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Norman v. City of Lake Station

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

November 30, 2018

THE CITY OF LAKE STATION, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Lasandra Norman (“Norman” or “plaintiff”) brings multiple claims against defendants “the City of Lake Station, Indiana, ” “Officer Allen Troy” and “Officer McCann Kev” of the Lake Station Police Department, [1] and “the City of Crown Point, Indiana.” (DE # 4 at 1.) The matter is now before the court on the City of Crown Point's motion to dismiss (DE # 13), plaintiff's request for an emergency hearing (DE # 19), and plaintiff's motion for default judgment (DE # 23). For the reasons set forth below, defendant's motion to dismiss will be granted, and plaintiff's motions will be denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff alleges that on December 29, 2017, she was pulled over by Officer Allen for speeding. (DE # 4 at 6.) Officer Allen performed a field sobriety test after which he told Norman she was “over the legal limit to drive.” (Id.) However, plaintiff says she was “not drunk at all.” (Id.) She alleges Officer Allen searched her body, placed her in handcuffs that were too tight, and put her in a police car. (Id. at 6-7.) She also asserts that she was never read her Miranda rights. (Id. at 7.) According to plaintiff, Officers McCann and Allen used racial slurs when speaking to her, at this time. (Id.)

         Officer McCann transported plaintiff to the Lake Station Police Department, and later, to the Lake County Jail. (Id.) While in jail, plaintiff alleges she was treated as follows:

I was attacked by four officers three men and one girl who has a short cut like a boy. I do not know their names but do know the faces of them. The officers bent my wrist back very hard, and pushed in my back so hard I threw up blood. They held me still for what I don't know? I was denied a cover to keep warm while in a holding cell and laid on bricks of steel.

(Id. at 8.)

         Based on these incidents, plaintiff filed a pro se complaint in this court on May 25, 2018. (DE # 1.) The court reviewed the complaint, and found that plaintiff failed to state a claim. (DE # 3 at 2.) However, rather than dismissing the case, the court granted plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint. (Id. at 3.) On June 21, 2018, plaintiff filed her first amended complaint. (DE # 4.) The amended complaint lists numerous claims: (1) failure to provide due process, (2) unlawful search and seizure of person and property, (3) false arrest, (4) lack of jurisdiction, (5) malicious prosecution, (6) use of excessive force, (7) excessive filing of criminal charges, (8) excessive bond, (9) an issue related to plea bargains, (10) illegal search of a female by a male officer, (11) cruel and unusual punishment, (12) intimidation tactics, (13) pain and suffering, (14) defamation of character, (15) excessive criminal folder, (16) unconstitutional probation fees, (17) citizen control tactics, (18) refusing medical services while in custody, (19) racial bias, and (20) stress and worries. (DE # 4 at 4-5.)

         On August 3, 2018, defendant City of Crown Point filed a motion to dismiss all claims against it pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (DE # 13.) Plaintiff has responded to the motion. (DE # 17.) Plaintiff also filed a motion for an emergency hearing (DE # 19) and a motion for default judgment against the defendants other than the City of Crown Point (DE # 23). No responses were filed to either of those motions. The time has now passed for all responses and replies to be filed to the pending motions, and the motions are ripe for ruling. See N.D. Ind. L.R. 7-1, 56-1.


         Defendant has moved to dismiss plaintiff's claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. A judge reviewing a complaint under a Rule 12(b)(6) standard must construe it in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, accept well-pleaded facts as true, and draw all inferences in the non-movant's favor. Erickson v. Pardus , 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007); Reger Dev., LLC v. Nat'l City Bank, 595 F.3d 759, 763 (7th Cir. 2010). Under the liberal notice-pleading requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the complaint need only contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). To satisfy Rule 8(a), “the statement need only ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Erickson, 551 U.S. at 93 (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).

         “While the federal pleading standard is quite forgiving, . . . the complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ray v. City of Chicago, 629 F.3d 660, 662-63 (7th Cir. 2011); Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 570. A plaintiff must plead “factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). To meet this standard, a complaint does not need detailed factual allegations, but it must go beyond providing “labels and conclusions” and “be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citing Sanjuan v. Am. Bd. of Psychiatry & Neurology, 40 F.3d 247, 251 (7th Cir. 1994) among other authorities). As the Seventh Circuit recently explained, a complaint must give “enough details about the subject-matter of the case to present a story that holds together.” Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 404 (7th Cir. 2010). Even if the truth of the facts alleged appears doubtful, and recovery remote or unlikely, the court cannot dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim if, when the facts pleaded are taken as true, a plaintiff has “nudged their claims across the line from conceivable to plausible.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 570.


         The City of Crown Point, Indiana, moves for dismissal on the grounds that the amended complaint contains no allegations against any officers or other officials of the City of Crown Point or the Crown Point Police Department. (DE # 14 at 6-7.) The sole allegation in the amended complaint pertaining to the City of Crown Point is that the alleged attack took place in the “Crown Point Jail.” (DE # 4 at 8.) However, elsewhere in her complaint, plaintiff says she was taken to the “Lake County Jail” on the day of the incident. (Id. at 7.) Moreover, the Lake Station Police Department Report of this incident-which plaintiff attaches to her initial complaint (DE # 1 at 8-11) and references in the amended complaint (DE # 4 at 5)-makes it clear that plaintiff was placed in the Lake County Jail. (DE # 1 at 9.) See American Commercial Lines LLC v. ...

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