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PENN v. CHICAGO STATE UNIVERSITY

March 30, 2001

DAVID PENN, PLAINTIFF,
V.
CHICAGO STATE UNIVERSITY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

      MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

BACKGROUND

During the fall semester of 1998, Penn was a full-time student at Chicago State. In the early morning hours of December 10, 1998, a fire alarm sounded in Penn's dormitory, which was evacuated. Officers Harris, Jones, and Mack were employed as Campus Police Officers on December 10, 1998, and assisted in the dormitory's evacuation. The fire alarm proved to be a false one, but the students remained outside for about forty-five minutes. Seeing no reason to continue standing in the cold with little clothing, the students became agitated and sought readmittance to the dormitory. The crowd of almost 300 students grew angry, and Penn and others began yelling and beating on the windows.
Harris motioned for Penn to come inside. Once he was inside, the officers allegedly beat and kicked him. The officers arrested Penn and charged him with battery against Harris. Penn was held for several hours and released on a personal recognizance bond. Penn's battery charge was later stricken with leave to reinstate.
The officers contend that Penn was engaging in disorderly conduct by inciting the crowd outside. They brought Penn inside to separate him from the others and allegedly had probable cause to arrest him for disorderly conduct. Arguing that the disputed events occurring inside the dormitory are irrelevant for summary judgment purposes, the officers do not articulate their version of the events once Penn was inside the dormitory.
Penn contends that he was not acting differently than the rest of the crowd and that he was not inciting anyone to violence. Feeling cold, sick, and suffering from asthma, Penn yelled and pounded on the windows to get the attention of those inside. Once inside, Penn maintains that the officers began beating him for no reason and concocted a reason for his arrest after his unprovoked beating. Penn also maintains that Harris failed properly to fill out the police report detailing his arrest.

MACK'S MOTION TO DISMISS

In considering defendant Mack's motion to dismiss, the Court "must accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations and draw reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff." Capitol Leasing Co. v. FDIC, 999 F.2d 188, 191 (7th Cir. 1993).
Defendant Mack seeks dismissal of all counts directed at him, arguing that the statute of limitations bars all such claims. Mack states that the statute of limitations is two years for all claims against him, which arise from the events of December 10, 1998. Penn did not name Mack as a defendant until December 17, 2000, when Penn filed his second amended complaint. As a result, Mack asserts that Penn's claims against him are barred.
The two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims applies to Penn's § 1983 and Illinois state claims against Mack. 735 ILCS 5/13-202. Manley v. City of Chicago, 236 F.3d 392, 395 (7th Cir. 2001). All of Penn's claims against Mack, with the exception of the malicious prosecution claim, accrued on December 10, 1998. Mack was not identified as a defendant until Penn filed his second amended complaint on December 19, 2000. Unless Penn's second amended complaint relates back to the original complaint filed December 12, 1999, Penn's claims against Mack are barred.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(c) allows an amendment to the pleadings to relate back to the date of the original pleading when:
(1) relation back is permitted by the law that provides the statutes of limitations applicable to the action, or (2) the claim asserted in the amended complaint arose out of the conduct, transaction or occurrence set forth in the original pleading, or (3) the amendment changes the party or the naming of the party against whom a claim is asserted if the foregoing provision (2) is satisfied and, of the summons and complaint, the party to be brought in by amendment (A) has received such notice of the institution of the action that the party will not be prejudiced in maintaining a defense on the merits, and (B) knew or should have known that, but for a mistake concerning the identity of the proper party, the action would have been brought against the party.
FED.R.CIV.P. 15(c). The Seventh Circuit has interpreted Rule 15(c)(3) to permit an amendment to relate back to the original complaint only where an error was made concerning the identity of the proper party and where that party is chargeable with knowledge of the mistake. King v. One Unknown ...

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