BORONDY et al v. CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA et al
ORDER granting 41 Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. Final judgment shall enter accordingly. Signed by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on 1/10/2022. (CBU)
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
MARIAN T. BORONDY, individually and as
Personal Representative of the Estate of
Nicholas Diaz, deceased,
NICHOLAS DRAHER, LAWRENCE CRESS, and
When Plaintiff Marian Borondy's son, Nick Diaz, began acting erratically in the early
morning hours of June 7, 2019, she called 911 and requested assistance. Indianapolis Metropolitan
Police Department ("IMPD") Officers Nicholas Draher, Lawrence Cress, and David Ellis all
responded to the call. The officers determined that they could not detain Mr. Diaz pursuant to
IMPD policy, but Mr. Diaz agreed to voluntarily go to the hospital by ambulance. Before getting
into the ambulance, however, Mr. Diaz fled and was found deceased several days later. Ms.
Borondy, individually and as the personal representative of Mr. Diaz's Estate, initiated this
litigation against Officers Draher, Cress, and Ellis in August 2020 and alleges that Defendants
violated Mr. Diaz's civil rights, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. [Filing No. 1.] Defendants have
filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, which is now ripe for the Court's review. [Filing No. 41.]
STANDARD OF REVIEW
A motion for summary judgment asks the Court to find that a trial is unnecessary because
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and, instead, the movant is entitled to judgment
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as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). On summary judgment, a party must show the Court
what evidence it has that would convince a trier of fact to accept its version of the events. Johnson
v. Cambridge Indus., 325 F.3d 892, 901 (7th Cir. 2003). The moving party is entitled to summary
judgment if no reasonable fact-finder could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Nelson v.
Miller, 570 F.3d 868, 875 (7th Cir. 2009). The Court views the record in the light most favorable
to the non-moving party and draws all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Darst v.
Interstate Brands Corp., 512 F.3d 903, 907 (7th Cir. 2008). It cannot weigh evidence or make
credibility determinations on summary judgment because those tasks are left to the fact-finder.
O'Leary v. Accretive Health, Inc., 657 F.3d 625, 630 (7th Cir. 2011).
Each fact asserted in support of or in opposition to a motion for summary judgment must
be supported by "a citation to a discovery response, a deposition, an affidavit, or other admissible
evidence." S.D. Ind. L.R. 56-1(e). And each "citation must refer to a page or paragraph number
or otherwise similarly specify where the relevant information can be found in the supporting
evidence." Id. The Court need only consider the cited materials and need not "scour the record"
for evidence that is potentially relevant. Grant v. Trustees of Ind. Univ., 870 F.3d 562, 572-73
(7th Cir. 2017) (quotations omitted); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(3); S.D. Ind. L.R. 56-1(h).
Where a party fails to properly support an assertion of fact or fails to properly address another
party's assertion of fact, the Court may consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the summary
judgment motion. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2).
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. Hampton v. Ford Motor Co., 561 F.3d 709, 713 (7th Cir. 2009). In
other words, while there may be facts that are in dispute, summary judgment is appropriate if those
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facts are not outcome determinative. Harper v. Vigilant Ins. Co., 433 F.3d 521, 525 (7th Cir.
2005). Fact disputes that are irrelevant to the legal question will not be considered. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
STATEMENT OF FACTS 1
IMPD General Order 4.7 provides, in relevant part, as follows:
Dangerous – As used in this general order, 'dangerous' shall be defined as:
An individual who presents an imminent risk of personal injury to
themselves or to another individual; or
An individual who may present a risk of personal injury to
themselves or to another individual in the future and the person:
Has a mental illness (as defined in IC 12-7-2-130) that may
be controlled by medication, and the person has not
demonstrated a pattern of voluntarily and consistently taking
medication while not under supervision; or
Has documented evidence that would give rise to a
reasonable belief that the person has a propensity for violent
or emotionally unstable conduct.
The Court notes that Ms. Borondy did not comply with Local Rule 56-1(b), which requires the
non-movant to include in their response to a Motion for Summary Judgment "a section labeled
'Statement of Material Facts in Dispute' that identifies the potentially determinative facts and
factual disputes that the party contends demonstrate a dispute of fact precluding summary
judgment." S.D. Ind. L.R. 56-1(b). Instead, Ms. Borondy presented her own version of the facts,
without specifically identifying factual disputes, in a section titled "Additional Pertinent Facts
Precluding Summary Judgment." [Filing No. 54 at 2.] Nevertheless, the Court has attempted to
identify factual disputes and has set forth the facts drawing all inferences in Ms. Borondy's favor
as the non-movant.
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Immediate Detention – A hold for up to twenty-four (24) hours, that can be initiated
by a law enforcement officer, having reasonable grounds to believe an individual
An imminent danger to themselves or others or gravely disabled;
In immediate need of hospitalization and treatment.
The individual will be apprehended and transported to the nearest appropriate
Mental Illness – A psychiatric disorder that substantially disturbs an individual's
thinking, feeling, or behavior and impairs the individual's ability to function. This
includes intellectual disability, alcoholism, and addiction to narcotics or dangerous
An officer who has reasonable grounds to believe a person qualifies
for an Immediate Detention, as defined above, may place that person
under Immediate Detention. Signs that can lead to reasonable
grounds include, but are not limited to, the following:
General Appearance (Manner of dress and type of clothing,
personal hygiene, avoiding eye contact or staring, etc.);
Speech (Is the rate slow, fast, or halting? What is the
volume? Is it flat or excited?);
Mood (What is the individual's response to the question,
"How are you doing?" What is their expression and
Any mention or threat of suicide (including gestures and/or
Any threat or action to harm another individual;
Observed violent or reckless behavior (including property
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Extreme agitation, anxiety, propensity for violence, or panic;
Immobilized by some type of disorder (i.e. depression,
improper medication, psychotic episodes, etc.) and unable to
care for themselves;
Extremely irrational, confused, illogical, or paranoid; and/or
Alcohol/drug intoxication or withdrawal that could present
an immediate health risk.
Officers may have situations where an individual needs to be placed under
Immediate Detention for his/her own safety or the safety of others.
When taking an individual into custody for Immediate Detention, officers
will adhere to the following guidelines:
The individual shall be restrained in accordance with procedures
outlined in General Order 8.1 – Prisoner Handling, Transportation,
An individual taken into custody under Immediate Detention status
shall be handcuffed behind the back unless exigent circumstances
A search of an individual and their possessions shall be conducted for
weapons and/or items that would constitute an obvious threat to the safety
of the individual, officer, or the public.
Officers must complete an Immediate Detention Form, IMPD Form No. 65-24 R4.
Officers will also complete an incident report using the offense "Immediate
Detention" and detail the circumstances under which the individual was
taken into custody….
Individuals placed under Immediate Detention shall be transported as soon
as possible to the hospital or appropriate facility via wagon (if available),
unless emergency medical treatment and continuous medical care is
[Filing No. 42-13 at 1-4 (emphasis in original).]
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Immediate detentions are done sparingly because they, like an arrest, curtail an individual's
freedom. [Filing No. 42-2 at 71-72.] If an officer immediately detains an individual without
grounds for doing so, the officer could face civil or criminal liability or professional discipline.
[Filing No. 42-2 at 74.]
Missing Person Procedures
IMPD General Order 4.6 provides, in relevant part, as follows:
Missing Person – A missing person is defined as:
Any person eighteen (18) years of age or older whose whereabouts cannot
be determined, and the absence is a significant deviation from normal
behavior and cannot be explained; or
Any person who leaves on his or her own volition but does not have the
authority to do so (also known as a "walk-away"). This includes, but is not
limited to, a walk-away from an institution, such as a hospital, nursing
home, residential group home, etc.
Extenuating Circumstances – Any circumstance that places a missing person or
runaway at risk. Some examples of extenuating circumstances may include, but
are not limited to, the following:
The person is thought to have an emotional instability;
The person's absence is a significant deviation from normal behavior and
cannot be explained;
The well-being of the person is thought to be in jeopardy or otherwise at
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Officer Responsibilities for All Runaway and Missing Person Cases
Officers must immediately report the missing person information to
the appropriate unit in order for it to be entered into IDACS/NCIC
within two (2) hours of receipt (required by state law).
If there are any extenuating circumstances, as described above, a
uniformed officer will be dispatched to the scene to conduct an
investigation. The scene may be the last known location of the
missing person, or the current location of the person reporting the
Additional Responsibilities if Extenuating Circumstances Exist
The responding officer will request a Missing Persons detective be
dispatched to the scene.
[Filing No. 52-1 at 1-4 (emphasis in original).]
Mr. Diaz's Health History
In 2005, Mr. Diaz was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. [Filing No. 42-1 at 29; Filing No.
42-1 at 33-34.] He began having substance abuse and dependency issues in 2009 and received
treatment for those issues, and for his mental health issues, for nearly fifteen years. [Filing No.
42-1 at 31-32.] In July 2018, Mr. Diaz was admitted to the hospital for a suicide attempt. [Filing
No. 42-1 at 37-38.]
