Townsend v. Fort Wayne City of et al
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING IN PART and DENYING IN PART 32 MOTION for Summary Judgment by Defendants Addison FNU, Fort Wayne City of, Tom Strausborger, Ian Wolf. The Motion is granted as to Sergeant Strausborger and Officer Addison. The Motion is DE NIED as to Officer Wolfe and the City of Fort Wayne. Plaintiff's § 1983 claim against Officer Wolfe for false arrest, and her false arrest and false imprisonment claims against the City of Fort Wayne under state law remain at issue in this matter. The 41 MOTION to Strike Plaintiff's Supplemental Initial Disclosures by Defendants Addison FNU, Fort Wayne City of, Tom Strausborger, Ian Wolf is DENIED. Signed by Judge Jon E DeGuilio on 6/16/14. (cer)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
FORT WAYNE DIVISION
CITY OF FORT WAYNE, et al.,
Case No. 1:12-CV-371 JD
OPINION AND ORDER
On September 19, 2012, Plaintiff Melissa Townsend filed a complaint against the City of
Fort Wayne, Officer Ian Wolfe, Sergeant Tom Strausborger, and Officer Gregory Addison,
alleging that she was unlawfully arrested. [DE 1]. She sued the officers in their individual
capacities pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violating her rights under the Fourth Amendment,
and she sued the City for false arrest and false imprisonment under Indiana law based on the acts
of its police officers. The defendants have now moved for summary judgment, and that motion
has been fully briefed. [DE 32, 33, 39, 40, 44]. For the reasons that follow, summary judgment is
GRANTED as to the claims against Sergeant Strausborger and Officer Addison, but is DENIED
as to the claims against Officer Wolfe and the City of Fort Wayne. The defendants have also
moved to strike Ms. Townsend’s supplemental Rule 26(a)(1) disclosure as untimely, and that
motion is DENIED.
I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND
While visiting her mother at East Central Towers apartment complex on the afternoon of
July 13, 2011, Ms. Townsend was approached by a little girl who was screaming for help
because someone was fighting her mother. [DE 32-1, 39-1]. Ms. Townsend and several other
people followed the girl and found two women, Yvette Howard and Lynette Faye Calligan,
engaged in a physical altercation. [Id.] The women were on the ground and Ms. Howard was on
top of Ms. Calligan, holding her down. [Id.] Ms. Townsend shouted at them to stop fighting, and
when they did not, she and two maintenance men broke up the fight by getting in between the
women to separate them. [Id.] Ms. Townsend then returned to her mother’s apartment. [Id.]
Several police officers responded to the scene, including Officer Ian Wolfe, Officer
Gregory Addison, and Sergeant Thomas Strausborger, of the City of Fort Wayne Police
Department. [DE 32-2, 32-4]. When Officer Wolfe arrived, he made contact with Ms. Howard,
who had called the incident into the police. [De 32-2]. She told him that Ms. Calligan attacked
her and that she took Ms. Calligan down to the ground to restrain her. [DE 39-4]. According to
Officer Wolfe’s report, she also “stated that another female, later identified as Melissa
Townsend, witnessed the event and pulled her off of Calligan.” [Id.] Ms. Howard further told
Officer Wolfe that she wanted to make a citizen’s arrest of Ms. Calligan. [Id.] Having learned
that police officers were investigating the incident, Ms. Townsend then returned to the scene.
[DE 39-1]. Officer Addison arrived at around the same time, and he and Officer Wolfe located
Ms. Calligan and arrested her for battery. [DE 39-4].
According to Ms. Townsend, Officer Wolfe approached her, told her that she was a
witness to the altercation, and asked her for her name, address, and social security number. [DE
39-1]. Ms. Townsend gave him her name and address, but told him that she was not comfortable
saying her social security number out loud in public, as there were a number of people nearby
and she had once been the victim of identity theft. [Id.] She offered to write the number down,
but Officer Wolfe instead asked her for an identification card. [Id.] Ms. Townsend did not have
her driver’s license with her, but provided Officer Wolfe with her Ivy Tech student identification
card, which had her picture on it. [Id.]. Officer Wolfe was not satisfied, and told Ms. Townsend
that he was arresting her and that she was “going to jail.” [Id.]
