United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
June 9, 2005.
DAVID CRAIG, Plaintiff,
CHICAGO POLICE OFFICERS, J.A. HUAYAMAVE, J. ARROYO, J.M. UZUBELL, M.S. JANUS; and CITY OF CHICAGO, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: AMY J. ST. EVE, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff David Craig brings this four-count Complaint alleging
excessive force, due process violations, conspiracy, and a state
law malicious prosecution claim against Chicago Police Officers
J.A. Huayamave, J. Arroyo, J.M. Uzubell, M.S. Janus, and the City
of Chicago. Before the Court is Defendants Huayamave's and
Janus's Partial Motion to Dismiss Counts II and IV pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following
reasons, the Court denies Defendants' motion to dismiss.
The purpose of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is
to test the legal sufficiency of a complaint, not the merits of
the case. Triad Assoc., Inc. v. Chicago Hous. Auth.,
892 F.2d 583, 586 (7th Cir. 1989). The Court will only grant a motion
to dismiss if "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can
prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle
him to relief." Centers v. Centennial Mortgage, Inc.,
398 F.3d 930, 933 (7th Cir. 2005) (quoting Conley v. Gibson,
355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S. Ct. 99, 102, 2 L. Ed.2d 80 (1957)). When determining a motion to dismiss, the Court is restricted to
reviewing the pleadings, which consist of the complaint, any
attached exhibits, and the supporting briefs. See Thompson v.
Illinois Dept. of Prof'l Regulation, 300 F.3d 750, 753 (7th
Cir. 2002). In making its determination, the Court must assume
the truth of the facts alleged in the pleadings, construe the
allegations liberally, and view them in the light most favorable
to the plaintiff. Centers, 398 F.3d at 333.
The relevant facts alleged in Craig's Complaint, and regarded
as true for the purposes of this motion, are as follows: On March
5, 2004 at about 1:30 a.m., several police officers, including
Defendant Officers Huayamave, Arroyo, Uzubell, and Haleas,
approached Craig, pushed him against a chain link fence, took him
down to the ground, and then arrested him. (R. 1-1, Compl. ¶¶ 5,
6.) The officers placed Craig in a squadrol where his hands
remained handcuffed behind his back. (Id. ¶ 7.) Officer Janus
entered the squadrol and proceeded to hit Craig in the eye with
his fist while Craig remained handcuffed. (Id. ¶ 8.) Officer
Janus then threw Craig on the ground and the other officers
proceeded to kick and beat Craig. (Id.)
Craig further alleges that Defendants caused false charges of
resisting/obstructing an officer and battery to be filed against
him. (Id. ¶ 10.) Subsequently, in April 2004, Huayamave and
Janus falsely filed an amendment to the resisting arrest charge
by stating that Craig was "flailing his arms and pushing the P.O.
off him." (Id. ¶ 11.) In or about April 2004, Huayamave and
Janus filed a false amendment to the battery charge stating that
Craig "struck the victim [Janus] with his fists and kicked the
victim with his legs repeatedly, causing P.O. Janus' knuckle to
shatter." (Id. ¶ 12.) Craig further alleges that in December of
2004, Janus filed another false amendment to the battery charge
by crossing out the previous amendment and substituting that Craig "kicked PO Janus in the chest and hit PO Janus about the
chest with his hands causing bruising and swelling." (Id. ¶
On or about December 13, 2004, Craig stood trial for the
resisting and/or obstructing arrest and battery charges and the
jury found him not guilty. (Id. ¶ 14.) Because of the acts and
omissions of Defendants, Craig alleges that he sustained physical
injuries, humiliation, and indignities, and suffered great
physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering. (Id. ¶ 15.)
On January 11, 2005, Craig filed the a four-count Complaint
against the City of Chicago and Chicago Police Officers
Huayamave, Arroyo, Uzubell, Haleas, and Janus seeking to recover
for violations of his rights under the federal constitution and
Illinois state law. In his Complaint, Craig asserts Counts I and
III against all of the individual Defendants for excessive force
and conspiracy. In Count II, Craig alleges a due process claim
against Defendants Huayamave and Janus only. Finally, in Count
IV, Craig brings a malicious prosecution claim under Illinois law
against Officers Janus and Huayamave and the City of Chicago.
I. Count II Due Process Violation
In Count II of the Complaint, Craig alleges a due process claim
against Huayamave and Janus in violation of 42. U.S.C. § 1983.
Section 1983 provides a cause of action against any person who,
acting under color of state law, deprives another person of a
right, privilege, or immunity secured by the United States
Constitution or federal laws. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983; Lekas v.
