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TREECE v. VILLAGE OF NAPERVILLE

October 6, 1995

NAOMI TREECE, Plaintiff,
v.
VILLAGE OF NAPERVILLE, a municipal corporation, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WILLIAMS

 Plaintiff Naomi Treece brought this cause of action against defendants Steven Hochstetler, Larry Dickson, Michael Sullivan, and the City of Naperville ("City"). The individual defendants are police officers for the City. Plaintiff seeks damages for malicious prosecution under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 (count I), malicious prosecution under state law (count II), and intentional infliction of emotional distress (count III). Defendants have moved to dismiss all claims pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated below, defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part.

 Background

 Plaintiff's troubles with the defendants began on September 25, 1991, when Officer Hochstetler appeared at her home. Hochstetler told Naomi and her husband Otis *fn1" that he had seen a truck with a sheet over it in the driveway and had wondered "what [was] going on." (Id. P 11.) Proceeding without a warrant, Hochstetler searched the house and garage. (Id. PP 12-14.) The Treeces repeatedly told him to leave, but he refused and continued to search the premises for nearly an hour. (Id. PP 15-17.)

 Hochstetler located some scrap aluminum and copper wire in Otis's truck and then, using the Treece's phone, summoned two other officers to the residence. (Id. PP 24, 27.) When the additional officers arrived, Hochstetler told them to remain in the driveway. (Id. P 25.)

 In the meantime, Hochstetler repeatedly demanded that the Treeces sign a "Permission to Search" form. (Id. PP 18-23, 26.) Hochstetler told the Treeces that, if they did not sign the form, Otis would lose his job at the Naperville Electric Company on account of wire theft. (Id. P 26.) When Naomi refused to sign the form, Hochstetler pushed her to the floor. (Id. P 20.) Hochstetler never obtained their written consent. (Id. PP 19-21, 23.) *fn2" The following day, Naomi made a random stop at a log ranch home to inquire about the design and see if the owner was interested in selling. (Id. PP 30, 32.) The log ranch was owned by defendant Dickson, another City police officer. (Id. P 31.) When Dickson introduced himself as an officer, plaintiff returned to her car and drove away. (Id. P 33.) For reasons that are not apparent, Dickson ran a license plate check on Naomi's vehicle and called defendant Hochstetler. (Id. P 34.) During the conversation, Dickson "falsely relayed" to Hochstetler that Naomi had been looking for him. (Id. P 35.)

 Later, Hochstetler called Naomi and requested that they meet to discuss Otis's theft charge. (Id. P 36.) They agreed to meet at 9:00 am the following day at the Naperville train station. (Id. PP 37-39.) Sometime before the end of that day, September 26, 1991, Hochstetler made out a police report stating that Naomi intimidated him on September 27, 1991. (Id. P 40.)

 On September 27, 1991, the two met as scheduled. (Id. P 41.) During the meeting, Hochstetler said to plaintiff, "You've got problems. I've got problems. $ 100,000 will make it all go away." (Id. P 42.) Specifically, Hochstetler told Naomi that, for $ 100,000, he could help Otis get his job back. (Id. P 43.) Plaintiff responded that she did not have that kind of money. (Id. P 44.) After "repeated cajoling and insistence by defendant Hochstetler," Naomi finally agreed to pay. (Id. P 46.).

 Two days later, Hochstetler telephoned plaintiff to set up another meeting. (Id. PP 50-52.) The two convened again at the Naperville train station on October 1, 1991. (Id. PP 52-53.) At the meeting without Naomi's knowledge, Hochstetler wore a body wire that was recording the conversation and transmitting it to defendant Sullivan. (Id. PP 54-55.) During the conversation, they discussed the money and Otis's case. (Id. PP 57-59.) Naomi insists that she "repeatedly tried to leave the train station, but was continually enticed to remain in conversation by defendant Officer Hochstetler in an attempt to get her to incriminate herself." (Id. P 59.) Eventually, though, Naomi went home. (Id. P 60.)

 That same day, at the police department's request, Otis turned himself in. (Id. PP 61-62.) After posting a bond, they returned home. (Id. P 63.) Within a week, Naomi and her friends started planning a fundraiser to collect the $ 100,000 bribe for Hochstetler. (Id. P 64.) The plans included an event at a local VFW hall. (Id. P 65.)

 Based on these encounters with Naomi, Hochstetler obtained permission to place an overhear on the Treece's home telephone. (Id. PP 66-67. ) Hochstetler then placed a call to Naomi, and asked her if she had any more news about his bribe money. (Id. P 68.) Plaintiff does not indicate what her answer was.

 On October 11, 1991, Naomi went to the police department to film some scrap wire located on the lot. (Id. P 69.) When Hochstetler saw plaintiff in the parking lot, he began yelling obscenities at her and ordered her out of the car. (Id. PP 70-71.) He made her spread her feet and place her hands on the hood of the car. (Id. P 71.) Hochstetler then filed a police report stating that Naomi had been videotaping the license plates of the officer's personal cars. (Id. PP 73-75.)

 Plaintiff denies that she was tape recording license plates and denies that she ever did anything to intimidate the officers. (Id. PP 35, 47-48, 56, 74.) She insists that Hochstetler repeatedly filed false police reports concerning her and others. (Id. P 75.) In addition, she claims that -- even before the incidents involving her -- the City knew that Hochstetler had authored false police reports. (Id. P 76.)

 On November 8, 1991, Naomi was summoned to appear before a DuPage County grand jury. (Id. P 79.) "Based on the knowingly false allegations of Officer Hochstetler," Naomi was indicted and charged with three counts of intimidation. (Id. P 80.) As a result, plaintiff turned herself in and the trials began. (Id. P 81.) On January 11, 1994, pursuant to a motion to dismiss nolle prosequi, the charges against plaintiff were discharged. (Id. P 12.) Plaintiff then filed this suit.

 Motion to Dismiss

 In deciding a motion to dismiss, the court accepts all well-pleaded factual allegations as true, as well as all reasonable inferences that may be drawn from those allegations. Mid America Title Co. v. Kirk, 991 F.2d 417, 419 (7th Cir. 1993). Because federal courts simply require "notice pleading," this court must construe pleadings liberally. Leatherman v. Tarrant County, 507 U.S. 163, 122 L. Ed. 2d 517, 113 S. Ct. 1160, 1163 (1993). In construing reasonable inferences, however, the court need not stretch ...


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