MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MARVIN E. ASPEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE:
Annette Jacobs, individually and on behalf of Jakes Marketplace, Inc., brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of her rights under the Fourth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, as well as several common law tort causes of action. The defendants include: Bruce Paynter, an Assistant States Attorney for Cook County, Illinois; police officer Robert Pistilli; police officer Jeffrey Kumorek; police officer Thomas J. O'Connor; police officer John Schnoor; police officer Richard Obermaier; unknown Chicago police officers; Superintendent of Police Leroy Martin; Cook County State's Attorney Cecil A. Partee;
and the City of Chicago. We consider in this opinion the motions to dismiss of each defendant, with the exception of Paynter.
For the purposes of the motions, we assume the truth of Jacobs' allegations. Zinser v. Rose, 868 F.2d 938, 939 (7th Cir. 1989). Jacobs is the sole shareholder of Jakes Marketplace, Inc. ("Jakes"). Jakes is in the business of dealing and appraising collectibles such as coins, stamps and baseball cards.
Jacobs has been subjected to a long history of unfair treatment by the police. For a period of two years prior to February 1989, the police would "aggressively" enter Jakes about once every two months. While the police were inside the store, they would "freely move about with no concern for privately controlled areas." (Cmplt., para. 15).
On February 18, 1989, Paynter entered Jakes accompanied by Pistilli, Kumorek, O'Connor, Schnoor and Obermaier, who are detectives in the Chicago Police Department. These individuals, who did not have a search warrant, demanded to see all recently purchased baseball cards. Paynter and the officers threatened to obtain a search warrant and "tear the place apart" if Jacobs did not cooperate.
Paynter then proceeded to inspect Jakes' inventory of baseball cards. Paynter told the police officers that certain baseball cards actually belonged to him and had been stolen from his residence. The police seized these cards and other items without Jacobs' consent.
Jacobs states that after "the latest incidents commencing on February 18, 1989, [she] complained to the Chicago Police Department about wrongful conduct and behavior by police officers." (Cmplt., para. 15). The complaint is silent as to what action, if any, was taken in response to Jacobs' protests.
On February 24, 1989, police officer Kumorek obtained a warrant to search Jakes. The warrant authorized the police to seize any baseball cards known to have been stolen from Paynter's residence. The police seized various items, such as pocketwatches and Egyptian ingots, which were not specified in the search warrant.
Jacobs also complains that during the execution of the warrant, the police forced six Jakes' employees to stand for two hours in a "small two person room." (Cmplt., para. 29). In addition, Jacobs alleges that the employees and a customer were "roughly handled"; these actions resulted in "undue hardship and physical and emotional strain."
Jacobs alleges that the police searches on February 18 and February 24 constituted unlawful searches and seizures and violated her Sixth Amendment, equal protection and due process rights. In addition, Jacobs states that the police conduct constituted "arrest, theft intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and gross negligence under the laws of the State of Illinois." Martin and Partee are sued in their official capacity. Paynter and the police officers are sued individually, as well as in their official capacities.
As a threshold matter, the defendants assert that Jacobs has improperly commingled her corporate and individual claims. Jacobs uses the singular "plaintiff" throughout the complaint and fails to identify which claims are asserted individually and which claims are asserted on behalf of the corporation. The defendants state that Jacobs is attempting to assert claims for injuries suffered by the corporation, as if she had suffered these injuries individually.
A corporation and its shareholders are separate entities. Kush v. American States Ins. Co., 853 F.2d 1380, 1383 (7th Cir. 1988); Bevelheimer v. Gierach, 33 Ill. App. 3d 988, 339 N.E.2d 299, 303 (1st Dist. 1975). Thus, a shareholder cannot sue individually for injuries suffered by the corporation. Id. However, "the general rule that corporation and its shareholders are separate entities is subject to the qualification that the separate identity may be disregarded in exceptional situations where it otherwise would present an obstacle to the due protection or enforcement of public or private rights." Bevelheimer, 339 N.E.2d at 303 (citations omitted). Jacobs argues that she falls within the Bevelheimer exception.
