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Fonseca v. Nelson

March 16, 2010

ARNULFO FONSECA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CHARLES DAVID NELSON, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Clifford J. Proud United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM and ORDER

PROUD, Magistrate Judge

Before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 117). The motion is filed on behalf of defendants Keith Brown, Ken Clore, Randy Butler, Mike Jones, Todd Fort, Steve Sloan, Mona Nelson, Saline County, Sheriff's Office of Saline County, and the State's Attorney's Office of Saline County. Defendants Brad Neal and David Blazier also joined in the motion, but they, along with the Village of Carrier Mills, were dismissed on plaintiff's motion on June 26, 2009. See, Doc. 148. Thus, the motion for summary judgment is brought on behalf of all remaining defendants in this case, with the exception of defendant Charles David Nelson.

Plaintiff filed a response to the motion at Doc. 136. Defendants then filed a reply at Doc. 151.

Nature of Plaintiff's Claim

The Court first notes that the operative complaint is the Fourth Amended Complaint, Doc. 163. The Fourth Amended Complaint was filed in response to Judge Reagan's orders directing same as a matter of housekeeping. See, Docs. 156, 158, and 162. It was clearly the intention of Judge Reagan and of the parties that the previously-filed dispositive motions, including this one, be construed as referring to the complaint as amended. See, Doc. 129.

Plaintiff Arnulfo Fonseca's long-time girlfriend, Ashleigh Miller, was injured on May 28, 2007. She died as a result of those injuries on June 6, 2007. According to Fourth Amended Complaint, Miller suffered the injuries when "she fell out of the car he was driving." Doc. 163, ¶18. On June 4, 2007, Fonseca was charged with aggravated DUI, aggravated driving with a revoked license, obstructing justice, and failing to report a personal injury accident. He was released on bond. Doc. 163, ¶19.

On June 13, 2007, Fonseca was charged with two counts of first-degree murder arising out of Ms. Miller's death. Fonseca turned himself into Randy Butler, "the arresting officer for the Saline County Sheriff's Department, pursuant to an arrest warrant" that had been signed by Judge Walden E. Morris. Doc. 163, ¶¶20-21.

Judge Morris conducted a preliminary hearing on July 5, 2007, and determined that there was probable cause to proceed on two counts of first-degree murder. Doc. 163, ¶24. Bond was set at one million dollars. Plaintiff was unable to make bond, and remained in jail until trial. Doc. 163, ¶27. On April 8, 2008, a jury found him not guilty on both murder counts. Doc. 163, ¶26.

The Fourth Amended Complaint consists of 11 counts. In Counts 1 through 5, plaintiff sues under 42 U.S.C. §1983 for various violations of his rights under the United States Constitution. Counts 6 through 11 allege only state law claims.

Standard for Summary Judgment

Summary judgment is appropriate where the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Estate of Suskovich v. Anthem Health Plans of Virginia, Inc., 553 F.3d 559, 563 (7th Cir. 2009), citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). Accord, Breneisen v. Motorola, Inc., 512 F.3d 972 (7th Cir. Cir. 2008); Levy v. Minnesota Life Ins. Co., 517 F.3d 519 (7th Cir. 2008).

In ruling on a summary judgment motion, the Court construes all facts and reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party (here, Plaintiff). Lloyd v. Swifty Transp., Inc., 552 F.3d 594, 600 (7th Cir. 2009); TAS Distributing Co., Inc. v. Cummins Engine Co., Inc., 491 F.3d 625, 630 (7th Cir. 2007); Reynolds v. Jamison, 488 F.3d 756, 764 (7th Cir. 2007).

In response to summary judgment, the non-movant cannot rest on his pleadings. Rather, the non-movant must provide evidence on which the jury or court could find in his favor. Maclin v. SBC Ameritech, 520 F.3d 781, 786 ...


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