The Events of June 6 and 7, 2019
Mr. Diaz sometimes stayed at Ms. Borondy's house at 7149 East Hanna Avenue in
Indianapolis, and did so on the evening of June 5, 2019. [Filing No. 42-1 at 14-15; Filing No. 427
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1 at 39.] On the morning of June 6, 2019, Ms. Borondy did not see Mr. Diaz before she left for
work, which was unusual. [Filing No. 42-1 at 39.] Around lunchtime that day, Ms. Borondy saw
Mr. Diaz on the road near 10th Street and Franklin Road in Indianapolis, picked him up, and took
the rest of the day off of work to be with him. [Filing No. 42-1 at 40; Filing No. 42-1 at 43; Filing
No. 42-19 at 4-5.] Ms. Borondy thought that something did not seem right with Mr. Diaz – he was
"kind of spiraling down a little mentally" and he did not tell her what he had been doing that
morning. [Filing No. 42-1 at 43-44.; Filing No. 42-19 at 5.]
Later on June 6, 2019, as the evening approached, Ms. Borondy and Mr. Diaz went to a
Lowe's or Home Depot, but Mr. Diaz abruptly left the store without Ms. Borondy. [Filing No. 421 at 46-47; Filing No. 42-19 at 5.] About an hour and a half later, Mr. Diaz called Ms. Borondy
from a gas station and she picked him up there around 9:40 p.m. and took him to her house. [Filing
No. 42-1 at 46-48; Filing No. 42-19 at 5.]
During the early morning of June 7, 2019, Mr. Diaz's behavior worsened and Ms. Borondy
became concerned for her safety. [Filing No. 42-1 at 49; Filing No. 42-19 at 5.] Mr. Diaz walked
around Ms. Borondy's house with a lit candle holding large kitchen knives, and pulled appliances
out from the walls. [Filing No. 42-19 at 5.] He was acting paranoid and barricaded the front door
with a chair. [Filing No. 42-1 at 56; Filing No. 42-19 at 5.] Ms. Borondy believed that Mr. Diaz
was in "full-blown psychosis" and needed help. [Filing No. 42-1 at 49; Filing No. 42-1 at 55-56;
Filing No. 42-19 at 7.]
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Ms. Borondy Calls 911
At around 5:15 a.m. on June 7, 2019, Ms. Borondy called 911 and requested crisisintervention-team ("CIT") 2 trained officers and medics. [Filing No. 42-1 at 58; Filing No. 42-1 at
67; Filing No. 42-6 at 9-10.] Ms. Borondy conveyed the following to police dispatch during the
Her 28-year old son was "mental emotional currently in psychosis," [Filing No.
43 at 00:08-00:12];
Mr. Diaz was "carrying a kitchen knife in his pocket," [Filing No. 43 at 00:1300:18];
"The knife has been in his hand this whole time," [Filing No. 43 at 00:56-00:59];
"He's still holding the knife," [Filing No. 43 at 00:58-01:00]; and
"[H]e's holding the knife in a way to protect himself; he's not coming after
anybody with it at this time," [Filing No. 43 at 01:00-01:08].
Officers Ellis, Cress, and Draher, who all have CIT training, responded to the 911 call. [Filing
No. 42-10 at 2-5; Filing No. 42-11 at 3; Filing No. 42-12 at 2-5.]
Officers Arrive on the Scene and Officer Ellis Decides Not to Immediately
Detain Mr. Diaz
Officers Ellis, Cress, and Draher arrived at Ms. Borondy's house and Ms. Borondy opened
the garage door to greet them. [Filing No. 42-1 at 59.] Mr. Diaz stood behind her, and had put the
knives down on a table inside the house. [Filing No. 42-1 at 60-61.] Officer Ellis acted as the
The CIT program "is a community partnership of law enforcement, mental health and addiction
professionals, individuals who live with mental illness and/or addiction disorders, their families,
and other advocates. It is an innovative first-responder model of police-based crisis intervention
training to help persons with mental disorders and/or addictions access medical treatment rather
than place them in the criminal justice system due to illness-related behaviors. It also promotes
officer safety and the safety of the individual in crisis." https://www.citinternational.org/What-isCIT (last accessed January 7, 2022).
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primary officer. [Filing No. 42-10 at 2.] No officers observed Mr. Diaz with a weapon. [Filing
No. 42-10 at 4; Filing No. 42-11 at 4-5; Filing No. 42-12 at 4.]
Everyone remained in the garage while Officer Ellis spoke with Ms. Borondy and Mr.
Diaz. [Filing No. 42-1 at 64-65; Filing No. 42-10 at 5-6.] Officer Ellis, who did not know Mr.
Diaz and was not aware of previous reports involving Mr. Diaz, listened to Ms. Borondy's concerns
about Mr. Diaz's behavior, his mental health, and his efforts at sobriety. [Filing No. 42-10 at 2;
Filing No. 42-10 at 5-6.] Ms. Borondy told Officer Ellis that Mr. Diaz had moved appliances
around the house and had a knife, but was not aggressive toward anyone or threatening to harm
himself. [Filing No. 42-10 at 2.] Ms. Borondy expressed to Officer Ellis that she believed Mr.
