United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
T. MOODY JUDGE
matter is before the court on defendant John Buncich's
motion to dismiss (DE # 21) and defendants Larry Hunt, John
Latta, Craig Philps, and Lakes of the Four Seasons Property
Owners Association's motion to dismiss (DE # 40).
following factual allegations are taken from plaintiffs
Geralyn Klein and Brandon Klein's complaint (DE # 1) and
are accepted as true for the purpose of resolving the pending
motions to dismiss. See Simpson v. Brown Cty., 860
F.3d 1001, 1009 (7th Cir. 2017).
September 18, 2016, Geralyn and her son Brandon lived in the
Lakes of the Four Seasons gated community. (DE # 1 at 6.)
That afternoon, Brandon came home, ran through the house, and
ran out the back door. (Id.) Geralyn locked the door
behind him, preventing defendant sheriff deputy Nicholas
Medrano from entering the house. (Id.) A few minutes
later, Geralyn left her house and asked Medrano what was
going on. (Id.) Medrano told Geralyn that she was
under arrest for interfering with police business, and placed
her in handcuffs. (Id. at 6-7.) Medrano then slammed
Geralyn on top of her car, picked her up, and slammed her on
top of her car a second time. (Id.) Medrano picked
Geralyn up again, walked her down the driveway, and slammed
her into Brandon's car twice. (Id. at 7-8.)
Shortly thereafter, two Lakes of the Four Seasons Security
Officers, defendants Kenneth Green and John Latta arrived at
the scene. (Id. at 9.) Green got out of the car,
while Latta remained in the car. (Id.) A third Lakes
of the Four Seasons Security Officer, defendant Larry Hunt,
also arrived at the scene. (Id.) Plaintiffs allege
that it was clear at this time that Geralyn had been
Medrano kicked in the door to the Klein's home.
(Id.) He and Green ransacked the home and destroyed
a number of plaintiffs' possessions. (Id.)
time later, all of the officers made a circle around Geralyn
and taunted her when she told them that her arm was broken.
(Id. at 10.) Someone eventually called her an
ambulance and Geralyn was taken to a hospital. (Id.)
present lawsuit alleges that defendants violated their
constitutional rights and Indiana law. Defendant Buncich has
filed a motion to dismiss on the basis that: (1) the suit
against him in his official capacity as Lake County Sheriff
is duplicative of the claims against the Lake County
Sheriff's Department; and (2) plaintiffs' complaint
fails to state a plausible claim for relief against Buncich.
(DE ## 21, 22.) Defendants Latta, Hunt, Philp, and Lakes of
the Four Seasons Property Owners Association, Inc. have moved
to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint on the basis that: (1)
plaintiffs' complaint fails to put them on notice of the
claims against them; (2) plaintiffs' complaint fails to
state a claim against them; and (3) they are immune from
plaintiffs' state law claims under the Indiana Tort
Claims Act. (DE ## 40, 41.)
have moved to dismiss plaintiffs' claims under 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). To meet 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.
Defendant Buncich's Motion to Dismiss
sued defendant Buncich, the former Lake County Sheriff, in
his official capacity only, as well as separately naming the
Lake County Sheriff's Department as a defendant. As
Buncich correctly notes, the claims against him are redundant
of the claims against the Lake County Sheriff's
Department - the real party at interest. See Kentucky v.
Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 166 (1985) (“[A]n
official-capacity suit is, in all respects other than name,
to be treated as a suit against the entity.”).
Accordingly, because the Lake County Sheriff's Department
is the real party at interest, the claims against Buncich
will be dismissed as duplicative. See Mikulich v.
Buncich, No. 2:18-CV-192, 2019 WL 1014784, at *3 (N.D.
Ind. Mar. 4, 2019) (dismissing the claims against Sheriff
Buncich in his official capacity as duplicative of the claims
against the Lake County Sheriff's Department); Vargas
v. Lake Cty. Police Dep't, No. 2:14-CV-288, ...