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Maxis v. Layton

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

December 7, 2018

YONEL MAXIS, Plaintiff,



         This matter is before the Court on a Motion to Dismiss filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) by Defendant Correct Care Solutions (“CCS”) (Filing No. 14). Plaintiff Yonel Maxis (“Maxis”) initiated this action, seeking monetary damages for violations of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights while he was incarcerated in the Marion County Jail. CCS moved to dismiss Maxis' sole claim against it, arguing that the allegations do not support a Monell claim against CCS. For the reasons that follow, the Court grants CCS's Motion to Dismiss.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The following facts are not necessarily objectively true, but as required when reviewing a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all factual allegations in the Complaint and draws all inferences in favor of Maxis as the non-moving party. See Bielanski v. County of Kane, 550 F.3d 632, 633 (7th Cir. 2008).

         Maxis is a dark-skinned, black male from Haiti, who speaks Haitian Creole and he knows only a few words in English. When he tried to board an IndyGo bus on July 20, 2017, he encountered a language barrier and was prevented from boarding the bus. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (“IMPD”) officers arrived, noted a language barrier, and tried to communicate with Maxis using hand signals. They eventually handcuffed Maxis and pulled him away from the scene. Maxis was suffering from a mental impairment at the time of his arrest. He was taken to the Arrestee Processing Center following his arrest (Filing No. 1 at 4-5).

         The following morning, on July 21, 2017, Maxis was transported to the Marion County Jail. While being placed in the back of the transport wagon, Marion County Sheriff's deputies pushed Maxis and used tasers on him multiple times. He was physically beaten by the officers. Id. at 5-6. Upon arrival at the Marion County Jail, Maxis was taken to a cell and a nurse conducted an initial screening of him. The nurse used the “language line” and Google to translate when communicating with Maxis. The nurse found no lesions or abrasions and determined that Maxis could be placed in general population. Another medical provider noted that Maxis had pain in his left wrist. Maxis underwent a mental health screening and was cleared for segregation. Id. at 6. He was placed under suicide watch because of possible narcotic ingestion. Id. at 7. The medical staff and the jail personnel were aware of Maxis' language barrier, which hampered their ability to effectively communicate and interact with him. Id. at 5-7.

         Later in the day, sheriff's deputies entered Maxis' cell, grabbed him by the shirt, took him to the ground, struck him three times, pulled on his arm, and placed him in handcuffs. One of the officers eventually told the commander that another deputy spoke Haitian and could possibly assist with communication. Id. at 7.

         On July 22, 2017, Maxis was transferred to a suicide watch cell. While his clothing was being removed, law enforcement officers struck Maxis, held him, and applied pressure to pressure points on his body. A medical provider, employed by CCS, [1] later evaluated Maxis and noted that he was asleep and would not wake up, but he was breathing. The CCS employee evaluated Maxis on July 23, 2017 and noted that he could not understand Maxis because of the language barrier, but he observed Maxis' speech was pressed and he was anxious. He found Maxis to be a high suicide risk (Filing No. 1 at 8).

         On July 24, 2017, another CCS employee observed that Maxis was naked because of flooding in his cell. She noted that she was going to use the language line to assist with an assessment after Maxis returned from his court appearance. Later that evening, law enforcement officers came to Maxis' cell to retrieve a cup. They directed Maxis to give them the cup, however, he did not respond because he did not understand what they wanted him to do. When Maxis did not respond, additional law enforcement officers came to his cell, and they used physical force against him, including using a taser, to retrieve the cup. CCS staff were summoned to remove the taser prongs from Maxis. One of the medical personnel noted that she could not take Maxis' blood pressure because his handcuffs were too tight. Id. at 8-9.

         Maxis was assessed on July 25, 2017, by CCS medical staff. He was observed lying on the floor of his cell. When he tried to move, he appeared to have difficultly lifting himself up to his bed. A translator was utilized to help with communication. Maxis explained that he could not get up, he was weak, he had been refusing food, he was scared, and he did not understand what was happening during the last few days. He was observed to have poor insight and judgment, was withdrawn, was shaky, and did not look well. Maxis also was observed to be fatigued and weakened with no sensation in his left leg, which was swollen. Maxis was given a smock and a blanket. He did not eat, and other inmates indicated that he had not been eating but was giving away his food. Id. at 9-10.

         On July 26, 2017, CCS staff interacted with Maxis, noting that he had not eaten in six days, his left leg was not moving, his skin was pink, and his extremities were cold. They were unable to obtain a history from Maxis because of the language barrier. Maxis underwent a CT scan, x-ray, and ultrasound, and it was decided that he needed to be transported to Eskenazi Hospital for further treatment. He received treatment at the hospital from July 26, 2017 through August 4, 2017, when he was released to his family and returned home to Florida (Filing No. 1 at 10-11).

         On July 21, 2017, a criminal matter was filed in state court against Maxis for obstructing traffic and resisting law enforcement. On July 25, 2017, a motion to dismiss all charges was filed by the state because the state declined to prosecute. The state court dismissed all charges against Maxis the same day. Id. at 11.

         Maxis filed this lawsuit on March 29, 2018. He brings claims against John Layton (the Sheriff of Marion County, Indiana), numerous law enforcement officers, and CCS. Maxis requests monetary damages for his claims of violation of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights against law enforcement officers, Monell claims against Sheriff Layton, and a Monell claim against CCS (Filing No. 1). On April 19, 2018, CCS filed the instant Motion asking the Court to dismiss the Monell claim asserted against it (Filing No. 14).

         II. L ...

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