United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
July 16, 2004.
HIRAM FUENTES, Plaintiff,
MICHAEL SHEAHAN, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SHERIFF OF COOK COUNTY, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARVIN ASPEN, Chief Judge, District
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Hiram Fuentes filed a two-count Amended Complaint
against Defendant Michael Sheahan, Sheriff of Cook County, in his
official capacity, alleging numerous violations of his
constitutional rights as well as unspecified state law claims.
Presently before us is Sheahan's motion to dismiss the complaint
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the
following reasons, we deny in part and grant in part Sheahan's
The following facts are taken from Fuentes' Amended Complaint
and are deemed true for the purposes of this motion. On September
20, 2002, Plaintiff Hiram Fuentes was arrested for domestic
battery and incarcerated in the Cook County Department of
Corrections ("CCDOC"). Fuentes appeared in the Circuit Court of
Cook County on October 10, 2002, and the court dismissed the
domestic battery charges. Instead of being released from
incarceration on October 10, Fuentes alleges that he was
incarcerated by the CCDOC until October 15, 2002, when he was
transferred into the custody of the Illinois Department of
Corrections ("IDOC"). On December 10, 2002, the IDOC released Fuentes after it received documents stating that the
domestic battery charges against him had been dismissed by the
On July 16, 2003, Fuentes filed a two-count complaint, which he
amended on November 4, 2003. Count I, brought pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleges that Sheriff Sheahan violated plaintiff's
Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights by detaining him
in the CCDOC after he had been ordered released by the Circuit
Court, transferring him to the IDOC when he should have been
released, and failing to take actions to remedy the erroneous
transfer and further detention. Count II alleges that plaintiff's
detention after October 10, 2002, violated his rights under the
Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff also avers
to unspecified, but apparently related, state law claims, which
Sheahan interprets in his motion to dismiss to be a claim for
false imprisonment. Sheahan now moves to dismiss the complaint in
The purpose of a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) is to decide the adequacy of the complaint,
not the merits of the case. Gibson v. City of Chicago,
910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir 1990). In considering a motion to dismiss, we
must accept all well-pled allegations in the complaint as true
and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. See
MCM Partners, Inc. v. Andrews-Bartlett & Assoc., Inc.,
62 F.3d 967, 972 (7th Cir. 1995), aff'd 161 F.3d 443 (7th Cir. 1998),
cert. denied 528 U.S. 810 (1999). Therefore, a complaint should
not be dismissed "unless it appears beyond doubt that the
plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which
would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41,
45-46 (1957). I. § 1983 Claims
Fuentes brings this action against Michael Sheahan, in his
official capacity as Sheriff of Cook County. An official capacity
suit is actually a suit against the government entity such that
this suit is against Cook County. See Richman v. Sheahan,
270 F.3d 430, 439 (7th Cir. 2001) (citing Kentucky v. Graham,
473 U.S. 159, 166 (1985)). To bring a § 1983 suit against a
municipality, a plaintiff must allege that (1) he suffered a
deprivation of a constitutional right (2) as a result of either
an express municipal policy, widespread custom, or deliberate act
of a decision-maker with final policy-making authority for the
municipality (3) which was the proximate cause of his injury.
Ienco v. City of Chicago, 286 F.3d 994, 998 (7th Cir. 2002)
(citing Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690-91
(1978)); see also Theriault v. Village of Schaumburg, No.
02-C-7058, 2002 WL 31803826, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 12, 2002).
A. Plaintiff Has Sufficiently Alleged a Policy or Practice
Government entities cannot be held liable under § 1983 unless
an official policy or custom caused the deprivation of
constitutional rights. See Kujawski v. Bd. of Comm'rs of
Bartholomew County, Indiana, 183 F.3d 734, 737 (7th Cir. 1999)
(citing Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 694
(1978)). An unconstitutional policy or custom can be: 1) an
express policy that causes a constitutional deprivation; 2) a
widespread practice that is so well-settled that it constitutes a
"custom" with the force of law even though it is not authorized
by an express policy or written law; or 3) an allegation that the
constitutional injury was caused by a person with final
policymaking authority. See Palmer v. Marion County, City of
Indianapolis, 327 F.3d 588, 594-95 (7th Cir. 2003) (citation and
quotation marks omitted). Fuentes has not alleged that his injuries were caused by an
express policy or a person with final policymaking authority.
