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Stewart v. City of Fort Wayne

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

April 8, 2019

TYQUAN STEWART, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF FORT WAYNE, LIEUTENANT TONY MAZE, PARKVIEW HOSPITAL, TYLER G. JOHNSON, D.O., PROFESSIONAL EMERGENCY PHYSICIANS, INC., MARK LOWDEN, AMY TRABEL, RACHEAL PENNY, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          THERESA L. SPRINGMANN CHIEF JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on the Plaintiff Tyquan Stewart's Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 141]. The Defendants, Parkview Hospital, Rachel Peery (named as Racheal Penny) and Amy Trabel [ECF No. 147], City of Fort Wayne, Mark Lowden, and Tony Maze [ECF No. 154], and Dr. Tyler Johnson and Professional Emergency Physicians, Inc. [ECF No. 162] have also filed Motions for Summary Judgment.

         BACKGROUND

         The Plaintiff filed a Complaint on September 6, 2017 [ECF No. 1]. After a series of motions to amend, the Plaintiff's Fifth Amended Complaint is now the operative complaint in this case [ECF No. 115]. The Plaintiff brings several causes of action against multiple defendants. The Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Lowden and Maze violated his Fourth Amendment rights when they committed an illegal search and seizure of his blood without a warrant or probable cause. (Pl.'s Fifth Am. Compl. at 2.) The Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Trabel, Penny, and Johnson invaded his privacy pursuant to HIPAA (identified as HIPPA) and that Trabel committed felony battery. (Id.) Additionally, regarding Defendant Johnson, the Plaintiff alleges that Johnson shared his information under “false pretense” and “false light” with malicious intent. Finally, the Plaintiff alleges state law claims for negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress against all the Defendants.

         The Plaintiff contends that the City of Fort Wayne is liable for the actions of its employees, Maze and Lowden. The Plaintiff also argues that Parkview Hospital is liable for the actions of its employees, Trabel, Penny, and Johnson, and that Professional Emergency Physicians, Inc. is also liable for the actions of Johnson. (Id. at 4.) The Plaintiff requests compensatory and punitive damages, in addition to attorneys' fees, legal costs, and other expenses the Plaintiff incurred during this litigation. (Id.)

         STATEMENT OF FACTS

         On June 4, 2016, Defendant Maze responded to a call about a motor vehicle accident. Upon arrival at the scene of the accident, medics informed Maze that the Plaintiff and his passenger were in very serious condition. The Plaintiff had suffered internal injuries and the Plaintiff's passenger had a serious gash to the thigh. Maze spoke with the Plaintiff and the passenger while they waited to receive medical assistance and, in doing so, noticed a strong smell of alcohol emanating from the Plaintiff's vehicle. Maze was unable to perform field sobriety tests due to the nature of the accident.

         An ambulance transported the Plaintiff to the Parkview Hospital Emergency Room. Due to the seriousness of the accident and Maze's observations, Maze determined that both drivers should be subjected to blood alcohol test (BAT). Maze requested that Defendant Lowden assist with the investigation and go to Parkview Hospital. Lowden asked medical staff for an updated condition on Plaintiff and his passenger. Maze then asked Lowden to request that the Plaintiff's treating physicians perform a blood draw as part of their treatment of the Plaintiff. However, neither Maze nor Lowden ordered the treating physicians to conduct a blood draw or perform any specific testing.

         As part of his medical care for the Plaintiff, Defendant Dr. Tyler Johnson, without orders from law enforcement, ordered a trauma assessment that included blood testing. Ethanol testing, as part of the blood testing, is an essential part of administering care to a trauma patient. The Plaintiff was unconscious when Defendant Amy Trabel, a phlebotomist, performed a blood draw. Maze and Lowden subsequently requested the results of the Plaintiff's medical blood draw pursuant to Ind. Code § 9-30-6-6, [1] which Defendant Rachel Perry then delivered to them. The blood draw showed that the Plaintiff had a BAT above .15. Consequently, the Plaintiff was charged with Operating While Intoxicated. Neither Defendant Johnson nor Trabel communicated the BAT results to law enforcement.

         On October 15, 2018, the Plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 141] and on November 6, 2018 Defendants Professional Emergency Physicians, Inc., and Johnson filed a response [ECF No. 144]. Defendants Parkview Hospital, Perry, and Trabel filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on November 6, 2018 [ECF No. 147] and a response [ECF No. 157] to the Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment on November 9, 2018. Defendants City of Fort Wayne, Lowden, and Maze filed a response [ECF No. 153] to the Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and a Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 154] on November 9, 2018. The Plaintiff filed a response [ECF No. 158] to the Defendants', City of Fort Wayne, Lowden, and Maze, Motion for Summary Judgment on November 15, 2018, and the Defendants filed a reply [ECF No. 160] on November 29, 2018. Defendants Professional Emergency Physicians, Inc., and Johnson filed a Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 162] on December 17, 2018 and the Plaintiff filed a response [ECF No. 164] on December 19, 2018. The Plaintiff filed a reply [ECF No. 161] supporting his summary judgment motion on November 30, 2018.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Summary judgment is proper where the evidence of record shows that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The moving party bears the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the record it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Id. at 323. The burden then shifts to the non-movant to “go beyond the pleadings” to cite evidence of a genuine factual dispute precluding summary judgment. Id. at 324. “[A] court has one task and one task only: to decide, based on the evidence of record, whether there is any material dispute of fact that requires a trial.” Waldridge v. Am. Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 920 (7th Cir. 1994). If the non-movant does not come forward with evidence that would reasonably permit the finder of fact to find in its favor on a material issue, then the Court must enter summary judgment against it. Id. Bare assertions are insufficient to create a dispute of fact for summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e).

         ANALYSIS

         The Plaintiff brings various claims against all the Defendants. The Court will address the allegations against Defendants City of Fort Wayne, Lowden, and Maze, Defendants Parkview Hospital, Peery, and Trabel, and Defendants Emergency Room Physicians and Johnson separately.

         A. Defendants City of Fort ...


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