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ABDOH v. CITY OF CHICAGO

March 28, 1996

KADER ABDOH, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO and OFFICER A. BIAMONTE, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ASPEN

 MARVIN E. ASPEN, Chief Judge:

 Plaintiff Kader Abdoh brings this three-count complaint against the City of Chicago and Chicago Police Officer A. Biamonte. *fn1" Counts I and II are brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983, alleging a violation of the plaintiff's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, and Count III alleges a violation of the Illinois Hate Crime Statute, 720 ILCS 5/12-7.1. Presently before this court is the defendants' motion to dismiss Count III. For the reasons set forth below, the defendants' motion is denied.

 I. Background

 Abdoh, who is of Jordanian ancestry, alleges that on January 4, 1995, he had an unfortunate encounter with Officer Biamonte at Chicago's Midway Airport. Plaintiff claims that Biamonte slapped him in the face, punched him on his head, placed him under arrest and caused him to be taken to a police station and charged with disorderly conduct. Abdoh asserts that Biamonte knew he had no lawful basis to beat, arrest, and charge the plaintiff, and that such actions were willful, wanton, and malicious. Plaintiff also claims that Biamonte's actions were "motivated by racial animus." As a result of this incident, Plaintiff claims to have been deprived of his liberty, to have lost wages, and to have sustained personal injuries, pain and suffering, and severe emotional distress.

 II. Motion to Dismiss Standard

 A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) should not be granted "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claims which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957); Travel All Over The World, Inc. v. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 73 F.3d 1423, 1429-30 (7th Cir. 1996). At this stage in the litigation we take as true all factual allegations contained in the complaint, and construe all reasonable inferences therefrom in the plaintiff's favor. Williams v. Ramos, 71 F.3d 1246, 1250 (7th Cir. 1995); Murphy v. Walker, 51 F.3d 714, 717 (7th Cir. 1995).

 III. Discussion

 Defendants make two arguments in support of their motion to dismiss Count III. First, they contend that although the complaint purports to state a cause of action under 720 ILCS 5/12-7.1(a), this criminal provision of the Illinois Hate Crime Statute cannot sustain a civil action. Second, they maintain that even if we construe the complaint as alleging a claim under 5/12-7.1(c), Abdoh fails to allege facts sufficient to state a claim under this civil provision of the Illinois Hate Crime Statute. We reject both of these arguments.

 Defendants' first attack is based on the plaintiff's citation in Count III to the criminal provision of the Illinois Hate Crime Statute, as opposed to the civil provision in 720 ILCS 5/12-7.1(c). However, a plaintiff in federal court does not need to point to the exact statute which entitles him to relief, so long as "relief is possible under any set of facts that could be established consistent with the allegations," Bartholet v. Reishauer A.G., 953 F.2d 1073, 1078 (7th Cir. 1992). Therefore, we decline to dismiss Count III simply because the plaintiff named the incorrect subsection of 5/12-7.1.

 Defendant next challenges the sufficiency of the facts plaintiff has alleged in support of Count III. It is well settled that a plaintiff in federal court is not required to allege detailed facts in support of his claim. E.g., Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957). Indeed, in most instances "a plaintiff in a suit in federal court need not plead facts; he can plead conclusions." Jackson v. Marion County, 66 F.3d 151, 153 (7th Cir. 1995); see also Palmer v. Board of Ed. of Comm. Unit School Dist. 201-U, 46 F.3d 682, 688 (7th Cir. 1995) (stating that complainant does not have to plead facts). This rule applies with equal force to supplemental state law claims, since we apply federal pleading standards in assessing the sufficiency of both federal and state claims. Fleming v. Kane County, 636 F. Supp. 742, 748 (N.D. Ill. 1986); Hernas v. City of Hickory Hills, 507 F. Supp. 103, 105 (N.D. Ill. 1981); see also Redfield v. Continental Cas. Corp., 818 F.2d 596, 605 (7th Cir. 1987) (applying federal, as opposed to Illinois, pleading rules to assess sufficiency of state claim in federal court).

 Given these liberal federal pleading requirements, we cannot say that the plaintiff has failed to state a claim in Count III. The Illinois Hate Crime Statute reads, in pertinent part:

 
(a) A person commits hate crime when, by reason of the actual or perceived race, . . . ancestry, . . . or national origin of another individual or group of ...

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