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.

Hunter v. Long

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

September 26, 2019

CLINTON HUNTER, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
P.O. LONG # 338, CAPTAIN RUDY GRASHA, individually, and the CITY OF HAMMOND, a municipal corporation, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          THERESA L. SPRINGMANN CHIEF JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Officer Long and Captain Grasha’s Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF Nos. 32] and the City of Hammond’s Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 34], both filed on November 27, 2017. For the reasons stated below, the Court DENIES the Officers’ Motion for Summary Judgment and GRANTS the City of Hammond’s Motion for Summary Judgment.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On July 26, 2016, the Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint [ECF No. 15] brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against (1) Officer Long, (2) Captain Rudy Grasha, and (3) the City of Hammond, Indiana. In Count I, the Plaintiff alleges that Officer Long and Captain Grasha, while acting within their scope of employment as Hammond police officers, used excessive force when effectuating his arrest in violation of the Fourth Amendment. See Pl.’s Am. Comp. 1–3. In Count II, the Plaintiff alleges that the City of Hammond is liable under a state law theory of indemnification for any judgment obtained against the Officers. See Id. at 3.

         On November 27, 2017, the Defendants filed the instant Motions for Summary Judgment [ECF Nos. 32, 34]. The Plaintiff filed a combined response [ECF No. 41] to both motions on January 16, 2018. The Defendants filed a reply [ECF No. 45] in support of summary judgment on January 26, 2018.

         Officer Long and Captain Grasha argue that they are entitled to qualified immunity and there is no basis for a punitive damages award, and the City of Hammond argues that the claim for indemnification is unripe. See Defs.’ Br. Supp. Summ. J. Mot. 4–12, ECF No. 33; Def.’s Br. Supp. Summ. J. Mot. 7, ECF No. 35; see also Defs.’ Reply Br. Supp. Defs.’ Summ. J. Mot. 10, ECF No. 45. The Plaintiff maintains that there are genuine issues of material fact which require a trial, especially regarding whether the Officers used excessive force when effectuating his arrest. See Pl.’s Mem. Opp’n Defs.’ Summ J. Mots. 1–2, ECF No. 41. In response, the Defendants argue that there is no dispute of material fact because the Plaintiff’s version of events are blatantly contradicted by video evidence. See Defs.’ Reply Br. Supp. Defs.’ Summ. J. Mot. 2–4, ECF No. 45.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         “The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “A fact is ‘material’ if it might affect the outcome of the litigation under the governing law. Conversely, where a fact wouldn’t affect the outcome of a suit, whether it is disputed is irrelevant.” Eubanks v. Norfolk S. Ry. Co., 875 F.Supp.2d 893, 898 (N.D. Ind. 2012) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986))). Irrelevant or unnecessary factual disputes do not preclude the entry of summary judgment. Carroll v. Lynch, 698 F.3d 561, 564 (7th Cir. 2012).

         “A genuine issue of material fact exists when ‘the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.’” Wells v. Coker, 707 F.3d 756, 760 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248). Within this context, the Court must construe all facts and reasonable inferences from those facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Frakes v. Peoria Sch. Dist. No. 150, 872 F.3d 545, 550 (7th Cir. 2017). However, “[w]hen the evidence includes a videotape of the relevant events, the Court should not adopt the nonmoving party’s version of the events when that version is blatantly contradicted by the videotape.” Williams v. Brooks, 809 F.3d 936, 942 (7th Cir. 2016) (citing Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 379–80 (2007)).

         STATEMENT OF MATERIAL FACTS

         On the night of April 18, 2015, the Plaintiff and his brother went to the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana. Pl.’s Aff. 57:14–61:19, Ex. 1, ECF No. 36. The casino surveillance video shows that on April 19, 2015, at 3:25 AM, casino security officers and Hammond police officers escort the Plaintiff from the casino. See Surveillance Video, ECF No. 30. At 3:29 AM, the Plaintiff exits the casino and stands in the vestibule. Id. The Plaintiff reenters the casino at 3:30 AM and, while interacting the customers and casino employees, stands near the exit. Id. At 3:33 AM, the police once again escort the Plaintiff from the casino. Id. The Plaintiff remains in the vestibule, makes a phone call, and speaks with his brother. Id. At 3:35 AM, security officers escort the Plaintiff out of the vestibule and onto the curb. Id. The Plaintiff walks away from the curb and into the parking lot at 3:37 AM. Id. The Plaintiff enters the Casino’s parking garage that was designated for employee use at 3:39 AM by running up a ramp that was designated for vehicular traffic. Id. Eventually, the Plaintiff runs down the stairs and exits the parking garage at 3:43 AM. Id.

         As the Plaintiff exits the garage, Officer Long pulls up in his squad car. Id. James Spikes, a security officer, also exits the parking garage. Id. Officer Long and Spikes confront the Plaintiff at 3:43:42 AM. Id. The Plaintiff puts his hands up and backs towards the hood of the squad car. Id. Officer Long then positions the Plaintiff against the hood of the car at 3:43:48 AM. Id. At the same time, Captain Grasha runs towards the squad car to assist Officer Long. Id. Captain Grasha arrives at the car at 3:43:51 AM. Id. Captain Grasha pulls out his taser and presses it against the Plaintiff’s back at 3:43:54 AM. Id. Captain Grasha applies the taser and delivers two “drive stuns” to the Plaintiff’s back which last one second each. Grasha Dep. 38:12–40:24, Ex. H, ECF No. 36. Captain Grasha keeps his taser pressed against the Plaintiff’s back. See Surveillance Video, ECF No. 30. Captain Grasha withdraws his taser from the Plaintiff’s back at 3:44:10 AM. Id. At the same time, Officer Long lifts the Plaintiff from the hood of the car in handcuffs. Id. The Plaintiff was arrested for disorderly conduct. In his deposition, the Plaintiff testified that (1) he was not resisting arrest, (2) Officer Long slammed him onto the hood of the squad car, and (3) he was tased after being placed into handcuffs. Pl.’s Aff. 133:1–145:5, Ex. 1, ECF No. 40.

         ANALYSIS

         Officer Long and Captain Grasha argue that (1) they are entitled to qualified immunity and (2) there is no basis for punitive damages. The City of Hammond argues the claim for indemnity under ...


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.