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WOODS v. CLAY

January 10, 2005.

JAMES W. WOODS and TOI WOODS, Plaintiffs,
v.
DAVID CLAY, in both his individual and official capacities; OSCAR FERRY, in both his individual and official capacities; ERIC PRINCE, in both his individual and official capacities; KEVIN RICHMOND, in both his individual and official capacities; JAMES McGEE, in both his individual and official capacities; RAMONE WILLIAMS, in both his individual and official capacities; CITY OF HARVEY, ILLINOIS, a municipal corporation; and 50 EXPRESS, INC., d/b/a/ THE FIFTY YARD LINE SPORTS BAR AND GRILL, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOAN H. LEFKOW, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiffs, James W. Woods and Toi Woods, filed a ten count complaint against defendants David Clay ("Officer Clay"), Oscar Perry ("Sergeant Perry"), Eric Prince ("Officer Prince"),*fn1 Kevin Richmond ("Officer Richmond"), James McGee ("Officer McGee"),*fn2 Ramone Williams ("Officer Williams") (collectively, "Harvey Police Officers"), the City of Harvey (the "City"), and 50 Express, Inc. d/b/a The Fifty Yard Line Sports Bar and Grill (the "Fifty Yard Line"), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Count I is against Officers Clay, Prince, Richmond, McGee, Williams, and Sergeant Perry for the arrest and imprisonment of plaintiffs without probable cause in violation of § 1983; count II is against the City and alleges that the conduct of the Harvey Police Officers was undertaken pursuant to the policy, custom and/or practice of the City in violation of § 1983; count III alleges that the Fifty Yard Line is responsible for the conduct of the Harvey Police Officers because it acted under color of state law by engaging in a joint action with the City in the arrest of plaintiffs in violation of § 1983; counts IV (false arrest), V (false imprisonment), VI (battery), VII (malicious prosecution), VIII (intentional infliction of emotional distress), and IX (violation of the Illinois Constitution) allege state law claims against all of the defendants; and count X seeks indemnification from the City in the event that judgment is entered against Sergeant Perry and Officers Prince, Richmond, and Williams. Before the court are the City of Harvey defendants' motion for partial summary judgment, Toi Woods' motion for partial summary judgment, and the Fifty Yard Line's motion for summary judgment. This court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1343 and 1367. For the reasons stated below, the court denies Toi Woods' motion for partial summary judgment; the court grants in part and denies in part the City of Harvey defendants' motion for partial summary judgment; and the court denies the Fifty Yard Line's motion for summary judgment.

FACTS

  I. Undisputed Facts

  Plaintiffs James Woods ("Mr. Woods") and Toi Woods ("Mrs. Woods") are residents of Cook County, Illinois and are married to each other. Mr. Woods is a police officer for the City of Chicago. On the night of November 18, 2000, Mr. and Mrs. Woods arrived at the Fifty Yard Line, which is located in Harvey, Illinois, between 10:30 and 10:45 P.M. to attend a birthday party for their friend, Alicia Miller ("Miller"). Mrs. Woods was initially hesitant about attending the party because the club had a "history" and a "reputation." (Pls' Resp. to the City of Harvey Defs' L.R. 56.1 Add'l Facts at ¶ 1). Apparently, some of the Fifty Yard Line's clientele do not possess particularly peaceful dispositions. Fights commonly break out in the parking lot when the Fifty Yard Line closes. Assaults, batteries, and murders also have occurred at the Fifty Yard Line. Because Miller's party was held in a private room at the Fifty Yard Line, however, Mrs. Woods agreed to attend. Mr. Woods, although off-duty, carried his service weapon with him into the Fifty Yard Line and consumed at least one alcoholic beverage.

  Officer Clay, Officer McGee, and Deputy Marshall Joyce Jones ("Jones"),*fn3 were working as security personnel for the Fifty Yard Line that night. In that capacity, Officer Clay, Officer McGee, and Deputy Marshall Jones checked the identification of the Fifty Yard Line's patrons, searched for weapons, conducted "pat-downs," and worked the Fifty Yard Line's hallway. The Fifty Yard Line paid Officer Clay, Officer McGee, and Deputy Marshall Jones for their services. The City also employed Officer Clay, Officer McGee, and Deputy Marshall Jones. These officers learned of the employment opportunities at the Fifty Yard Line by word of mouth from other City police officers and from employees of the Fifty Yard Line. While working security at the Fifty Yard Line, the officers reported to the Fifty Yard Line's managers. In addition, the City employed Sergeant Perry, Officer Williams, and Officer Richmond, each of whom were on-duty that night.

