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Taylor v. Marion County Sheriff's Office

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

December 3, 2019

GLENNA TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
v.
MARION COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, CONSOLIDATED CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS/MARION COUNTY, LONG DEPUTY MCSO #633, CLARK SERGEANT MCSO #209, SHAMBAUGH DEPUTY MCSO, EDWARDS DEPUTY MCSO #1363, Defendants.

          ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Tim A. Baker United States Magistrate Judge

         I. Introduction

         Defendants have filed a motion seeking summary judgment on all of Plaintiff Glenna Taylor's claims except the excessive force claim against the individual Defendant officers. For reasons explained more fully below, no genuine issues of material fact remain regarding any of the claims raised in Defendants' motion. Therefore, Defendants' motion [Filing No. 58] is granted. Defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law as to Taylor's Monell claim, spoliation claim, state and federal failure-to-train claims, and the other state claims of negligence, assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

         II. Background

         On July 15, 2017, Taylor was detained at Hope Hall, in the Marion County Jail. [Filing No. 45, at ECF p. 2.] While detained, she was asked to provide a urine sample but stated to Deputy Linda Long that she was unable to do so. [Filing No. 58-1, at ECF p. 30.] The parties dispute the events that occurred at the jail following Taylor's claim that she could not provide a urine sample. Taylor alleges that she suffered an unlawful attack by Defendant officers using excessive force in the elevator and in a room after exiting the elevator. She claims she was pushed, thrown, hit, and grabbed by the throat by various officers during the incident. [Filing No. 66, at ECF p. 3-4.] Defendants dispute these alleged facts, but do not move for summary judgment on Taylor's excessive force claim. Thus, these factual disputes are not material to Taylor's claims that are not connected to the issue of excessive force. [Filing No. 59, at ECF p. 9, n. 1.]

         Taylor filed this case in state court alleging: Count I: negligence against all Defendants; Count II: use of excessive force against all Defendants; Count III: assault and battery against all Defendants; Count IV: 42 U.S.C. § 1983 use of excessive force against Defendant officers; Count V: intentional infliction of emotional distress against all defendants. [Filing No. 1-1.] Defendants removed the case to this Court based on Taylor's § 1983 claim. [Filing No. 1, at ECF p. 1.] The Court granted Taylor's motion to amend her complaint to substitute the Defendant Marion County Sheriff's Office (“MCSO”) for the Marion County Sheriff's Department, add Defendant Consolidated City of Indianapolis/Marion County, and add Count VI-spoliation. [Filing No. 44.] Defendants then filed their motion for partial summary judgment, seeking summary judgment on all of Taylor's claims except the federal excessive force claim against the individual Defendant officers. [Filing No. 58.]

         III. Discussion

         Defendants argue they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law as to all of Taylor's claims-except the excessive force claim against the individual Defendant officers-because, among other things, Taylor cannot establish that her constitutional rights were violated, that Defendant MCSO's policy practice, or custom caused a constitutional violation, or that MCSO failed to adequately train or supervise its employees. [Filing No. 59, at ECF p. 12-13.] Summary judgment is appropriate if “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court need only consider disputed facts that are material to the decision. A disputed fact is material if it might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. In other words, while there may be facts that are in dispute, summary judgment is appropriate if those facts are not outcome-determinative.” Stumm v. Town of Pittsboro, 355 F.Supp.3d 751, 752 (S.D. Ind. 2018) (internal citations omitted). Here, for reasons stated below, Defendants have shown there is no genuine issue as to any material fact related to Taylor's Monell claim, spoliation claim, state and federal failure-to-train claims, and the state claims of negligence, assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

         a. Monell claim

         First, Defendants argue Taylor's § 1983 excessive force claim against Defendant MCSO fails because she has not designated evidence that MCSO was deliberately indifferent toward a constitutionally deficient policy, practice or custom. [Filing No. 59, at ECF p. 13.]

         “Pursuant to Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Serv. of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978), municipalities and other local government units can be subject to liability under § 1983.” Hendricks v. New Albany Policy Dept., 749 F.Supp.2d 863, 873 (S.D. Ind. 2010).

There is no respondeat superior liability for municipalities under 42 U.S.C.§ 1983. Monell, however, holds that municipalities may be liable for § 1983 claims when they are directly responsible for the constitutional deprivation. To establish that responsibility, and thus liability under Monell, a plaintiff must ultimately prove three elements: (1) a municipal action, which can be an express policy, a widespread custom, or an act by an individual with policy-making authority; (2) culpability, meaning, at a minimum, deliberate conduct; and (3) causation, which means the municipal action was the “moving force” behind the constitutional injury.

Ruiz-Cortez v. City of Chicago, 931 F.3d 592, 598 (7th Cir. 2019) (internal citations omitted). See also Levy v. Marion County Sheriff, 940 F.3d 1002, 1010 (7th Cir. 2019) (“To prevail on a Monell claim, plaintiffs must identify an action taken by the municipality, the requisite degree of culpability, and a causal link between the municipality's action and the deprivation of federal rights. A municipality ‘acts' through its written policies, widespread practices or customs, and the acts of a final decisionmaker. A municipality has the requisite degree of culpability if it acts with deliberate indifference to the known or obvious consequences of its action.” (Internal citations omitted)).

         Defendants contend Taylor has not identified any express MCSO policy she alleges to be unconstitutional and has not cited any evidence that MCSO was indifferent toward a widespread practice or custom that caused her rights to be violated. [Filing No. 59, at ECF p. 14, 15.] Taylor claims that “genuine issues of material fact exist as to the existence of an unconstitutional policy” [Filing No. 66, at ECF p. 18], but then cites no such policy. Taylor does not indicate that she finds fault with any MCSO express written policy regarding use of force or MCSO's manner of training expressed in written policy. ...


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