Briley, 405 F.3d 602, 606 (7th Cir. 2005). The standards for
a successful Section 1983 claim against local police officers are
well known. Ienco v. City of Chicago, 286 F.3d 994, 997-98
(7th Cir. 2002). To prove an officer's liability, a plaintiff
must show that (1) the officer deprived the plaintiff of a federal right and (2) the officer was
acting under color of state law at the time of the deprivation.
Here, Craig alleges that Huayamave and Janus deprived him of
his due process right to a fair criminal trial on the charges of
battery and resisting arrest and/or obstructing justice.
Specifically, Craig alleges that Huayamave and Janus submitted
false charges in the criminal complaints, false amendments to the
charges, and false police reports. Craig further alleges that
Defendants withheld exculpatory evidence from the prosecution.
Defendants, however, argue that Craig has not sufficiently
alleged a denial of his due process rights to a fair trial
because the decision to charge a criminal defendant and proceed
to trial falls solely within the discretion of the prosecutor,
not the police. In Brady v. Maryland, the Supreme Court held
that a prosecutor's failure to disclose favorable, material
evidence violates a defendant's procedural due process rights.
373 U.S. 83, 87, 83 S. Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963). Police
officers, however, may face liability for a Brady violation
when they fabricate inculpatory evidence or conceal exculpatory
evidence. Newsome v. McCabe, 256 F.3d 747, 752 (7th Cir.
2001). Therefore, Defendants' assertion that Craig cannot bring
his due process claim based on Brady is without merit. See
id.; see also Manning v. Miller, 355 F.3d 1028, 1032 (7th
Cir. 2004) (duty to turn over exculpatory evidence applies to
police officers as well as prosecutors).
Accordingly, the Court turns to whether Craig has sufficiently
alleged a Brady claim against Officers Huayamave and Janus. To
establish a Brady claim, Craig must allege that (1) the
evidence at issue was favorable to him, that is, either
exculpatory or impeaching; (2) the state suppressed the evidence,
either willfully or inadvertently; and (3) prejudice resulted
from the state's actions. Strickler v. Greene, 527 U.S. 263,
281-82, 144 L. Ed. 2d 286, 119 S. Ct. 1936 (1999). Craig alleges that Huayamave and Janus failed to disclose
exculpatory evidence and submitted false police reports. (Compl.
¶ 23.) Craig also alleges that Huayamave and Janus acted
intentionally in concealing exculpatory evidence and in
submitting fabricated evidence. (Compl. ¶¶ 23, 24.) These
allegations satisfy the first two elements of a Brady claim.
Regarding the third element of a Brady claim, Plaintiff must
allege that the officers' failure to disclose exculpatory
evidence and their false police reports prejudiced him in some
way. See Strickler, 527 U.S. at 282. One measure of prejudice
is whether the outcome of the proceeding would have been
different had the officers provided the exculpatory evidence.
United States v. Bagley, 473 U.S. 667, 682, 105 S.Ct. 3375,
87 L.Ed.2d 481 (1985). Given that Craig's trial ended in acquittal
and that his allegations pertain to the officers' conduct, not
the prosecutor's conduct, the appropriate measure of prejudice is
whether the disclosure of the exculpatory evidence and the truth
of the fabricated evidence would have prevented the prosecutor
from instituting the charges against Craig and proceeding with
the prosecution. Jones v. City of Chicago, 856 F.2d 985, 993
(7th Cir. 1988) ("jury was entitled to find that had it not
been for the misconduct of the defendants, Jones would neither
have been arrested nor charged"); see also Carroccia v.
Anderson, 249 F. Supp.2d 1016, 1021 (N.D. Ill. 2003) ("trial is
not rendered fair simply because it ultimately results in an
Officers Huayamave's and Janus's argument that Craig's
acquittal obviates his due process claim because the alleged
misconduct had no prejudicial impact fails. Nonetheless, in
support of their argument, the officers rely on Christman v.
Hanrahan, 500 F.2d 65, 67 (7th Cir. 1974), and Gregory v.
Oliver, 226 F.Supp.2d 943, 953-954 (N.D. Ill. 2002) (Shadur,
J.).*fn1 In Christman, the prosecution and police officers suppressed
exculpatory evidence during the early stages of a murder trial.
Id. at 66. After the prosecution revealed the exculpatory
evidence to the district court and jury during trial, the jury
acquitted the defendant. Id. When the accused later attempted
to bring a claim for prosecutorial misconduct, the district court
dismissed the action and the Seventh Circuit affirmed on appeal.