  Although the Fifty Yard Line did not specify the type of clothing to be worn by Officer Clay, Officer McGee, and Deputy Marshall Jones, the officers usually wore black "tactical" outfits with caps that read "Police." On the evening in question, Officers Clay and Deputy Marshall Jones were dressed in black "tactical" outfits. In addition, Officer Clay wore his police badge on his vest, Officer McGee wore his police badge around his neck, and Deputy Marshall Jones wore her police badge on her vest. Officer Clay also wore his duty belt, consisting of his gun, handcuffs, and radio; Deputy Marshall Jones carried her handcuffs, Harvey Police Department service revolver, and asp (steel baton); and Officer McGee carried his Harvey Police Department service revolver. The Harvey Police Department required its personnel to carry their guns while working. In addition to the police officers, the Fifty Yard Line employed non-police officers to work security. These individuals were required to wear black pants and red t-shirts with the Fifty Yard Line's name on the back and "Security" on the front.

  At some point after Mr. and Mrs. Woods arrived at the Fifty Yard Line, a Fifty Yard Line security guard escorted Miller's husband and brother-in-law from the premises after they had engaged in a loud argument. Mr. and Mrs. Woods left the Fifty Yard Line about two minutes later. Mr. Woods, however, returned to the Fifty Yard Line to assist Miller in collecting her belongings while Mrs. Woods stayed outside. Approximately fifteen minutes passed before Mrs. Woods reentered the Fifty Yard Line and found Mr. Woods laying face down on the floor. A police officer had his knee in Mr. Woods' back and was in the process of handcuffing Mr. Woods.

  Officer Richmond arrived at the Fifty Yard Line and discovered a crowd gathered around Mr. Woods, who was handcuffed and lying on the floor. Mrs. Woods was subsequently arrested for disorderly conduct. Officer Richmond did not hear Mrs. Woods say anything while at the Fifty Yard Line. Although the Fifty Yard Line's manager, Zach Basingame, was standing in the front lobby at that time, he did not attempt to interfere in the events leading up to the arrests or in the arrests themselves.

  Officer Prince completed an incident report, which Sergeant Perry signed. The incident report stated that Mr. Woods stepped in between Officer Clay and the unknown subject preventing Officer Clay from removing the unknown subject from the club. (Pl.'s L.R. 56.1, Ex. G at 1). The incident report continued: "The suspect was told several times to step back in which the suspect refused. The suspect became irate telling thats [sic] my friend" and continued to stand between Officer Clay and the unknown subject. Id. With regard to Mrs. Woods, the incident report stated that she ran up to Clay "yelling and screaming `That's my husband! Let him go.' At which time a crowd gathered. Suspect #2 was taken into custody." (Pl.'s L.R. 56.1, Ex. G at 2). Sergeant Perry did not conduct an investigation or interview the crowd at the Fifty Yard Line but he spoke with Officer Clay at the scene.

  Mr. and Mrs. Woods were transported to the Harvey Police Department in separate cars. They arrived in booking at 2:55 a.m. Mr. Woods was allowed to make two telephone calls and to receive a call from a lawyer within forty-five minutes of his arrival. Within an hour, Mr. Woods was charged with obstructing a peace officer and disorderly conduct. Officer Clay signed the complaint against Mr. Woods, which stated that Mr. Woods

 
KNOWINGLY ACTED IN SUCH AN UNREASONABLE MANNER AS TO ALARM OR TO DISTURB ANOTHER AND TO PROVOKE A BREACH OF THE PEACE TO WIT: THE DEFENDANT BECAME IRATE, YELLING "THAT IS MY FRIEND" AND WHICH HE STOOD OFC. CLAY #15 AND THE UNKNOWN OFFENDERS WHO WERE BEING PUT OUT.
(Pl. Add'l Facts in Resp. to Fifty Yard Line's L.R. 56.1, Ex. A.). The complaint further stated that SAID DEFENDANT KNOWINGLY OBSTRUCTED THE PERFORMANCE OF OFC. CLAY #15 OF AN AUTHORIZED ACT WITHIN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY, BEING THE ARREST OF JAMES WOODS, KNOWING OF OFC. CLAY #15 TO BE A PEACE OFFICER ENGAGED IN THE EXECUTION OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES, IN THAT THE DEFENDANT STEPPED IN BETWEEN OFC. CLAY #15 AND UNKNOWN SUBJECT WAY AFTER BEING TOLD SEVERAL TIMES TO STEP BACK IN WHICH JAMES WOODS REFUSED.

 Id. Officer Clay signed the complaint as "OFC. CLAY #15. Id.

  Officer Clay also signed a complaint against Mrs. Woods, which stated that Mrs. Woods "KNOWINGLY ACTED IN SUCH AN UNREASONABLE MANNER AS TO ALARM OR DISTURB ANOTHER AND TO PROVOKE A BREACH OF THE PEACE, TO WIT: THE DEFENDANT RAN UP TO OFC CLAY, YELLING AND SCREAMING `THAT'S MY HUSBAND! LET HIM GO', CAUSING A CROWD TO GATHER." Id. Officer Clay signed the complaint against Mrs. Woods as "OFC. Clay #15." Id.