Rather, Fuentes alleges the existence of a "custom, practice, and
policy" that permits the detention of inmates in the CCDOC after
they have been ordered released by the Circuit Court, the
transfer of inmates to the IDOC who should have been released
from CCDOC, and the extended detention of inmates without
remedial action by the CCDOC after the erroneous transfer to the
IDOC. Recognizing that the Supreme Court has made clear that we
may not impose a heightened pleading standard to civil rights
actions alleging municipal liability, Leatherman v. Tarrant
County Narcotics Intelligence & Coordination Unit, 507 U.S. 163,
164 (1993), and that the Seventh Circuit has found a complaint
containing conclusions, including a "smattering of phrases like
`highest policymaking officer' and `widespread practice,'" was
sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss, McCormick v. City of
Chicago, 230 F.3d 319, 324 (7th Cir. 2000), we find that
Fuentes' complaint sufficiently alleges a municipal
B. Deprivation of Civil Rights
The next inquiry is whether Fuentes has suffered an actionable
deprivation of his constitutional rights. Fuentes claims that the
County's policy violated his rights under the Fourth, Fifth, and
Fourteenth Amendments. Sheahan argues that Fuentes' claims under
the Fourteenth Amendment should be dismissed. Sheahan, though moving to dismiss
the complaint in its entirety, fails to argue that any other
claims should be dismissed. Nonetheless, we will address each
allegation in turn.*fn2
The Fifth Amendment provides in part that no person shall "be
subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life
or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a
witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or
property, without due process of law." U.S. CONST. amend. V.
Fuentes' complaint does not specify which clause of the Fifth
Amendment the County's policy violates. His complaint does not
allege that the County policy violated double jeopardy or that
the policy forced him to be a witness against himself at trial.
Moreover, the Fifth Amendment only applies to due process claims
against federal officials. See Markham v. White, 172 F.3d 486,
491 (7th Cir. 1999); see also Jones v. City of Chicago, No.
99-C-6082, 2000 WL 1139904, at *4 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 10, 2000).
Fuentes has not set forth a claim against a federal official.
Therefore, to the extent Fuentes seeks to assert a claim alleging
a violation of the Fifth Amendment, it must be dismissed.
Likewise, Fuentes' Eighth Amendment claim should be dismissed
since the Eighth Amendment only applies to those who have been
convicted of a crime. See Palmer, 327 F.3d at 593 ("The state
does not acquire the power to punish with which the Eighth
Amendment is concerned until after it has secured a formal
adjudication of guilt in accordance with due process of law.") (quoting Ingraham v. Wright, 430 U.S. 651, 671 n. 40 (1977)).
As Fuentes was not convicted of any crime, he cannot allege a
constitutional deprivation under the Eighth Amendment.
We now turn to Fuentes' allegation that the County's policy
violates the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment protects "the
right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers,
and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." U.S.
CONST. amend. IV. According to the Seventh Circuit, "once a
person is arrested and charged but before he is convicted, the
question of whether the fact, manner, or duration of his
continued confinement is unconstitutional passes over from the
Fourth Amendment to the Due Process Clause." Wilkins v. May,
872 F.2d 190, 193 (7th Cir. 1989); see also Lee v. City of
Chicago, 330 F.3d 456, 463 n. 4 (7th Cir. 2003); Villanova v.
Abrams, 972 F.2d 792, 797 (7th Cir. 1992) ("The seizure is
complete upon arrest, and the Fourth Amendment falls away.").
Therefore, as Fourth Amendment protections do not go beyond the
point of arrest, Lee, 330 F.3d at 463 n. 4, Fuentes cannot
bring a claim under the Fourth Amendment for his unlawful
detention since it occurred after he was arrested and charged.
Finally, we address Fuentes' allegation that the County's
policy violates the Fourteenth Amendment. The Due Process Clause
of the Fourteenth Amendment provides that "no state shall deprive
any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of
law." U.S. CONST. amend. XIV, § 1. The Due Process Clause confers
both procedural and substantive rights. See United States v.
