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Excessive force, discrimination suit over alleged beating advances

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A man who claims he suffered a bone-breaking beating at the hands of school employees providing security at his son’s high school football game may proceed with a federal lawsuit against the school district.

Louis Williams sued Munster schools and employees he claims assaulted him after they asked him to step off a grassy area where Williams was standing and talking on his cellphone. Williams was seen at a hospital the next day for a fractured rib, abdominal bruising, shallow breathing and back pain, according to the record.

Magistrate Judge Andrew P. Rodovich denied most of the defendants’ motions for summary judgment Tuesday in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division.

Williams, an African-American, claimed excessive force and racial discrimination in Louis Williams v. School Town of Munster, et al., 2:12-CV-225-APR. Rodovich wrote in an order Tuesday that those claims should be heard by a jury.

 “Williams has submitted sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that the School Town of Munster’s failure to provide any training on how to provide security and enforce its policies was the result of its deliberate indifference to the constitutional rights of the attendees,” Rodovich wrote.

“The defendants argue that (employees’) actions were reasonable because Williams was acting aggressively and that the defendants ‘simply attempted to move him off the grass.’ ... However, the facts do not support only the defendants’ description of the events,” Rodovich wrote, noting Williams claims the assault took place after he moved from the grass and was prevented from leaving. “(T)he true course of events and reasonableness of the defendants’ actions should be determined by a jury.

“At this stage, the evidence shows that Williams has a plausible claim for excessive force against the defendants. Accordingly, the defendants’ motion is denied.”

Likewise, evidence in the record suggests summary judgment is improper on Williams’ race discrimination complaint. Defendants didn’t yell at non-minorities to get off the grass, for example, and Williams claims defendants made at least one disparaging racial insult during the confrontation.

“At this stage, Williams has presented sufficient evidence to show that the defendants may have acted with a discriminatory intent,” Rodovich wrote.

Summary judgment was granted in favor of the individual employees who are immune from personal liability under the Indiana Tort Claims Act, I.C. § 34-13-3-5(c).


 

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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

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