United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
Walton Pratt, United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on the City of Indianapolis
(“Indianapolis”), Daniel Slightom (“Officer
Slightom”), and Carlton Howard's (“Officer
Howard”) (collectively, the “Defendants”)
Motion for Summary Judgment (Filing No. 47.) After he was
shot during an encounter with Indianapolis Metropolitan
Police Department officers, Plaintiff Deonta Ellis
(“Ellis”) filed this action in the Marion
Superior Court alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. §§
1981 and 1983 and a violation of Indiana law. After removing
the case to federal court, the Defendants moved for summary
judgment on all claims except the § 1983 claim against
Officer Slightom. For the following reasons, Defendants'
Motion for Summary Judgment is granted.
following facts are not necessarily objectively true, but as
required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, the facts are
presented in the light most favorable to Ellis as the
non-moving party. See Zerante v. DeLuca, 555 F.3d
582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). Ellis does not dispute
any material facts alleged by Defendants.
evening of October 26, 2015, Ellis was a passenger in his
half-brother Lavon Washington's
(“Washington”) vehicle. (Filing No. 48-1 at 4.)
Officer Slightom, on patrol near 30th Street and Kessler
Boulevard in Indianapolis, Indiana, observed the vehicle
drive by and ran the license plate number, discovering the
plate did not match the vehicle. (Filing No. 48-2 at 4-5.)
Slightom activated his emergency lights to initiate a traffic
than pull over immediately, Washington continued for two
blocks at low speed and then pulled into the parking lot of a
Speedway gas station. Id. at 5-6. Officer Slightom
considered this two-block mini-pursuit to be irregular for a
traffic stop, and he therefore radioed for backup.
Id. at 8. Office Slightom exited his patrol car and
shouted for the occupants of the vehicle to “put their
hands up.” Id. at 9. Ellis was unable to hear
this specific command, but he heard the officer
“scream[ing]” to “put your hands out of the
car or get out of the car.” (Filing No. 48-1 at 9.)
Officer Slightom saw the driver of the vehicle put his hands
up but then put them back down. (Filing No. 48-2 at 10.)
Officer Slightom loudly reiterated his command for the
occupants of the vehicle to put their hands up and drew his
gun. Id. At that point, Officer Howard and another
officer, Justin Toussing arrived at the gas station.
Id. at 12. Noticing that Officer Slightom had drawn
his gun, Officer Howard drew his gun and also began yelling
at the occupants of the vehicle to put their hands up.
(Filing No. 48-3 at 4.)
exited the vehicle with the intention of laying down on the
pavement beside it. (Filing No. 48-1 at 17.) Shortly after he
exited the vehicle and before he was able to lay on the
ground, Officer Slightom shot Ellis one time. (Filing No.
48-2 at 19-20.) Ellis contends he was attempting to
surrender, while Officer Slightom insists he was reaching for
a gun. (Filing No. 48-1 at 17; Filing No. 48-2 at 19-20.)
After he was shot, Ellis was loaded onto a gurney by
paramedics, who removed a Glock handgun from the waistband of
his sweatpants. (Filing No. 48-1 at 20-21.)
purpose of summary judgment is to “pierce the pleadings
and to assess the proof in order to see whether there is a
genuine need for trial. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that summary judgment is
appropriate if “the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions of file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a
judgment as a matter of law.” Hemsworth v.
Quotesmith.com, Inc., 476 F.3d 487, 489-90 (7th Cir.
2007). In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court
reviews “the record in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party and draw[s] all reasonable inferences in
that party's favor.” Zerante, 555 F.3d at
584 (citation omitted). “However, inferences that are
supported by only speculation or conjecture will not defeat a
summary judgment motion.” Dorsey v. Morgan
Stanley, 507 F.3d 624, 627 (7th Cir. 2007) (citation and
quotation marks omitted). Additionally, “[a] party who
bears the burden of proof on a particular issue may not rest
on its pleadings, but must affirmatively demonstrate, by
specific factual allegations, that there is a genuine issue
of material fact that requires trial.”
Hemsworth, 476 F.3d at 490 (citation omitted).
“The opposing party cannot meet this burden with
conclusory statements or speculation but only with
appropriate citations to relevant admissible evidence.”
Sink v. Knox Cnty. Hosp., 900 F.Supp. 1065, 1072
(S.D. Ind. 1995) (citations omitted).
much the same way that a court is not required to scour the
record in search of evidence to defeat a motion for summary
judgment, nor is it permitted to conduct a paper trial on the
merits of the claim.” Ritchie v. Glidden Co.,
242 F.3d 713, 723 (7th Cir. 2001) (citations and quotation
marks omitted). “[N]either the mere existence of some
alleged factual dispute between the parties nor the existence
of some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts is
sufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment.”
Chiaramonte v. Fashion Bed Grp., Inc., 129 F.3d 391,
395 (7th Cir. 1997) (citations and quotation marks omitted).
originally asserted claims against Officers Slightom and
Howard for unreasonable seizure under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
and for violation of equal rights under 42 U.S.C. §
1981, a Monell claim against Indianapolis because he
was shot pursuant to a policy, custom, or practice of the
city, and a state law claim against Indianapolis through
respondeat superior. (Filing No. 1-1 at 3-4.) In his
Response to Defendants' summary judgment motion, Ellis
agrees that Officer Howard is entitled to summary judgment on
all claims, that Officer Slightom is entitled to summary
judgment on the 42 U.S.C. § 1981 claim, and the City of
Indianapolis is entitled to summary judgment on the
Monell claim. (Filing No. 47.) The Court
grants summary judgment as to those claims.
Officer Slightom does not move for summary judgment on the 42
U.S.C. § 1983 claim against him, therefore that claim
remains pending for trial. The only claim in dispute is the
state law claim against Indianapolis.
asserts that “[t]he City is liable under state law for
Slightom's … shooting of Ellis, since [he] was
acting in the course of his employment for it.” (Filing
No. 1-1 at 4.) Defendants argue in their summary judgment
brief that “[t]his claim fails because Ellis has not
pleaded any underlying state-law violation on the part of the
officers-such as battery-that could be imputed to the
City.” (Filing No. 49 at 3 n. 2.) Ellis does not
respond to that argument, he only remarks that what remains
of his claim after summary judgment is “the federal
claim against Slightom, and the state law claim under
respondeat superior against the City.” (Filing
No. 52.) Because Ellis does not identify what state law
Officer Slightom allegedly violated and because his summary
judgment brief fails to address this issue, Indianapolis is
entitled to summary judgment on that claim. Therefore,
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is
GRANTED as to the state law respondeat
superior claim against Indianapolis.