Although the court has determined that this case can be refiled pursuant to ILL. REV. STAT. ch. 110, P 13-217, the court nevertheless grants defendants' motion to dismiss, and grants plaintiffs leave to file an amended complaint, for an entirely different reason. From examination of the complaint it becomes apparent that the complaint contains mere conclusory allegations. This issue was raised briefly in defendants' motion regarding the City of Zion and the conclusory allegations of policy or custom. The court finds the issue sufficiently raised to merit its attention.
On a motion to dismiss, the court accepts all well-pleaded factual allegations as true, Johnson v. Martin, 943 F.2d 15, 16 (7th Cir. 1991), as well as all reasonable inferences drawn from those allegations, Nelson v. Monroe Regional Medical Center, 925 F.2d 1555, 1558 (7th Cir.), cert. dismissed, 112 S. Ct. 285 (1991). Although mere vagueness or lack of detail alone does not constitute sufficient grounds to dismiss a complaint, the absence of facts to support a claim renders the allegations mere legal conclusions subject to dismissal. Strauss, 760 F.2d at 767-68. Accordingly, a plaintiff will not avoid dismissal if the complaint merely recites bare legal conclusions. Sutliff, Inc. v. Donovan Cos., 727 F.2d 648, 654 (7th Cir. 1984).
The court concludes that the plaintiffs' complaint lacks any factual allegations and only recites legal conclusions. The complaint alleges that the plaintiffs were arrested "without a warrant or probable cause." But not all warrantless arrests are constitutional violations, and that the arrest was without probable cause is a legal conclusion. Plaintiffs fail to allege anything beyond that the arrest was without probable cause, that "the arrest was unjustified," or that the plaintiffs were "beat," without stating any facts surrounding the situation (i.e., that plaintiffs were not resisting arrest or that the defendants arrested the wrong people). The legal sufficiency of plaintiffs' claims will certainly depend upon the facts and circumstances surrounding the incidents. Those facts are not alleged even though the litigation has been in existence for nearly two years.
Accordingly, plaintiff's bald assertion of the absence of probable cause and his subjective belief that none existed for his arrest are not sufficient. Whether or not probable cause exists involves "a practical, common-sense decision whether, given all the circumstances set forth . . . there is a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place." Illinois v. Gates, 462 U.S. 213, 238, 76 L. Ed. 2d 527, 103 S. Ct. 2317 (1983). It is improper to focus on isolated aspects of a probable cause showing, artificially separating those aspects from other facts presented to the magistrate. Cf. id. at 234-35. As in many evidentiary questions, the whole of a probable cause showing often is greater than the sum of its parts. Even seemingly innocent behavior might arouse suspicion in light of other circumstances. See id. at 243-44 n.18. The inquiry into the existence of probable cause raises questions of "probabilities . . . the factual and practical considerations of everyday life on which reasonable and prudent men, not legal technicians, act." Brinegar, 338 U.S. at 175; see also United States v. Watson, 587 F.2d 365, 368 (7th Cir. 1978), cert. denied, 437 U.S. 1132 (1979). The Brinegar court recognized the ambiguity of situations with which the police are often confronted, and consequently noted that the rule of probable cause permits mistakes reasonably made. Brinegar 338 U.S. at 176. Probable cause requires more than bare suspicion, but need not be based on evidence sufficient to support a conviction, nor even a showing that the officer's belief is more likely true than false. United States v. McDonald, 723 F.2d 1288, 1295 (7th Cir. 1983), cert. denied, 466 U.S. 977, 80 L. Ed. 2d 831, 104 S. Ct. 2360 (1984). Discovery has surely given the plaintiffs some indication of the facts surrounding defendants' actions. As currently pleaded, the complaint does not comply with federal pleading standards, no matter how liberal these standards are. In the interest of substantial justice, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(f), the court grant plaintiffs leave to file an amended complaint in order for the plaintiffs to purge their complaint of conclusory allegations.
For the reasons stated above, the court grants the motion pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) for failing to state a claim. Plaintiffs are granted leave to file an amended complaint within fourteen days. Plaintiffs are not foreclosed by the statute of limitations to bring this suit; however, plaintiffs may not add § 1983 claims against the City of Zion.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
CHARLES RONALD NORGLE, SR., Judge
United States District Court