Officer Wolfe’s version of this encounter is somewhat different. Officer Wolfe recounts
that Ms. Townsend approached him, explained that she saw the women fighting, and said that
she physically pulled Ms. Howard off of Ms. Calligan. [DE 39-4]. According to his affidavit,
“Townsend said that she grabbed Howard while Howard was punching Calligan.” [DE 32-2].
Officer Wolfe then “advised [Ms. Townsend] that because she was involved in the altercation,
she needed to provide her identification to [him].” [Id.] Ms. Townsend initially resisted, then
gave Officer Wolfe her name. [DE 39-4]. Officer Wolfe told her that she had “to either tell [him]
her date of birth, social security number, and address or to provide [him] with a state issued
identification card.” [Id.]. Ms. Townsend looked through her purse and handed Officer Wolfe a
student identification card that contained her name but no other personal identification
information. [Id.]. Officer Wolfe told her the he needed to see a legitimate state-issued
identification, and when she failed to comply, he “advised her that she was being placed under
arrest for Refusal to Identify,” and he placed her in handcuffs. [Id.] Officer Addison appears to
have been interviewing Ms. Calligan during this exchange. [DE 32-4, 39-4]
Sergeant Strausborger then arrived at the scene and spoke with Officer Wolfe. [DE 39-4].
Officer Wolfe states that he “explained the situation to Sgt. Strausborger, who then spoke with
Townsend and advised her that she was required to provide identification.” [Id.] Sergeant
Strausborger described his conversation as follows: “Officer Wolfe asked me whether he could
arrest someone who had been involved in a battery because that person refused to provide
identification to Officer Wolfe. I informed Officer Wolfe that if the individual was involved in
an altercation, that individual could be arrested for refusing to provide information to Officer
Wolfe.” [DE 32-3]. Officer Wolfe then walked Ms. Townsend to his squad car and transported
her to the Allen County jail. [DE 39-4]. Meanwhile, the officers released Ms. Calligan at the
scene, as Ms. Howard no longer wished to press charges. [Id.]. Ms. Townsend was detained at
the jail for about eight hours and was charged with failing to identify herself to officers, in
violation of Indiana Code § 34-28-5-3.5. [DE 39-1]. The charges were dropped the following
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
On summary judgment, the burden is on the moving party to demonstrate 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). That means that the Court must construe all facts in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party, making every legitimate inference and resolving every doubt
in its favor. Kerri v. Bd. of Trustees of Purdue Univ., 458 F.3d 620, 628 (7th Cir. 2006). A
“material” fact is one identified by the substantive law as affecting the outcome of the suit.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A “genuine issue” exists with
respect to any such material fact, and summary judgment is therefore inappropriate, when “the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. On
the other hand, where a factual record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to
find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue for trial. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (citing Bank of Ariz. v. Cities Servs. Co., 391 U.S.
253, 289 (1968)).
In determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, this Court must construe
all facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, as well as draw all reasonable and
justifiable inferences in its favor. King v. Preferred Technical Grp., 166 F.3d 887, 890 (7th Cir.
1999). Thus, in responding to Defendants’ motion for summary judgment, the Court must credit
Plaintiff’s version of the facts. In so doing, the Court does not vouch for the truth of those facts,
but merely uses them to determine whether a genuine issue for trial exists. See Herzog v. Vill. of
Winnetka, 309 F.3d 1041, 1044–45 (7th Cir. 2002).
However, the non-moving party cannot simply rest on the allegations or denials
contained in its pleadings, but must present sufficient evidence to show the existence of each
element of its case on which it will bear the burden at trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322–23 (1986); Robin v. Espo Eng’g Corp., 200 F.3d 1081, 1088 (7th Cir. 2000). Finally,
the fact that the parties have cross-filed for summary judgment does not change the standard of
review. M.O. v. Ind. Dep’t of Educ., 635 F.Supp.2d 847, 850 (N.D. Ind. 2009). Cross-motions
are treated separately under the standards applicable to each. McKinney v. Cadleway Properties,
Inc., 548 F.3d 496, 504 n.4 (7th Cir. 2008).
