The opinion of the court was delivered by: DAVID COAR, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Daniel J. Marrero filed a two-count amended complaint
against defendants Julie Landerman and Dawn Malec (both police
officers in Joliet, Illinois), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In
it, he alleges that defendants violated his Fourth Amendment
rights by unlawfully arresting him (Count I) and by using
unreasonable force in connection with his arrest (Count II).
Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as
attorneys' fees and costs.
Defendants' motion for summary judgment as to Count I of the
amended complaint is now before this court. For the reasons set
forth below, the motion is denied.
I. Summary Judgment Standard
At summary judgment, the court must view the facts in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable
inferences in its favor. See, e.g., Krchnavy v. Limagrain
Genetics Corp., 294 F.3d 871, 875 (7th Cir. 2002). Summary
judgment is appropriate if "the pleadings, depositions, answers
to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment
as a matter of law." Fed.R. Civ. P. 56(c); Schuster v. Lucent Technologies, Inc., 327 F.3d 569, 573 (7th Cir.
2003) (quoting Fed.R. Civ. P. 56(c)). A triable fact issue
exists "only if there is sufficient evidence favoring the
nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict for that party."
Schuster, 327 F.3d 569, 573 (7th Cir. 2003) (quoting Wade
v. Lerner New York, Inc., 243 F.3d 319, 321 (7th Cir. 2001)
The movant bears the initial burden of establishing that there
is no genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 923, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986).
"Because the purpose of summary judgment is to isolate and
dispose of factually unsupported claims," the non-movant must
then present specific facts showing that there is an issue for
trial. Michael v. St. Joseph County, et al., 259 F.3d 842, 845
(7th Cir. 2001) (quoting Fed.R. Civ. P. 56(e)). To
successfully oppose the motion, the non-movant cannot rest on the
pleadings alone, but must designate specific facts in affidavits,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, or admissions that
establish that there is a genuine triable issue. Celotex,
477 U.S. at 324. A scintilla of evidence in support of the
non-movant's position is insufficient to defeat a summary
judgment motion; "there must be evidence on which the jury could
reasonably find for the [non-movant]." Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510,
91 L.Ed. 2d 202 (1986). Summary judgment must be entered against a party
who fails to establish the existence of an element essential to
his case and on which he will bear the burden of proof at trial.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322.
In his amended complaint, plaintiff asserts two claims pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. First, he alleges that defendants unlawfully
arrested him (i.e., arrested him without probable cause) in
violation of the Fourth Amendment (Count I). Secondly, he alleges
that defendants used unreasonable force in effecting his arrest, also in
violation of the Fourth Amendment (Count II). Defendants have
moved for summary judgment only as to Count I (and not Count II)
of the amended complaint, and, specifically, have moved only as
to whether probable cause existed for plaintiff's
arrest.*fn1 Only those facts relevant to the court's
disposition of defendants' motion are addressed herein.
A. Defendants' Contentions Concerning Plaintiff's Alleged
Failure to Adhere to the Requirements of L.R. 56.1 and This
Court's "Standing Order Regarding Motions for Summary Judgment"
Defendants contend that plaintiff failed to follow the Local
Rules and this court's "Standing Order Regarding Motions for
Summary Judgment" in responding to their L.R. 56.1(a)(3)
statement of material facts (i.e., in his L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(A)
statement) and in setting forth his own L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(B)
statement of additional facts. On that basis, they ask the court
to strike plaintiff's response to their statement of facts, his
statement of additional facts, and his memorandum of law in
opposition to their motion for summary judgment and to grant
summary judgment in their favor. As a preliminary matter,
defendants' request is wholly inappropriate, as it is simply set
forth in their response statement and not in a separate motion to
strike. Setting aside this procedural flaw, defendants'
objections to plaintiff's form are almost wholly without merit
and plainly do not warrant the striking of plaintiff's
submissions or the granting of defendants' motion for summary
First, defendants seek to fault plaintiff on a rather
meaningless technicality (and do so in a disingenuous manner not
viewed favorably by this court). Defendants contend that because plaintiff's statement of additional facts begins with plaintiff's
paragraph 62 and "[t]here is no indication where the Plaintiff's
additional 61 paragraphs are," "it is impossible for the
Defendants to contest the additional facts stated by the
Plaintiff, using the format required by the standing order."
(Def. Resp., pp. 1-2). This specious argument ignores the fact
that defendants' initial statement of facts contained 61
paragraphs. It is manifestly clear that plaintiff simply numbered
his eleven additional fact paragraphs in sequence following
defendants' 61 paragraphs. In so doing, plaintiff did not even
technically violate L.R. 56.1 (although most practitioners in the
Northern District begin numbering their L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(B)
statements anew (i.e., starting with the number "I"). In any
event, this aspect of plaintiff's statement of additional facts
presented no genuine impediment to defendants' ability to respond
Defendants also contend that plaintiff improperly included
explanation and argument in his L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(A) statement,
rather than merely stating his disputes with defendants' asserted
facts and referring the court to "additional or contrary facts."
(Def. Resp., pp. 1-2).*fn3 In fact, plaintiff admitted the
majority of defendants' facts. Where he sought to contradict
dispute defendants' facts, he properly made citations to portions
of the record supporting his disagreement. Although plaintiff may
have gone a bit overboard in explaining how the cited portions of the record could contradict defendants' asserted
facts, the court finds that plaintiff's L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(A) &
(b)(3)(B) statements substantially comply with L.R. 56.1 and with
this court's Standing Order.
Finally, defendants contend with respect to plaintiff's L.R.
56.1(b)(3)(B) statement that "[t]he references used to support
the statement of fact [sic] are not accompanied by any documents
containing any type of tabbing and the references are only to
page numbers and not specific lines as required by the standing
order." (Def. Resp., p. 2). In fact, plaintiff explained at the
outset of his L.R. 56.1(b)(3) submission that (and how) he would
refer to exhibits contained in defendants' self-described "Local
Rule 56.1(a)(1) Documents" (which consisted of five complete
deposition transcripts and one additional exhibit). Plaintiff
also noted that he was submitting two additional exhibits and
made clear precisely where those exhibits were located and how he
would refer to them. Although it would have been helpful (and
preferable) for plaintiff to have included specific line numbers
in his citations to the deposition transcripts, his citations ...