United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
three Plaintiffs in this case - Matthew Stumm, Jason Stumm,
and Brian Helmer - are current or former Pittsboro police
officers who allege that the Chief of Police, the Assistant
Chief of Police, and a Captain with the neighboring
Plainfield Police Department recorded or intercepted their
conversations without their knowledge and without a court
order in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United
States Constitution and the Federal Wiretap Act, 18 U.S.C.
§ 2510, et seq. Presently pending
before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by
Defendants. [Filing No. 41.] For the reasons that
follow, the Motion is GRANTED IN PART and
DENIED IN PART
Standard of Review
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. SeeFed. R. Civ. P.
56(a). As the current version of Rule 56 makes clear, 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). A party
can also support a fact by showing that the materials cited
do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute
or that the adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence
to support the fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B). Affidavits or
declarations must be made on personal knowledge, set out
facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the
affiant is competent to testify on matters stated.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4). Failure to properly support a fact in
opposition to a movant's factual assertion can result in
the movant's fact being considered undisputed, and
potentially in the grant of summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P.
deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court need only
consider disputed facts that are material to the decision. A
disputed fact is material if it might affect the outcome of
the suit under the governing law. Williams v.
Brooks, 809 F.3d 936, 941-42 (7th Cir. 2016). In other
words, while there may be facts that are in dispute, summary
judgment is appropriate if those facts are not
outcome-determinative. Montgomery v. American Airlines
Inc., 626 F.3d 382, 389 (7th Cir. 2010). Fact disputes
that are irrelevant to the legal question will not be
considered. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
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).
following factual background is set forth pursuant to the
standard discussed above. The facts stated are not
necessarily objectively true, but as the summary judgment
standard requires, the undisputed facts and the disputed
evidence are presented in the light most favorable to
“the party against whom the motion under consideration
is made.” Premcor USA, Inc. v. American Home
Assurance Co., 400 F.3d 523, 526-27 (7th Cir. 2005).
(“Matt”) Stumm became a Pittsboro Police
Department (“PPD”) Officer in 2005 and
worked in that capacity throughout the relevant time period
in this case. [Filing No. 45-4 at 4.]
Stumm, Matt Stumm's brother, worked for the PPD from 2012
to 2017, initially as an arson investigator and later as a
reserve officer. [Filing No. 45-6 at 2.] Jason Stumm
resigned from the PPD on February 8, 2017. [Filing No.
45-6 at 2.]
Helmer worked as a reserve officer for the PPD from 2008 to
2010 and as a full-time officer at the PPD from January
through November 2017. [Filing No. 45-5 at 3.]
the relevant time period, Christi Patterson was the Chief of
Police for the PPD, [Filing No. 45-1 at 5], and
Scott King was the Assistant Chief at the PPD, [Filing No.
45-2 at 4].
Weber was employed by the Plainfield Police Department and
was assigned to conduct an investigation into Matt Stumm in
2017. [Filing No. 45-1 at 47.]
PPD's Camera System
PPD's office consists of a lobby with a
receptionist's window in it, [Filing No. 43-1 at
5; Filing No. 43-1 at 27], and features one
door on the left wall and another on the right wall,
[Filing No. 43-1 at 5-10].
No. 43-1 at 27; Filing No. 43-1 at 28;
Filing No. 43-1 at 30.] The door on the right wall
leads to town hall, [Filing No. 43-1 at 7;
Filing No. 43-1 at 28], while the door on the left
wall leads to the remainder of the PPD offices, [Filing
No. 43-1 at 10; Filing No. 43-1 at 30]. Through
the latter door is the PPD interview room, which doubled as
Major King's office (hereinafter, “Major
King's office”), [Filing No. 45-1 at
16-18], and the office that at one time belong to Matt
Stumm. [Filing No. 43-1 at 10; Filing No. 43-1
at 30.] It was not uncommon for the public to walk
through the door that leads to Major King's office if it
was open. [Filing No. 43-1 at 11.]
2006, the PPD installed a camera system in the department.
[Filing No. 45-1 at 14.] ¶ 2010, the PPD
replaced the 2006 camera system and had one camera installed
in the PPD lobby and another in Major King's office.
[Filing No. 45-1 at 16-18.] Both of the 2010 cameras
had audio and video capabilities and had to physically be
turned on before recordings would commence. [Filing No.
45-1 at 18-19.]
the 2010 camera began malfunctioning, the PPD had a new
camera system installed on or around November 17, 2016.
