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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides one Indiana case today

In KENNY A. JONES, Sr. v. CITY OF ELKHART, INDIANA, et al. (ND Ind., Springmann), a 19-page opinion, Judge Tinder writes:

Plaintiff‐Appellant Kenny A. Jones, Sr., alleges that Defendants‐Appellees violated his rights under the Fourth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment. From the first, however, counsel for Jones stated his claims broadly and vaguely. He listed a series of irrelevant facts untethered to any legal claims, and asserted constitutional injury without specifying what provisions of the Constitution were violated and how. Defendants—the City of Elkhart, Indiana and individual officers in the Elkhart police department— and the district court were forced to guess at his arguments in order to address them. Unfortunately, on appeal, counsel fashioned his brief in a similar manner, asking us to reverse the district court’s entry of summary judgment for Defendants. The argument sections of Jones’s brief recite legal standards for the elements of the case but offer us no analysis on how to apply them to the facts at hand.

Once we reconstruct what we believe to be Jones’s arguments, as we were required to do under these circumstances, the completed structure shows that both of Jones’s substantive assertions hinge on one critical fact: whether the Elkhart police officers who stopped his car and arrested him did so without probable cause. Because the record supports the district court’s conclusion that the officers had probable cause and there is no evidence putting that conclusion in question, we affirm the district court’s entry of summary judgment and dismiss the appeal. We also find that the district court did not abuse its discretion with regard to the discovery orders or its ruling on Jones’s Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim. * * *

For the foregoing reasons, we AFFIRM the district court’s grant of summary judgment for the Defendants.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 12, 2013 06:54 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions