Joseph W. Smith
Joseph W. Smith has been an associate in the firm since April 2015. Joe received his Bachelor of Arts in History from Purdue University in 2003 and his law degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2007. Joe began his legal career in Missouri, where he practiced in the field of municipal law and civil rights litigation defense, appearing in state and federal trial and appellate courts. He returned to Indiana in 2012, continuing in the field of municipal law. Joe practices primarily in the area of civil rights litigation defense.
Recent Career Highlights
- Deadly force case involving white officers and mentally disturbed African-American decedent. Summary Judgment granted in favor of police officers and town. Court found no violation of decedent’s Constitutional Rights despite the decedent’s mother’s testimony that the decedent was under the officer’s control shortly before the officer shot the decedent. The Court relied heavily on the Defendant’s Police Procedures Expert and Forensic Pathologist Expert opinions that the physical evidence supported the officer’s testimony that the decedent was attacking the officers when deadly force was used. Jones v. Town of Highland, 204 F. Supp. 3d 1030 (N.D. Ind. 2016). Plaintiff’s appeal to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals was subsequently dismissed on procedural grounds.
- Uncertified class of 21 Plaintiffs where Drug Court participants were unlawfully held in jail for months without due process while awaiting placement in treatment facilities or halfway houses. Federal Court granted summary judgment for Drug Treatment Court Case Manager on all due process claims including a significant ruling that Case Manager was a State and not a County employee barring the official capacity claim under the 11th Hoffman, et al, v. Knoebel, et al, 2017 WL 3191198 (S.D. Ind. July 27, 2017) Southern District of Indiana Case No. 4:14-CV-12. The case is pending on appeal in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
- State Court granted Motion to Dismiss, action against demolition contractor and an employee of the demolition contractor in suit regarding employee’s jobsite injury. The claims were dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction based upon the Worker’s Compensation Act’s exclusive remedy provision. The Court found the Plaintiff was an employee and not an independent contractor, despite the fact the equipment he was operating was not owned by the demolition contractor. Fly v. Nowatzke, April 25, 2017, LaPorte County Indiana, Case No. 46D01-1601-CT-11.