United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
A. BRADY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Carl Lee Ledford, proceeding pro se, sued Defendants City of
Fort Wayne, A. Shefferly, and R. Nystuen, alleging that they
violated his rights during a traffic stop that led to his
arrest. The following claims are pending: Fourth Amendment
claims against Officer Shefferly for false arrest related to
the traffic stop, for false arrest related to his arrest, and
for use of excessive force during the search incident to
arrest; bystander liability claim against Officer Nystuen;
and, a corresponding Monell claim against the City.
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment [ECF No. 138]. Defendants designate as
evidence the Affidavit of Officer Anthony Shefferly, the
squad car video from the August 1, 2016, traffic stop, and
the Affidavit of Officer Ryan Nystuen. These exhibits, they
argue, show that Defendants are entitled to judgment as a
matter of law for the following reasons: (1) the August 1,
2016, traffic stop was supported by probable cause; (2)
Plaintiff's arrest was supported by probable cause;(3)
Officer Shefferly conducted an appropriate search incident to
arrest; (4) there is no basis for bystander liability; and
(5) there is no basis for municipal liability.
connection with their Motion, Defendants filed a Notice of
Summary-Judgment Motion [ECF No. 140], in compliance with
Northern District of Indiana Local Rule 56-1(f). Plaintiff
did not file a response. However, he did file his own
“Motion for Entry of Default; for Summary Disposition
and/or Request for Trial by Jury” [ECF No. 143].
Plaintiff's submission did not meet the requirements for
an adequate response to a summary judgment motion or a motion
in support of summary judgment. However, because it was not
clear whether Plaintiff received the Rule 56-1(f) Notice
before submitting his filing, the Court denied
Plaintiff's motion and granted him until May 20, 2019, to
file a response to the Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment. Plaintiff has not filed a response.
reasons stated in this Opinion and Order, the Court GRANTS
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.
August 1, 2016, Officer Anthony Shefferly conducted a traffic
stop of Plaintiff and subsequently placed Plaintiff under
arrest. He conducted a search of the Plaintiff incident to
August 1, 2016, shortly before 2:00 p.m., Officer Shefferly
was in his fully marked squad car on Anthony Boulevard in
Fort Wayne, Indiana. Officer Shefferly- who has received
specific training on observing whether drivers and other
occupants of vehicles are wearing seatbelts-observed
Plaintiff driving and not wearing a seatbelt. Plaintiff
looked at Officer Shefferly and then fastened his seatbelt.
Officer Shefferly activated his lights and siren to initiate
a traffic stop. Plaintiff pulled onto a side street and
Shefferly approached the driver's side of the vehicle and
began speaking with Plaintiff. Plaintiff was argumentative,
accused Officer Shefferly of harassment, and complained about
frequently being the subject of traffic stops. Officer
Shefferly informed Plaintiff that he pulled him over for not
wearing a seatbelt.
after the stop was initiated, Officer Nystuen arrived on the
scene to stand by as back up. He primarily stood by and
observed while Officer Shefferly conducted the traffic stop.
Shefferly obtained Plaintiff's identification and
returned to his squad car to run a BMV records check. The
check revealed that Plaintiff's driving status was
“Driving While Suspended Prior, ” meaning that
Plaintiff had a suspended license and had previously been
convicted of driving with a suspended license. Officer
Shefferly returned to the vehicle, asked Plaintiff to exit,
arrested the Plaintiff, and placed him in handcuffs.
placing Plaintiff under arrest, Officer Shefferly performed a
search of the Plaintiff's person. Plaintiff was not
cooperative, which made it difficult for Officer Shefferly to
determine whether Plaintiff had any weapons or contraband on
area that was made particularly difficult to search because
of Plaintiff's movements was near the groin area, where
officers are trained to check for weapons and contraband.
Officer Shefferly was able to confirm that Plaintiff did not
have any weapons. The only item recovered during the search
was money from Plaintiff's front pocket.
Plaintiff was searched, Officer Shefferly's placed him in
the squad car. Plaintiff insisted that his license was not
suspended, but he did not have any documents showing the
status. Officer Shefferly asked dispatch to confirm
Plaintiff's driving status. Dispatch confirmed that
Plaintiff was listed as Driving ...