We reject Jacobs' position for two reasons. First, she has not identified any exceptional circumstances that indicate prejudice to the protection of either entities' rights would result from recognizing their separate identities. Second, Bevelheimer mandates that "one who seeks to have the court apply an exception [to the rule that the shareholder and corporation are separate entities] must seek that relief in his pleading and carry the burden of proving actual identity." Id. (citations omitted) (emphasis added). Jacobs failed to seek or justify the application of this exception in her pleading. Accordingly, we will treat Jacobs' claims as if they were asserted individually.
This threshold issue aside, we turn to the substantive issues raised by the defendants' motions. The defendants launch two distinct attacks on the complaint. First, they assert that the official capacity claims and the claim against the City of Chicago should be dismissed because the complaint fails to adequately identify a municipal policy. Second, the defendants dispute the validity of Jacobs' various substantive constitutional and common law claims.
Municipal and Official Capacity Claims Under § 1983
Jacobs claims that the City of Chicago and each of the individual defendants in their official capacity are liable for the alleged violations of her constitutional rights. To the extent that the complaint attempts to state § 1983 claims against individual defendants in their official capacities, the action operates as a claim against the City of Chicago itself. Wilson v. Civil Town of Clayton, Ind., 839 F.2d 375, 382 (7th Cir. 1988). Thus, the liability of the municipality is the determinative inquiry in a suit against individuals in their official capacity.
"The susceptibility of any municipality to liability under § 1983 must initially be tested under the requirements of Monell v. New York City Dept. of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 98 S. Ct. 2018, 56 L. Ed. 2d 611 (1978)." Id. at 380. In Monell, the Supreme Court held that municipalities and other governmental units were included among the entities to which § 1983 applies. However, Monell limits the contexts in which a municipality can properly be named as a defendant; "we conclude . . . that a local government may not be sued under § 1983 for an injury inflicted solely by its employees or agents. Instead, it is when execution of a government's policy or custom, whether made by its lawmakers or by those whose edicts or acts may be fairly said to represent official policy, inflicts the injury that the government as an entity is responsible under § 1983." Monell, 98 S. Ct. at 2037-38. Thus, a municipality can only be held liable under § 1983 for the actions of employees or agents who are acting pursuant to some municipal policy; respondeat superior is inapplicable in a § 1983 suit against a municipality. Id. at 2036.
A § 1983 plaintiff must prove that a municipal policy caused the alleged deprivation of her rights. This burden can be met in various ways. The most obvious and straightforward method is to identify some formally adopted policy that caused the violation of the plaintiff's rights. See, e.g., Monell, 98 S. Ct. at 2036-2037; City of St. Louis v. Praprotnik, 485 U.S. 112, 108 S. Ct. 915, 924, 99 L. Ed. 2d 107 (1988). However, plaintiffs often have difficulty in finding a formally adopted policy that caused the injury. Therefore, courts have identified alternative means, short of identifying a formally adopted policy, through which the § 1983 plaintiff can meet her burden. A § 1983 plaintiff can establish her burden by showing that her injuries were caused by the decision of a municipal decisionimaker with "final policy-making authority." Praprotnik, 108 S. Ct. at 924. In addition, a plaintiff can meet the requirement by alleging a series of incidents of unconstitutional conduct suggesting "the existence of a widespread practice that, although not authorized by written law or express municipal policy, is 'so permanent and well settled' as to constitute a 'custom or usage' with the force of law." Praprotnik, 108 S. Ct. at 926, quoting Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 90 S. Ct. 1598, 1613-14, 26 L. Ed. 2d 142 (1970).
Jacobs attempts to meet the municipal policy requirement by alleging that:
Chicago Police Officers would aggressively enter Jakes Marketplace, Inc., and demand to inspect premises and possessions of plaintiff, during said inspections Chicago Police would freely move about with no concern for privately controlled areas, said incidents occurred at least once every eight weeks, for a period of approximately two years. After, the latest incidents commencing on February 18, 1989, plaintiff, Annette Jacobs, complained to the Chicago Police Department about wrongful conduct and behavior by police officers. Said series or pattern of incidents over given period of time demonstrate [sic] unconstitutional conduct and show [sic] a policy sufficient to hold the City of Chicago liable under Section 1983.