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Martin v. Wentz

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

September 19, 2019

ANTHONY CYRIL MARTIN, Plaintiff,
v.
MARK WENTZ, Ft. Wayne Police Dept., et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Susan Collins, United States Magistrate Judge.

         Defendants, by counsel, filed a motion asking the Court to reconsider those portions of the Court’s Opinion and Order dated August 21, 2019 (“the Order”) (ECF 197), denying their summary judgment motion. Defendants raise two grounds in their motion.

         A. Heck v. Humphrey

         First, Defendants argue, “Summary judgment should have been granted as Heck v. Humphrey bars Anthony Martin’s excessive force claims.” (ECF 200 at 3). But Defendants did not raise that argument in their memorandum in support of their summary judgment motion. (ECF 144; see also ECF 143). Rather, Defendants argued (in both the section heading and the text), “Martin’s unlawful search, unlawful arrest, false arrest, and false imprisonment claims are barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).” (ECF 144 at 11). Though the memorandum includes cases which also involve excessive force issues, the section concludes by explaining:

Likewise, in this case, Martin is claiming an unlawful search, unlawful arrest, false arrest, and false imprisonment. In order for Martin to prove his claims for unlawful arrest, false arrest, and false imprisonment, Martin would have to show that he was arrested by the defendants without probable cause or a reasonable suspicion.

Id. at 14.

         In the Order, the Court explained,

The motion also addresses many claims which are not at issue in this case, including . . . unlawful search, unlawful arrest, false arrest, and false imprisonment claims . . . . To the extent any of these claims were raised by Martin in the amended complaint, they were screened pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and dismissed. Therefore it is unnecessary to address those arguments in this Opinion and Order.

(ECF 197 at 1-2) (citations and quotation marks omitted). As such, the Order did not discuss the Heck v. Humphrey arguments because they were exclusively focused on claims which were not before the Court.

         While Defendants did assert in their reply brief that Heck v. Humphrey bars Martin’s excessive force claim (ECF 191 at 8-10), “[i]t is well established that arguments raised for the first time in a reply brief are waived.” United States v. Funds in Amount of $220,030.00 in U.S. Currency, No. 11-cv-7779, 2013 WL 599561, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 14, 2013) (citing Citizens Against Ruining the Env’t v. EPA, 535 F.3d 670, 676-77 (7th Cir. 2008)); see also Cromeens, Holloman, Sibert, Inc. v. AB Volvo, 349 F.3d 376, 389 (7th Cir. 2009); James v. Sheahan, 137 F.3d 1003, 1008 (7th Cir. 1998). To grant summary judgment on an argument Defendants raised for the first time in their reply brief would be “patently unfair,” because Martin had no opportunity to respond to this new argument. Petri v. Gatlin, 997 F.Supp. 956, 977 (N.D. Ill. 1997) (citations omitted).

         And to the extent that Defendants now seek to expand the scope of their Heck v. Humphrey arguments presented in the summary judgment motion, “[r]econsideration is not an appropriate forum for rehashing previously rejected arguments or arguing matters that could have been heard during the pendency of the previous motion.” Caisse Nationale de Credit Agricole v. CBI Indus., Inc., 90 F.3d 1264, 1270 (7th Cir. 1996) (citations omitted). As the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently explained, “Though [Defendant] later sought to reverse course in its motion for reconsideration, . . . the district court correctly noted that [Defendant] should have adduced this evidence and advanced this argument in its summary judgment motion. As such, the issue is waived.”[1] Sanchelima Int’l, Inc. v. Walker Stainless Equip. Co., LLC, 920 F.3d 1141, 1146 (7th Cir. 2019) (citations, brackets, ellipsis, and quotation marks omitted).

         Accordingly, the Court will deny Defendants’ motion to reconsider the ruling on Martin’s excessive force claim.

         B. Qualified Immunity

         Second, Defendants argue, “Summary judgment should have been granted as the defendants are entitled to qualified immunity.” (ECF 200 at 7). In the summary judgment motion, Defendants raised the defense of qualified immunity, but it was based on their version of events, not Martin’s. (ECF 200 at 7-10). “The [C]ourt cannot resolve disputed issues of fact when it addresses [whether the facts alleged describe a violation of a protected right] because the ordinary rules governing summary judgment apply in that situation.” Mordi v. Zeigler, 770 F.3d 1161, 1163-64 (7th Cir. 2014) (citations ...


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