Salerno, 481 U.S. 739, 746 (1987).
Procedural due process does not protect "against all
deprivations of life, liberty, or property by the state."
Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 537 (1981). Rather, it "only
protects against deprivations without due process of law." Id.
(quotations omitted). Thus, in Toney-El v. Franzen, the Seventh
Circuit explained: In section 1983 actions challenging the mistakes made
by state employees rather than the state procedures
by which those mistakes were made, Parratt requires
a court to consider the adequacy and availability of
remedies under state law before concluding that a
deprivation of life, liberty, or property violates
due process. . . .
777 F.2d 1224, 1227 (7th Cir. 1985), cert. denied,
476 U.S. 1178 (1986) (citations and quotation marks omitted). The Seventh
Circuit went on to hold that the plaintiff's due process claim
based on state officials' incorrect calculation of his sentence,
resulting in an additional 306 days of incarceration, failed.
Id. at 1227-28. The Seventh Circuit concluded that because the
prisoner could have informally petitioned prison officials for
his release, filed a writ of mandamus in state court, or brought
a false imprisonment claim in state court, the state provided him
with sufficient post-deprivation remedies to satisfy due process.
Id. at 1228; see also Doughy v. Sheahan, No. 98-C-2811, 1998
WL 120350, at *2, 6 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 13, 1998) (holding that
plaintiff failed to state a procedural due process claim where he
did not challenge the state procedures by which he was
incarcerated for fifteen days after a court's release order and
determining that plaintiff had adequate state law remedies).
Conversely, in Young v. Sheahan, the plaintiff's due process
claim, stemming from his wrongful detainment for twenty-one days
after a finding of no probable cause for his arrest, survived a
motion to dismiss despite the availability of state remedies. No.
99-C-3791, 1999 WL 1044935, at *1-2 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 12, 1999).
The court distinguished the case from Toney-El in that the
plaintiff in Young alleged that his wrongful detention was the
result of the defendant's policy of not investigating claims of
mistaken detention as opposed to the result of a mistake of an
employee of the Cook County jail. Id. at *2 ("Inasmuch as
Plaintiff challenges the procedures by which the mistake was
made, and not the mistake itself, this case does not fall within
the realm of Parratt and its progeny."); see also Russell v. Lazar, 300 F. Supp.2d 716,
722 (E.D. Wis. 2004) (holding that plaintiff stated a valid
procedural due process claim to the extent that he challenged the
state's procedures for addressing requests for sentence
recalculations); Woodget v. Cook County Dep't of Corrs., No.
94-C-3410, 1994 WL 695453, at * 1, 4 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 10, 1994)
(holding that plaintiff stated a procedural due process violation
because he challenged the procedures by which he was unlawfully
detained for nineteen days after his arrest warrant was quashed).
Similarly, in Rivera v. Sheahan, the plaintiff was detained for
thirty-six days after defendant refused to allow her family to
post bond for her release. No. 97-C-2735, 1998 WL 531875, at *1
(N.D. Ill. Aug. 14, 1998). The court held that the plaintiff
sufficiently stated a procedural due process claim by alleging
that the defendant had a policy of failing to properly train and
supervise employees so that inmates who are able to post bond are
released without an unnecessary delay. Id. at *3. The court
explained, "unlike Parratt and its progeny, this was not a
`random and unauthorized' deprivation which Defendants were not
in a position to predict or avert" such that post-deprivation
process is all that is due; if the allegations are true,
pre-deprivation safeguards would be useful to prevent the alleged
deprivation. Id. (citing Zinermon v. Burch, 494 U.S. 113, 139
Fuentes alleges that his post-October 10, 2002, detention
deprived him of his liberty under the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment. He does not charge that an employee of the
CCDOC made a mistake, causing him to remain incarcerated after
the charges against him had been dismissed. Instead, he alleges
that the County has a "custom, practice, and policy" that permits
the detention of inmates in the CCDOC after they have been
ordered released by the Circuit Court, the transfer of inmates to
the IDOC who should have been released from CCDOC, and the
extended detention of inmates without remedial action by the CCDOC after
the erroneous transfer to the IDOC. Like Young, Woodget, and
Rivera, Fuentes challenges the procedures by which he was
wrongfully detained rather than the actions taken by a state
employee. Therefore, we find that Fuentes has sufficiently stated
a claim under the Due Process Clause.*fn3
II. State Law Claims
Fuentes alleges unspecified state law claims related to his
federal claims. Presumably, Fuentes is alleging a state law claim
for false imprisonment based on his post-October 10, 2002
detention.*fn4 Under Illinois law, the "essential elements
of a cause of action for false arrest or false imprisonment are
that the plaintiff was restrained or arrested by the defendant,
and that the defendant acted without having reasonable grounds to
believe that an offense was committed by the plaintiff." Pierce
v. Pawelski, No. 98-C-3337, 2000 WL 1847778, at *2 (N.D. Ill.
