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SCHMUDE v. SHEAHAN

April 29, 2003

JOAN SCHMUDE, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF LOUIS SCHMUDE, PLAINTIFF, VS. MICHAEL SHEAHAN, COOK COUNTY SHERIFF, WILLIAM SPATZ, PATRICIA PULTZ, AND LARRY KOSCIANSKI, DEFENDANTS.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles Ronald Norgle, Sr., United States District Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

Before the court is Defendants', William Spatz, Patricia Pultz and Larry Koscianski's, Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint pursuant to Rules 4(m), 12(b)(4), and 12(b)(5). For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

This case arises out of the death of Louis Schmude. Schmude died on May 7, 2000, while he was in the custody of the Cook County Sheriff's Department. Plaintiff (hereinafter "the Estate")*fn1 claims that Defendants are liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and various state law theories for damages arising out of Schmude's death. A detailed background concerning the timing of various pleadings is necessary to place the instant motion to dismiss in context.

On June 20, 2000, the Estate filed its original complaint in the Circuit Court of Cook County, naming only one Defendant, the Sheriff of Cook County. On June 27, 2000, the Sheriff was served with process. On July 26, 2000, a Cook County Circuit Court judge granted the Estate leave to file an amended complaint, naming three individual Sheriff's Deputies, William Spatz, Patricia Pultz, and Larry Koscianski, as additional Defendants. On that same day, the Estate had summons' issued for all three additional Defendants.

On June 22, 2000, Spatz, Pultz, and Koscianski were indicted. More later.

On July 27, 2000, one day after the Estate filed its Amended Complaint the Sheriff filed a Notice of Removal in this court. Attached to the Sheriffs Notice of Removal was a copy of the original complaint, which named only the Sheriff as Defendant. At the time of removal, the Sheriff was the only Defendant served with process. Several weeks after the removal, on August 14 and August 17, the Cook County Sheriffs Department respectively served Koscianski and Pultz with notice of the state court proceeding and a copy of the Amended Complaint Spatz was never formally served with process in this case. A review of the state court docket revealed that on July 31, 2000, a summons for Spatz was placed with the Cook County Sheriff's Department. On August 10, 2000, the Cook County Sheriff's Deputy responsible for serving Spatz returned service stating "no such address" existed for Spatz.

On September 5, 2000, this case was reassigned to an entering district court judge pursuant to the local rules. Following three months of inactivity, on November 29, 2000, citing a possible conflict of interest the district court judge hearing the case recused himself and transferred the case back to this court. The court docket does not show any attorney appearances or pleadings filed on behalf of Defendants Spatz, Koscianski, or Pultz during this period of squandered opportunities.

On December 12, 2000, the Estate filed a Motion for Default against Defendants Koscianski and Pultz. On December 22, 2000, counsel for Spatz and Koscianski filed their Appearances along with motions to be appointed special State's Attorneys. On December 27, 2000, Spatz filed a Motion to Remand and a separate Motion to Stay or Extend Time to Answer or Otherwise Plead. Also on December 27, 2000, counsel for Pultz filed an Appearance and the court granted the Estate's Motion for a Default Judgment.

On June 22, 2000, Spatz, Koscianski, and Pultz were indicted and charged with first degree murder in connection with the death of Louis Schmude. Thus, in addition to defending themselves before this court, all three individual Defendants were defending themselves against criminal charges brought by the Office of the Cook County State's Attorney in the Circuit Court of Cook County. On December 29, 2000, this court stayed all proceedings in the civil case pending the outcome of the criminal prosecution.

On January 22, 2002, the criminal trial began. On March 12, 2002, in a bench trial before the Honorable Ronald A. Himel, all three Sheriff's Deputies were acquitted of the charges against them.

On March 18, 2002, after the conclusion of the criminal prosecution, Spatz filed a Renewed Motion to Remand to the Circuit Court of Cook County. At a hearing on the motion, counsel for Spatz and Koscianski withdrew their motions to be appointed special State's Attorneys, and the court ordered briefing on the revisited remand issue.

On April 22, 2002, the court issued an eight-page opinion denying Spatz's Motion to Remand to the Circuit Court of Cook County. See Schmude v. Shehan, 198 F. Supp.2d 964, 968 (ND. Ill. 2002).

On April 24, 2002, Spatz filed a Motion to Reconsider the Court's April 22, 2002 Ruling, which the ...


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