Mr. Mosby has failed to state a claim for municipal liability.
Municipal Liability under § 1983
A municipality may not be held liable for the actions of an
employee under § 1983 on a theory of respondeat superior. Monell
v. Department of Soc. Servs. of the City of New York,
436 U.S. 658, 691, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978). A municipality
may, however, be held liable if the plaintiff can show that he or
she suffered a constitutional deprivation that was caused by an
official policy, custom, or usage of the municipality. Id. at
690-91, 98 S.Ct. 2018.
In his claim against the City for respondeat superior
liability, Mr. Mosby alleges that Officer Bell implied he was
following the custom and practice of the police department. In
count I Mr. Mosby alleges that "it is the custom and practice of
Officers of the Chicago Police Department to abuse their power
and violate constitutional rights of citizens on an ongoing
basis." (Am.Compl. ¶ 43). He further alleges that the City is
aware of this practice and "has failed to act to remedy the
pattern of unconstitutional behavior." (Am.Compl. ¶ 44). Although
notice pleading is sufficient to bring a § 1983 claim,
Leatherman v. Tarrant County Narcotics Intelligence and
Coordination Unit, 507 U.S. 163, 168, 113 S.Ct. 1160, 122
L.Ed.2d 517 (1993), the complaint must give the defendant notice
of the grounds on which the claim rests. "Boilerplate allegations
of a municipal policy, entire lacking in any factual support that
a [municipal] policy does exist, are insufficient. . . ."
McTigue v. City of Chicago, 60 F.3d 381, 382-83 (7th Cir. 1995)
(quoting Baxter by Baxter v. Vigo County School Corp.,
26 F.3d 728, 734 (7th Cir. 1994)). A general allegation that the City has
failed to remedy a pattern of unconstitutional behavior by the
Chicago police — with no explanation of how the behavior is
unconstitutional and no allegations other than those relating to
one incident involving Officer Bell — is insufficient even under
notice pleading standards.
Mr. Mosby argues that the specific allegations in the complaint
relating to Officer Bell's conduct on the date in question
sufficiently give the City notice of the gravamen of his claim.
The allegations, however, do not explain the City's custom or
practice. In addition, the cases cited by Mr. Mosby are
distinguishable because those plaintiffs alleged specific
policies in support of their claims. See Bell v. City of
Chicago, 1998 WL 851485, at *3 (N.D.Ill. 1998) (alleging
specific policies including that the City "does not properly
train officers to handle crowds and celebrations" and that "a
code of silence exists, in which officers fail to report known
instances of police misconduct"); Thomas v. City of Chicago,
1998 WL 729622, at *2 (N.D.Ill. 1998) (alleging specific customs,
such as the inadequate investigation of citizen complaints and
the inadequate supervision of police employees in jail
management); Daniels v. City of Chicago, 920 F. Supp. 901, 903
(N.D.Ill. 1996) (alleging that the City "permits its officers to
use unauthorized tactics to search homes to confiscate guns and
drugs"). While Mr. Mosby alleges two specific policies in the
complaint, neither are connected to his injuries.
First, Mr. Mosby alleges that "it allegedly violated Police
Department policy to refuse medical treatment for persons in
custody, regardless of whether said custody is lawful." (Am.Comp.
¶ 30). Although this statement is somewhat unclear, such an
allegation does not seem to support Mr. Mosby's claim against the
City, for if Mr. Mosby was refused medical treatment, it was in
violation of the policy, not pursuant to the policy.
Second, Mr. Mosby alleges that it is the policy of the Chicago
police department to allow a person on property where that
person's presence is otherwise prohibited by court order, if the
person is under police supervision. To establish municipal
liability, the plaintiff "must demonstrate a direct causal link
between the municipal action and the deprivation of federal
rights." Board of the County Commissioners
of Bryan County v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 404, 117 S.Ct. 1382, 137
L.Ed.2d 626 (1997). Mr. Mosby has not alleged that the policy
allowing a person on property with a police officer where that
person is otherwise prohibited caused his injuries. Instead, the
gist of his claim is that for no reason Officer Bell kicked down
the door to his house, assaulted him, and arrested him, and that
he was unlawfully detained and denied medical attention. In
addition, the complaint alleges that Officer Bell, not the City,
caused Mr. Mosby's constitutional injuries. (Am.Compl. ¶ 38).
Because there are no allegations in the complaint that would
support an inference that the City could be held liable for
Officer Bell's actions based on policy, custom, or practice, Mr.
Mosby's § 1983 claim against the City is dismissed.
For the reasons discussed above, the City's motion to dismiss
for failure to state a claim is granted.