United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
DENICE MARTIN, QUINTON MARTIN, ANTHONY C. MARTIN, TONY MARTIN, and AMANDA DELAGRANGE, Plaintiffs,
NOBLE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT., ALLEN COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT., FORT WAYNE POLICE DEPT., INDIANA STATE POLICE DEPT., DOUG HARP NOBLE COUNTY SHERIFF, SGT. JOE HUTSELL NOBLE COUNTY SHERIFF, SGT. TIM DOLBY NOBLE COUNTY SHERIFF, DET SHAWN DUNAFIN, DET. MICHAEL CARROLL, LT. R. CORY CULLER, SGT. JOHN R. PETRO, NOBLE COUNTY PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE, and UNKNOWN OFFICERS, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
William C. Lee, Judge U.S. District Court Northern District
matter is before the Court on the motion for summary judgment
filed by Defendant Fort Wayne Police Department (ECF 45). The
Plaintiffs, proceeding pro se, filed pleadings in
opposition to the motion, including a response brief (ECF
109), an affidavit from Plaintiff Denice Martin (ECF 110), a
memorandum of law (ECF 111), and a “Notice to Court,
Show of Compliance” (ECF 112). The FWPD filed a
supplemental designation of evidence (ECF 115), a reply brief
(ECF 116), and a motion to strike portions of Denice
Martin's affidavit (ECF 114). For the reasons set forth
below, the motion for summary judgment is GRANTED; the motion
to strike is DENIED as moot.
Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit on May 7, 2018, stating that it
“is a civil action authorized by 42 U.S.C. section 1983
to redress the deprivation, under color of state law, of
rights secured by the constitutions [sic] of the United
States.” Complaint (ECF 1), p. 2. The Plaintiffs'
allegations arise from an incident on August 22, 2017, when
law enforcement officers entered Plaintiff Denice
Martin's home where she lived with her teenage son,
Quinton, who is autistic. In the Complaint, Ms. Martin recounts
the incident as follows:
On or about the 22nd day of August, around 10pm I
was laying in my bed and I heard a loud boom. The front door
was kicked in and I saw a lot of flashing lights and was
hearing a lot of commotion going on from the officers
commands and them yelling while making entry to the home with
their guns drawn. I was thrown to the ground face first by
several unknown officers, who began giving me commands and
shoved my head hard into the floor when I did not respond to
him or his questioning.
Id., p. 3 (verbatim). Ms. Martin alleges that the
officers used excessive force against her and Quinton,
including striking them both and screaming expletives at
them. Ms. Martin further alleges as follows:
I was detained and held against my will for over several
hours handcuffed, no shoes on, no phone, helpless and was not
allowed back into the house until like 5am. While in the
backseat [of a police vehicle], I saw several officers go
inside the house and come outside the house, with numerous
properties and personal material was taken from the house.
The officers were coming out of the house with boxes, safes,
bags, computers and clothing items in hand, which at no time
was a “search warrant” shown to me or presented
for my observation as to the reason “why” they
were there searching and breaking into my home.
Id., pp. 3-4 (verbatim). Ms. Martin also claims that
“[p]ersonal property, computers, computers data and
documents of my son Anthony who is incarcerated and my
brother Tony personal property was also ‘seized' by
the officers, which I was storing for them in separate rooms
upstairs in the house. They also seized my laptop computer
along with other personal items. There is major damage to the
front door, sofa, carpet, and couch from the forceful and
reckless entry to the home, and the reckless searching for
unknown items, which needs repaired immediately.”
Id., p. 4. Ms. Martin, on behalf of herself and the
other Plaintiffs, is “suing for 92.7 million dollars
(U.S. currency), and all medical related bills, out-of-pocket
expense, pain and suffering, damages, etc., al.”
Id., p. 8.
judgment is appropriate when the record shows 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©; Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Disputes concerning
material facts are genuine where the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving
party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 248 (1986). In deciding whether genuine issues of
material fact exist, the court construes all facts in a light
most favorable to the non-moving party and draws all
reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party.
