LOVETT et al v. HEATON et al
ENTRY ON PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO RECONSIDER - This cause is before the Court on the Plaintiffs' motion to reconsider (Dkt. No. 74 ). The motion is fully briefed, and the Court, being duly advised, DENIES the motion. (See Entry.) Signed by Judge William T. Lawrence on 3/7/2018. (BRR)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
TERRE HAUTE DIVISION
LUCINDA LOVETT, Co-personal
Representative of the Estate of Daniel J.
Martin, et al.,
LANDON HERBERT, et al.,
) Cause No. 2:15-cv-63-WTL-MJD
ENTRY ON PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION TO RECONSIDER
This cause is before the Court on the Plaintiffs’ motion to reconsider (Dkt. No. 74). The
motion is fully briefed, and the Court, being duly advised, DENIES the motion for the reasons
set forth below.
The Court has “discretion to reconsider an interlocutory judgment or order at any time
prior to final judgment.” Mintz v. Caterpillar Inc., 788 F.3d 673, 679 (7th Cir. 2015) (citations
omitted). In that context, “‘[a] judge may reexamine his earlier ruling . . . if he has a conviction
at once strong and reasonable that the earlier ruling was wrong, and if rescinding it would not
cause undue harm to the party that had benefited from it.’” HK Sys., Inc. v. Eaton Corp., 553
F.3d 1086, 1089 (7th Cir. 2009) (quoting Avitia v. Metropolitan Club of Chicago, Inc., 49 F.3d
1219, 1227 (7th Cir. 1995)).
The Plaintiffs argue that the Court erred in granting summary judgment for the
Defendants on two claims: (1) the Plaintiffs’ Monell claim against the Sheriff; and (2) the
Plaintiffs’ state law wrongful death claim.
With respect to the Monell claim, the Plaintiffs attempt to analogize their case to Glisson
v. Indiana Department of Correction, 849 F.3d 372 (7th Cir. 2017), and argue that “we have a
policymaker, a sheriff, who made the deliberate decision not to create a policy to protect inmates
who are heavily intoxicated,” Dkt. No. 74 at 2.
In Glisson, the Seventh Circuit examined the prison medical provider’s lack of a
coordinated care policy and explained that a “hands-off policy is just as much a ‘policy’ as the
100% enforcement policy is.” Id. at 382. There, the plaintiff presented evidence that the
policymakers had knowledge of, but chose not to implement, Indiana Department of Corrections
Guidelines requiring healthcare providers to have policies and procedures for managing chronic
diseases. That evidence allowed a finder of fact to conclude that the policymaker “consciously
chose the approach that it took,” leaving the question of whether that choice was the moving
force behind the constitutional wrong for the jury as well. Id. at 380.
In this case, the Plaintiffs argue:
Here, the Sheriff made the deliberate decision not to follow the Indiana Jail
Standards on classification of inmates. Before it was amended in 2015, 210 IAC
3-1-18(c) read, “Intoxicated inmates and those experiencing delirium tremens or
drug withdrawal shall [emphasis added] also be segregated and given close
observation.” Despite this clear instruction, the Sheriff decided not to require
officers to comply with that standard, but gave priority to making money. The
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) detainees were given
preference in the temporary housing assignments.
Dkt. No. 74 at 2.
As the Defendants point out, the Plaintiffs misquote the jail standard that was in effect at
the time of the events that gave rise to this case; in fact, the standard was changed in 2012 to
read, “Intoxicated or suicidal inmates and those inmates experiencing delirium tremens or drug
withdrawal may also be segregated and given close observation.” 210 Ind. Admin. Code 3-1-18.
Further, as the Defendants point out, even if there were such a standard, the Plaintiffs have not
pointed to any admissible evidence that the sheriff made a decision not to comply with the
standard. As such, the Court declines to find that its prior ruling on the Monell claim was wrong.
With respect to the Plaintiffs’ state law wrongful death claim, the Plaintiffs point out that
“a tort claim was filed within 180 days of the deliberately indifferent acts leading to Martin’s
fall, it informed the County that they intended to pursue claims arising out of those acts, and it
contained detailed information about the accident.” Dkt. No. 74 at 6. The Plaintiffs correctly note
that the Indiana Tort Claims Act does not require a plaintiff to identify specific claims or causes
of action in the notice. However, as the Defendants argue, a wrongful death action is not a
continuation of a personal injury case; rather, a wrongful death action is a specific cause of
action, with its own accrual date and its own plaintiff. Accordingly, a wrongful death claim by
Daniel Martin’s estate is independent of any claims Martin had, and the Court declines to find
that its prior ruling on the state law wrongful death claim was wrong.
The Court DENIES the Plaintiffs’ motion to reconsider (Dkt. No. 74).
SO ORDERED: 3/7/18
Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge
United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
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