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MAGNUSON v. CASSARELLA

November 12, 1992

JENNIFER A. MAGNUSON, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER MICHAEL CASSARELLA, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARVIN E. ASPEN

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

 MARVIN E. ASPEN, District Judge:

 Presently before the court is Officer Michael Cassarella's motion for summary judgment on the remaining counts (I, V, VI and a portion of II) of Jennifer A. Magnuson's pro se complaint. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.

 I. Summary Judgment Standard

 Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment is appropriate if "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and . . . the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). This standard places the initial burden on the moving party to identify "those portions of 'the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 2553, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265 (1986) (quoting Rule 56(c)). Once the moving party has done this, the non-moving party "must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court must read all facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 254, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 2513, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202 (1986); Griffin v. Thomas, 929 F.2d 1210, 1212 (7th Cir. 1991).

 II. Background

 Cassarella was the first patrol officer to respond to the report of a "domestic disturbance" at the Magnuson home. Upon approaching the Magnuson residence, Cassarella spotted Miller in her bathrobe moving toward his vehicle. Miller told Officer Cassarella that she had heard screams coming from the Magnuson's townhouse and that an infant was inside. As Cassarella stepped out of his squad car, he heard the screams and proceeded to the Magnuson dwelling to investigate. Cassarella entered the home through an open front door and an unlocked storm door. According to Cassarella, he encountered Pasillas in the living room holding an infant and, hearing screams from the back of the house, proceeded to what turned out to be the kitchen where he found Jennifer in a condition of hysteria. Cassarella tried to get Jennifer to explain what happened, but could not calm her down. In an effort to defuse the situation, Cassarella asked Jennifer to sit down in the living room so that she could see the baby while she talked with him and the other officers who had since arrived at the scene. Officer Cassarella asked both Pasillas and Jennifer to produce identification. According to Cassarella, Pasillas, obviously intoxicated, was unable to produce any identification. After some time and upon calming down, Jennifer produced identification from her purse or wallet on her behalf and on behalf of Pasillas.

 Still unclear as to what had occurred that evening, Cassarella suggested that Jennifer and he talk in the kitchen, outside of Pasillas' presence. Jennifer asked for her baby, at which time Cassarella took the baby from Pasillas and handed it to Jennifer. Cassarella, Jennifer and her baby then moved into the kitchen. After talking to her for some time, Cassarella learned that Jennifer's father was away for the weekend. Additionally, Cassarella determined that Pasillas was her boyfriend and the baby's father, and had come to the Magnuson home drunk and had grabbed and shaken her. Cassarella observed red marks on Jennifer's face and arms. He told Jennifer that a neighbor had called him, and asked her to sign a domestic battery complaint against Pasillas. Jennifer refused. Meanwhile, another officer had asked Pasillas to call his parents, but he refused. Perceiving Pasillas as intoxicated and uncooperative, Cassarella refused to allow Pasillas to spend the night at the Magnuson home. Accordingly, Cassarella arrested Pasillas on charges of domestic battery and ordered that he be taken to the Rolling Meadows Police Station. Cassarella informed Jennifer that she would have to be interviewed and, hoping that she would be less intimidated and guarded in an office setting, asked her to come to the Rolling Meadows Station. Jennifer packed some supplies, retrieved a car seat for the baby, and rode to the station in a squad car. At the station, Cassarella informed Jennifer that he thought she needed help and that such help could be obtained through the legal system. He also told her that if she did not want help or seek counseling, and if such activity reoccurred, the Department of Children and Family Services would necessarily become involved. Thereafter, she was given a copy of the complaint and taken home.

 Although admitting that she had argued with Pasillas, Jennifer denies that Pasillas had come over drunk, grabbed and shaken her. Jennifer admits that she had a red mark on one arm but, offering no explanation of how it got there, denies any further red marks. Further, Jennifer claims that at no time after Cassarella entered her home was she hysterical or upset, but rather she was "a belligerent claimant" of her constitutional rights (i.e., she repeatedly asked Cassarella to leave).

 Perceiving the officers' actions as "over-zealous to the point of absurdity," Magnuson filed this civil rights action against the Cook County Sheriff's Police Department, Officer Michael Cassarella, nine unknown police officers, Cook County Board President Richard Phelan, and sixteen commissioners of the Cook County Board, alleging violations of the United States and Illinois Constitutions and of Illinois state law. In an order dated July 9, 1992, this court dismissed Magnuson's complaint on behalf of the Cook County Sheriff's Police Department, Board President Phelan and the sixteen commissioners of the Cook County Board. Additionally, we granted Officer Cassarella's motion to dismiss Counts II, IV, and VII-IX of Magnuson's complaint, as well as that portion of Count II alleging deprivation of property. Thus, only Counts I, V, VI and a portion of Count II remain against Officer Cassarella.

 III. Discussion

 A. Counts I and II

 In Count I of her complaint, Magnuson alleges that Cassarella's actions constituted an unreasonable search and seizure in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. Count II alleges, in part, a deprivation of property interest without due process of law. Both of these claims appear to stem from Officer Cassarella's entry into the Magnuson ...


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