Diaz had severe psychosis and needed to be seen by a physician. [Filing No. 42-2 at 18; Filing
No. 42-2 at 32.] She also told Officer Ellis that Mr. Diaz suffered from bipolar disorder and had
not been taking his medications. [Filing No. 42-2 at 31.] Officer Ellis knew that he had the
discretion to immediately detain Mr. Diaz for mental health purposes only if certain conditions
were met. [Filing No. 42-2 at 64-65.]
Before speaking directly with Mr. Diaz, Officer Ellis told Ms. Borondy that based on her
statements, it did not appear that the officers could pursue an immediate detention of Mr. Diaz
because the conditions for doing so under Indiana law – that Mr. Diaz was a danger to himself, a
danger to others, and in need of immediate medical assistance – were not present. [Filing No. 4210 at 5-6.] Officer Ellis advised Ms. Borondy that he would speak directly with Mr. Diaz to see if
officers could immediately detain him. [Filing No. 42-10 at 5-6.] Officer Ellis also told Ms.
Borondy that if officers could not immediately detain Mr. Diaz under Indiana law, he would try to
persuade Mr. Diaz to voluntarily go to the hospital. [Filing No. 42-10 at 6.]
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Mr. Diaz appeared very anxious, his eyes were darting around the room from person to
person, he was avoiding eye contact, and he was mumbling answers to the officers' questions.
[Filing No. 42-2 at 31; Filing No. 42-3 at 18; Filing No. 42-4 at 17-18.] Officer Ellis did not
observe Mr. Diaz being a danger to himself and when he asked Mr. Diaz if he wanted to hurt
himself, Mr. Diaz said no. [Filing No. 42-2 at 34.] Officer Ellis did not, however, have any reason
to dispute that Mr. Diaz was experiencing severe psychosis and the "argument could be made that
he was emotionally unstable." [Filing No. 42-2 at 32-33; Filing No. 42-2 at 54.]
Officer Ellis did not think Mr. Diaz was a danger to himself, and so concluded that he did
not meet the criteria for immediate detention. [Filing No. 42-2 at 35; Filing No. 42-2 at 71; Filing
No. 42-10 at 5-6.] Officer Ellis based his determination on his interaction with Mr. Diaz. [Filing
No. 42-2 at 33-34.] However, although Mr. Diaz had told officers that he did not want to hurt
himself and was not suicidal, Officer Ellis did not necessarily believe him. [Filing No. 42-2 at 35.]
Officer Ellis agreed that an individual who is experiencing a psychiatric episode, and who does
things such as pulling appliances away from the wall, burning clothing, carrying knives, and
appearing anxious is a person who presents a potential danger to themselves. [Filing No. 42-2 at
33-34; Filing No. 42-4 at 20-21.]
Officer Cress had been told by police dispatch that Mr. Diaz was suffering from a mental
illness, and he did not have any reason to dispute that or that Mr. Diaz was experiencing a
behavioral psychiatric episode. [Filing No. 42-3 at 18-20.] Officer Cress heard Mr. Diaz say that
he was not suicidal, did not want to hurt himself, and did not want to go to the hospital. [Filing
No. 42-3 at 9; Filing No. 42-11 at 2.] Officer Cress agreed that Mr. Diaz could not be immediately
detained. [Filing No. 42-3 at 8; Filing No. 42-11 at 2; Filing No. 42-11 at 6.] Officer Draher heard
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Officer Ellis ask Mr. Diaz if he wanted to go to the hospital, and Officer Draher knew that Mr.
Diaz did not meet the immediate detention criteria. [Filing No. 42-4 at 10; Filing No. 42-12 at 2.]
Officer Ellis Convinces Mr. Diaz To Go To the Hospital Voluntarily
Even though Officer Ellis could not force Mr. Diaz to go to the hospital since he did not
meet the criteria for immediate detention, Officer Ellis still thought that Mr. Diaz could benefit
from seeing a doctor. [Filing No. 42-2 at 29.] Based on his observations, what Ms. Borondy told
him, and from speaking to Mr. Diaz, Officer Ellis believed that Mr. Diaz should go to the hospital
"for any medical treatment that medical professionals thought would be beneficial or necessary."
[Filing No. 42-2 at 29.] Ms. Borondy wanted Mr. Diaz to go to the hospital also, and Officer Ellis
tried to get Mr. Diaz to go to the hospital voluntarily. [Filing No. 42-10 at 2; Filing No. 42-10 at
Officer Ellis told Mr. Diaz, as a bluff, that he would immediately detain Mr. Diaz if he did
not voluntarily go to the hospital. [Filing No. 42-10 at 5-6.] Officer Ellis bluffed because he
believed that sometimes individuals who do not meet the criteria for immediate detention but
would benefit from seeing a doctor are more willing to go to the hospital for treatment if they
believe they have a choice or say in the matter. [Filing No. 42-12 at 6-7.] Officer Ellis did not
give Mr. Diaz the option to leave, nor did he ever tell him that he was free to do so, but Mr. Diaz
could have refused to go to the hospital, gone back inside the house, or left the property. [Filing
No. 42-2 at 47; Filing No. 42-2 at 73.] Mr. Diaz also was not handcuffed at any point during the
encounter. [Filing No. 42-1 at 64; Filing No. 42-2 at 66.] After speaking with Officer Ellis, Mr.
