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Covington v. City of Lake Station

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

December 13, 2019

SARAH COVINGTON, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF LAKE STATION, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOSEPH S. VAN BOKKELEN, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This matter is before the Court on:

1. State Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and Motion to Strike [DE 26], filed on March 20, 2017;
2. Lake Station-affiliated Defendants' Motion to Dismiss & Motion for Partial Summary Judgment & to Strike [DE 30], filed on March 20, 2017;
3. Defendants', John Buncich and Lake County Jail, Joint Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint [DE 47], filed on April 25, 2017;
4. Defendant Judge Gina Jones' Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and (6) [DE 52], filed on April 28, 2017;
5. Defendant, Donna Joiner's Motion to Dismiss [DE 60], filed on June 23, 2017; and
6. Joint Motion for Summary Ruling by John Buncich and Lake County Jail [DE 86], filed on December 5, 2019.

         Plaintiff Sarah Covington, [1] pro se, filed a response to the first two motions on April 17, 2017, and the Lake Station-affiliated defendants filed a reply on April 24, 2017. No. other responses or replies have been filed.

         Plaintiff filed a seventy-some page complaint in which she sued more than forty local, county, and state officials and entities, as well as several private individuals, for claims arising out of her arrest in February 2016 and the loss of custody of her children.[2] For the reasons stated below, that complaint is dismissed.

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         1. Motion to Dismiss

         The purpose of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim is to test the sufficiency of the pleading, not to decide the merits of the case. See Gibson v. Chi., 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990). In ruling on such a motion, the Court accepts as true all of the well-pleaded facts alleged by the plaintiff and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007); see also Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1082 (7th Cir. 2008). To survive a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the complaint must first comply with Rule 8(a) by providing “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), such that the defendant is given “fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009). Second, the “complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570); see also Tamayo, 526 F.3d at 1082.

         2. Motion for Summary Judgment

         A motion for summary judgment must be granted “if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Rule 56(c) further requires the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery, against a party “who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).

         A party seeking summary judgment bears the initial responsibility of informing a court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.

         Rule 56(e) specifies that once a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, “the adverse party's response, by affidavits or as otherwise provided in this rule, must set forth specific facts to establish that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). In viewing the facts presented on a motion for summary judgment, a court must construe all facts in a light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all legitimate inferences and resolve all doubts in favor of that party. Keri, 458 F.3d at 628. A court's role is not to evaluate the weight of the evidence, to judge the credibility of witnesses, or to determine the truth of the matter, but instead to determine whether there is a genuine issue of triable fact. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986).

         Northern District of Indiana Local Rule 56-1(f) requires a party seeking summary judgment against a pro se party to serve that party with the notice found in Appendix C to the Local Rules. The notice advises an unrepresented party of the rules for responding to a summary judgment motion. The parties moving for summary judgment have complied with this rule. See (Notice, ECF No. 32).

         ANALYSIS

         1. ...


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