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Ballheimer v. Batts

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

March 18, 2019

RYAN BATTS #525, MATTHEW BURKS #562, BLAYNE ROOT #524, TOWN OF WHITESTOWN, INDIANA, Acting through its Metropolitan Police Dep't and its Chief of Police, DENNIS R. ANDERSON, Chief of Police, in his official capacity, Defendants.



         Plaintiff Jeffrey Ballheimer (“Ballheimer”) sued Defendants the town of Whitestown, Indiana (“the Town”); Ryan Batts (“Batts”), Matthew Burks (“Burks”), and Blayne Root (“Root”), three officers of the Town's police department (together, “the Officers”); and Dennis Anderson (“Anderson”), chief of the Town's police department, for violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 as well as state-law torts and state constitutional violations.

         The matter is now before the Court on the parties' crossmotions for summary judgment and collateral motions. For the reasons given and to the extent stated below, Defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part. Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is denied. The collateral motions are denied.


          The following facts are not genuinely disputed unless so noted. On the evening of July 7, 2016, the Officers were dispatched to respond to a report of an unconscious person in the parking lot of a local gas station and truck stop near the interstate outside the Town. At the gas station, the Officers found Ballheimer asleep in the driver's seat of his car. The car was parked properly in a parking spot and was not obstructing traffic. The engine was running but not in gear. Ballheimer had an open laptop computer on his lap as well as an extinguished cigarette butt and cold cigarette ashes; the driver's side window was partly open.

         After a few unsuccessful attempts, King eventually awakened Ballheimer, who at first responded with angry, vulgar language before composing himself. Medics called by the Officers joined Ballheimer and the Officers at the scene soon thereafter. Ballheimer appeared “confused and lethargic, ” Compl. ¶ 8, though just how confused and lethargic is disputed. Ballheimer said that he had been on his way home and pulled over at the gas station because he felt very tired.

         Root checked Ballheimer's pulse and asked him whether he had any medical problems, which he denied. The medics examined Ballheimer in their ambulance anyway. Ballheimer did not wish to be examined or treated by the medics and signed a medical release form as soon as the medics permitted him to do so. Ballheimer then exited the ambulance. The Officers observed Ballheimer staggering as he walked from his car to the ambulance and back again, unsteady on his feet. They immediately pulled him aside and began conducting field sobriety testing.

         Burks had never before performed an impaired driver investigation or performed field sobriety testing. Burks nonetheless was able to determine that Ballheimer failed the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk-and-turn test, and the one-legged-stand test. Ballheimer was breathalyzed but the test detected no alcohol on his breath. The Officers smelled neither alcohol nor marijuana on or around Ballheimer. Though Batts was certified in performing “drug recognition expert” tests, he did not perform one on Ballheimer.

         The Officers advised Ballheimer of Indiana's implied-consent law, which the parties sometimes refer to as “reading him” or “offering him implied consent.” Though the precise advisement is not in the record, the following example offered pursuant to the same statute appears typical:

I have probable cause to believe that you have operated a vehicle while intoxicated. I must now offer you the opportunity to submit to a chemical test and inform you that your refusal to submit to a chemical test will result in a suspension of your driving privileges for one year. Will you now take a chemical test?

Abney v. State, 811 N.E.2d 415, 423 (Ind.Ct.App. 2004). See Ind. Code §§ 9-30-6-1 through 2. Eventually Batts and Burks transported Ballheimer in their police car to a nearby hospital for chemical testing. The Officers say Ballheimer consented to be transported; Ballheimer maintains that he acquiesced in the Officers' display of authority and had no real choice in the matter.

         At the hospital, Ballheimer refused to consent to blood and urine screens until he was reminded that refusal would result in his license being suspended. Ballheimer signed a consent form and a hospital technician drew his blood. He was then asked to provide a urine sample. It is undisputed that he did not provide a sample. It is hotly disputed whether that failure was a product of his malingering refusal, as the Officers say, or of his genuine inability to produce a specimen, as he says. Ballheimer initially consented to be catheterized but later revoked that consent as soon as the procedure was explained to him. There followed a substantial interval wherein Ballheimer “attempted” to provide a urine sample. As noted, it is disputed whether those attempts were shams or genuine.

         Eventually Ballheimer collapsed in a hospital bathroom and became unresponsive to Batts's demands for a “yes or no” answer to the question of whether he would consent to be catheterized. Batts and Burks put Ballheimer in a chair. When he did not get up from the chair-again it is disputed whether through refusal or inability-he was told he was under arrest, handcuffed, and put in a wheelchair. Batts wheeled Ballheimer back outside to the police car they had arrived in. In Defendants' words, “[u]pon arriving at [Burks's] police car, [Ballheimer] did not get into the car as instructed, so [Batts] struck [Ballheimer] in his right thigh with his right knee and [Ballheimer] fell into the seat . . . .” Defs.' Br. Supp. 8.

         Then, according to Ballheimer,

I remember the officer coming around and sitting in the car and looking at me and saying, now we're going to charge you with resisting arrest, so you can't bond out until Monday. And then he shot me the most, like, messed up smile I've ever seen in my life. And, like, at that point, I was legitimately, like, terrified. So I-that's when I tried to get out of the situation by telling them-it somehow got translated into my needing medical help.

         Ballheimer Dep. (Dkt. 30 Ex. 4) 110:15-24.