Diaz agreed to voluntarily go to the hospital by ambulance. [Filing No. 42-1 at 72-73; Filing No.
42-5 at 2; Filing No. 42-7 at 6; Filing No. 42-10 at 6; Filing No. 42-11 at 2.]
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Mr. Diaz Flees
Mr. Diaz began walking toward the ambulance with an officer and a medic, and Ms.
Borondy also began walking toward the ambulance but an officer pulled her aside to speak with
her. [Filing No. 42-1 at 73-75.] When Mr. Diaz reached the ambulance, he fled. [Filing No. 422 at 36; Filing No. 42-11 at 2.] He ran past Ms. Borondy, who tried to grab him but an officer
stopped her and told her to let him go. [Filing No. 42-1 at 75.] Mr. Diaz was so close to Ms.
Borondy that she "could have done something." [Filing No. 42-1 at 77.] Mr. Diaz then ran south
through a wooded area. [Filing No. 42-1 at 81.] Ms. Borondy asked the officer she was speaking
with if he planned to chase Mr. Diaz, and he said no. [Filing No. 42-1 at 75-76.] Officer Ellis told
Ms. Borondy that Mr. Diaz was not in police custody, and Officer Cress overheard Officer Ellis
and agreed, yelling out "no, he's not." [Filing No. 42-11 at 2.]
Officers Do Not Extensively Search for Mr. Diaz
Officer Draher followed Mr. Diaz to the end of the property near the woods, but returned
to the ambulance when he did not see Mr. Diaz. [Filing No. 42-4 at 21-22; Filing No. 42-12 at 2.]
In all, Officer Draher pursued Mr. Diaz for only a few seconds and for approximately ten feet.
[Filing No. 42-3 at 22.] Officer Draher did not search the woods or use any force to seize Mr. Diaz
because Mr. Diaz had not committed a criminal act and was not in custody, under arrest, or
immediately detained. [Filing No. 42-1 at 80; Filing No. 42-2 at 73; Filing No. 42-12 at 2.] Officer
Ellis discouraged Officer Draher from following Mr. Diaz into the woods because Mr. Diaz was
not in custody. [Filing No. 42-2 at 36-37; Filing No. 42-3 at 22; Filing No. 42-11 at 2.]
Additionally, the officers did not search for Mr. Diaz because it was dark outside, there was uneven
terrain, and it was an unnecessary risk since Mr. Diaz was not in custody, under arrest, or detained.
[Filing No. 42-2 at 37-39.]
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Mr. Diaz was not located, and Officer Draher left the scene because he was called to
another run. [Filing No. 42-4 at 24; Filing No. 42-12 at 2.] Officer Draher had no further
involvement with Mr. Diaz and neither he, Officer Ellis, or Officer Cress created any report related
to the incident. [Filing No. 42-2 at 56; Filing No. 42-3 at 29; Filing No. 42-4 at 27; Filing No. 424 at 33-34; Filing No. 42-11 at 7-8.] Officer Ellis drove around the area briefly in an attempt to
locate Mr. Diaz, but then left. [Filing No. 42-2 at 44-45.] Additionally, there was no missing
persons report created, and none of the officers conducted any investigation after Mr. Diaz fled.
[Filing No. 42-2 at 54-56; Filing No. 42-3 at 26-27; Filing No. 42-4 at 33-34.]
The medics who were on the scene completed a run report which stated:
[Upon arrival], patient found standing in the garage with IMPD officers and his
mother at his side. Family reported that the patient had been carrying knives around
the house, been burning holes in his clothes and pulled the oven away from the wall
knocking over and breaking the microwave. They believed that he had a history of
bipolar disorder but was not taking any medications for it. He had been to Valle
Vista before for substance abuse and had been on suboxone as part of his treatment.
He appeared very anxious. His eyes kept darting around the room and from person
to person. IMPD officer was asking the patient questions. He would avoid his gaze
and would mumble answers. He acknowledged his behavior was not normal but
didn't feel like he needed to go to a hospital and thought that his mother was overexaggerating the events of the morning. IMPD officer speaking to the patient gave
him 2 options; go willingly with EMS or be forcefully detained and go with EMS.
The patient eventually agreed to allow EMS to transport him to Eskenazi Hospital
for an evaluation. He walked with IMPD officers at his side towards the
ambulance. Once he reached the ambulance, he side-stepped one of the officers
and took off in a sprint toward the woods. IMPD attempted to find the patient for
about 5 minutes before giving up. They informed the crew they would call back if
they found him.
