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CHAPMAN v. VILLAGE OF HOMEWOOD

March 17, 1997

LAMAR CHAPMAN, III, Plaintiff,
v.
VILLAGE OF HOMEWOOD; and JOANNE KROP, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ASPEN

 MARVIN E. ASPEN, Chief Judge:

 Plaintiff Lamar Chapman brings this pro se suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Village of Homewood and Joanne Krop, alleging violations of various constitutional rights. Presently before us are three motions: (1) the plaintiff's motion to file a First Amended Complaint; (2) the Village's motion to dismiss; and (3) Mrs. Krop's motion to dismiss. For the reasons discussed below, we deny as moot Chapman's motion for leave to file the First Amended Complaint, grant the Village's motion to dismiss, and grant in part and deny in part Mrs. Krop's motion.

 I. Background

 We take as true the well-pleaded factual allegations of the complaint and view them, as well as reasonable inferences drawn from them, in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Cornfield v. Consolidated High Sch. Dist. 230, 991 F.2d 1316, 1324 (7th Cir. 1993). In addition, we consider exhibits incorporated into the complaint as allegations in the complaint. Webster v. New Lenox Sch. Dist. 122, 917 F.2d 1004, 1005 (7th Cir. 1990). In the instant case, we will evaluate the allegations of the First Amended Complaint because, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a), Chapman may amend his complaint once as of right prior to the filing of an answer. Thus, the First Amended Complaint is deemed filed by operation of Rule 15(a), and we accordingly deny the plaintiff's motion for leave to file the amended complaint as moot. *fn1"

 According to the First Amended Complaint, Defendant Joanne Krop is the wife of state court Judge Robert Krop. From what we can discern from the plaintiff's allegations, in March 1994, Chapman distributed "informational election flyers" throughout the Village of Homewood, hoping to persuade citizens not to vote for Judge Krop in the upcoming judicial primary elections. Am. Compl. PP 4-7. After Judge Krop won the primary, Chapman distributed similar flyers in order to influence the general elections in November. Am. Compl. P 10. The flyers contended that Judge Krop, while serving as an associate judge of the Cook County Circuit Court, had improperly adjudicated cases in which the Bank of Homewood was a party. Am. Compl., Ex. A. According to the flyers, Judge Krop had a financial interest in the Bank; the judge's financial disclosure statement for 1991 showed that the judge owed $ 50,000 to the Bank for a home equity loan. Am. Compl., Ex. B. Additionally, the flyers maintained that, in a case pitting Chapman against the Bank, Judge Krop had wrongly imposed monetary sanctions against Chapman. Am. Compl., Ex. A. The flyers also alluded to a citation of criminal contempt against Chapman for asking the Bank about the judge's financial records. Id. (For a different story of the litigation between the Bank and Chapman, see Bank of Homewood v. Chapman, 258 Ill. App. 3d 732, 630 N.E.2d 891, 196 Ill. Dec. 726 (Ill. App. Ct. 1993) and Bank of Homewood v. Chapman, 257 Ill. App. 3d 337, 628 N.E.2d 974, 195 Ill. Dec. 510 (Ill. App. Ct. 1993)).

 Chapman's one-man campaign consisted of placing these flyers on the windshields of cars parked at train stations and shopping centers. But his efforts were hampered by Mrs. Krop: she allegedly removed the flyers from the cars. Am. Compl. PP 8, 12. On November 8, 1994, matters came to a head. Mrs. Krop found Chapman placing the flyers on cars in a Jewel grocery store in Homewood. She removed the flyers from the cars until Chapman stopped, and then followed Chapman as he drove to the Cherry Creek Shopping Plaza. Id. P 18. The plaintiff tried to continue his windshield campaign there, but Mrs. Krop once again removed the flyers. Chapman alleges that he asked her to stop, but she responded, "If you don't leave my husband alone, I will get someone to kick your nigger ass," and spat in his face. Id. P 18. The plaintiff then dialed 911 to summon the police.

 Homewood police Officer Lampton arrived on the scene. *fn2" According to the First Amended Complaint, after Lampton "questioned Defendant Krop and learned her identity," the officer "refused to protect" Chapman and allowed Mrs. Krop to remove the flyers. *fn3" Am. Compl. P 22. Chapman describes what happened next as follows:

 
Plaintiff demanded that Officer D. Lampton . . . protect his rights. In response, Officer D. Lampton verbally restrained Plaintiff with the threat of immediate incarceration if he moved from the front of her police car or uttered another word.

 Id. P 23. This suit followed, and now the Village and Mrs. Krop separately move to dismiss the complaint.

 II. Standard for Reviewing Motions to Dismiss

 A motion to dismiss should not be granted "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim 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); see also Richmond v. Nationwide Cassel L.P., 52 F.3d 640, 644 (7th Cir. 1995); Ellsworth v. City of Racine, 774 F.2d 182, 184 (7th Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 475 U.S. 1047, 89 L. Ed. 2d 574, 106 S. Ct. 1265 (1986). As we stated above, we must also take as true the well-pleaded factual allegations of the complaint and attached exhibits, and view the allegations as well as reasonable inferences drawn from them, in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Cornfield, 991 F.2d at 1324; Webster, 917 F.2d at 1005. Finally, we liberally construe pro se complaints, recognizing that it is difficult to draft pleadings without legal assistance. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520, 30 L. Ed. 2d 652, 92 S. Ct. 594 (1972); Kincaid v. Vail, 969 F.2d 594, 598 (7th Cir. 1992).

 III. Discussion

 A. Village of ...


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