Ms. Townsend’s complaint asserts a claim under federal law against each of the officers,
including Officer Wolfe, Officer Addison, and Sergeant Strausborger, for arresting her without
probable cause in violation of the Fourth Amendment. She also asserts a claim for false arrest
and false imprisonment under Indiana law against the City of Fort Wayne, as the employer of the
officers. The defendants have moved for summary judgment as to all claims, and the Court
considers each defendant in turn.
Ms. Townsend’s federal claims arise under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides a cause of
action against any person who, while acting under color of state law, deprives an individual “of
any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution.” 42 U.S.C. § 1983; Fleming v.
Livingston Cnty., Ill., 674 F.3d 874, 878 (7th Cir. 2012). Ms. Townsend asserts that the officers
deprived her of her right under the Fourth Amendment to be free from “unreasonable . . .
seizures.” U.S. Const. amend. IV. An arrest (which is a form of seizure) is reasonable if it is
based on probable cause that the individual has committed an offense, so to succeed on this
claim, Ms. Townsend must show that the officers lacked probable cause for her arrest. Williams
v. Rodriguez, 509 F.3d 392, 398 (7th Cir. 2007) (“In order for [the plaintiff] to prevail on his
§ 1983 false arrest claim, he must show that probable cause for his arrest was lacking.”); Kelley
v. Myler, 149 F.3d 641, 646 (7th Cir. 1998) (“An essential predicate to any § 1983 claim for
unlawful arrest is the absence of probable cause.”).
A police officer has probable cause for an arrest if, at the time of the arrest, the “facts and
circumstances within the officer’s knowledge . . . are sufficient to warrant a prudent person, or
one of reasonable caution, in believing, in the circumstances shown, that the suspect has
committed, is committing, or is about to commit an offense.” Michigan v. DeFillippo, 443 U.S.
31, 37 (1979); Gonzalez v. City of Elgin, 578 F.3d 526, 537 (7th Cir. 2009). In determining
whether probable cause exists, a court does not evaluate “the facts as an omniscient observer
would perceive them,” but rather “as they would have appeared to a reasonable person in the
position of the arresting officer.” Mustafa v. City of Chi., 442 F.3d 544, 547 (7th Cir. 2006);
Chelios v. Heavener, 520 F.3d 678, 686 (7th Cir. 2008). Likewise, it is well-established that “the
officer’s state of mind (except for the facts that he knows) is irrelevant to the existence of
probable cause.” Devenpeck v. Alford, 543 U.S. 146, 153 (2004).
To determine whether probable cause to arrest existed, the Court must consider the
elements of the law allegedly violated. Pourghoraishi v. Flying J, Inc., 449 F.3d 751, 761 (7th
Cir. 2006). Here, the defendants claim that Ms. Townsend was arrested for violating Indiana
Code § 34-28-5-3.5, which provides:
A person who knowingly or intentionally refuses to provide either the person’s:
(1) name, address, and date of birth; or
(2) driver’s license, if in the person’s possession;
to a law enforcement officer who has stopped the person for an infraction or
ordinance violation commits a Class C misdemeanor.
Ind. Code § 34-28-5-3.5. To have committed this offense, Ms. Townsend must have been
stopped “for an infraction or ordinance violation” in the first place, and must also have
knowingly or intentionally refused to provide the listed identification.
The Court finds that the officers lacked probable cause to believe that Ms. Townsend
committed this offense for two reasons. First, the facts, when viewed in the light most favorable
to the non-movant, Ms. Townsend, show that she did not refuse to provide the required
identification. Officer Wolfe asked Ms. Townsend for her “name, address, and social security
number,” and she gave him her “name and address.” [DE 39-1 ¶ 8]. Notably, the statute only
required Ms. Townsend to provide her “name, address, and date of birth” upon request, not her
social security number. Ind. Code § 34-28-5-3.5. Thus, even if offering to write the number
down instead of saying it out loud could be considered refusing to provide it (which is doubtful),
this could not constitute a violation of this statute, since it does not require her to provide her
social security number in the first place. Further, the statute only criminalizes refusing to provide
a driver’s license if it is “in the person’s possession,” and the defendants have articulated no
basis to believe that Ms. Townsend’s driver’s license was in her possession. [DE 39-1 ¶ 10].
