Katz-Crank v. Haskett, No. 15-1809 (7th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
In 2004, Nelms retained Katz-Crank, a Michigan lawyer with a practice in cemetery management, to assist in his acquisition of cemeteries and funeral homes in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. Trust funds associated with these cemeteries were valued at about $22 million. In 2007 Katz‐Crank learned that Nelms was under investigation by the Indiana Secretary of State for misappropriating cemetery trust assets. Katz‐Crank called Haskett, an investigator in that office, to offer cooperation. Haskett did not return the call. In 2008, Nelms was indicted for embezzling $22 million, pleaded guilty, and agreed to testify against Katz‐Crank. Haskett called some of Katz‐Crank’s clients and stated that Katz‐Crank was under criminal investigation. The Secretary of State and the Marion County prosecutor’s office issued press releases publicizing Katz-Crank’s arrest. A jury acquitted Katz‐Crank. Two years later Katz‐Crank sued Marion County and officials who were involved in her investigation and prosecution, under 42 U.S.C. 1983, for malicious prosecution, abuse of process, and violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, with three federal conspiracy claims and state‐law claims for malicious prosecution, abuse of process, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The district judge rejected all claims. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Most of Katz‐Crank’s claims were barred by the Eleventh Amendment or prosecutorial immunity; the rest were properly dismissed for failure to state a plausible claim.