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STRAUSS v. CITY OF CHICAGO

June 20, 1984

CRAIG S. STRAUSS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, ETC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Decker, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, Craig S. Strauss (Strauss), brought this suit against the City of Chicago (the City) and an unnamed police officer (Officer Doe). Strauss alleges that defendants violated his rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the first and fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution, and the constitution and statutes of the State of Illinois. The case is before the court on the City's motion to dismiss for failure to state a federal claim. Strauss contests the motion only with respect to count I.*fn1

I. The Complaint

Count I alleges that Officer Doe arrested Strauss without probable cause on March 14, 1983. Complaint ¶ 5. Strauss also claims that Officer Doe struck him in the face. Strauss alleges the following with respect to the City:

  a. Had a custom and practice of hiring persons such as
  Defendant JOHN DOE, whose prior history of brutality
  should

  have rendered them unacceptable for hire.
  b. Had a custom or practice of allowing Chicago Police
  Officers, such as Defendant JOHN DOE, to remain
  cloaked with legal authority and employed as Chicago
  Police Officers, even though their experience on the
  job showed them to be brutal in nature and frequent
  violators of civil rights of persons in custody.
  c. Had a custom or practice of allowing those in
  custody to be silenced by causing them to be beaten
  and physically abused.
  d. Had a custom and practice of conducting
  investigations against police officers, by which said
  officers would be exonerated of any fault as a result
  of the investigative procedures employed by the police
  department; and which would result in the continued
  employment and cloak of authority upon brutal officers
  such as Chicago Police Officer John Doe.
  8. As a proximate result of one or more of the
  aforesaid, Plaintiff Craig S. Strauss suffered and
  will continue to suffer injuries of a personal and
  pecuniary nature.

Id. at ¶¶ 7-8.

II. Discussion

In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the court must "take [the plaintiff's] allegations to be true, and view them, together with reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom, in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Powe v. City of Chicago, 664 F.2d 639, 642 (7th Cir. 1981). Dismissal for failure to state a claim is improper unless "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 101-102, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957).

A. Constitutional Claims

Strauss may not sue the City directly under the U.S. Constitution. Congress intended § 1983 to be the exclusive federal remedy for the unconstitutional actions of city officials. Williams v. Bennett, 689 F.2d 1370, 1390 (11th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 104 S.Ct. 335, 78 L.Ed.2d 305 (1983); Ward v. Caulk, 650 F.2d 1144, 1147-1148 (9th Cir. 1981); Molina v. Richardson, 578 F.2d 846, 850-854 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 439 U.S. 1048, 99 ...


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