United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
August 10, 2004.
RONDELL FREEMAN ADAM SANDERS, DAVID ANDERSON, RICKY KING, DANIEL HILL and JASON HODGE, Plaintiffs,
OFFICER STEVEN BOGUSIEWICZ, et al. Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge
This matter is before the court on a motion to reassign by all
defendants in Rondell Freeman, et. al. v. Steven Bogusiewicz,
et. al, Case No. 03 C 2908 ("Freeman") and all defendants in
Parker v. City of Chicago, et. al., Case No. 04 C 2727
("Parker"). For the reasons stated below, we grant the motion.
Freeman was originally filed before this court on April 30,
2004 and on March 11, 2004, plaintiffs were granted leave to file
an amended complaint. In Freeman, Plaintiffs' Rondell Freeman, Adam Sanders, David
Anderson, Rickey King, Daniel Hill, and Jason Hodge ("Freeman
Plaintiffs") allege that on April 17, 2003, during an incident in
a parking lot in Chicago, the City of Chicago and Chicago police
officers Steven Bogusiewicz, Joseph Chmielik, Steven Georgas,
Joseph Groh, Daniel Smith, Mark Struke, Martin Tannehill, and
Bryan Vander Mey violated their rights protected under
42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as other rights protected under Illinois state
law. In addition, Plaintiff Adam Sanders alleges that on April
26, 2003, near that same parking lot, his rights were again
similarly violated by Chicago police officers from the 18th
In Parker, presently before District Court Judge Suzanne B.
Conlon, Plaintiff Parker alleges that on April 17, 2003, during
an incident in a parking lot in Chicago, the City of Chicago and
Chicago police officers Steven Bogusiewicz, Joseph Chmielik,
Steven Georgas, Joseph Groh, Daniel Smith, Mark Struke, Martin
Tannehill, Bryan Vander Mey, Brian O'Shea, John Czarnik, and
Donald Wisz violated his rights protected under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
as well as other rights protected under Illinois state law. In
addition, Plaintiff Antonio Parker ("Plaintiff Parker") alleges
that on January 25, 2004, near that same parking lot, his rights
were again similarly violated by three unidentified Chicago
Plaintiff Parker contends that the motion to reassign based
upon relatedness is "premature" because at the time of the filing of this motion the
defendants in both proceedings had not answered either complaint.
In support of this contention, Plaintiff Parker cites L.R.
40.4(c), which provides in part:
"In order that all parties to a proceeding be
permitted to respond on the questions of relatedness
and possible reassignment, such motions should not
generally be filed until after the answer or motions
in lieu of answer have been filed in each of the
Inasmuch as all parties in both cases have been provided
sufficient opportunity to file briefs, supplemental briefs, and
supporting exhibits with respect to the motion on the questions
of relatedness and reassignment, we will deem the defendants'
motion to be proper in the instant action. Moreover, we note that
L.R. 40.4(c) does not explicitly require that a motion for
relatedness and reassignment be made only after a party answers
or otherwise pleads, but rather the rule provides that ". . .
such motions should not generally be filed until after the
answer or motions in lieu of answer have been filed in each of
the proceedings involved." See L.R. 40.4(c) (emphasis added).
Therefore, this court finds that the motion to reassign based
upon relatedness is proper and ready for review.
L.R. 40.4(a) provides:
"Two or more civil cases may be related if one or
more of the following conditions are met: (1) the cases involve the same property;
(2) the cases involve some of the same issues of fact
(3) the cases grow out of the same transaction or
(4) in class action suits, one or more of the classes
involved in the cases is or are of the same."
The facts in both complaints are similar and grow out of an
incident in a parking lot in Chicago on April 17, 2003 between
several Chicago police officers and the plaintiffs. Essentially,
both complaints allege that the plaintiffs were subjected to
excessive force and other unlawful conduct by several Chicago
police officers in a parking lot. Although the Parker complaint
names three more defendants than the Freeman complaint, the
court notes that all of the named defendants in Freeman are
also named defendants in Parker. The court also notes that both
Freeman and Parker involve some of the same issues of law.
Specifically, each action seeks relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as
well as a list of similar, if not identical, claims under
Illinois state law.
Therefore, this court finds that pursuant to L.R. 40.4(a) the
Freeman and Parker cases are related.
L.R. 40.4(b) provides:
"A case may be reassigned to the calender of another judge if
it is found to be related to an earlier-numbered case assigned to
that judge and that each of the following criteria is met:
(1) both cases are pending in this Court;
(2) the handling of both cases by the same judge is
likely to result in a substantial saving of judicial
time and effort;
(3) the earlier case has not progressed to the point
where designating a later filed case as related would
be likely to delay the proceedings in the earlier
case substantially; and
(4) the cases are susceptible of disposition in a
Because both Freeman and Parker are currently pending
before separate judges in the United States District Court for
the Northern District of Illinois, we find that the handling of
both cases by one judge would save valuable judicial resources as
well as substantial litigation costs by all parties. We also note
that both actions are in the early stages of proceedings. In
addition, the Freeman Plaintiffs (the plaintiffs in the earlier
filed case) do not object to the motion for reassignment.
Plaintiff Parker argues that Parker should not be reassigned.
He contends that although the complaints in both Freeman and
Parker allege the same misconduct at an incident that occurred
on April 17, 2003, each complaint also contains a separate
incident of misconduct by certain Chicago police officers.
Further, Plaintiff Parker maintains that unlike the Freemen
Plaintiffs, he has chosen to pursue three additional counts in
his complaint. Plaintiff Parker's objection to reassignment is
without merit. The fact that each complaint alleges a separate
incident of misconduct or that the complaint in Parker contains
additional counts, does not preclude the two cases from being
disposed of in a single proceeding. The overwhelming factual and
legal issues presented in both the Freeman and Parker complaints
revolve around the incident that occurred on April 17, 2003. The
facts and issues in both cases are similar in nature and can be
handled more efficiently in one proceeding. Accordingly, this
court finds that the cases are susceptible of disposition in a
All four requirements for the reassignment as set forth in L.R.
40.4(b) have been satisfied. Therefore, this court finds that
pursuant to L.R. 40.4(b), the Freeman and Parker cases may be
reassigned to this court's docket for all purposes.
For the reasons stated above, this court finds that Parker v.
City of Chicago, et. al., Case No. 04 C 2727 is related to the
instant case, Rondell Freeman, et. al. v. Steven Bogusiewicz,
et. al, Case No. 03 C 2908 ("Freeman"), within the meaning of
Local Rule 40.4(a) and that the higher numbered case (04 C 2727)
should be reassigned.
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