[Filing No. 45-1 at 18-21; Filing No. 43-5 at
3.] The cameras were placed in the same locations the
2010 cameras had been: one was installed in the PPD lobby and
the other was in the PPD interview room/Major King's
office. [Filing No. 45-1 at 22]. The 2016 cameras
were motion activated. [Filing No. 45-1 at 21.] If
the camera in the lobby was activated and the squad room door
was open, then the cameras picked up an audio recording of
what was said in the squad room. [Filing No. 45-1 at
30.] Recordings from the 2016 cameras are stored on a
drive; once the drive is full, the oldest recordings are
recorded over. [Filing No. 43-5 at 5.] The drive
holds approximately 2-3 months of footage. [Filing No.
43-5 at 5.] After the 2016 cameras were installed,
Captain Patterson and Major King conducted a test that
revealed that if the door between the lobby and the rest of
the PPD office was closed, the camera would not pick up words
that were spoken in the rest of the PPD office because it
would turn off a few seconds after being motion activated.
[Filing No. 45-1 at 21.]
addition to the PPD cameras, the town of Pittsboro had
cameras on various streets and in the parks. [Filing No.
43-4 at 5.] Matt Stumm was aware of cameras placed
around town but was unaware of what the cameras looked like.
[Filing No. 45-4 at 5-6.] He had used video footage
in a case he worked on, and for some time had an app on his
phone that allowed him to enter a password and view the
camera footage. [Filing No. 45-4 at 5-6.] Jason
Stumm was aware that there were cameras recording throughout
the town of Pittsboro but was unaware of what the cameras
looked like. [Filing No. 45-6 at 3.] Brian Helmer
was also aware there were cameras recording throughout the
town of Pittsboro. [Filing No. 45-5 at 3.]
February 6, 2017 Meeting and Subsequent
February 6, 2017, Chief Patterson and Major King had a
meeting with Matt Stumm. [Filing No. 45-4 at 19.]
During the meeting, Chief Patterson and Major King told Matt
Stumm that they had been informed that Matt Stumm was looking
for discrepancies in Major King's time cards. [Filing
No. 45-4 at 19.] The group agreed that Matt Stumm would
follow up with the other officers and apologize to them.
[Filing No. 45-4 at 19; Filing No. 45-1 at
next day, in the course of investigating video footage from
one of the cameras PPD had placed around town, Chief
Patterson discovered a recording of Matt Stumm making
negative comments about herself and Major King. [Filing
No. 45-1 at 41.] Upon reviewing five or six other tapes
from December 2016 through January 2017, Chief Patterson
became concerned that Matt Stumm had carried a folder
containing her timesheets into city hall and had driven an
underage rider in his squad car at some point. [Filing
No. 45-1 at 42-44.] In the conversations that were
recorded, Matt Stumm spoke in a normal tone of voice, rather
than a whisper. [Filing No. 43-1 at 17-18.] For some
of the conversations, Matt Stumm was in his office with the
door open and the door to the lobby was also open.
[Filing No. 43-1 at 16.] Major King also viewed the
videos. [Filing No. 45-1 at 45.] Prior to viewing
the videos, neither Chief Patterson nor Major King sought a
search warrant or court order. [Filing No. 45-1 at
February 20, 2017, Matt Stumm was told he was under
investigation and was placed on administrative leave, and his
canine partner and take-home vehicle were taken from him.
[Filing No. 45-4 at 17-18.] When he returned from
leave, he lost his office and was told it was needed for an
investigation office. [Filing No. 45-4 at 18.]
then initiated an investigation into Matt Stumm. [Filing
No. 45-2 at 14.] PPD contacted the Plainfield Police
Department, who appointed Captain Weber as an investigator.
[Filing No. 45-2 at 47.] Chief Patterson then
provided Captain Weber with certain audio recordings from the
PPD cameras and transcripts of the same. [Filing No. 45-3
at 12.] Captain Weber listened to the recordings as part
of her investigation. [Filing No. 45-3 at 12.]
Captain Weber also interviewed Matt Stumm and informed him
that some of his conversations at the police department had
been recorded. [Filing No. 45-4 at 9.] Based on
those recordings, Captain Weber found some violations of PPD
policies. [Filing No. 45-3 at 16.] Captain Weber did
not interview Jason Stumm or Mr. Helmer as part of her
investigation. [Filing No. 45-3 at 23.]
Weber then presented her findings to Chief Patterson.
[Filing No. 45-3 at 16.] Specifically, in her report
dated May 25, 2017, Captain Weber concluded that “with
the video that was recorded, ” Matt Stumm violated the
following PPD policies:
03.04.01(1) Insubordination- Improper conduct-On video Lt.
Stumm states to Officer Crouch "I want to give you a
heads up and between you and ...