Id. The Seventh Circuit concluded that, based on the trial in
its entirety, the untimely disclosure of the exculpatory evidence
did not violate the plaintiff's procedural due process right to a
fair trial because the prosecutor disclosed the suppressed
evidence before the end of trial and the jury found plaintiff not
The Christman decision is distinguishable from the case at
bar because, here, the police officers, not the prosecutor,
allegedly withheld the exculpatory evidence and fabricating
inculpatory information. As the Seventh Circuit in Newsome
If officers are not candid with prosecutors, then the
prosecutors' decisions although vital to the causal
chain in a but-for sense are not the important
locus of action. Pressure must be brought to bear
elsewhere. Prosecutors kept in the dark by the police
. . . won't improve their performance with or without
legal liability for their conduct. Requiring culpable
officers to pay damages to the victims of their
actions, however, holds out promise of both deterring
and remediating violations of the Constitution.
Newsome, 256 F.3d at 752.
Similarly, the Seventh Circuit addressed a claim where police
officers had fabricated evidence and concealed exculpatory
information in Jones v. City of Chicago. The court concluded
that the officers' misconduct could have injured the plaintiff if
the alleged misconduct influenced the prosecutor's decision to
file charges or take a case to trial. Jones v. City of Chicago,
856 F.2d at 993. The Seventh Circuit articulated: But the jury could find that the defendants
systematically concealed from the prosecutors, and
misrepresented to them, facts highly material to
that is, facts likely to influence the decision
whether to prosecute Jones and whether (that decision
having been made) to continue prosecuting him right
up to and into the trial. If the prosecutors had
known of [the material] evidence, they would almost
certainly have dropped the charges against Jones
before trial. Indeed, he might never have been
charged in the first place if the prosecutors had
known the facts militating against Jones's guilt. . . .
The jury was entitled to find that had it not been
for the misconduct of the defendants, Jones would
neither have been arrested nor charged.
Based on the Jones and Newsome decisions, the Court cannot
conclude that Craig's acquittal is fatal to his due process claim
against Officers Huayamave and Janus. See Carroccia, 249 F.
Supp.2d at 1021 (constitutionally unfair trial can still result
in acquittal); Kidd v. City of Chicago, No. 02 C 9534, 2003 WL
22243938, at 2 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 26, 2003) ("Fourteenth Amendment
guarantees due process not due results"); Corbett v. White, No.
00 C 4661, 2001 WL 1098054, at 5 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 17, 2001)
(acquitted defendant properly alleged procedural due process
violation against police officers).
Huayamave's and Janus's reliance on Gregory v. Oliver,
226 F.Supp.2d 943, 953-954 (N.D. Ill. 2002), is also misplaced. In
Gregory, after a bench trial, the state court acquitted the
accused of possession charges. Id. at 946. The accused brought
a due process claim in federal court against the officers
involved in his arrest for failure to disclose exculpatory
evidence to the prosecutor. Id. at 945. The defendants moved
for summary judgment and the district court granted their motion
concluding that the withheld evidence was not material under
Brady because there was no probability that the outcome would
have been different had the prosecutor disclosed the evidence to
the defense. Id. at 953. In making this determination, the
district court noted that the plaintiff made no effort to inquire whether the
prosecutor would have instituted the proceedings had she been
provided with the exculpatory information. Id. at 954.
The Gregory court ruled on a motion for summary judgment, not
a motion to dismiss, concluding that the plaintiff failed to
establish a factual dispute. See id. Here, the Court looks to
whether Craig has alleged sufficient facts to put Huayamave and
Janus on notice of the claims against them. See Swierkiewicz v.
Sorema, 534 U.S. 506, 512, 152 L. Ed. 2d 1, 122 S. Ct. 992
(2002) (citing Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2)). Craig
has met this threshold because he alleges that he suffered
prejudice when he was required to defend the false charges
against him. (Compl. ¶ 17.) Viewing the allegations in the light
most favorable to Plaintiff, Craig's allegations also state a
claim under Section 1983. The Court, therefore, denies the
officers' motion to dismiss Count II of the Complaint.
II. Count IV Malicious Prosecution
In Count IV, Craig alleges a claim of malicious prosecution
under Illinois law. To successfully assert a claim for malicious
prosecution, Craig must allege the following: (1) the institution
and prosecution of judicial proceedings by defendants; (2) a lack
of probable cause for those proceedings; (3) malice in
instituting the judicial proceedings; (4) termination of the
judicial proceeding in his favor; and (5) damage or injury
suffered from the judicial proceedings. Cult Awareness Network
v. Church of Scientology Int'l, 177 Ill.2d 267, 272, 226
Ill.Dec.604, 685 N.E.2d 1347, 1350 (1997); Reed v. Doctor's
Assocs., Inc., 355 Ill.App.3d 865, 873, 291 Ill.Dec. 848,
824 N.E.2d 1198 (Ill.App.Ct. 2005). Craig has alleged all five
elements of a malicious prosecution claim. (Compl. ¶ 30.)