  Mr. and Mrs. Woods were held in jail for approximately eight hours before being released. On December 5, 2000, one of the charge against Mr. Woods was stricken off the call with leave to reinstate (SOL'd) and the other charge was terminated with a nolle prosequi when no complaining witnesses appeared at the court hearing on December 5, 2000.*fn4 On December 28, 2000, a nolle prosequi was entered terminating the charge of disorderly conduct against Mrs. Woods when no complaining witnesses appeared at her court hearing. II. Disputed Facts

  The parties dispute most of what occurred on the night of November 18 and early morning of November 19, 2000. Each provides a different version of the triggering events and the behavior of the parties during those events. The court reminds the parties that "summary judgment cannot be used to resolve swearing contests between litigants." Payne v. Pauley, 337 F.3d 767 at 770 (7th Cir. 2003) (citations omitted). Rather, "[o]n summary judgment a court may not make credibility determinations, weigh the evidence, or decide which inferences to draw from the facts; these are jobs for a fact finder." Id. at 770 (citations omitted). "[T]he court has one task and one task only: to decide based on the evidence of record, whether there is any material dispute of fact that requires a trial." Id. (quoting Waldridge v. Am. Hoescht Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 920 (7th Cir. 1994).

  To determine whether any genuine issue of fact exists, the court must pierce the pleadings and assess the proof as presented in depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions, and affidavits that are part of the record. Fed R. Civ. P. 56(c) Advisory Committee's notes. The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of proving there is no genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). In response, the nonmoving party cannot rest on bare pleadings alone but must use the evidentiary tools listed above to designate specific material facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324; Insolia v. Philip Morris Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 598 (7th Cir. 2000). A material fact must be outcome determinative under the governing law. Insolia, 216 F.3d at 598-99. Although a bare contention that an issue of fact exists is insufficient to create a factual dispute, Bellaver v. Quanex Corp., 200 F.3d 485, 492 (7th Cir. 2000), the court must construe all facts in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party as well as view all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). The court may not grant summary judgment "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986)). Instead, the court must consider the evidence as a jury might, "construing the record in the light most favorable to the nonmovant and avoiding the temptation to decide which party's version of the facts is more likely true." Id. (citing Shepherd v. Slater Steels Corp., 168 F.3d 998, 1009 (7th Cir. 1999).

  A. Plaintiffs' Version of the Confrontation Between Mr. Woods and the Harvey Police Officers

  In plaintiffs' version of events, Miller asked Deputy Marshall Jones if she could reenter the Fifty Yard Line to retrieve her belongings, and Deputy Marshall Jones said no. (Pls' Resp. to City of Harvey Defs' L.R. 56.1 Add'l Facts at ¶ 6). Miller asked Deputy Marshall Jones who she was, and Deputy Marshall Jones informed Miller that she was with the Harvey Police. Id. Although Miller was calm, Deputy Marshall Jones swore at her and then struck her. Id. Mr. Woods was standing next to Miller after she was struck by Deputy Marshall Jones. Id. at ¶ 7. Mr. Woods instructed Miller that they should leave and grabbed Miller's arm in order to prevent the situation from escalating. Id. at ¶ 8. Mr. Woods did not make a move toward Deputy Marshall Jones. Id. Fifty Yard Line security then backed Mr. Woods against the wall. Id. In response, Mr. Woods displayed his Chicago Police Department badge and said that he was trying to break up a fight. Id. Fifty Yard Line security responded, "You Chicago cops think you're the sh_t." Id. Two uniformed police officers for the City, Officers Richmond and Williams, entered the Fifty Yard Line while Mr. Woods was displaying his badge as he was backed against the wall. Id. One of the uniformed officers began to handcuff Mr. Woods' left arm while he was backed against the wall. Id. At that point, Officer Clay came up and tackled Mr. Woods, taking him to the ground. Id. Officers Williams, Richmond, and McGee assisted Officer Clay in restraining Mr. Woods. Id. Officers Clay and McGee then escorted Mr. Woods outside. Id.

  B. City of Harvey Defendants' Version of the Confrontation Between Mr. Woods and the Harvey Police

  In the Harvey Police Officers' version of events, Miller became involved in a heated confrontation with Deputy Marshall Jones while Mr. Woods was standing with or near Miller. (Defs' L.R. 56.1 at ¶ 9). Officer Clay was within the sight of the confrontation. Id. at ¶ 10. Officer Clay claims to have observed what he thought was Mr. Woods moving to strike Deputy Marshall Jones. Id. at ¶ 11. Officer Clay then took Mr. Woods to the ground and placed him under arrest. Id.