Second, the defendants have failed to show that Ms. Townsend was stopped “for an
infraction or ordinance violation.” An individual’s mere presence at the scene of an infraction or
ordinance violation does not satisfy this requirement. Starr v. Indiana, 928 N.E.2d 876, 880 (Ind.
Ct. App. 2010) (holding that a passenger’s arrest under this section was invalid even though the
car in which he was travelling was lawfully stopped, since officers did not have reason to believe
that the passenger had committed an infraction or ordinance violation himself). Rather, an officer
must at least have reasonable suspicion that a particular individual committed an infraction or
ordinance violation before that individual is required to identify herself upon threat of criminal
prosecution. Id.; Earles v. Perkins, 778 N.E.2d 1260, 1266 (Ind. Ct. App. 2003) (finding that
probable cause did not exist for this offense where the “undisputed facts reveal no infraction or
ordinance violation”). Here, the defendants repeatedly assert that Ms. Townsend was “involved”
in a physical altercation (by which they apparently mean that she witnessed a fight and pulled the
combatants apart), but they never identify what infraction or ordinance violation this constituted.
Without knowing what infraction or ordinance violation Ms. Townsend was stopped for, the
Court cannot evaluate whether the officers had reasonable suspicion for it, so the defendants
have forfeited the argument that Ms. Townsend was lawfully stopped.1
The defendants hint at other points in their briefing that Officer Wolfe may have had
probable cause to arrest Ms. Townsend for some other offense. They even note, correctly, that
“an arrest must be upheld as long as it is supported by probable cause for any offense, regardless
of the offense ultimately charged.” [DE 44 p. 5]. Again, however, their briefing never indicates
what other offense Officer Wolfe had probable cause to believe Ms. Townsend committed or
how her conduct met the elements of that offense. Though they repeatedly state that she was
“involved” in a fight, there is no offense under Indiana law for mere “involvement” in a fight, as
defendants use that term. In her response brief, Ms. Townsend speculates that the defendants
may have been referring either to battery or disorderly conduct, but a plaintiff should not have to
Perhaps the defendants meant to argue that Ms. Townsend was stopped for committing battery,
but even if that was the case, battery is not an infraction or ordinance violation in Indiana.
Infractions and ordinance violations are punishable only by monetary fines and their enforcement
is authorized under the “Civil Procedure” title of the Indiana Code, Ind. Code § 34-18-5-4,
whereas battery is a criminal offense punishable by imprisonment. § 35-42-2-1. Since this
provision only applies where the individual was stopped for “an infraction or ordinance
violation,” Ms. Townsend could not have violated this law if she was only stopped for
committing battery. § 34-28-5-3.5
speculate at the basis for a motion for summary judgment, nor is it the Court’s responsibility to
identify any other offense for which probable cause may have existed. Accordingly, the Court
finds that the defendants have forfeited this argument. Duran v. Sirgedas, 240 F. App’x 104,
116–17 (7th Cir. 2007) (holding that where the movant failed to cite the alternative offenses for
which probable cause existed and identify the elements of those offenses, the movant forfeited
Officer Wolfe next argues that even if probable cause did not exist for Ms. Townsend’s
arrest, he is entitled to summary judgment under the doctrine of qualified immunity. Government
officials are entitled to immunity from civil liability under § 1983 for their actions unless their
conduct violates any clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable
person would have known. Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982). This doctrine
“balances two important interests—the need to hold public officials accountable when they
exercise power irresponsibly and the need to shield officials from harassment, distraction, and
liability when they perform their duties reasonably.” Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 231
(2009). Thus, an officer is immune from suit unless “it would be clear to a reasonable officer that
his conduct was unlawful in the situation he confronted.” Groh v. Ramirez, 540 U.S. 551, 563
(2004). In the context of a false arrest claim, this means that an officer is entitled to qualified
immunity if “a reasonable officer could have mistakenly believed that probable cause existed,”
or in other words, if the officer had “arguable probable cause.” Fleming, 674 F.3d at 880
(quoting Humphrey v. Staszak, 148 F.3d 719, 725 (7th Cir. 2998)) (internal quotation marks
Here, when viewing the facts in the light most favorable to Ms. Townsend, the Court
cannot conclude that Officer Wolfe had arguable probable cause to believe that Ms. Townsend
violated the failure-to-identify statute. The statute imposes criminal liability if a person refuses to
provide their “name, address, and date of birth.” Ind. Code § 34-28-5-3.5(a). Of those, Officer
Wolfe requested Ms. Townsend’s name and address, and she provided those. Officer Wolfe also
asked Ms. Townsend for her social security number, and Ms. Townsend refused to state that out
loud, though she offered to write it down. Even assuming that a reasonable officer could have
believed that this constituted “refusing to provide” the information, no reasonable officer could
have believed that this violated the statute, since the statute imposes no obligation whatsoever to
provide a social security number. Granted, qualified immunity applies whether an officer’s
mistake is one of law or of fact, but the error in either case must be reasonable, Pearson, 555
U.S. at 232, and there is no reasonable interpretation of this statute under which it could be read
to require a person to provide their social security number.
