filed in retaliation for the summons and complaint that Spiegel had sworn out against Cherny and Bobin two days before. (Defs.' Facts P 43; Pls.' Add'l Facts PP 94, 96-98). Instead of following up on Spiegel's statements, Cortese read him his rights and told him to get a lawyer. (Pl.'s Add'l Facts P 93; Spiegel Dep. at 121-22). Spiegel says that he then asked to speak to Kajari, to whom he repeated this information. (Defs.' Facts P 99; Spiegel Dep. at 239). Kajari, however, refused to interfere in Cortese's investigation. Id. In his deposition, Kajari denies having spoken with Spiegel. (Kajari Dep. at 50).
Later that same day, Spiegel's attorney called Cortese and informed him that Spiegel would not be providing any more information about the incident. (Pl.'s Add'l Facts P 110; Cortese Dep. at 137, 139). Cortese immediately halted his investigation. (Cortese Dep. at 137, 139). He had not spoken to Hanan Hughes or Carol Spiegel about what they had seen on May 29th, despite having been given their names as potential witnesses. He did not request the names or phone numbers of any other witnesses who might corroborate Spiegel's story. Nor did Cortese talk to anyone from the Hollywood Towers Condominium Association or request documentation beyond what he reviewed during Cherny and Bobin's interview. Following his lawyer's phone call to Cortese, Spiegel went with his lawyer to the police station, where he was arrested for battery.
(Pl.'s Add'l Facts P 115). He was subsequently tried and acquitted of all charges. (Id. P 118).
Spiegel brought suit against the City of Chicago, five police officers, and an employee of the Department of Aging, alleging that the police officers failed to adequately investigate Cherny and Bobin's allegations before arresting him. The defendants moved for dismissal. This Court granted that motion in part, dismissing from the suit all defendants except Cortese and Kajari. With respect to Cortese and Kajari, the Court held that Spiegel's allegations stated a claim for wrongful arrest under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Spiegel v. City of Chicago, 920 F. Supp. 891, 898 (N.D. Ill. 1996). The facts as alleged demonstrated that the officers were aware of information that undermined the reliability of Cherny's allegations that Spiegel battered him on May 29th. Id. We found that "the timing of Cherny's charge, [Spiegel's] allegation of retribution and the availability of independent witnesses would have created doubt in a reasonable officer to warrant a further investigation." Id. Therefore, the complaint, taken at face value, revealed the absence of constitutionally required probable cause for Spiegel's arrest. Id. We also went on to reject, at the dismissal stage, the officers' defense that qualified immunity insulated them from suit. Id.
Cortese and Kajari now move for summary judgment on Spiegel's remaining claim for wrongful arrest. Cortese maintains that the record shows his investigation was sufficient to uncover probable cause for Spiegel's arrest, while Kajari argues that he is not liable because he did not participate in the arrest. Both officers urge that, should the Court deny summary judgment on probable cause, the defense of qualified immunity still protects them from suit because they reasonably believed that they had probable cause to arrest Spiegel. After considering the parties' arguments, we deny the defendants' motion for summary judgment.
Summary judgment is proper only if the record shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). A genuine issue for trial exists when the "evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986). The court must view all evidence in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party, Valley Liquors, Inc. v. Renfield Importers, Ltd., 822 F.2d 656, 659 (7th Cir. 1987), and draw all inferences in the nonmovant's favor. Santiago v. Lane, 894 F.2d 218, 221 (7th Cir. 1990). However, if the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50; Flip Side Prods., Inc. v. Jam Prods., Ltd., 843 F.2d 1024, 1032 (7th Cir. 1988). In determining whether a genuine issue exists, the court "must view the evidence presented through the prism of the substantive evidentiary burden." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 254. The court's sole function is to ascertain whether sufficient evidence exists to support a verdict in the nonmovant's favor. Credibility determinations, weighing evidence, and drawing reasonable inferences are jury functions, not those of a judge deciding a motion for summary judgment. Id. at 255.
The first argument defendants propound in support of summary judgment is that Spiegel's arrest was lawful because it was supported by probable cause. Reduced to its essentials, defendants' claim is that Cortese acted upon reliable information from Cherny and Bobin and took account of all the evidence readily available to him. Under these circumstances, they argue, Cortese cannot be held liable for wrongful arrest under § 1983.
I. Detective Cortese -- Probable Cause
The Fourth Amendment, enforced against state officials through § 1983, prohibits police officers from arresting a suspect without probable cause.
United States v. Trigg, 878 F.2d 1037, 1041 (7th Cir. 1989). In evaluating whether a police officer had probable cause to arrest a suspect, the court considers the facts and circumstances of which the officer was aware of at the time of the arrest. Jones v. Watson, 106 F.3d 774, 779 (7th Cir. 1997). The probable cause assessment varies with the need for prompt action and the quality of available information. Maxwell v. Indianapolis, 998 F.2d 431, 434 (7th Cir. 1987) (citations omitted). With respect to the latter, the key question is whether the information relied upon was reasonably trustworthy "'to warrant a prudent man in believing' that the arrestee" had committed a crime. Sheik-Abdi v. McClellan, 37 F.3d 1240, 1246 (7th Cir. 1994) (citations omitted). A police officer is by no means expected to conduct a trial-type inquiry before making this determination; in fact, a statement by the victim of the crime will usually suffice. Gramenos v. Jewel Co., 797 F.2d 432, 439 (7th Cir. 1986). However, if something about the victim or his report would lead a reasonable officer to question the victim's reliability, then the officer must proceed with a more thorough investigation before making an arrest. Hebron v. Touhy, 18 F.3d 421, 422-23 (7th Cir. 1994).
In a § 1983 damages suit such as the one before us, the question of whether a police officer had probable cause to make an arrest is typically a jury question:
If the question of probable cause arises in a damages suit, it is a proper issue for the jury if there is room for a difference of opinion concerning the facts of the reasonable inferences to be drawn from them. Accordingly, a conclusion that probable cause existed as a matter of law is appropriate only when no reasonable jury could find that the officers did not have probable cause to arrest [the defendant].