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Carmel wins judgment in civil lawsuit

Post Date:03/12/2019 8:00 AM

Carmel, Indiana: A Partnership for Tomorrow
City of Carmel
One Civic Square
Carmel, IN 46032


Date:                 March 12, 2019
Contact:          Nancy Heck (317) 571-2494
Release:          Immediate

Carmel wins judgment in civil lawsuit

CARMEL, IN – A Federal District Court in Indianapolis has granted summary judgment to the City of Carmel, a federal DEA investigator, and a local law enforcement officer who were sued for their role in the 2014 investigation and arrest of Carmel doctor Larry Ley and his staff on charges related to the prescription of Suboxone, a controlled substance used to treat opiate addictions.

This investigation and resulting arrests came about after the death of a patient who had been being treated for his drug addiction at Dr. Ley’s DORN addiction treatment center in Carmel.  After their arrests, judges from Hamilton County Superior Court and Howard County Superior Court examined the probable cause affidavits prepared against Dr. Ley and his staff and found that probable cause existed to charge them with the commission of a crime. Dr. Ley was subsequently acquitted of his charges and the charges against his staff were dismissed.   The doctor and his staff physicians then filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana against the City of Carmel and others involved in their investigation and arrest. Dr. Ley’s non-physician staff filed a separate lawsuit against the same. The claims alleged in these lawsuits included, variously, false arrest, malicious prosecution, civil conspiracy, constitutional violations, and municipal liability.

On March 8, the Court granted summary judgement to the City of Carmel and all other defendants in both lawsuits. In so ruling, the Court held that probable cause supported the warrants used in connection with the arrests of Dr. Ley and his staff, that probable cause was an absolute defense to the plaintiffs’ claims of false arrest and malicious prosecution, and that, even if probable cause had not existed, the law enforcement officers involved would be entitled to qualified immunity against claims arising from these arrests. The Court also held that the plaintiffs’ conspiracy claims failed as a matter of law.

"The Court ruled that arrests based upon probable cause, such as those involved in these cases, shields officers from liability absent some showing of officer misrepresentation that would vitiate the probable cause determination," said Douglas Haney, Corporation Counsel for the City of Carmel. "The officers involved performed their duties honorably and lawfully, as is borne out by the Court’s summary judgment rulings in these matters."

The plaintiffs have the right to appeal the Court’s decisions and entries of final judgment in favor of the defendants in these cases.


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