United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
ESTATE OF WILLIAM D. SPATES, Deceased, by MARINA SPATES, his Wife and Independent Administrator, Plaintiff,
PORTAGE POLICE OFFICER GRANT CRIZER, STAR #159, Individually and as Employee/Agent of the City of Portage, and THE CITY OF PORTAGE INDIANA, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
THERESA L. SPRINGMANN CHIEF JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the Partial Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint [ECF No. 46] filed by
Defendants Portage Police Officer Grant Crizer and the City
of Portage, Indiana (Portage) for failure to state a claim
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
Plaintiff filed a Complaint [ECF No. 1] on January 2, 2018,
and a First Amended Complaint [ECF No. 40], which is now the
operative Complaint in this case, on October 11, 2018. The
Plaintiff alleges that, on April 22, 2017, Defendant Crizer
initiated a stop of William D. Spates' car. First Am.
Compl. ¶ 7. The Plaintiff states that Spates was alone
in the car and unarmed. Id. ¶ 9. During the
traffic stop, Defendant Crizer deployed his taser and fired
electrically charged taser prongs into Spates. Id.
¶ 12. Defendant Crizer then un-holstered his firearm and
shot Spates multiple times. Id. ¶¶ 13.
Spates died at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds.
Id. ¶¶ 13, 16. Spates did not pose an
imminent threat of death or great bodily harm to Defendant
Crizer. Id. ¶ 14.
Plaintiff brings four Counts against the Defendants: Count I
is a § 1983 excessive force claim against Defendant
Crizer, alleging that he violated Spates' Fourth
Amendment rights; Count II is a § 1983 Monell
claim against Defendant City of Portage; Count III is a state
law wrongful death claim against Defendants Crizer and
Portage; and Count IV is a state law claim against Defendants
Crizer and Portage for loss of consortium.
Defendants filed a Partial Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's
First Amended Complaint [ECF No. 46] on October 17, 2018. The
Defendants seek to dismiss Counts II-IV of the
Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint for failure to state
a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
The Plaintiff filed a response [ECF No. 49], and the
Defendants filed a reply [ECF No. 50].
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. Reynolds v. CB
Sports Bar, Inc., 623 F.3d 1143, 1146 (7th Cir. 2010).
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).
Defendants challenge Counts II-IV of the Plaintiff's
First Amended Complaint: the Section 1983 Monell
claim against Defendant Portage, the state law wrongful death
claim against the Defendants, and the state law
loss-of-consortium claim against the Defendants.
Plaintiff's Section 1983 Monell Claim (Count II)
Plaintiff brings a Monell claim pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendant Portage. Section 1983
provides, in pertinent part:
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.” ...