  C. Plaintiffs' Version of Mrs. Woods' Arrest

  The parties also dispute the events surrounding Mrs. Woods' arrest. Plaintiffs contend that Mrs. Woods said, "That's my husband, he's a Chicago cop, let him go," upon discovering her husband laying on the floor while being handcuffed. (Pls' Resp. to City of Harvey Defs' Add'l Facts at ¶ 10). In plaintiffs' version of events, Mrs. Woods was then arrested and handcuffed at which time she said, "He's a cop. What's going on, what's happening?" Id. She then heard, "Well, nigger, this ain't Chicago. You Chicago cops think you're the sh_t." Id. She also heard, "Well, your ass can go too." (Pl.'s L.R. 56.1 at ¶ 17). Her hands were grabbed, placed behind her back, and handcuffed. Id. As Mr. Woods and Mrs. Woods were escorted from the Fifty Yard Line, Mrs. Woods asked Fifty Yard Line security, "Why would you be arresting him for breaking up a fight? He's a Chicago police officer." Id. She subsequently heard the response, "Well, this ain't Chicago, punk." (Pls' Resp. to City of Harvey Defs' L.R. 56.1 Add'l Facts at ¶ 10).

  D. City of Harvey Defendants' Version of Mrs. Woods' Arrest

  In defendants' version of events, Mrs. Woods stated, "He's the deuce; he's with Chicago Police." (City of Harvey Defs' Resp. to Pl.'s L.R. 56.1 at ¶ 16). As Officers Clay and McGee escorted Mr. Woods from the Fifty Yard Line, Mrs. Woods went in front of the officers and put herself in between Officer McGee and Mr. Woods. Id. She was grabbing at Mr. Woods. Id. at ¶ 17. After Officer Clay told Mrs. Woods to back off and to stop interfering, she continued to yell, scream and cuss. Id. Defendants also expressly dispute that anyone said, "Well, your ass can go too." Id. The parties also disagree as to whether Mrs. Woods was immediately handcuffed upon stating that her husband was with the Chicago Police or whether Mrs. Woods was yelling, screaming, cussing, and grabbing at her husband after being told to step back by Officer Clay. Further, the parties dispute the extent of alleged damages suffered by plaintiffs.

  E. Additional Disputed Facts

  The parties also dispute whether Officers Richmond and Williams were involved in Mrs. Woods' arrest. Defendants contend that upon arriving at the Fifty Yard Line, Officer Richmond did not see Mrs. Woods and then proceeded to step outside for a minute or two. Upon reentering the Fifty Yard Line, Officer Richmond found Mrs. Woods handcuffed and silent. Mr. and Mrs. Woods, by contrast, maintain that two uniformed police officers were helping Mr. Woods to his feet when one of the two uniformed officers said, "Well, your ass can go, too." At that point, one of the uniformed officers grabbed Mrs. Woods' hands, placed them behind her back, and handcuffed them. Both Officer Richmond and Officer Williams were wearing uniforms. In addition, the parties dispute whether Officer Clay, Officer McGee, and Deputy Marshall Jones were "on-duty" or "off-duty" while working for the Fifty Yard Line. Although the parties agree that the Fifty Yard Line, and not the City, paid Officer Clay, Officer McGee, and Deputy Marshall Jones for their services as security personnel at the Fifty Yard Line, plaintiffs contend that Officer Clay, Officer McGee, and Deputy Marshall Jones remained "on-duty" while defendants argue that they were "off-duty." Officer Clay testified at his deposition that the Harvey Police Department has "a policy stating that when you are off duty — when you're off duty, you are still on, and you're still a policeman." (Pls' Resp. to Fifty Yard Line's L.R. 56.1. Ex. F, P. 26, lines 15-20). On the night in question, Deputy Marshall Jones identified herself as "Harvey police." (Pls' Resp. to Fifty Yard Line's L.R. 56.1, Ex. L at 36, lines 21-24, at 37, lines 1-5). In addition, former Chief of Police Philip Hardiman testified at deposition that an officer is not precluded from acting in the capacity as a police officer when he is off-duty. (Pls' Resp. to Fifty Yard Line's L.R. 56.1, Ex. K at 28, lines 8-11).

  The parties also dispute whether the Fifty Yard Line had a security policy and whether it trained the police officers who worked security at the Fifty Yard Line. The Fifty Yard Line claims that it maintained a security policy in which its security personnel were instructed to not put their hands on patrons causing a problem; instead, security was supposed to talk the patron out of the building. Plaintiffs, however, contend that the Fifty Yard Line had no safety precautions in place, that there were no written policies, and that the Fifty Yard Line's security personnel did, in fact, physically put their hands on Officer Woods on the night in question. Plaintiffs further argue that the Fifty Yard Line gave directions and instructions to the officers hired to work security as to their obligations when working security, including checking identification, searching patrons, patting ...


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