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ZORZI v. CITY OF CALUMET CITY

April 22, 2003

DANTE G. ZORZI, KEVIN P. GLASER, AND BERNARD BEGESKE, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CITY OF CALUMET CITY, ILLINOIS, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, JEROME P. GENOVA, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS CAPACITY AS MAYOR OF CALUMET CITY, ILLINOIS; CALUMET CITY CHIEF OF POLICE GEORGE VALLIS, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY; DOMINICK GIGLIOTTI, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY; IDA GALLOWAY, INDIVIDUALLY IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY; DANIEL BALOG, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY; JUAN LOPEZ ACOSTA, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY; AND WILLIAM BORAH, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John W. Darrah, Judge, United States District Court

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiffs, Dante G. Zorzi, Kevin P. Glaser, and Bernard Begeske (collectively "Plaintiffs"), filed a single-count complaint against Defendants, Calumet City; Jerome P. Genova, the former Mayor of Calumet City; George Vallis, Chief of the Calumet City Police Department; Dominick Gigliotti, the interim mayor of Calumet City; Ida Galloway; Daniel Balog; Juan Lopez Acosta; and William Borah (collectively "Defendants"), alleging a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for retaliation in violation of the First Amendment right to free speech and freedom of association.

Defendant, Dominick Gigliotti ("Gigliotti"), moves, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), to dismiss the complaint. Defendants move, pursuant to Rule 12(e), for a more definite statement. For the reasons that follow, Gigliotti's Motion to Dismiss is denied, and Defendants' Motion for a More Definite Statement is denied.

BACKGROUND

For the purposes of this Motion to Dismiss, the following allegations are accepted as true.

Plaintiff, Dante P. Zorzi ("Zorzi") has been a Calumet City police officer since August 4, 1984. Zorzi is now a lieutenant in the Calumet City Police Department ("the Department"). In 1997, Zorzi was on the executive board of Lodge 1 of the Fraternal Order of Police ("the union"), the union that represented Calumet City police officers. In or around September 1997, Zorzi and other officers formed a committee to address concerns that rank-and-file officers had with the Calumet City residency requirement. If the residency requirement were enforced, several officers would have been terminated.

In September 1997, Zorzi met with Defendant, Jerome P. Genova ("Genova"), who was the mayor of Calumet City at that time, to discuss the residency requirement. Genova stated that all officers who were violating the residency requirement would be terminated. After the enforcement of the residency requirement, several officers were, in fact, terminated for violating the residency requirement.

Between 1997 and 2001, Zorzi supported political opponents of Genova in mayoral races in Calumet City. Zorzi gave deposition testimony unfavorable to Calumet City and other Defendants in lawsuits filed by officers who alleged gender and race discrimination in Cap v. City of Calumet City, No. 00 C 4226 (N.D.Ill. filed July 12, 2000), and Alvarado v. Genova, No. 98 C 2327 (N.D.Ill. filed Apr. 16, 1998).

At some time, as a result of his support of Genova's political Opponents, testimony in the above-named civil actions and complaints about the residency requirement: (1) Zorzi's on-the-job conduct was investigated and subjected to unwarranted scrutiny; (2) he was targeted for discipline by his superiors and command staff, including Defendant George Vallis ("Vallis"), the Chief of Police; and (3) he was denied a promotion to captain on two separate occasions despite the fact that he was more qualified than those who were promoted. All of the named Defendants participated in the denial of Zorzi's promotion.

Plaintiffs, Kevin P. Glaser ("Glaser") and Bernard Begeske ("Begeske"), have been Calumet City police officers since December 16, 1990 and September 16, 1988, respectively. Glaser and Begeske are the Vice President and President of the Union, respectively. The complaint alleges that Begeske and Glaser have been denied promotions to sergeant despite the fact that they were more qualified and had more seniority than those who were actually promoted because they (1) spoke against the Department's and the Board's policies and practices; (2) criticized the Department's and the Board's ability to execute the public trust and protect the safety of the citizens of Calumet City; (3) gave unfavorable deposition testimony in Cap v. City of Calumet City and Alvarado v. Genova, and, in the case of Begeske, civil actions by officers who were discharged for violating the residency requirement; and (4) supported Genova's opponents in the 1997 and 2001 elections.

Defendants Gigliotti, Ida Galloway ("Galloway"), Daniel Balog ("Balog"), Juan Lopez Acosta ("Acosta"), and William Borah ("Borah"), members of the Board, lowered the points awarded for seniority to allow officers with less experience to be promoted to sergeant before Glaser and Begeske due to Glaser's and Begeske's conduct in supporting Genova's opponents and criticizing the Department and the Board.

ANALYSIS

Defendants' Motion for a More Definite Statement

Defendants move for a more definite statement, stating that Plaintiffs must (1) plead the dates upon which the promotions were denied; (2) specify the names of the political opponents Plaintiffs supported; (3) specify the unfavorable testimony given, explain why it was unfavorable and state when the ...


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