ATWOOD v. SHELBY COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT et al
ORDER denying 54 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim. ***SEE ORDER FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION*** Signed by Judge James Patrick Hanlon on 1/10/2022. (JDC)
Case 1:20-cv-03161-JPH-TAB Document 70 Filed 01/10/22 Page 1 of 4 PageID #: 432
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
JESSE EDWARD ATWOOD,
KENNETH THOMPSON Deputy Sheriff #73-28, )
Order Denying Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff Jesse Atwood brings this action alleging constitutional violations stemming from
an October 2018 arrest in Shelby County, Indiana. The Court screened his amended complaint and
permitted a Fourth Amendment claim to proceed against Deputy Sheriff Kenneth Thompson. Dkt.
The defendant has filed a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6),
arguing that Mr. Atwood's complaint is barred by the statute of limitations. For the reasons
discussed in this Order, the defendant's motion is denied.
According to his amended complaint, on October 4 or 5 of 2018, Mr. Atwood asked a
homeowner if he could use their restroom because he had ingested an unknown substance and felt
ill. The homeowner gave Mr. Atwood permission to enter his home. Deputy Thompson prepared
a probable cause affidavit in which he falsely stated that Mr. Atwood entered two homes without
permission and that the homeowners had filed reports with police.
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Mr. Atwood was arrested the night of the incident and detained on the charges until March
6, 2019. The case was dismissed without prejudice on March 13, 2019. During that time, Mr.
Atwood lost his job and his parental rights to his newborn child.
Mr. Atwood's complaint was signed on October 21, 2020. 1 Dkt. 7-2 at 5. Mr. Atwood filed
an amended complaint on March 1, 2021, which was screened and dismissed for failure to state a
claim. Dkts. 21, 24. Mr. Atwood filed a second amended complaint on May 18, 2021. Dkt. 29. The
Court screened Mr. Atwood's amended complaint and authorized him to proceed with a claim that
his arrest and detention were unlawful under the Fourth Amendment. Dkt. 30.
To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint need only "contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). In reviewing the
sufficiency of a complaint, the Court must accept all well-pled facts as true and draw all
permissible inferences in the plaintiff's favor. See Tucker v. City of Chicago, 907 F.3d 487, 491
(7th Cir. 2018).
The defendant argues that the statute of limitations accrued when Deputy Thompson
arrested Mr. Atwood in early October 2018 and was therefore expired when he filed his complaint.
"Although state law determines the length of the statute of limitations for a § 1983 claim, federal
law provides when that limitations period begins." Smith v. City of Chicago, 3 F.4th 332, 335 (7th
Cir. 2021). In Indiana, the limitations period is two years. Ind. Code § 34-11-2-4.
The defendant alleges that November 20, 2020, was the operative date because that was when the
complaint was filed in state court before its removal to this Court. Dkt. 55 at 3. But under the "prison
mailbox rule," a petitioner's pleading is considered filed when it is handed over to prison staff for
mailing. Taylor v. Brown, 787 F.3d 851, 858–59 (7th Cir. 2015). Accordingly, for purposes of this
motion, the Court assumes that Mr. Atwood handed the complaint to prison staff for mailing the same day
he signed the certificate of service.
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In Manuel v. City of Joliet, Ill., 137 S. Ct. 911, 918 (2017), the Supreme Court held that
wrongful pretrial detention violates the Fourth Amendment "not only when it precedes, but also
when it follows, the start of legal process in a criminal case." In other words, Mr. Atwood's harm
did not end when he was arrested or bound over for trial, but rather it was ongoing through the
duration of his custody. And "[w]hen a wrong is ongoing rather than discrete, the period of
limitations does not commence until the wrong ends." Manuel v. City of Joliet, Ill. (Manuel II),
903 F.3d 667, 669 (7th Cir. 2018). Thus, on remand from the Supreme Court, the Seventh Circuit
held in Manuel II that a Fourth Amendment claim like Mr. Atwood's accrues when the detention
ends. Id. at 670.
Mr. Atwood was not released from detention until March 6, 2019, making his October 21,
2020, complaint timely. The defendant's motion to dismiss, dkt. , is therefore denied.
Because the statute of limitations did not accrue until Mr. Atwood was released from jail,
his complaint was timely. Accordingly, the defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint as being
barred by the statute of limitations, dkt. , is denied.
Case 1:20-cv-03161-JPH-TAB Document 70 Filed 01/10/22 Page 4 of 4 PageID #: 435
JESSE EDWARD ATWOOD
BRANCHVILLE - CF
BRANCHVILLE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
Electronic Service Participant – Court Only
Caren L. Pollack
POLLACK LAW FIRM, P.C.
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