[Filing No. 42-5 at 2.]
Detectives Find Mr. Diaz's Body
On June 10, 2019, Ms. Borondy completed a missing person's report for Mr. Diaz at the
IMPD Southeast District office. [Filing No. 42-7 at 4-8.] The report noted that "[Ms. Borondy]
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stated that the police were called and [Mr. Diaz] agreed to voluntarily going (sic) to the hospital."
[Filing No. 42-7 at 6.]
On June 14, 2019, IMPD missing-persons detectives located Mr. Diaz's body at the bottom
of an electrical tower near Ms. Borondy's house. [Filing No. 42-8 at 2.] An autopsy revealed that
Mr. Diaz sustained multiple cervical fractures, among other injuries. [Filing No. 42-1 at 83; Filing
No. 42-9 at 2.] Mr. Diaz was wearing the same clothes he was wearing on June 7, 2019, and his
body was in an advanced stage of decomposition. [Filing No. 42-1 at 83-84; Filing No. 42-9 at 3.]
The Marion County Coroner's Office concluded that Mr. Diaz's cause of death was "[c]ombined
toxic effects of multiple drugs including Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, and Buprenorphine,"
and a toxicology report revealed that Mr. Diaz had alcohol, amphetamine, methamphetamine, and
THC in his system. [Filing No. 42-9 at 1; Filing No. 42-9 at 6-11.]
Ms. Borondy, individually and as Personal Representative of Mr. Diaz's Estate, and
Moraima Velez-Sharkey, the parent and legal guardian of Mr. Diaz's two minor children, initiated
this litigation on August 14, 2020 against the City of Indianapolis (the "City"), Officers Draher,
Cress, and Ellis, and three additional IMPD officers. [Filing No. 1.] On December 3, 2020, the
Court accepted a stipulation by the parties that Ms. Velez-Sharkey should be dismissed as a
Plaintiff, and that Ms. Borondy's claims against the three additional officers and her intentional
infliction of emotional distress claim against Officers Draher, Cress, and Ellis should be dismissed.
[Filing No. 25 at 1.] On January 29, 2021, the Court granted a Motion for Partial Judgment on the
Pleadings filed by the City. [Filing No. 31.]
That left pending Ms. Borondy's constitutional claims against Officers Draher, Cress, and
Ellis, which include: (1) a Fourth Amendment claim for failing to provide adequate medical care
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to Mr. Diaz while he was in Defendants' custody; (2) a Fourteenth Amendment claim for failing
to protect Mr. Diaz from harm by failing to properly restrain him, allowing him to escape custody,
and failing to conduct an adequate and/or meaningful search for him or otherwise effectuate his
safe return; and (3) a Fourteenth Amendment claim for failing to provide adequate medical
attention while in Defendants' custody. [Filing No. 37 at 6-11.] Defendants now seek summary
judgment on those remaining claims. [Filing No. 41.]
The Court notes at the outset that it is clear from Ms. Borondy's Statement of Claims and
from her response to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment that her remaining claims are
asserted only on behalf of Mr. Diaz's Estate and not individually. [See Filing No. 37 (Statement
of Claims referring only to Mr. Diaz's constitutional rights); Filing No. 54 (response to Motion for
Summary Judgment referring only to "the Estate's" claims).] The Court considers the pending
Motion for Summary Judgment accordingly.
In their Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendants argue that: (1) the Estate's Fourth
Amendment claim fails because Mr. Diaz was never in custody or seized; (2) even if Mr. Diaz was
in custody or seized, Defendants' response to his medical needs was objectively reasonable; (3)
Defendants did not commit a constitutional violation under the Fourteenth Amendment's
substantive due process clause; (4) the Estate does not have viable Fourteenth Amendment failureto-protect or medical care claims; (5) Defendants cannot be liable for failing to restrain, pursue,
search for, rescue, or prepare a report for Mr. Diaz, nor can they be liable for violating IMPD
policies or procedures; and (6) Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity. [Filing No. 45 at
12-35.] The Court discusses the last argument first, as it is ultimately dispositive.
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In support of their Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendants argue that even if the Court
finds that Defendants violated Mr. Diaz's constitutional rights, "[n]o caselaw put the officers on
notice that their June 7, 2019 conduct violated [Mr. Diaz's] clearly established Fourth or Fourteenth
Amendment rights." [Filing No. 45 at 34.] They assert that the claims "consist of various elements
and balancing tests," and there is no existing caselaw addressing the same circumstances presented
here. [Filing No. 45 at 34-35.] Defendants also contend that this is not "the rare, obvious case
where the unlawfulness of the officers' conduct is sufficiently clear even though existing precedent
does not address similar circumstances." [Filing No. 45 at 35 (quotation and citation omitted).]
