United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
T. MOODY JUDGE
matter is before the court on the parties' motions to
dismiss. (DE ## 16, 31, 35, 44.) For the reasons set forth
below, the motions will be granted in part and denied in
following factual allegations are taken from plaintiff Eric
Knowles' amended complaint (DE # 5) and are accepted as
true for the purpose of resolving the pending motions.
See Simpson v. Brown Cty., 860 F.3d 1001, 1009 (7th
is the biological father of two children, C.E. and E.B., and
the stepfather of two children, K.C. and E.C. (Id.
at 3.) According to Knowles' amended complaint, his
ex-wives and their current partners conspired with his
stepchildren's father and his partner to fabricate claims
that Knowles molested the four children, in order to prevail
in their respective custody disputes against Knowles.
(Id. at 1, 4-8.) Knowles alleges that, despite clear
evidence that the allegations were false, defendant
Prosecutor Trista Hudson and defendant Detective Janis
Crafton charged and prosecuted Knowles on six counts of child
molestation. Knowles alleges that defendants wrongfully
coerced incriminating statements, fabricated evidence in the
form of false testimony, and knowingly detained and
prosecuted him without probable cause.
procedural history of the criminal proceedings is as follows.
In June 2013, Knowles was arrested and charged with molesting
E.B. (“June Charge”). (Id. at 14.) In
July 2013, Knowles was charged with molesting K.C. and E.C.
(Counts I-IV) and C.E. (Count V) (“July
Charges”). (Id. at 17.)
was tried on the June Charge in August 2015. (Id. at
19.) A jury returned a verdict of not guilty. (Id.
at 20.) Knowles remained in jail pending trial on the
remaining charges. (Id.)
2016, Knowles' trial on Counts I-IV of the July Charges
began. (Id. at 21.) When Knowles' attorney
cross-examined E.C., E.C. admitted that he lied when he
claimed that Knowles molested him, and he explained that his
father had instructed him to lie. (Id.) E.C.
testified that he told Hudson and Crafton that he had lied
the week before the trial began. (Id.) Crafton
confirmed E.C.'s statement. (Id.) This
information had not previously been disclosed to Knowles or
his attorney. (Id.) The trial judge entered an order
of acquittal on the four pending charges, and ordered that
Knowles be released from jail in advance of his trial on
Count V of the July Charges. (Id. at 24.) At the
time of his release, Knowles had been in jail for more than
three years. (Id.)
judge from the second trial reported Hudson to the state
disciplinary commission. (Id. at 24.) The Indiana
Supreme Court determined that Hudson committed misconduct by
failing to disclose exculpatory evidence and by prosecuting a
charge she knew was not supported by probable cause.
(Id.) The Indiana Supreme Court suspended Hudson for
18 months. (Id. at 25.) Hudson's employment with
Porter County was terminated following the second trial. (DE
# 5-4 at 3.)
February 2017, while Count V was still pending, Crafton
obtained a search warrant to search Knowles' computer for
child pornography. (DE # 5 at 25.) While the search did not
uncover child pornography, it revealed that on one occasion
Knowles picked up his friend's child from elementary
school, in violation of a protective order issued against
Knowles due to the pending criminal charges. (Id.)
Crafton recommended that Knowles be charged with misdemeanor
invasion of privacy. (Id. at 26.) Knowles was
arrested and held for one day prior to his release.
(Id.) In March 2017, Knowles was charged with
misdemeanor invasion of privacy. (Id.)
2017, the State dismissed the remaining child molestation
charge (Count V). (Id. at 26.) In March 2018, the
State dismissed the misdemeanor charge. (Id.)
September 21, 2018, Knowles filed the present suit, alleging
nine counts against the defendants. In Counts I-V, Knowles
alleges that defendants are liable under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 for violating his right to due process, his Fourth
Amendment rights, and for failing to intervene in the
violations of his constitutional rights. In Counts VI-VIII,
Knowles alleges that defendants are liable under Indiana law
for intentional infliction of emotional distress, malicious
prosecution, and abuse of process. In Count IX, Knowles
alleges an indemnification claim against the City of Portage.
the court are four motions to dismiss. (DE ## 16, 31, 35,
44.) The motions are fully briefed and are ripe for ruling.
the parties have moved for dismissal pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), for failure to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted. A judge reviewing a
complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) must construe the
allegations in the complaint in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party, accept all well-pleaded facts as true,
and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the
non-movant. United States ex rel. Berkowitz v. Automation
Aids, Inc., 896 F.3d 834, 839 (7th Cir. 2018).
the liberal notice-pleading requirements of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure, the complaint need only contain “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
“While the federal pleading standard is quite
forgiving, . . . the complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” Ray v. City of
Chicago, 629 F.3d 660, 662-63 (7th Cir. 2011); Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A
plaintiff must plead “factual content that allows the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009).
this standard, a complaint does not need detailed factual
allegations, but it must go beyond providing “labels
and conclusions” and “be enough to raise a right
to relief above the speculative level.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. A complaint must give
“enough details about the subject-matter of the case to
present a story that holds together.” Swanson v.
Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 404 (7th Cir. 2010). Even
if the truth of the facts alleged appears doubtful, and
recovery remote or unlikely, the court cannot dismiss a
complaint for failure to state a claim if, when the facts
pleaded are taken as true, a plaintiff has “nudged
their claims across the line from conceivable to
plausible.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.
Trista Hudson's Motion to Dismiss
argues that she is entitled to dismissal for four reasons:
(1) she is entitled to absolute prosecutorial immunity; (2)
Knowles failed to allege that she was personally involved
before the charges were filed, or after his acquittal in the
second trial; (3) Knowles' claims regarding the first and
second trials are untimely; ...