Finally, the statute only criminalizes a person’s failure to produce their driver’s license if
it is “in the person’s possession.” Here, there is no evidence from which a reasonable officer
could have believed that Ms. Townsend had her driver’s license in her possession, and Officer
Wolfe has not suggested otherwise, so Ms. Townsend could not have violated this prong of the
statute. Accordingly, the Court finds that no reasonable officer in this situation could have
believed that Ms. Townsend had refused to provide the information required by the statute.
Therefore, Officer Wolfe did not have arguable probable cause to arrest Ms. Townsend for this
offense, so he is not entitled to qualified immunity.
As previously discussed, the Court need not consider whether arguable probable cause
existed for any other offense, since Officer Wolfe’s only argument in this regard is that “a
reasonable officer could have concluded, even mistakenly, that there was probable cause to arrest
Townsend for failing to provide the requested identification.” [DE 44 p. 11, 33 p. 11] (emphasis
added). Even if the defendants had raised the point, however, the Court could not find that
arguable probable cause existed to arrest Ms. Townsend for any other offense. Officer Wolfe’s
subjective suspicion that “it was possible that Townsend was more physically involved in the
altercation than she was willing to admit” may have justified further investigation, but does not
provide probable cause, either actual or arguable, to believe that Townsend committed a criminal
offense. [DE 32-2]. See Williams v. City of Chicago, 733 F.3d 749, 758 (7th Cir. 2013) (holding
that arguable probable cause did not exist to arrest an individual found at the scene of an arson,
since the “question is not whether the fire was arson but whether it was reasonable to arrest
Williams for arson”). Ms. Howard and Ms. Calligan both expressly identified each other as their
attackers, and they both wanted to place the other under citizen’s arrest. Neither suggested
likewise for Ms. Townsend or said that Ms. Townsend attacked or fought with them. Ms.
Howard’s bare statement that Ms. Townsend “witnessed the event and pulled her off of
Calligan” falls well short of giving Officer Wolfe arguable probable cause for Ms. Townsend’s
arrest. [DE 39-4].
Therefore, the Court finds that Ms. Townsend has met her burden of showing that Officer
Wolfe arrested her without probable cause, and that no reasonable officer would have believed
that probable cause existed under the circumstances. Accordingly, the motion for summary
judgment is DENIED as to Officer Wolfe, and Ms. Townsend can proceed on her claim under
§ 1983 that Officer Wolfe violated her Fourth Amendment rights.
Sergeant Strausborger and Officer Addison
Ms. Townsend argues that Sergeant Strausborger and Officer Addison are liable for her
unlawful arrest as well. To be held personally liable under § 1983, the defendant must have been
personally involved in the alleged constitutional violation. Palmer v. Marion Cnty., 327 F.3d
588, 594 (7th Cir. 2003); Crowder v. Lash, 687 F.2d 996, 1005 (7th Cir. 1982); see Hildebrandt
v. Ill. Dep’t of Natural Res., 347 F.3d 1014, 1039 (7th Cir. 2003); Vance v. Peters, 97 F.3d 987,
991 (7th Cir. 1996) (“Section 1983 creates a cause of action based on personal liability and
predicated upon fault; thus, liability does not attach unless the individual defendant caused or
participated in a constitutional deprivation.” (quoting Sheik–Abdi v. McClellan, 37 F.3d 1240,
1248 (7th Cir.1994))). “An official satisfies the personal responsibility requirement of section
1983 if [he] acts or fails to act with a deliberate or reckless disregard of plaintiff’s constitutional
rights, or if the conduct causing the constitutional deprivation occurs at [his] direction or with
[his] knowledge and consent.” Crowder, 687 F.2d at 1005.
