United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
THERESA L. SPRINGMANN CHIEF JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the Defendants', Jamie
Harris [ECF No. 14], Correctional Health Indiana, Inc. and
William Forgey, M.D. [ECF No. 18], and City of Hammond and
James Lietz [ECF No. 20], Motions to Dismiss for Failure to
State a Claim.
Plaintiff, Stephen Day, filed a Complaint [ECF No. 1] on
August 27, 2018. The Plaintiff alleges that Defendant James
Lietz, an employee and agent of the City of Hammond, Indiana,
maliciously filed a complaint with the Lake County
Prosecutor's office on March 19, 2015, that falsely
accused the Plaintiff of murder, which resulted in his
“being falsely arrested, imprisoned, and
prosecuted.” (Pl.'s Compl. 2, ¶ 8.) The
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants John Buncich, Jamie Harris,
and Lietz accessed the “Spillman & Clear”
system and manipulated the data therein. (Id. 2,
¶ 11.) The Plaintiff alleges that, as a result of the
Defendants' actions, criminal charges were brought
against him. (Id. 2, ¶ 12.) A jury found the
Plaintiff not guilty of the criminal charges on August 26,
2016. (Id. 3, ¶ 13.) Among other things, the
Plaintiff alleges that he suffered loss of employment and
income, was infected with and inadequately treated for
“Mersa, ” and was physically assaulted while
incarcerated. (Id. 3, ¶ 15; 5, ¶ 8)
Additionally, the Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants
willfully exposed him to injury and he suffered injuries at
Defendants' direction or under the responsibility of the
Defendants' care. (Id. 3, ¶ 15.)
Plaintiff brings his claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983, alleging violations of the Fourth, Fifth, Thirteenth,
and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
The Plaintiff also alleges pendant state law tort claims of
“malicious and false imprisonment improper healthcare
treatment and sanitation failures in the Lake County
Jail” and a § 1988 claim. On September 19, 2018,
Defendant Jamie Harris filed a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) [ECF No. 14]. On
October 17, 2018, Defendants Correctional Health Indiana,
Inc. and William Forgey, M.D. filed a Motion to Dismiss
pursuant to Rules 12(b)(6) and 54(b) [ECF No. 18]. On October
22, 2018, Defendants City of Hammond and James Lietz filed a
Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rules 8, 12(b)(6), and 54(b)
[ECF No. 20]. These same five Defendants filed Motions for
Summary Rulings [ECF Nos. 22-24]. The Plaintiff has not filed
a response to any of the motions to dismiss or the motions
for summary ruling, and the time to do so has passed. On May
22, 2019, Defendant Buncich filed an Answer.
motion to dismiss brought under Rule 12(b)(6)
“challenges the viability of a complaint by arguing
that it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted.” Camasta v. Jos. A. Bank Clothiers,
Inc., 761 F.3d 732, 736 (7th Cir. 2014). The Court
presumes that all well-pleaded allegations are true, views
these well-pleaded allegations in the light most favorable to
the Plaintiff, and accepts as true all reasonable inferences
that may be drawn from the allegations. Whirlpool Fin.
Corp. v. GN Holdings, Inc., 67 F.3d 605, 608 (7th Cir.
1995). Surviving a Rule 12(b)(6) motion “requires more
than labels and conclusions . . . . Factual allegations must
be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when
the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
Plaintiff appears to bring a variety of federal and state law
claims against all the Defendants but does not separate the
allegations by Defendant, federal claims, or state law
claims, compelling the Court and the moving Defendants to do
so. The Court interprets the Plaintiff's Complaint to
bring claims under the Fourth, Fifth, Thirteenth, and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against all Defendants for
malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, and medical
malpractice. The Plaintiff also brings pendant state law
claims alleging the same against all the Defendants. Finally,
the Plaintiff brings a claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1988. For clarity and as the Defendants, except for Defendant
Buncich, have filed separate Motions to Dismiss, the Court
will address the Defendants' Motions to Dismiss and their
arguments regarding the Plaintiff's federal and state law
Defendant Jamie Harris
Harris argues that the Plaintiff fails to state a claim
against him pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) because the Complaint
fails to meet the facial plausibility standard, does not
raise a right to relief beyond the speculative level, and was
filed outside the applicable statute of limitations.
Defendant Harris argues that the Plaintiff's only
allegation against Harris specifically-that Harris
“accessed the Spillman and Clear system, manipulating
the data”-fails to state a claim for relief.
(Def.'s Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss at 2, ECF No.
15.) The Defendant argues that there are no specific
allegations that Defendant Harris was involved in the arrest,
incarceration, or medical treatment of the Plaintiff.
