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December 13, 1999


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Norgle, District Judge.


Eugene Sparing ("Sparing") brought this suit alleging that James Keith ("Keith"), a police officer with the Village of Olympia Fields, violated Sparing's civil rights by entering his home and arresting him without a warrant and without probable cause. Sparing seeks damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the alleged civil rights violations, and also invokes the court's supplemental jurisdiction to assert the Illinois tort of malicious prosecution against Keith and the Village (where appropriate, "Defendants"). Defendants now move for summary judgment, while Sparing moves for summary judgment on his § 1983 claims. For the following reasons, the court grants Defendants' motion and denies Sparing's motion.


On July 23, 1996, David Smith ("Smith") filed a criminal report with the Olympia Fields Police Department. Smith, an accountant, told Keith that he terminated an employment relationship with Tom Sanfratello ("Sanfratello") on May 31, 1996. Smith complained that Sanfratello took files from Smith's office, prepared checks made out to himself, and forged Smith's signature on the checks. Smith said his friend, Sparing, saw Sanfratello in Smith's office on July 9, 1996 at 2:30 a.m. Sparing allegedly knocked on the window to get Sanfratello's attention, but Sanfratello ignored him.

On August 13, 1996, Keith telephoned Sparing, asking him to verify Smith's version of events, and Sparing did so. Later the same day, Keith questioned Sanfratello about the alleged incident. Sanfratello disputed the story, claiming that he did not leave Smith's employment until June 10, 1996. Sanfratello admitted taking files, but claimed that he returned them to Smith. Sanfratello also admitted signing checks, but maintained he was a signatory on the account, and Smith owed him money.

Sanfratello also told Keith about a conversation he had with Sparing's secretary, Linda Parker ("Parker"). Parker allegedly told Sanfratello that Smith and Sparing were "up to no good." (Defs.' Rule 12(M) stmt. ¶ 6.)*fn2 According to Sanfratello, Parker said that Smith faxed a message to Sparing about Sparing's alleged observation of Sanfratello at Smith's office. Sanfratello gave Keith a copy of the fax, which read:


    July 9, 1996 at 2:45 a.m. [you] observed Tom at
  office copying files from computer and photocopying.
  You knocked on windows and Tom ignored you. You left
  and went home.

(Defs.' Rule 12(M) stmt. ¶ 7.)

On August 14, 1996, Keith telephoned Parker to investigate Sanfratello's story, and prepared a written report of this telephone interview. According to Keith's report, Parker told Keith that she received the fax from Smith and gave it to Sparing, who allegedly said "Dave [Smith] wants me to perjure myself." (Defs.' Rule 12(M) stmt. ¶ 9.)

The next day, Parker telephoned Keith to tell him that Sparing confronted her about the conversation she had with Keith the previous day. According to Parker, she met Sparing for lunch, where he asked her with whom she had been speaking. Parker did not answer Sparing's question, but later Sparing drove her by the Olympia Fields police station to "refresh her memory." Parker then told Sparing that she spoke with the police about the fax from Smith. According to Parker, Sparing responded "I thought you were my friend," and asked "How could you do this to me?" and "Don't you know this could lead to criminal charges against me?" (Defs.' Rule 12(M) stmt. ¶ 10.) Parker claimed that Sparing then fired her, told her that he would be evicting her from the house she rented from him, and that he was taking back a van on which she was making payments. Later the same day, Keith interviewed Parker in person, where she restated the things she told Keith in their telephone conversation.

Following this meeting with Parker, Keith went to Sparing's residence/business and knocked on the door. A man answered the door, and identified himself as Sparing. Keith then told Sparing he was under arrest. At the time Keith announced the arrest, Keith was standing outside the threshold, and Sparing was standing inside the screen door. Then, Sparing asked if Keith had a warrant. Keith replied that he did not need one because he had probable cause to believe Sparing committed a crime. After Keith announced the arrest, Sparing asked to put something down, and walked farther into his residence. At that time, Keith stepped inside Sparing's residence. Sparing returned to the doorway, and walked outside with Keith, who then handcuffed Sparing and took him to the Olympia Fields police station. Sparing was charged with obstructing a peace officer in violation of 720 ILCS 5/31-1.

According to Sparing, Keith offered to release Sparing if he would provide evidence against Smith. Sparing claims that during the ride to the police station, Keith said "You're going to have to change your story. You're going to have to cooperate. And if you testify against Smith, then I won't arrest you." (Pl.'s Rule 12(N) stmt. ¶ 6.) Sparing also claims Keith said that if Sparing "told the right story" and testified against Smith, "this will be over for you." (Pl.'s Rule 12(N) stmt. ¶ 7.) Keith denies making these statements.

At the time of his arrest, Sparing claims he was selected to be a director of a business that was in the process of going public. As a member of the board of directors, Sparing would have been entitled to purchase 100,000 shares of stock at $0.075 per share. The stock, which is not yet publicly traded, sold for $2.00 per share during the summer of 1999. Sparing asserts that he lost this opportunity because Keith arrested him. Defendants disagree and argue that Sparing was not officially approved as a director at the time of his arrest.

On August 7, 1997, Sparing filed a four count complaint against Keith, the Village, and William Bednar.*fn3 Count I, brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claims that Keith violated Sparing's Fourth Amendment rights when he entered Sparing's residence without a warrant. Count II, another § 1983 claim, alleges that Keith violated Sparing's Fourth Amendment rights when he arrested Sparing without probable cause. Count IV is brought under the court's supplemental jurisdiction, and alleges the Illinois tort of malicious prosecution against Keith ...

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