         In the meantime, Burks had started to work on a search warrant application to present to the court seeking an order to compel production of Ballheimer's urine. Among other things, Burks's affidavit in support of the application stated that Ballheimer “had refused [to take a chemical test] by not responding.” Dkt. 33 Ex. 2, at 2. Ballheimer contends that this was lie, since Burks had observed him consent to a blood draw and repeatedly attempt to provide a urine sample. The affidavit stated further that Burks was requesting “a search warrant to be issued to obtain and remove blood or other body fluid sample(s)” from Ballheimer but omitted that the Officers had already obtained a blood sample. Id. Ballheimer contends that this was an intentionally misleading omission. Batts read and approved Burks's affidavit before it was filed. The was warrant issued within the hour, authorizing the Officers “to obtain and remove blood or other body fluid sample(s)” from Ballheimer and “to use reasonable force to obtain such sample(s).” Dkt. 33 Ex. 1, at 1.

         Batts returned Ballheimer from the police car to the hospital. Ballheimer was administered fluids intravenously for dehydration, and perhaps received some medication as well, and felt “substantially better.” Ballheimer Dep. (Dkt. 30 Ex. 5) 123:12. Ballheimer was then given a “last chance” to urinate, though he still did not. Id. at 127:4.

After I couldn't pee, they gave me a few minutes, and then they pretty much said, okay, well, you need to get cathetered now because you have to. And so instead of just arguing with them, I just complied, and I got up on the table, so they wouldn't force me because they've proven that they were going to do whatever they want. They're going to get it however they want to. And that's when the nurse told me to pull down my pants, and then she grabbed my penis and started pushing it in, and it was the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. And she keeps yelling at me, you can't move. It's kind of hard not to move when I'm feeling like I'm going to vomit the whole time.

Id. at 128:4-17.

         After his urine was successfully extracted, Ballheimer was transported to the county jail, where he remained for two weeks. The chemical tests revealed the presence of amphetamines, methamphetamine, benzodiazepines, and MDMA in Ballheimer's system. Ballheimer later admitted having taken methamphetamine and Xanax on July 6, 2016, the day before his arrest, but denied taking any drug on July 7, 2016. After two weeks in jail, Ballheimer was released on bond to a rehabilitation facility, where he remained for five months.

         Ballheimer's driver's license was suspended for one year by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles but that suspension appears to have been vacated. On September 27, 2017, on a petition for judicial review, the state court (by the same judge who had approved the warrant application on July 7, 2016) found that “probable cause did not exist to believe [Ballheimer] had operated his vehicle in an impaired condition [on July 7, 2016, ] and there was no authority to offer [Ballheimer] implied consent.” Dkt. 33 Ex. 4, at 5. Indiana public records reveal that pending criminal charges for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, operating a vehicle with a controlled substance or its metabolite in the body, public intoxication, and resisting law enforcement were dismissed shortly thereafter. See also Dkt. 33 Ex. 6, at 1 (order of dismissal). No. conviction appears to have resulted and no other charges appear to be pending in connection with the July 7, 2016, incident.

         This lawsuit was filed on May 2, 2017. Dkt. 1. Defendants' instant motion, Dkt. 29, seeks judgment on Ballheimer's case in its entirety; Ballheimer's motion, Dkt. 31, seeks judgment on liability only.

         Standard of Decision

         Summary judgment is appropriate where there are no genuine disputes as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).

         The application of this standard varies with the burden of proof, a fundamental point that has escaped Ballheimer, who has not applied the standard correctly. Where the movant seeks judgment on a claim on which he would bear the burden of proof at trial, as does Ballheimer here, the movant

must lay out the elements of the claim, cite the facts which [he] believes satisfies these elements, and demonstrate why the record is so one-sided as to rule out the prospect of a finding in favor of the non-movant on the claim. If the movant has failed to make this initial showing, the court is obligated to deny the motion.

Hotel 71 Mezz Lender LLC v. Nat'l Ret. Fund, 778 F.3d 593, 601 (7th Cir. 2015) (citations omitted). Under these circumstances, the movant may not rely on the nonmovants' purported failure to establish an element of their case, for they have no affirmative case to make. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986).

         By contrast, where the movants seek judgment on a claim on which the nonmovant would bear the burden of proof, as do Defendants here, the movants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law if they can point to a failure of proof in the record such that no reasonable jury could find in the nonmovant's favor on one or more elements of his claims. Id.

         The fact that crossmotions for summary judgment are before the Court does not alter these standards. Price Waicukauski & Riley, LLC v. Murray, 47 F.Supp.3d 810, 813 (S.D. Ind. 2014) (Lawrence, J.). We decide each motion under the respectively applicable standards, viewing the facts in the light most favorable to the respective nonmovant. Id. (citing Metro Life Ins. Co. v. Johnson, 297 F.3d 558, 561-62 (7th Cir. 2002)).

         Again this point has apparently escaped the parties, who treat their briefs in opposition to summary judgment in favor of the other party largely identically to their briefs in support of summary judgment in their own favor. For example, Defendants attempt to resist Ballheimer's motion with the aid of a “Statement of Material Facts Not in Dispute, ” Defs.' Br. Opp. 1 (emphasis added), contra S.D. Ind. L.R. 56-1(b), and Ballheimer's opposition to Defendants' motion eschews any fact statement whatsoever. Contra Id. But “‘[t]he contention of one party that there are no issues of material fact sufficient to prevent the entry of judgment in its favor does not bar that party from asserting that there are issues of material fact sufficient to ...

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