Osteopathic had agreed to refrain from pursuing criminal charges. The arbitrator further found that Chicago Osteopathic reneged on its promise. The arbitrator considered the pressing of charges to be a form of discipline. The arbitrator still found that good cause existed for Dobiecki's dismissal, but determined that it would have taken longer to dismiss Dobiecki if the broken promises had not been made. The arbitrator did not reinstate Dobiecki, but awarded him lost wages for the additional time it would have taken to dismiss Dobiecki and awarded him attorney's fees and costs for defending his criminal case. The arbitrator also directed that Chicago Osteopathic's records reflect that plaintiff resigned for personal reasons and that any reference to theft or the criminal charges be expunged.
Federal law governs the interpretation and construction of collective bargaining agreements and preempts the application of state contract law to such agreements. Lingle, 486 U.S. at 404-06. "If the resolution of a state-law claim depends upon the meaning of a collective-bargaining agreement, the application of state law (which might lead to inconsistent results since there could be as many state-law principles as there are States) is pre-empted and federal labor-law principles--necessarily uniform throughout the Nation--must be employed to resolve the dispute." Id. at 405-06. Lingle makes clear that a state law claim is only preempted if its resolution requires the interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement. See id. at 407-10. The mere fact that the state law claim may require the resolution of the same factual issues as a federal labor claim is not a basis for holding that the state law claim is preempted. For example, in Lingle it was held that a state law claim for retaliatory discharge was not preempted even though the employees could grieve their discharges under the applicable collective bargaining agreement.
Here, defendants point to the arbitrator's finding that the pressing of charges was discipline governed by the "just cause" provision of the collective bargaining agreement. Relying on that finding, defendants contend that plaintiff therefore cannot press any claim related to his discharge. Such an argument is contrary to the holding of Lingle. Mere factual overlap is not a basis for preemption. While defendants point to the arbitrator's application of the collective bargaining agreement to Chicago Osteopathic's pressing of charges, they do not explain how resolution of the state tort claims will require interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement. State law claims of false arrest, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution exist independent of the collective bargaining agreement and do not require interpretation of the just cause provision or any other provision of the collective bargaining agreement. The probable cause standard under state law has its own meaning independent of the just cause standard of the collective bargaining agreement.
Plaintiff's state law claims are not preempted by § 301. See Johnson v. Anheuser Busch, Inc., 876 F.2d 620, 625 (8th Cir. 1989); Riggs v. Continental Baking Co., 678 F. Supp. 236, 239 (N.D. Cal. 1988); McElroy v. Safeway Stores, Inc., 1990 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1404, 1990 WL 11606 *6-7 (D. Kan. Jan. 23, 1990); Markus v. McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co., 1990 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14944, 1990 WL 165818 *2 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 7, 1990). See also McCann v. Alaska Airlines, Inc., 758 F. Supp. 559 (N.D. Cal. 1991) (Railway Labor Act preemption); Elliott v. Consolidated Rail Corp., 732 F. Supp. 954 (N.D. Ind. 1990) (same).
Defendants also seek to dismiss the malicious prosecution claim. The parties agree that the elements of a malicious prosecution claim are: "1) the commencement or continuance of an original criminal or civil judicial proceeding by the defendant; 2) the termination of the proceeding in favor of the plaintiff; 3) the absence of probable cause for such proceeding; 4) the presence of malice; and 5) damages resulting to the plaintiff." King v. Avila, 760 F. Supp. 681, 683 (N.D. Ill. 1989). The question presented by the present motions is whether the termination of plaintiff's criminal case satisfies the second element. The parties provide court records that show plaintiff's confession was suppressed and then the criminal case was stricken from the docket with leave to reinstate. The time for reinstating the case has already run as has the statute of limitations on the criminal charges. Therefore, the case has been terminated. Bryant v. Whalen, 759 F. Supp. 410, 419-20 (N.D. Ill. 1991).
Mere termination, however, is not sufficient to satisfy the second element. The termination of the criminal case must be indicative of innocence. Id. at 419; Joiner v. Benton Community Bank, 82 Ill. 2d 40, 411 N.E.2d 229, 232, 44 Ill. Dec. 260 (1980); Burghardt v. Remiyac, 207 Ill. App. 3d 402, 565 N.E.2d 1049, 1052, 152 Ill. Dec. 367 (2d Dist. 1991); Carlsen v. Village of Oakwood Hills, 164 Ill. App. 3d 396, 517 N.E.2d 1107, 1109, 115 Ill. Dec. 421 (2d Dist. 1987), appeal denied, 119 Ill. 2d 554, 522 N.E.2d 1241 (1988); Hajawii v. Venture Stores, Inc., 125 Ill. App. 3d 22, 465 N.E.2d 573, 575, 80 Ill. Dec. 461 (1st Dist. 1984). Where the case is disposed of in a manner that leaves the question of the accused's innocence unresolved, there generally can be no malicious prosecution claim by the accused. Joiner, 411 N.E.2d at 232; Restatement (Second) of Torts § 660 (1977).
Surprisingly, no case has been found from any jurisdiction which addresses the question of whether dismissal of charges following the suppression of evidence can be considered indicative of innocence. Conclusory statements in treatises indicate that dismissals based on suppressions of evidence are not indicative of innocence. See Restatement § 660(b) cmt. d; Prosser & Keeton on the Law of Torts § 119 at 875 (5th ed. 1984). See also Union Oil of California v. Watson, 468 So. 2d 349, 353 n.4 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App.), review denied, 479 So. 2d 119 (Fla. 1985) (dictum).
The Restatement contains the following comment:
If the proceedings have been abandoned however, because evidence has been suppressed by the accused or because of other improper acts done by him or on his behalf for the purpose of preventing a conviction, the abandonment of the proceeding does not amount to a sufficient termination in his favor.