she used them and what exactly she
purchased. Williams informed Winters she could show him proof
of her purchases on her iPhone, but he dismissed her
suggestion. She also offered to show him her driver's
license to verify her identity. (Id. ¶ 21).
Instead, he asked her to write down her name (including
middle name), birthdate, social security number, and her last
three addresses. (Id.). Winters asked her what she
did for a living, and after learning she worked in home
health care, he informed her that in his experience, people
who work in home health care tend to: (1) steal pills; (2)
steal credit card information; and/or (3) steal other's
identification. He informed her their conversation was on
video, and that it said a lot about her demeanor and whether
she was telling the truth. Being truthful is important, he
continued, because a judge takes that into account during
sentencing. Williams was in the squad car for over forty
minutes. When he was through, he told her to get in his squad
car, where she was questioned by Rector and Maynard.
(Id. ¶ 22).
then questioned Nash again in Stephan's and Rector's
squad car. Stephan was in the squad car also. (Id.
¶ 31). Winters again questioned Nash about his
relationship with Williams and her decision to move back to
Atlanta. (Id.). Winters accused Nash (and Williams)
of stealing clothes, running a credit card scam, and of
identity theft. (Id.). Winters asked Nash if he was
just a witness, a co-conspirator, or the mastermind of the
criminal enterprise. (Id. ¶ 32).
total, Nash and Williams were detained for approximately two
and a half hours. (Nash Aff. ¶ 35; Williams Aff. ¶
24). Nash was given a Traffic Warning Ticket for violating
Ind. Code § 9-21-8-11(c). (Filing No. 32-5, Warning
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is appropriate where “the movant shows that
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). The court's function is not to weigh
the evidence and determine the truth of the matter, but to
determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial.
Payne v. Pauley, 337 F.3d 767, 770 (7th Cir. 2003).
Disputes concerning material facts are genuine where the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). In deciding
whether genuine issues of material fact exist, the court
construes all facts in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party and draws all reasonable inferences in favor
of the non-moving party. Payne, 337 F.3d at 771.
initial matter, Plaintiffs agree that the state of Indiana
and Troopers Winters and Stephan in their official capacities
are not “persons” who can be sued under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Therefore, Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment on Plaintiffs' § 1983 claims against the
state of Indiana, and Winters and Stephan in their official
capacity, is GRANTED. Plaintiffs also agree
to dismiss the two unknown ...