Ms. Townsend pursues two theories for holding these officers liable for her unlawful
arrest. The first is that the officers knew that her arrest was unlawful and that they failed to
intervene. “An officer who is present and fails to intervene to prevent other law enforcement
officers from infringing the constitutional rights of citizens is liable under § 1983 if that officer
had reason to know . . . that a citizen has been unjustifiably arrested . . . and the officer had a
realistic opportunity to intervene to prevent the harm from occurring.” Yang v. Hardin, 37 F.3d
282, 285 (7th Cir. 1994). The record here shows that Sergeant Strausborger and Officer Addison
had only limited contact with Officer Wolfe and Ms. Townsend, so Ms. Townsend seeks to
invoke the collective knowledge doctrine in order to impute Officer Wolfe’s knowledge of the
lack of probable cause to the other officers. Her reliance on this doctrine is misplaced, however.
The collective knowledge doctrine allows the knowledge of one officer to be imputed to
other officers in certain circumstances in order to find that probable cause existed, but this
doctrine is justified by the idea that an officer need not have personal knowledge of the
underlying facts that give rise to probable cause in order to make an arrest. United States v.
Lyons, 733 F.3d 777, 783 n.1 (7th Cir. 2013); United States v. Harris, 585 F.3d 394, 400 (7th
Cir. 2009). Section 1983, however, does require personal knowledge (or at least a reason to
know) that an arrest is unlawful before an officer can be liable for an arrest they did not make,
Yang v. Hardin, 37 F.3d 282, 285 (7th Cir. 1994), so the collective knowledge doctrine is
inapplicable in this context. In addition, the Seventh Circuit has held in similar circumstances
that the mere fact that officers communicated during an arrest does not mean that the nonarresting officer had sufficient knowledge of the facts to believe that probable cause did not
exist. Morfin v. City of East Chicago, 349 F.3d 989, 1001–02 (7th Cir. 2003) (holding that even
though the police chief spoke to the arresting officer by phone immediately before the unlawful
arrest, the facts did not support a conclusion that the chief had knowledge that the arrest was
Without imputing Officer Wolfe’s knowledge to Sergeant Strausborger and Officer
Addison, there is too little evidence in the record to support a conclusion that either of them
knew or had reason to know that Ms. Townsend’s arrest was unlawful. Officer Addison was at
the scene and interviewed Ms. Calligan, one of the combatants, but there is no indication that he
interviewed Ms. Howard or Ms. Townsend, or that he had any personal knowledge of the facts
giving rise to Ms. Townsend’s arrest. [DE 32-4]. As to Sergeant Strausborger, he did not
personally interview any of the people involved, and his knowledge of the events was based
entirely on what Officer Wolfe relayed to him. [DE 32-2, 32-3, 39-4]. Officer Wolfe’s statement
that he “explained the situation” to Sergeant Strausborger is not specific enough to conclude that
he imparted sufficient facts to Sergeant Strausborger for him to know that there was no probable
cause, and Ms. Townsend has not submitted any deposition testimony from the officers or
statements from any witnesses to the conversation indicating what facts the officers discussed.
Ms. Townsend bears the burden of coming forward with specific facts in the record to establish a
triable issue of fact, and speculation that the officers may have discussed the situation in more
depth than the record reflects is not sufficient to withstand summary judgment. Morfin, 349 F.3d
at 1002. Thus, the Court cannot conclude that either officer is liable under § 1983 on this basis.