In her response, Ms. Borondy argues that she has demonstrated several constitutional
violations. [Filing No. 54 at 31.] She also argues that Mr. Diaz's constitutional rights were clearly
established because "[a]s early as 1979, the Seventh Circuit held that police officers violated due
process by placing civilians in dangerous situations," and that "[i]t is also clearly established that
providing no medical care in the face of a serious health risk constitutes deliberate indifference."
[Filing No. 54 at 31.] Ms. Borondy contends that there are disputed issues of material fact that
preclude resolution of the qualified immunity issue, and that "reasonable police officers should
have realized that permitting [Mr. Diaz] to flee their custody, holding back his mother from
stopping him, and then failing to conduct any adequate search to secure his return to safety and
much needed medical treatment, could jeopardize his safety by placing him in a dangerous
situation." [Filing No. 54 at 32.]
In their reply, Defendants argue that it is Ms. Borondy's burden to defeat qualified
immunity. [Filing No. 55 at 12.] They assert that Ms. Borondy must point to caselaw clearly
establishing that Defendants' specific conduct violated Mr. Diaz's constitutional rights, and not just
to caselaw suggesting a general rule. [Filing No. 55 at 13.] Defendants argue that the cases Ms.
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Borondy cites relating to her Fourteenth Amendment claim dealt with inapposite circumstances,
including officers leaving minor children in a car in inclement weather and prison doctors being
deliberately indifferent to a prisoner's medical condition. [Filing No. 55 at 14-15.] Defendants
also note that Ms. Borondy did not cite any caselaw in response to Defendants' assertion that they
are entitled to qualified immunity on Ms. Borondy's Fourth Amendment claim, and so has waived
any such opposition. [Filing No. 55 at 15-16.] 3
Qualified immunity "protects government officials from liability for civil damages when
their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a
reasonable person would have known." McAllister v. Price, 615 F.3d 877, 881 (7th Cir. 2010). It
"gives government officials breathing room to make reasonable but mistaken judgments about
open legal questions." Ashcroft v. al-Kidd, 563 U.S. 731, 743 (2011). In order to determine
whether a defendant is entitled to qualified immunity, courts ask "whether the plaintiff's allegations
make out a deprivation of a constitutional right, and whether the right was clearly established at
the time of defendant's alleged misconduct." McAllister, 615 F.3d at 881.
The Court assumes without deciding that Defendants violated Mr. Diaz's Fourth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights, and moves directly to the second issue in its analysis – whether the
rights that were violated were clearly established. See Smith v. Finkley, 10 F.4th 725, 737 (7th
Ms. Borondy filed a surreply in which she addresses Defendants' argument in their reply that Ms.
Borondy relied upon inadmissible expert testimony in opposition to the Motion for Summary
Judgment. [Filing No. 60.] Specifically, the surreply addresses the admissibility of expert
testimony from Roger Chappell, a former police officer and hostage negotiator, who opines that
Mr. Diaz was in Defendants' custody on June 7, 2019, that he should have been and was
immediately detained, and that Defendants violated generally accepted policing standards and
procedures as well as IMPD's General Orders. [Filing No. 52-2; Filing No. 60.] Because the
issues on which Mr. Chappell opines are not relevant to the qualified immunity analysis, the Court
will not and does not rule on the admissibility of Mr. Chappell's testimony or otherwise discuss
Case 1:20-cv-02158-JMS-MG Document 65 Filed 01/10/22 Page 19 of 22 PageID #: 818
Cir. 2021) (courts may address whether constitutional right was violated and whether the right was
clearly established "in either order"). A right is clearly established for purposes of qualified
immunity where: (1) "a closely analogous case establishes that the conduct is unconstitutional"; or
(2) "the violation is so obvious that a reasonable state actor would know that [his actions] violate
the Constitution." Siebert v. Severino, 256 F.3d 648, 654-55 (7th Cir. 2001); see also Dist. of
Columbia v. Wesby, 138 S. Ct. 577, 590 (2018) (constitutional right is clearly established for
purposes of qualified immunity analysis if "every reasonable official would interpret [then-existing
precedent] to establish the particular rule the plaintiff seeks to apply"). Moreover, the rule must
"clearly prohibit the officer's conduct in the particular circumstances before him." Id. "[E]xisting
precedent must have placed the statutory or constitutional question beyond debate," Lopez v.
Sheriff of Cook Cty., 993 F.3d 981, 987 (7th Cir. 2021), and the focus "is on whether the officer
had fair notice that [his] conduct was unlawful," Kisela v. Hughes, 138 S. Ct. 1148, 1152 (2018).
"Put simply, qualified immunity protects 'all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly
violate the law.'" Mullenix v. Luna, 577 U.S. 7, 12 (2015) (quoting Malley v. Briggs, 475 U.S.
