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McCalister v. Stevens

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

September 30, 2019

WILLIAM MCCALISTER, Plaintiff,
v.
JONATHAN STEVENS individually and as an officer of the West Terre Haute Police Department, SGT. FROSHAUER individually and as an officer of the Terre Haute Police Department, Defendants.

          ORDER ON DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          JAMES PATRICK HANLON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Jonathan Stevens, a West Terre Haute police officer, filed an “Intimidation Report” stating that as he was walking near the police station, someone shouted that he was a “f***ing dirty-ass cop” and threatened to shoot him. Officer Stevens’s report identified William McCalister as the culprit and led to Mr. McCalister’s arrest. Mr. McCalister brought this lawsuit alleging false-arrest claims in violation of federal and state law. Dkt. 1-1 at 5; see dkt. 54. Officer Stevens has moved for summary judgment. Dkt. [57]. Because there are genuine issues of material fact that must be resolved at trial, that motion is DENIED. Sergeant Froschauer, the only other remaining defendant, is DISMISSED with prejudice because Mr. McCalister is not maintaining any claims against him.

         I.

         Facts and Background

         Because Defendants have moved for summary judgment under Rule 56(a), the Court views and recites the evidence “in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw[s] all reasonable inferences in that party’s favor.” Zerante v. DeLuca, 555 F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted).

         In 2011, Plaintiff William McCalister’s nephew, James Michael Mundy, was a suspect in a burglary. Dkt. 59-1 at 3 (McCalister Dep. at 12). Defendant Jonathan Stevens was dispatched to the scene. Dkt. 59-3 at 3 (Melton Dep. at 21). Mr. Mundy allegedly tried to drive over Officer Stevens, and Officer Stevens shot and killed him. Dkt. 59-3 at 3–5 (Melton Dep. at 21–23); Dkt. 59-2 at 2–3 (Stevens Dep. at 46–47). That shooting caused tension between Officer Stevens and Mr. Mundy’s family, including Mr. McCalister. Dkt. 59-3 at 17 (Melton Dep. at 59).

         Several years later, in October 2015, Mr. McCalister was arrested on battery charges. Dkt. 59-1 at 5–6 (McCalister Dep. at 14–15). Because of tension created by Mr. Mundy’s death, Mr. McCalister did not want Officer Stevens escorting him to jail after his arrest. Dkt. 59-1 at 5–6, 23–24 (McCalister Dep. at 14–15, 54–55). Another officer took Mr. McCalister instead. Dkt. 59-1 at 8 (McCalister Dep. at 17).

         Then, on December 2, 2015, Officer Stevens was walking near the police station when he heard someone call him a “f***ing dirty-ass cop.” Dkt. 59-2 at 26 (Stevens Dep. at 101); dkt. 59-2 Exs. A, B. Officer Stevens identified that person as Mr. McCalister. Dkt. 59-2 at 26 (Stevens Dep. at 101).

         Officer Stevens had Sergeant Froschauer join him to try to find Mr. McCalister. Dkt. 59-2 at 13 (Stevens Dep. at 82). They drove in the area where Mr. McCalister lived, but did not find him. Dkt. 59-2 at 16 (Stevens Dep. at 87). Officer Stevens filed a report about the incident, dkt. 59-2 at 6–7 (Stevens Dep. at 59–60); dkt. 59-2 Ex. A, which led to Mr. McCalister being arrested and charged with intimidation. Dkt. 59-3 Ex. J. The charge was dismissed with prejudice after Crede Fitzpatrick, Mr. Mundy’s family friend, claimed that he had shouted at Officer Stevens and several affidavits were submitted attesting that Mr. McCalister was at work at the time of the incident. Dkt. 59-3 Exs. J, K-1; dkt. 59-1 at 10–15 (McCalister Dep. at 21–26); dkt. 59-4.

         Mr. McCalister filed this action, which Defendants removed to this Court, alleging false arrest and false imprisonment against five police officers. Dkt. 1; dkt. 1-1. Mr. McCalister dismissed three officers with prejudice, dkt. 64; the remaining officers-Officer Stevens and Sergeant Froschauer-have moved for summary judgment, dkt. 57.

         II.

         Applicable Law

         A. Summary judgment

         Summary judgment shall be granted “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). The moving party must inform the court “of the basis for its motion” and specify evidence demonstrating “the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the moving party meets this burden, the nonmoving party must ...


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