United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
S. VAN BOKKELEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Hakimah Qualls sued the City of Gary, the City of Gary
Housing Authority, and various police officers and reserve
police officers for violations of her constitutional rights
as well as violations of Indiana laws. Of the Defendants that
remain in this case, all of them moved for summary judgment.
Plaintiff is opposing the motions, insisting that her claims
must be tried before the jury. She is also seeking to strike
the motions on procedural grounds.
Summary Judgment Standard
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), the Court must grant a
motion for summary judgment if the moving party shows
“that there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” A party seeking summary judgment bears the
initial responsibility of informing a court of the basis for
its motion and identifying those portions of the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any, which it believes
demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. If the moving party
supports its motion for summary judgment with affidavits or
other materials, it thereby shifts to the non-moving party
the burden of showing that an issue of material fact exists.
Keri v. Bd. of Trust. of Purdue Univ., 458 F.3d 620,
628 (7th Cir. 2006).
viewing the facts presented on a motion for summary judgment,
a court must construe all facts in a light most favorable to
the non-moving party and draw all legitimate inferences and
resolve all doubts in favor of that party. Keri, 458
F.3d at 628. A court's role is not to evaluate the weight
of the evidence, to judge the credibility of witnesses, or to
determine the truth of the matter, but instead to determine
whether there is a genuine issue of triable fact.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 249-50
Plaintiff's Motions to Strike
seeks to strike the defendants' motions on procedural
grounds, for having failed to set out separately a statement
of undisputed material facts. She also believes, albeit
wrongly, that certain witness statements should be stricken
as hearsay (e.g., reference to a 911 caller's
statements). True, a well-organized brief, one that follows
the Local Rules, would give the opponent and the Court a
clearer understanding of the parties' positions and as
such should be an ideal for every lawyer. Defendants have
fallen short of that ideal but their briefs are not so
deficient that they should be stricken. As for the purported
hearsay statements and the defendants' expert's
opinions, Plaintiff has not shown that they are not
admissible. The statements that Plaintiff argues are hearsay
are not proposed for the truth of the matters asserted and
the challenge to the expert's opinions is really a
challenge to the weight, not the admissibility, of those
Summary of the facts
required, the Court construes the facts in the light most
favorable to Plaintiff.
addition to employing regular police officers, the City of
Gary employs volunteer police officers whom it calls
“reserve officers.” The reserve officers have
police powers but they are required to work only thirty-two
hours a month and they have abbreviated training as compared
to the regular duty officers. Some of the reserve officers
are employed by the Gary Housing Authority
(“GHA”), an entity that is separate from the City
of Gary or its police department.
maintains low-cost housing units in Gary, including Delaney
Housing Projects. While employing the reserve officers, GHA
does not train them; rather it relies on the training by the
Gary Police Department.
February 9, 2013, Reserve Officer Craig Morris was working
for GHA as a security officer at the Delaney Housing
Projects. That night, he and another reserve officer, J.
Franklin, were dispatched to the Dorie Miller Housing
Projects in response to a fight. The dispatcher told them
that a 911 caller claimed that some women were beating at the
caller's door with sticks and bats. When Franklin and
Morris arrived, Reserve Officer Woods and Corporal Clark were
at the caller's home. At some point, the caller saw
Plaintiff and told the reserve officers that she was one of
the women involved in the altercation.
reserve officers tried to speak to Plaintiff, but she began
screaming obscenities at them. Franklin told Plaintiff that
he would arrest her for disorderly conduct if she continued
to yell at them. This failed to dissuade Plaintiff who
continued to yell and curse at them. She became even louder
as she wanted a lot of people to hear what she was saying.
When warned again about getting arrested, Plaintiff told
Franklin, “Do whatever you got to do.”
then arrested her for disorderly conduct and instructed Woods
to place her into the patrol car. Woods did so.
Officer T.F. Tatum was on the scene but did not get involved,
believing that there were enough officers handling the
situation. Once he saw ...