See Id. at 255. However, neither the “mere
existence of some alleged factual dispute between the
parties, ” id. at 247, nor the existence of
“some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts,
” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986), will defeat a motion
for summary judgment. Michas v. Health Cost Controls of
Ill., Inc., 209 F.3d 687, 692 (7th Cir. 2000).
judgment is not a substitute for a trial on the merits nor is
it a vehicle for resolving factual disputes. Waldridge v.
Am. Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 920 (7th Cir. 1994).
Therefore, after drawing all reasonable inferences from the
facts in favor of the non-movant, if genuine doubts remain
and a reasonable fact-finder could find for the party
opposing the motion, summary judgment is inappropriate.
See Shields Enterprises, Inc. v. First Chicago
Corp., 975 F.2d 1290, 1294 (7th Cir. 1992); Wolf v.
City of Fitchburg, 870 F.2d 1327, 1330 (7th Cir. 1989).
However, if it is clear that a plaintiff will be unable to
satisfy the legal requirements necessary to establish his or
her case, summary judgment is not only appropriate, but
mandated. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322; Ziliak
v. AstraZeneca LP, 324 F.3d 518, 520 (7th Cir. 2003).
“[S]peculation and conjecture” also cannot defeat
a motion for summary judgment. Cooney v. Casady, 735
F.3d 514, 519 (7th Cir. 2013). In addition, not all factual
disputes will preclude the entry of summary judgment, only
those that “could affect the outcome of the suit under
governing law.” Outlaw v. Newkirk, 259 F.3d
833, 837 (7th Cir. 2001) (citation omitted).
present motion, the FWPD argues that it is entitled to
summary judgment because it was not involved in the August
22, 2017, incident at Martin's home: “The Fort
Wayne Police Department had no contact with the plaintiffs on
August 22, 2017. The Fort Wayne Police Department was not
present at [the Martin home] and did not search [the home] on
August 22, 2017.” Memorandum in Support of Motion for
Summary Judgment (ECF 46), p. 1. In support of its position,
the FWPD presents the affidavit of Sergeant Howard Johnson,
who “holds the position of Sergeant of Internal Affairs
for the [FWPD].” Id., p. 2. Sergeant Johnson
states in his affidavit as follows:
. . . I currently hold the position of Sergeant of Internal
Affairs for the Fort Wayne Police Department. . . . There are
no records that any Fort Wayne police officer had contact
with Denice Martin, Quinton Martin, Anthony Martin, Tony
Martin, or Amanda Delagrange on August 22, 2017[, ] as
alleged in the Complaint. . . . The Fort Wayne Police Main
Names Table lists all involvements that an individual has had
with the Fort Wayne Police Department. I have reviewed the
Fort Wayne Police Names Table for Denice Martin, Quinton
Martin, Anthony Martin, Tony Martin, and Amanda Delagrange.
The Fort Wayne Police Department had no involvements with
[those Plaintiffs] on August 22 2017. . . . There are no
records indicating that any Fort Wayne police officer was
present at the [Martin home] in Fort Wayne on August 22,
for Summary Judgment, Exhibit A, Affidavit of Sgt. Howard
Johnson (ECF 45-1), pp. 1-2. The FWPD states emphatically
that it “did not encounter or have any contact with the
plaintiffs on August 22, 2017. The [FWPD] did not use any
force against the plaintiffs on August 22, 2017. The [FWPD]
did not violate the plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment rights.
Memorandum in Support, p. 5.
hard to imagine a better defense to the Plaintiffs'
claims than the one advanced by the FWPD, i.e., that the Fort
Wayne police were not present during the incident giving rise
to the Plaintiffs' allegations. Nonetheless, the
Plaintiffs oppose the FWPD's motion for summary judgment.
They contend that “defendants still are in possession
of overdue ‘discovery,' which they failed to
supplement.” Plaintiffs' Response (ECF 109), p. 1.
In her affidavit, Denice Martin states that she
“witnessed Fort Wayne police officers, Allen Co.
Sheriff's officers, Indiana State Police officers, and
several plain cloth[ed] officers, go in and out of my home .
. . searching the house and the cars outside of the
home.” Affidavit of Denice Martin (ECF 110), p. 2. So,
the Plaintiffs' arguments in opposition to summary
judgment are twofold: ...