Lessley v. City of Madison, Ind., Case No. 4:07-cv-0136-DFH-WGH.

Decision Date21 August 2009
Docket NumberCase No. 4:07-cv-0136-DFH-WGH.
Citation654 F.Supp.2d 877
PartiesKristy L. LESSLEY, Kara J. Rhodehamel and Kayla M. Messer, Plaintiffs, v. The CITY OF MADISON, INDIANA, Albert G. Huntington, Jim Lee, Donald James Royce, Robert Wolf, Jonathon D. Simpson, Mika Season Jackson, William Watterson, Christopher Strouse, Jennifer Lee Hendrick, James Hendrick, Clifty Fire Company Number 6, and Robert L. Barlow, II, Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Southern District of Indiana
654 F.Supp.2d 877
Kristy L. LESSLEY, Kara J. Rhodehamel and Kayla M. Messer, Plaintiffs,
v.
The CITY OF MADISON, INDIANA, Albert G. Huntington, Jim Lee, Donald James Royce, Robert Wolf, Jonathon D. Simpson, Mika Season Jackson, William Watterson, Christopher Strouse, Jennifer Lee Hendrick, James Hendrick, Clifty Fire Company Number 6, and Robert L. Barlow, II, Defendants.
Case No. 4:07-cv-0136-DFH-WGH.
United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albany Division.
August 21, 2009.

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Joseph A. Colussi, Colussi Law Office, Madison, IN, for Plaintiffs.

Dwight Timothy Born, Terrell Baugh Salmon & Born LLP, Evansville, IN, William Edward Jenner, Jenner Auxier & Pattison LLP, Madison, IN, R. Jeffrey Lowe, Kightlinger & Gray, LLP, New Albany, IN, Ian L. Stewart, James S. Stephenson, Stephenson Morow & Semler, Indianapolis, IN, Steven Craig Jackson, Ferguson & Ferguson, Bloomington, IN, for Defendants.

ENTRY ON PENDING MOTIONS

DAVID F. HAMILTON, Chief District Judge.


Introduction......................................................................889
                Summary Judgment Standard.........................................................890
                Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment..........................................890
                 I. Undisputed Facts...........................................................890
                 II. Royce's Motion for Summary Judgment........ ...............................893
                 A. Seizure.................................................................893
                 B. Searches................................................................895
                 1. Search of the Car....................................................896
                 2. Pat-Downs............................................................896
                 3. Strip-Searches.......................................................897
                 4. Royce's Participation in the Strip-Searches..........................899
                 C. Fifth Amendment Claims..................................................900
                 D. Qualified Immunity......................................................900
                 1. Pat-Downs............................................................900
                 2. Strip-Searches ......................................................901
                 E. State Law Claims........................................................902
                 1. State Constitutional Claims..........................................902
                 2. State Tort Immunity..................................................902
                 F. New Federal Causes of Action ...........................................902
                 G. Conclusion..............................................................903
                 III. Other Police Officers' Motion for Summary Judgment........................903
                 A. Seizures................................................................903
                 B. Searches................................................................903
                 1. "Search Incident to Probable Cause to Arrest"........................903
                 2. Reasonableness of the Strip-Searches.................................904
                 C. Qualified Immunity......................................................904
                 D. State Law Claims........................................................905
                 E. Conclusion..............................................................905
                 IV. Madison and Supervisory City Officials' Motion for Summary Judgment........905
                 A. Supplemental Facts......................................................906
                 1. Madison Procedures...................................................906
                 2. Similar Incidents....................................................906
                 3. Officer Misconduct and Investigations................................907
                 4. Investigation and Statements to the Public...........................907
                 B. Municipal Liability.....................................................908
                 C. Personal Liability of the Supervisory Defendants........................910
                 D. Defamation..............................................................911
                 E. State Law Claims Against Officers.......................................912
                 1. Law Enforcement Immunity ............................................912
                 2. Battery..............................................................913
                 3. Assault..............................................................914
                 4. False Arrest and False Imprisonment..................................914
                 F. Claims for Punitive Damages.............................................914
                

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 G. Conclusion..............................................................914
                 V. Fire Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment................................915
                 A. Additional Facts........................................................915
                 B. State Claims............................................................915
                 1. The Hendricks........................................................915
                 2. Royee................................................................916
                 3. Clifty................................;..............................916
                 C. Federal Claims..........................................................917
                 D. Conclusion..............................................................918
                Plaintiffs' Motions for Summary Judgment..........................................918
                 I. Statement of Facts Construed Favorably for Defendants......................918
                 II. Plaintiffs' First Motion for Summary Judgment..............................919
                 A. Strip-Searches..........................................................919
                 B. Qualified Immunity......................................................920
                 C. Law Enforcement Immunity................................................920
                 D. Tort Claim Notices .....................................................921
                 E. Conclusion..............................................................921
                 III. Plaintiffs' Second Motion for Summary Judgment............................921
                 IV. Plaintiffs' Third Motion for Summary Judgment.............................921
                 V. Plaintiffs' Fourth Motion for Summary Judgment............................921
                Appeals of Magistrate Judge's Orders..............................................921
                Motion to Amend Complaint.........................................................923
                Motion to Open Discovery and Allow Further Summary Judgment Responses.............924
                Documents Under Seal..............................................................925
                Conclusion........................................................................925
                
Introduction

It all began with a broken license plate light. One thing led to another, and the ensuing traffic stop in Madison, Indiana has become the subject of elaborate and expensive litigation that requires this lengthy tour through wide tracts of Fourth Amendment law, federal civil rights remedies, and state tort law.

On January 19, 2007, Madison police officers pulled over plaintiffs Kristy Lessley, Kara Rhodehamel, and Kayla Messer for a broken license plate light. An officer smelled marijuana emanating from the car, and he searched the car. He found either nothing or a trace amount of marijuana. Another officer searched the plaintiffs' pockets. He found nothing. The officers then called a female Madison officer who performed warrantless strip-searches on the three plaintiffs at a local fire station. The female officer found marijuana on Kristy Lessley. Lessley was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, but those charges were dismissed. Plaintiffs filed this complaint against the officers involved in the stop and search, the City of Madison and many of its supervisory officials, and the fire station and two volunteer firefighters. The complaint includes multiple state and federal claims.

Each side has filed four motions for summary judgment. The court addresses first the defendants' motions, which are separated by defendant. The court then addresses the plaintiffs' motions, which are separated by issue. Plaintiffs have also filed a motion to amend the complaint and a motion to reopen discovery and summary judgment briefing. As detailed below, each side's motions are granted in part and denied in part. Plaintiffs' core search

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claims under federal law survive, as do some of their state claims. Plaintiffs' municipal liability claim also survives under federal law, but summary judgment is granted for the supervisory defendants on the individual claims against them. Defendants have appealed two discovery orders of Magistrate Judge Hussmann. One appeal is denied and the other is sustained. Finally, at this late stage of the case, plaintiffs will not be permitted to amend the complaint to add an entirely new defendant, the city's liability insurer.

Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment must be granted if the record shows "that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). A factual issue is genuine if there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict in favor of the non-moving party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). A factual issue is material if resolving the factual issue might change the suit's outcome under the governing law. Id. The motion should be granted only if no rational fact finder could decide in favor of the non-moving party. Id. at 249-50, 106 S.Ct. 2505.

When ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must view all the evidence in the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and must resolve all factual disputes in that party's favor. See Reeves v. Sanderson...

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