United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division
May 8, 2000
JERRY WOODARD, PLAINTIFF,
ALICIA EUBANKS, AN INDIVIDUAL, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Moran, Senior District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff was arrested by the defendant officers upon the
complaint of defendant Eubanks on August 10, 1997. The
misdemeanor charge was stricken with leave to reinstate (SOL'd)
on September 30, 1997, when neither of the officers nor Eubanks
(who apparently had been given erroneous scheduling information)
appeared in court. The case was later reinstated, apparently at
the insistence of Eubanks, but neither the officers nor Eubanks
appeared in court on October 31, 1997. The court then SOL'd the
case again, on motion of the state, with the proviso that the
case would not be reinstated.
On October 29, 1999, just under two years after the criminal
case was last stricken, plaintiff filed this action. He, by his
amended complaint, alleges a § 1983 claim of false arrest and
malicious prosecution arising from a conspiracy involving all
defendants; a state law malicious prosecution claim against the
individual defendants; and an indemnity claim against the City of
Chicago which, in the amended complaint, appears to include a
custom or practice claim. The defendants have moved to dismiss.
That motion is granted.
If we use October 31, 1997, as the date when plaintiff was
exonerated, that is still far more than a year before suit was
filed. The state law malicious prosecution claim against the City
of Chicago and the police officers had to be filed within a year
after the claim arose, pursuant to the Illinois Local
Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act, 745
ILCS 10/8-101. Accordingly, the state law claims against the City
and the two officers are dismissed. We also note, in passing,
that the Chicago Police Department is not a proper party (and we
therefore dismiss it), that punitive damages cannot be assessed
against the municipality on a § 1983 claim, and that a
boilerplate allegation of a "custom, policy, and/or practice" is
insufficient to invoke a Monell claim when the pleadings
otherwise relate to a single instance.
That still leaves a malicious prosecution claim against Eubanks
and a § 1983 claim against the individuals with both a false
arrest and a malicious prosecution component. The § 1983 claim
has a two-year limitations period, and the initial arrest was
more than two years before filing. Plaintiff advances some
creative reasons why the time should be tolled until October 31,
1997, or even until the limitations period ran on the misdemeanor
charge, but we think it beyond argument that the claim arose on
August 10, 1997. See Gonzalez v. Entress, 133 F.3d 551 (7th
Cir. 1998). The § 1983 claim for false arrest is dismissed
against all defendants.
The malicious prosecution claim, whether as an independent
state law claim against Eubanks or as a component of the § 1983
claim against the individual defendants, is another matter. A §
1983 claim for malicious prosecution must satisfy the
requirements of a state law cause of action for malicious
prosecution (and involve state actors. We assume for now that the
conspiracy allegations relating to the officers and Eubanks is
sufficient for that purpose). The proceedings must terminate in
favor of the plaintiff in a manner indicative of the plaintiff's
innocence. Plaintiff contends that he was exonerated on October
27, 1997, when the court SOL'd the charge upon motion of the
state with a direction that it not be reinstated. Defendants
Whether or not disposition by SOL is a favorable termination
indicative of innocence for the purposes of a malicious
prosecution claim is a question of Illinois law. And, we think,
Illinois law clearly establishes that disposition by SOL will not
support a malicious prosecution claim. See Adenekan v. Chicago
Police Officers, 1996 WL 734705 (N.D.Ill.); Ingram v. Jones,
1995 WL 745849 (N.D.Ill.). Accordingly, the remaining claims
based upon malicious prosecution are dismissed.
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