Ms. Townsend’s second theory is that Sergeant Strausborger and Officer Addison
directed or caused her unlawful arrest, but this theory is unavailing as well. First, Sergeant
Strausborger arrived at the scene after Officer Wolfe placed Ms. Townsend under arrest, so
Sergeant Strausborger could not have directed her arrest.2 [DE 39-1 ¶¶ 11, 12; DE 39-4 p.3]. In
addition, the record does not reflect that Sergeant Strausborger told Officer Wolfe that he should
keep Ms. Townsend under arrest or that probable cause existed for her arrest, he simply
summarized the failure-to-identify offense for Officer Wolfe, so Sergeant Strausborger cannot be
held liable for prolonging Ms. Townsend’s arrest.3 At worst, he could have learned of the
illegality of the arrest and failed to intervene, but as discussed above, the record does not support
such a theory.
As to Officer Addison, there is no indication in the record that he played any role in Ms.
Townsend’s arrest. Ms. Townsend’s only argument in this regard is that the jury could draw an
adverse inference on this question based on the defendants’ supposed destruction of evidence,
namely a report of the incident by Officer Addison. Officer Wolfe’s report says to “see Officer
Though Officer Wolfe had not yet placed Ms. Townsend in the squad car by that time, both
Officer Wolfe’s report and Ms. Townsend’s affidavit state that Officer Wolfe told Ms. Townsend
that he was placing her under arrest and placed her in handcuffs prior to Officer Wolfe’s
discussion with Sergeant Strausborger. [DE 39-1 ¶¶ 11, 12; DE 39-4 p.3].
The defendants are incorrect in dismissing the possibility that an officer could be liable for
providing advice to an arresting officer, as even a prosecutor can face liability under § 1983 for
giving legal advice to police. Burns v. Reed, 500 U.S. 478 (1991). However, Ms. Townsend does
not specifically advance that theory, and Sergeant Strausborger’s statement to Officer Wolfe—
that “if the individual was involved in an altercation, that individual could be arrested for
refusing to provide information to Officer Wolfe”—is well within the range of how a reasonable
officer could describe this offense under the circumstances.
Addison’s report for further information” regarding Officer Addison’s conversation with Ms.
Calligan. The defendants never produced such a report, and contend that it never existed. [DE
39-4, 39-6]. However, Ms. Townsend’s suggestion, based only on these facts, that the report was
actually created, contained adverse information, and was intentionally destroyed to prevent its
discovery is pure speculation. Aside from the passing reference in Officer Wolfe’s report, there
is no indication that Officer Addison actually wrote a report, and Ms. Townsend has provided
absolutely no basis from which the Court could conclude that the report, if it did exist, was
destroyed in bad faith. An inference against either of the officers on this basis is thus unjustified,
so Ms. Townsend has not shown that either of them caused her unlawful arrest.
Therefore, the Court finds that the evidence in the record, even when viewed in the light
most favorable to Ms. Townsend, would not permit a reasonable jury to find that either Sergeant
Strausborger or Officer Addison had the requisite personal involvement in Ms. Townsend’s
unlawful arrest to face liability under § 1983. The defendants’ motion for summary judgment is
accordingly GRANTED as to Sergeant Strausborger and Officer Addison.
The City of Fort Wayne
Ms. Townsend finally argues that the City of Fort Wayne is liable under Indiana law for
false arrest and false imprisonment on account of Officer Wolfe’s conduct. “Under Indiana law,
false imprisonment is defined as the unlawful restraint upon one’s freedom of movement or the
deprivation of one’s liberty without consent.” Earles v. Perkins, 788 N.E.2d 1260, 1265 (Ind. Ct.
App. 2003). Similarly, false arrest occurs when an individual is arrested “in the absence of
probable cause.” Id. Both claims are thus based on an arrest without probable cause, and that
inquiry is the same under Indiana law as under federal law. Id.; Risner v. City of Crown Point,
No. 2:08-cv-100, 2010 WL 3782210, at * (N.D. Ind. Sept. 21, 2010) (“Indiana law parallels
federal law for false arrest and false imprisonment claims. Summary judgment is appropriate
where the record as a whole reflects the existence of probable cause.”). Here, it is undisputed that
the City of Fort Wayne is responsible for the acts of the officers as its employees, and the Court
determined above that a reasonable fact-finder could find that Ms. Townsend was arrested
without probable cause, so she can proceed past summary judgment on her false arrest and false
imprisonment claims against the City of Fort Wayne.