Although the state prosecuted Craig for resisting and/or
obstructing arrest and battery, Defendants seek to dismiss
Craig's malicious prosecution claim because they contend that
they had probable cause to arrest Craig for the uncharged offense of
criminal trespass. See Aboufariss v. City of DeKalb,
305 Ill.App.3d 1060, 239 Ill.Dec. 273, 713 N.E.2d 804 (1999),
(probable cause constitutes absolute bar to malicious prosecution
claim). Defendants argue that because they had probable cause to
arrest Craig for criminal trespass, whether they had probable
cause to arrest Craig for battery and resisting and/or
obstructing arrest does not matter. See Devenpeck v. Alford,
___ U.S. ___, 125 S.Ct. 588, 593-95, 160 L.Ed.2d 537 (2004). In
support of their argument, Defendants attach a criminal trespass
complaint against Craig, although Craig was never charge with
this misdemeanor, and ask the Court to take judicial notice of
When a defendant attaches a document to a motion to dismiss,
the Court will only consider the document if the plaintiff refers
to the document in his complaint and the document is central to
the plaintiff's claim. Venture Assoc. Corp. v. Zenith Data Sys.
Corp., 987 F.2d 429, 431 (7th Cir. 1993). If the attached
document does not satisfy these requirements, the Court may
convert the defendant's motion to dismiss into a summary judgment
motion and consider the outside document. See id. Courts have
carved out a narrow exception to this rule by allowing for
judicial notice of matters of public record. General Elec.
Capital Corp. v. Lease Resolution Corp., 128 F.3d 1074, 1080
(7th Cir. 1997). Thus, a court may take judicial notice of an
adjudicative fact if it is "not subject to reasonable dispute"
and either "generally known within the territorial jurisdiction
of the trial court" or "capable of accurate and ready
determination by resort to sources whose accuracy cannot
reasonably be questioned." Id. at 1080-81 (citation omitted).
Here, Craig does not refer to the criminal trespass complaint
in the present Complaint and the Court declines to convert this
motion to dismiss into a summary judgment motion. See Venture Assoc. Corp, 987 F.2d at 431. The Court thus turns to
whether judicial notice of the trespass complaint is
Defendants contend that the trespass complaint is clearly what
it is purports to be a complaint against Craig for trespass to
land that was signed by a third-party complainant, Gus Barbo, an
agent of Rosa's Blue's Club. Barbo signed the complaint on March
5, 2004, the day of Craig's arrest. From Defendants' legal
memoranda and the trespass complaint, it appears that the
officers did not arrest Craig pursuant to an arrest warrant.
Although the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County signed the
misdemeanor complaint, Defendants do not indicate whether there
was a judicial determination of probable cause to arrest Craig.
In fact, the section of the complaint stating: "I have examined
the above complaint and the person presenting the same and have
heard evidence, thereon, and am satisfied that there is probable
cause for filing same" was left blank.
Viewing the facts and inferences in a light most favorable to
Craig, a judicial officer did not make a probable cause
determination to arrest Craig for criminal trespass. Therefore,
Defendants are asking the Court to determine whether they had
probable cause to arrest Craig based on the Barbo complaint.
Normally, courts cannot determine probable cause at this stage of
the proceedings. See Neiman v. Keane, 232 F.3d 577, 582
(7th Cir. 2000) (question of whether probable cause exists
typically falls within province of jury); Fabiano v. City of
Palos Hills, 336 Ill.App.3d 635, 642, 271 Ill.Dec. 40,
784 N.E.2d 258 (Ill.App.Ct. 2003) ("Whether a statement bears
sufficient indicia of reliability to support a finding of
probable cause in a malicious prosecution case is a question of
fact to be resolved by the jury."). As the Neiman decision
instructs, whether probable cause exists is a jury question
unless there is no room for a difference of opinion concerning
the facts or the reasonable inferences to be drawn from the
facts. Id. Defendants do not explain why the attached misdemeanor
complaint establishes that there is no room for a difference of
opinion concerning the facts supporting probable cause to arrest
Craig. See id. In other words, Defendants have not established
that "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set
of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to
relief." Centers, 398 F.3d at 933.
As such, under Rule 8(a)(2), Craig is only required to allege a
short and plain statement that he is entitled to relief, which he
has done. The Court denies Defendants' motion to dismiss Count IV
of the Complaint.
For these reasons, the Court denies Defendants Huayamave's and
Janus's motion to dismiss to Count II and Count IV of the