335, 341 (1986)). "Although qualified immunity is an affirmative defense,…the plaintiff bears the
burden of showing that the constitutional right allegedly violated was clearly established at the
time of the challenged conduct." Purvis v. Oest, 614 F.3d 713, 715 (7th Cir. 2010).
The Fourth Amendment provides that the "right of the people to be secure in their
persons,…against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated." U.S. CONST. AMEND.
IV. In order to show that Mr. Diaz's constitutional right to be immediately detained and provided
medical care under the Fourth Amendment was clearly established, Ms. Borondy is not required
to point to "a case presenting the exact same facts." Taylor v. City of Milford, 10 F.4th 800, 807
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(7th Cir. 2021). She is, however, required to point to "existing precedent [that places] the statutory
or constitutional question beyond debate." Lopez, 993 F.3d at 987.
Ms. Borondy has not pointed to any caselaw showing that Mr. Diaz's rights under the
Fourth Amendment to be immediately detained, prevented from fleeing, and transported to the
hospital under the circumstances present on June 7, 2019 are clearly established, nor has the Court
located any. Indeed, she has not cited any cases involving the Fourth Amendment at all. Perhaps
this is because plaintiffs generally invoke the Fourth Amendment in support of a claim that a
defendant police officer had no grounds to seize the plaintiff or used excessive force during an
arrest or seizure. But Ms. Borondy claims that Defendants violated the Fourth Amendment by not
taking enough action against Mr. Diaz so that he would not be able to flee and could be transported
to the hospital. In other words, Ms. Borondy's claim is that Defendants had seized Mr. Diaz, but
they should have seized him more. There simply is no caselaw to support the notion that such a
right is clearly established under the circumstances present on June 7, 2019, and Defendants are
entitled to qualified immunity on the Fourth Amendment claim.
"The Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause protects persons against deprivations
of life, liberty, or property; and those who seek to invoke its procedural protection must establish
that one of these interests is at stake." Wilkinson v. Austin, 545 U.S. 209, 221 (2005). Ms. Borondy
alleges that Defendants violated the Fourteenth Amendment by failing to properly restrain Mr.
Diaz, allowing him to flee, and failing to conduct an adequate or meaningful search for him. But
again, Ms. Borondy has not pointed to any legal precedent establishing such a right under the
circumstances present on June 7, 2019. The two cases she relies upon arose under circumstances
that are significantly distinguishable from the circumstances presented here.
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First, the case Ms. Borondy cites for the proposition that "[a]s early as 1979, the Seventh
Circuit held that police officers violated due process by placing civilians in dangerous situations,"
[Filing No. 54 at 31], involved officers leaving minor children in a car on the highway during
inclement weather after arresting the adult driver. See White v. Rochford, 592 F.2d 381 (7th Cir.
1979). This is not analogous to the situation presented on June 7, 2019, when Defendants
determined they had no legal basis to immediately detain Mr. Diaz and he fled. Second, the case
Ms. Borondy relies upon for the statement that "[i]t is also clearly established that providing no
medical care in the face of a serious health risk constitutes deliberate indifference," [Filing No. 54
at 31], involved an Eighth Amendment claim by a prisoner against prison doctors and nurses for
failure to treat a wound on the prisoner's hand and finger. See Walker v. Benjamin, 293 F.3d 1030
(7th Cir. 2002). A medical professional's failure to treat a patient in custody is not sufficiently
similar to an officer's failure to transport an individual to a hospital after questioning the individual
and concluding that he is not a danger to himself or others. Put simply, neither White nor Walker
comes close to establishing the Fourteenth Amendment rights Ms. Borondy asserts on behalf of
Mr. Diaz under the circumstances present on June 7, 2019, much less places those rights "beyond
debate." Lopez, 993 F.3d at 987; see also City of Escondido, Cal. v. Emmons, 139 S. Ct. 500, 503
(2019) ("[A] clearly established right must be defined with specificity. [The Supreme Court] has
repeatedly told courts…not to define clearly established law at a high level of generality.")
(quotation and citation omitted). Ms. Borondy has attempted to define the rights at issue at far too
high a level of generality, and Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity on Ms. Borondy's
Fourteenth Amendment claim as well.
Mr. Diaz's rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to be immediately
detained, prohibited from fleeing, and searched for after he fled are not clearly established under
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the law. Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. [Filing
The Court recognizes the tragic circumstances of this case and sympathizes with Ms.
Borondy's desire to hold someone accountable for her son's death. However, the claims she brings
assert constitutional violations for which qualified immunity "protects all but the plainly
incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law," Malley, 475 U.S. at 341, and it protects
Officers Draher, Cress, and Ellis here. For the foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS Defendants'
Motion for Summary Judgment, . Final judgment shall enter accordingly.
Distribution via ECF only to all counsel of record
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