Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Stumm v. Town of Pittsboro

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

July 15, 2019

Jason A. Stumm, Matthew W. Stumm Pla intiffs,
v.
Town of Pittsboro, Christi Patterson, Scott King Defendants.

          ORDER

          HON. JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE

         On June 18, 2019, the Court concluded a jury trial in this matter and ordered the parties to submit further briefing as to the form of judgment. [Filing No. 83.] The parties have done so, and the issue is now ripe for the Court's consideration.

         I. Background

         On June 17 and 18, 2019, the Court conducted a jury trial in this matter. [Filing No. 81; Filing No. 83.] Prior to the trial, the Court ordered the parties to prepare and file jointly proposed verdict forms. [Filing No. 79 at 2.] At trial, counsel informed the Court that the parties had agreed to the verdict forms previously submitted by Defendants. [Filing No. 77.] At the conclusion of the trial, the jury was provided with the parties' jointly-proposed verdict forms, with minor formatting changes. [CompareFiling No. 77 withFiling No. 84.]

         Following deliberation, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiff Matthew Stumm against Defendants Christi Patterson and the Town of Pittsboro. [Filing No. 84.] The jury specifically found that Matthew Stumm proved by a preponderance of the evidence that:

• Christi Patterson violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment, [Filing No. 84 at 4];
• the Town of Pittsboro violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment, [Filing No. 84 at 4];
• Christi Patterson violated his rights under the Federal Wiretap Act, [Filing No. 84 at 8]; and
• the Town of Pittsboro violated his rights under the Federal Wiretap Act, [Filing No. 84 at 8].

         In addition, the jury found that Matthew Stumm proved his damages by a preponderance of the evidence. [Filing No. 84 at 4; Filing No. 84 at 8.] The jury indicated as such by placing a checkmark in the appropriate box on the verdict form entitled “FOURTH AMENDMENT CLAIM, MATTHEW STUMM, ” [Filing No. 84 at 4] and by placing a checkmark in the appropriate box on the verdict form entitled “WIRETAP ACT CLAIM, MATTHEW STUMM, ” [Filing No. 84 at 8.]

         Lastly, the jury determined the amount of compensatory damages that Matt Stumm proved that he sustained from a violation of his rights under the Fourth Amendment and from a violation of his rights under the Federal Wiretap Act. [Filing No. 84 at 5; Filing No. 84 at 9.] The jury did so by writing $15, 000 on the appropriate line on the verdict form entitled “FOURTH AMENDMENT CLAIM, MATTHEW STUMM, ” [Filing No. 84 at 5] and by writing $15, 000 on the appropriate line on the verdict form entitled “WIRETAP ACT CLAIM, MATTHEW STUMM, ” [Filing No. 84 at 9.]

         Following the jury's discharge, the Court ordered Matthew Stumm to propose the form of judgment and allowed Defendants to respond thereto.

         II. Discussion

         Matthew Stumm argues that the Court should enter judgment in his favor “against Defendants Town of Pittsboro and Christi Patterson in the amount of $30, 000.” [Filing No. 86 at 4.] He argues that the verdict forms “presented the jury with two distinct claims: one based on the Fourth Amendment, and a second based on the Federal Wiretap Act, ” and that “[b]y writing the amount of $15, 000 twice . . . the jury expressed its intent” to award him “total compensatory damages of $30, 000.” [Filing No. 86 at 2.] Although Mr. Stumm acknowledges that “the two claims are legally quite similar, ” he contends that the jury “would not necessarily have interpreted them that way.” [Filing No. 86 at 2.] He argues that the Court must consider the verdict forms in light of the instructions, which describe the Fourth Amendment claim “in language that is dauntingly dissimilar to the instructions that describe the Federal Wiretap Act violation, ” and do not instruct that the two claims are identical or duplicative. [Filing No. 86 at 3.] Further, Mr. Stumm argues that the “Verdict Forms tracked the Final Instructions in treating damages for each claim as separate and distinct, ” and “would have allowed the jury to find in favor of a Plaintiff on one of the two legal theories but not the other” or “award a different amount of compensatory damages on each ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.