Finally, the defendants moved to dismiss any claims for negligent or intentional infliction
of emotional distress. However, while the complaint alleges that Ms. Townsend “suffered
extreme emotional distress,” Ms. Townsend confirmed in her response brief this was merely in
reference to her damages and that she was not asserting these as standalone claims. Thus, there is
no need to grant summary judgment against these claims, as they were not asserted in the first
place, so the motion for summary judgment is DENIED as to the City of Fort Wayne.
IV. MOTION TO STRIKE PLAINTIFF’S RULE 26(a)(1) DISCLOSURE
Finally, the defendants have moved to strike Ms. Townsend’s supplemental Rule 26(a)(1)
disclosure as untimely. Rule 26(a)(1) initial disclosures were due by December 20, 2012, and the
discovery deadline was June 19, 2013 [DE 10]. Ms. Townsend served her initial disclosures as
required, but supplemented them on November 7, 2013, after discovery closed and after the
defendants filed their motion for summary judgment, to include two maintenance men from the
apartment complex as potential witnesses. [DE 41-1]. The defendants have moved to strike this
supplemental disclosure. [DE 41].
Rule 26(a)(1) requires each party to disclose to the opposing party “the name and, if
known, the address and telephone number of each individual likely to have discoverable
information—along with the subjects of that information—that the disclosing party may use to
support its claims or defenses, unless the use would be solely for impeachment.” Fed. R. Civ. P.
26(a)(1)(A)(i). These disclosures must be made within fourteen days of the Rule 26(f)
conference unless otherwise ordered, and parties must additionally supplement these disclosures
in a timely manner throughout discovery. Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(1)(C), (e)(1)(A). Where a party
fails to comply with these obligations, “the party is not allowed to use that information or
witness to supply evidence on a motion, at a hearing, or at a trial, unless the failure was
substantially justified or is harmless.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(c)(1). In considering whether a violation
was justified or harmless, a court may consider: “(1) the prejudice or surprise to the party against
whom the evidence is offered; (2) the ability of the party to cure the prejudice; (3) the likelihood
of disruption to the trial; and (4) the bad faith or willfulness involved in not disclosing the
evidence at an earlier date.” David v. Caterpillar, Inc., 324 F.3d 851, 857 (7th Cir. 2003).
The Court cannot conclude that the delay in disclosing these witnesses was justified. A
party has an obligation to diligently pursue its claim and gather any evidence within the
discovery period, and while Ms. Townsend may have disclosed the identity of these two
witnesses immediately upon learning of them, she has provided no reason why she could not
have identified these witnesses during discovery. However, the Court declines to strike the
supplemental disclosure, as its untimely disclosure is sufficiently harmless in these
circumstances. Ms. Townsend stated in her deposition that two maintenance men helped her
break up the fight, [DE 32-1 p. 9], so the defendants were at least on notice that these individuals
may have discoverable information. In addition, though Ms. Townsend served the supplemental
disclosure after the defendants filed their motion for summary judgment, she did not rely on any
statements from these potential witnesses in opposing summary judgment. Thus, the untimely
disclosure of these witnesses did not prejudice the defendants in replying to their motion for
summary judgment or otherwise delay briefing on the motion. Finally, any prejudice can be
cured by permitting the defendants to conduct limited discovery as to these witnesses prior to
trial, as a trial date has not yet been set. If the defendants so desire, they may request leave to
reopen discovery for that limited purpose.
The Court therefore declines to strike Ms. Townsend’s supplemental Rule 26(a)(1)
disclosure, so the defendants’ motion is DENIED.
For the foregoing reasons, the defendants’ motion for summary judgment [DE 32] is
GRANTED as to Sergeant Strausborger and Officer Addison, and DENIED as to Officer Wolfe
and the City of Fort Wayne. Ms. Townsend’s § 1983 claim against Officer Wolfe for false arrest,
and her false arrest and false imprisonment claims against the City of Fort Wayne under state law
remain at issue in this matter. Defendants’ Motion to Strike Plaintiff’s Supplemental Initial
Disclosures [DE 41] is DENIED.
ENTERED: June 16, 2014
/s/ JON E. DEGUILIO
United States District Court
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