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Serino v. Hensley

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

November 4, 2013

Christian SERINO, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Alec HENSLEY and City of Oakland City, Indiana, Defendants-Appellees.

Argued Sept. 25, 2013.

Page 589

John A. Goodridge, Attorney, Evansville, IN, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

D. Timothy Born, Attorney, Dwight T. Born, Attorney, Terrell Baugh Salmon & Born LLP, Evansville, IN, for Defendant-Appellee.

Before WOOD, Chief Judge, and FLAUM and SYKES, Circuit Judges.

FLAUM, Circuit Judge.

In September 2008, Oakland City Chief of Police Alec Hensley arrested Christian Serino for trespass and resisting law enforcement. The charges were eventually dropped. In March 2012, Serino filed suit against Hensley and Oakland City in federal district court. He alleged that Hensley violated his constitutional rights and

Page 590

committed multiple state-law torts. The district court dismissed each of Serino's federal and state claims at the Rule 12(b)(6) stage. We now affirm.

I. Background

In reviewing a motion to dismiss, we accept the facts of the plaintiff's complaint as true. Parish v. City of Elkhart, 614 F.3d 677, 678 n. 1 (7th Cir.2010). Serino alleged the following: in 2008, he was employed as a soccer coach at Oakland City University in Oakland City, Indiana. On September 11, 2008, the university's Vice President of Administration and Finance informed Serino that he was suspended from his position. The Vice President then contacted Alec Hensley, the Chief of Police of the Oakland City Police Department, and told him to come to the university's Tichenor Athletic Center to speak to Serino. Hensley complied. He confronted Serino and told him that he was trespassing " since [Serino] refused to leave the premises." Hensley then arrested Serino for trespass.

On September 15, 2008, Serino was arraigned on charges of trespass and resisting law enforcement. The state ultimately dismissed both charges: the former on April 3, 2009, and the latter on March 31, 2010. Until that time, Serino " was forced to defend the frivolous and malicious criminal charges waged against him upon the false and misleading recommendations of the defendants."

On March 28, 2012, Serino brought an action in federal district court against Hensley and Oakland City. He alleged two § 1983 claims: false arrest in violation of the Fourth Amendment, and malicious prosecution in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. He also included Indiana tort claims for false arrest, malicious prosecution, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The defendants moved to dismiss Serino's complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), and the district court granted their motion. The court found that Serino's § 1983 and state-law false arrest claims were time-barred; that his § 1983 malicious prosecution claim was not cognizable as a constitutional claim; and that his state-law claims for malicious prosecution and IIED were barred by the defendants' immunity under the Indiana Tort Claims Act. Serino now appeals.

II. Discussion

We review a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal de novo. Zellner v. Herrick, 639 F.3d 371, 378 (7th Cir.2011). We may affirm the district court's decision on any ground contained in the record. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 578 (7th Cir.2009).

A. Federal and State False Arrest Claims

First, the district court dismissed Serino's § 1983 and state-law claims for false arrest [1] ...


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