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ROSENTRETER v. MUNDING

April 13, 1990

KEITH G. ROSENTRETER, Plaintiff,
v.
DAVID J. MUNDING and VILLAGE OF WINTHROP HARBOR, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ASPEN

 MARVIN E. ASPEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

 Plaintiff Keith G. Rosentreter filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against the Village of Winthrop Harbor ("Winthrop Harbor") and David J. Munding, a police officer employed by the village. In addition, Rosentreter brings a pendant state claim against Winthrop Harbor under the Illinois Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act, ("Illinois Tort Immunity Act"), Ill. Rev. Stat., ch. 85, para. 9-102 (1981). Winthrop Harbor has moved to dismiss the two claims against it. For the reasons stated below the motion to dismiss both claims is granted.

 BACKGROUND

 Rosentreter's section 1983 count alleges a "failure to train" claim against Winthrop Harbor. See City of Canton, Ohio v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 109 S. Ct. 1197, 103 L. Ed. 2d 412 (1989). Rosentreter claims that Munding, while acting in the scope of employment under color of law, used excessive force, including deadly force, while attempting to stop Rosentreter for speeding. Rosentreter contends that this conduct violated his 4th and 14th amendment rights. Complaint at paras. 6,7. Rosentreter alleges that Winthrop Harbor had no guidelines for use of force during routine traffic stops or grossly inadequate guidelines to ensure proper use of deadly force by police personnel. In addition, he alleges that the training and supervision of police, and specifically Munding, was "grossly inadequate and nonexistent." Complaint at paras. 13, 14.

 Rosentreter further alleges that Winthrop Harbor's failure to properly train, supervise and control employees, including Munding; its failure to promulgate proper guidelines against the use of excessive force; and its continued failure to discipline and reprimand employees, including Munding, who utilize excessive force, constitutes an official policy, practice or custom of condoning the unjustified use of excessive force, and, specifically, of the continued use of deadly force during routine traffic stops. Rosentreter alleges that such a policy violates section 1983 and is the direct and proximate cause of his injuries. Complaint at paras. 15-17.

 Rosentreter's state law count against Winthrop Harbor is based on the Illinois Tort Immunity Act, III. Rev. Stat., ch. 85, para. 9-102, which, in certain cases, directs local public entities to pay tort judgments or settlements rendered against its employees. Rosentreter claims that Winthrop Harbor is liable under that statute for any judgment entered against Munding.

 DISCUSSION

 I. Section 1983 Claim Against Winthrop Harbor

 In Monell v. New York City Dept. of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 694, 98 S. Ct. 2018, 2037-38, 56 L. Ed. 2d 611 (1977), the Supreme Court established that under section 1983 a local government may only be sued for injuries caused by its policies or customs which are the "moving force" behind constitutional violations, and not for injuries inflicted solely by its employees. Recently the Supreme Court ruled that there are limited circumstances in which allegations of inadequate training will serve as the basis for municipal liability in section 1983 cases. Harris, 109 S. Ct. at 1204 (1989). "Inadequacy of police training may serve as the basis for § 1983 liability only where the failure to train amounts to deliberate indifference to the rights of persons with whom the police come into contact." *fn1" Id.

 According to the Supreme Court, the failure to train must reflect a deliberate or conscious choice by the municipality. "In resolving the issue of a city's liability, the focus must be on the adequacy of the training in relation to the particular tasks the particular officers must perform" and whether it "can justifiably be said to represent 'city policy.'" Id. at 1205-06. In addition, the fact that a particular officer is unsatisfactorily trained or makes a mistake will not suffice. Id. at 1206. A viable claim must therefore "condemn the adequacy of the program to enable officers to respond properly to the usual and recurring situations with which they must deal" rather than prove that a particular injury could have been avoided by specific training designed to avoid it. Id. Finally, the deficiency in the training program must be closely related to the ultimate injury. Id.

 In support of the deliberate indifference standard for municipal liability in failure to train cases, the Court reasoned:

 
It may seem contrary to common sense to assert that a municipality will actually have a policy of not taking reasonable steps to train its employees. But it may happen that in light of the duties assigned to specific officers or employees the need for more or different training is so obvious, and the inadequacy so likely to result in the violation of constitutional rights, that the policymakers of the city can be reasonably said to have been deliberately indifferent to the need. In that event, the failure to provide proper training may fairly be said to represent a policy for which the city may be held liable if it actually causes injury.

 Id. at 1205. The Court offered as an example of the deliberate indifference standard a city's failure to train its officers in the constitutional limitations on the use of deadly force in arresting fleeing felons. Id. at 1205, n.10. Because the city knows its officers are required to arrest fleeing felons and gives them firearms in part to assist with that task, the need to train the officers about the constitutional limits on ...


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