(Id. at 5.) Thus, the Defendant argues, the
Complaint fails to raise even a prima facie case for
violations of the Fourth, Fifth, Thirteenth and Fourteenth
Plaintiff brings claims against all the Defendants under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged violations of his
constitutional rights. Section 1983 provides, in pertinent
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or
the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the constitution
and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action
at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for
redress . . . .
42 U.S.C. § 1983. To state a claim under § 1983, a
plaintiff must allege “(1) that defendants deprived him
of a federal constitutional right; and (2) that the
defendants acted under color of state law.” Savory
v. Lyons, 469 F.3d 667, 670 (7th Cir. 2006).
there is no federal statute of limitations for § 1983
actions, courts apply the statute of limitations governing
personal injury actions in the state where the injury took
place. Serino v Hensley, 735 F.3d 588, 590
(7th Cir. 2013). The Indiana statute of limitations
applicable to § 1983 actions is the two-year period
found in Indiana Code § 34-11-2-4. Campbell v.
Chappelow, 95 F.3d 576, 580 (7th Cir. 1996). Section
34-11-2-4 requires an action for “injury to person or
character . . . be commenced within two (2) years after the
cause of the action accrues.” Ind. Code §
34-11-2-4(a). Although state law supplies the tolling rules,
the accrual of § 1983 claims is governed by federal law.
Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 388 (2007). Accrual
of § 1983 claims occurs “when the plaintiff has a
complete and present cause of action, . . . that is, when the
plaintiff can file suit and obtain relief.”
Id.; see also Regains v. City of Chicago,
918 F.3d 529, 533 (7th Cir. 2019). In other words, “a
personal injury claim raised under § 1983 accrues
‘when the plaintiff knows or has reason to know of the
injury which is the basis of his action.'”
Regains, 918 F.3d at 533 (quoting Serino,
735 F.3d at 591).
the Plaintiff's state law claims, in Indiana, the statute
of limitations applicable to a claim of false arrest, false
imprisonment, and malicious prosecution is two years.
Johnson v. Blackwell, 885 N.E.2d 25, 30 (Ind.Ct.App.
2008) (false arrest and false imprisonment); Commercial
Credit Corp. v. Ensley, 264 N.E.2d 80, 85 (Ind.Ct.App.
1970) (malicious prosecution); see also Ind. Code
§ 34-11-2-4 (providing that an action for injury to a
person must be brought within two years after the cause of
action accrues). Under Indiana law, “the cause of
action of a tort claim accrues and the statute of limitations
begins to run when the plaintiff knew or, in the exercise of
ordinary diligence, could have discovered that an injury had
been sustained as a result of the tortious act of
another.” Filip v. Block, 879 N.E.2d 1076,
1082 (Ind. 2008) (quotation omitted).
Harris contends that the Plaintiff's claims are
time-barred. (Def.'s Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss at
7.) The Plaintiff states his injuries occurred between March
19, 2015, and August 26, 2016, and he filed his Complaint
until August 27, 2018. As the statute of limitations begins to
run differently based on the events alleged, the Court will
consider them separately. Additionally, the Court notes that
false arrest and malicious prosecution claims should be
addressed separately and not be conflated. Washington v.
Summerville, 127 F.3d 552, 559 (7th Cir. 1997).
Plaintiff's False Arrest Claim
Plaintiff argues that he was falsely arrested as a result of
a maliciously filed complaint. (Pl.'s Compl. ¶ 8.)
The Supreme Court has held that the accrual date for a false
arrest claim is the date the arrestee becomes detained.
Wallace, 549 U.S. at 388. The Plaintiff's
Complaint does not specify when the Plaintiff was arrested,
but logically the arrest must have occurred before the
Plaintiff was found not guilty in August 2016. It is not
premature to dismiss a complaint that does not anticipate an
affirmative defense when the Plaintiff has plead himself out
of court and presented facts that show his suit is
time-barred, as the Plaintiff has done here. United
States v. Lewis, 411 F.3d 838, 842 (7th Cir. 2005);
see also Tregenza v. Great Am. Commc'ns Co., 12
F.3d 717, 718 (7th Cir. 1993). Accordingly, the Court
DISMISSES WITH PREJUDICE the Plaintiff's federal claims
for false arrest against Defendant Harris.
the Plaintiff's state law false arrest claim, Indiana
courts follow the Supreme Court's holding that a cause of
action for false arrest accrues when the criminal defendant
was bound over for trial. See Johnson, 885 N.E.2d at
30-31 (applying the common law principles set out in
Wallace, 549 U.S. 384). The Plaintiff's
Complaint fails to specify when the Plaintiff was bound over
for trial. It follows, however, that this must have occurred
well before he was found not guilty in August 2016. As with
his federal false arrest claim, the Plaintiff ...