United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
THERESA L. SPRINGMANN CHIEF JUDGE
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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)).
OF MATERIAL FACTS
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.
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.
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