Dec. 14, 2000) (quoting Meerbrey v. Marshall Field & Co.,
564 N.E.2d 1222, 1231 (Ill. 1990)). Sheahan does not contest whether
Fuentes can state a claim under false imprisonment for his
Sheahan argues, however, that Fuentes' state law claim is
barred by the Illinois Local Government Immunity Act ("Act").*fn5 The Act provides in
No civil action may be commenced in any court against
any local entity or any of its employees for an
injury unless it is commenced within one year from
the date that the injury was received or the cause of
action accrued. For the purposes of this Article, the
term "civil action" includes any action, whether
based upon the common law or statutes or Constitution
of this State.
745 ILL. COMP. STAT. 10/8-101. The statute of limitations for a
false arrest or false imprisonment claim begins to accrue when
the plaintiff can plead all the elements of the claim, which is
the first day of the improper arrest. See Pierce, 2000 WL
1847778, at *2; see also Wallace v. City of Chicago, No.
03-2296, 2004 WL 719258, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 30, 2004). In
order to comply with the limitations period, Fuentes had to bring
his complaint on or before October 10, 2003, because, according
to his complaint, he was improperly detained on October 10, 2002.
Fuentes filed his complaint on July 16, 2003, but did not name a
defendant on that date. Instead, he named John Doe as the
defendant. Fuentes later amended his complaint on November 4,
2003, to name Sheahan as the defendant. The Seventh Circuit has
stated that "the substitution of named individuals for `John Doe'
defendants constitutes a `change of parties' within [Federal]
Rule [of Civil Procedure] 15(c) and thus that the requirements of
15(c) must be met." Delgado-Brunet v. Clark, 93 F.3d 339, 344
(7th Cir. 1996). As such, Fuentes' state law claims against
Sheahan may be barred by the statute of limitations unless his
amendment relates back to the date of the original pleading.
The Seventh Circuit has held that Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 15(c)(3) permits an amendment to relate back to the original complaint only where
"there has been an error made concerning the identity of the
proper party and where that party is chargeable with knowledge of
the mistake." See Baskin v. City of Des Plaines, 138 F.3d 701,
704 (7th Cir. 1998) (quoting Worthington v. Wilson,
8 F.3d 1253, 1256 (7th Cir. 1993)). Moreover, the Seventh Circuit has
"emphasized that the mistake requirement is independent from
whether the purported substitute party knew that action would be
brought against him." King v. One Unknown Fed. Corr. Officer,
201 F.3d 910, 914 (7th Cir. 2000) (citing Baskin, 138 F.3d at
704). In this case, Fuentes would not be able to meet the mistake
requirement because he brought suit against a municipality and
knew, as evidenced by his original complaint, that he was in the
custody of Cook County. There simply is no mistake that could
have caused Fuentes to fail to amend his complaint to name
Sheahan as the defendant prior to the expiration of the statute
of limitations. Thus, Fuentes' Amended Complaint does not relate
back and his state law claim is barred by the statute of
For the foregoing reasons, we dismiss Fuentes' § 1983 claims to
the extent that he purported to allege constitutional
deprivations under the Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments. We
also dismiss Fuentes' state law claim for false imprisonment.
However, we find that Fuentes sufficiently stated a § 1983 claim
alleging a violation of his procedural due process rights.
Therefore, Sheahan shall file his answer to the complaint on or
before August 15, 2004. A status hearing shall be held on August
26, 2004 at 10:30 a.m. It is so ordered.