The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT GETTLEMAN, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff, Gilberto Villasenor Cervantes, filed a second
amended complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and § 1988 alleging that
City of Harvey police officer J. Cook and other unknown Harvey
police officers, Cook County Sheriff Deputy Shirley Marshall, and
other unknown Cook County Sheriff's Police officers violated his
due process rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments by
detaining him without informing him of his rights and the charges
against him, holding him on a facially invalid warrant, and
coercing him to sign a waiver of extradition, which then caused
him to be transferred between detention facilities for two months
before straightening out the matter in Contra Costa, California. In addition, plaintiff has brought a claim against Andrew
Joshua, the Chief of Police of the Harvey Police Department in
his official capacity, alleging that the department's policy of
detaining individuals on outstanding warrants, without sufficient
investigative work to establish probable cause is a violation of
due process. Plaintiff further asserts a claim against Thomas P.
Fitzgerald, Chief of Police of Cook County Sheriff's Police
Department, Michael F. Sheahan, Cook County Sheriff, and Ernesto
Velasco, Executive Director of Cook County Department of
Corrections in their official capacities, alleging that their
policies of detaining and extraditing individuals without
corroboration of the detainee's identity violates due process.
Defendants Marshall and Sheahan (the "Cook County
defendants)*fn1 have moved to dismiss plaintiff's second
amended complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), arguing
that plaintiff has failed to allege a violation of a
constitutional right under either the Fourth or the Fourteenth
amendments, that his claims are barred by the Rooker-Feldman
doctrine, and that he has failed to state a claim against the
Cook County Sheriff's Office under the requirements of Monell v.
Dept. of Social Services of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658
For the reasons set forth below, the court grants defendants'
motion to dismiss.
According to the complaint, on September 20, 2003, plaintiff
was parked at North Commercial and 156th St. in Harvey, Illinois.
A Harvey Police officer approached the car, detained plaintiff,
and took him to the Harvey police station. Harvey officer J. Cook
charged plaintiff with improper parking on a roadway, not having a valid
driver's license, and with fleeing a Contra Costa, California
arrest warrant issued against Enrique Cervantes. Plaintiff was
detained despite the fact that his name, Gilberto Villasenor
Cervantes, was not the name on the warrant, and despite his
protestations regarding his mistaken identity.
On September 23, 2003, Harvey officers took plaintiff to the
Cook County Sheriff's Police Department. When he appeared in
court on the traffic charges, the court computer again indicated
that there was an outstanding warrant from the Contra Costa,
California Police Department for Enrique Cervantes. The criminal
court judge dismissed the traffic violations against plaintiff
but continued to hold him on the outstanding warrant.
Despite plaintiff's protests that he was not the person on the
warrant, he signed a waiver of extradition, thereby waiving any
proceeding to challenge his extradition prior to being sent to
California. He alleges that this waiver was signed under extreme
duress because the officers told him that going to California to
resolve the matter was the only way to end his incarceration.
After signing the waiver, plaintiff, represented by counsel, went
before the circuit court judge, who questioned him regarding the
waiver of extradition. In response to the judge's questions,
plaintiff stated that he had signed the waiver of his own free
will. Therefore, the judge found the wavier valid.
Despite continued protestations to Marshall and other Cook
County Police Officers that he was not the person named in the
warrant, plaintiff was placed on a bus and spent two months
transferring between detention facilities until arriving in
Contra Costa, California on November 26, 2003. Upon arrival, the
Contra Costa officers ran plaintiff's fingerprints and determined
that he had no warrants against him. They released him and bought
him an airplane ticket back to Illinois. Plaintiff filed this complaint for damages under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and § 1988 for violations of his right to due process under
the Fourth and Fourteenth amendments.
Defendants Marshall and Sheahan have moved to dismiss the
complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), for failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Defendants also
argue that this court lacks subject matter jurisdiction under the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine to hear plaintiff's claim. See Rooker
v. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413, 44 S.Ct. 149, 68 L.Ed. 362
(1923); District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman,
460 U.S. 462, 103 S.Ct. 1303, 75 L.Ed.2d 206 (1983); Exxon Mobil
Corp. v. Saudi Basic Industries Corp., ___ U.S. ___,
125 S.Ct. 1517 (2005). This court interprets the federal rules liberally
"so that erroneous nomenclature in a motion does not bind a party
at his peril." Snyder v. Smith, 736 F.2d 409, 419 (7th Cir.
1984). Therefore, although defendants have not expressly moved
for dismissal under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), their arguments
regarding Rooker-Feldman suggest that they are moving for
dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, in addition to
failure to state a claim under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
The defendants have attached the transcript from the state
court proceedings to their 12(b)(6) motion. Analyzing defendant's
motion under Rule 12(b)(1), the court can take notice of the
state court transcript. While plaintiff argues that the addition
of the state court transcript should convert the defendant's
motion into a motion for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P.
56, a district court may properly look beyond the jurisdictional
allegations of the complaint and view whatever evidence has been
submitted on the issue to determine whether in fact subject
matter jurisdiction exists. Capitol Leasing Co. v. FDIC,
999 F.2d 188, 191 (7th Cir. 1993). An analysis of all the facts
presented in a light most favorable to plaintiff reveals that
this court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to hear this claim under the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine, which states that federal courts other
than the United States Supreme Court have no jurisdiction to
review state court judgments, unless Congress has expressly
authorized them to do so. See Rooker, 263 U.S. 414,
44 S.Ct. 149, 68 L.Ed. 362 (1923); Feldman, 460 U.S. 462,
103 S.Ct. 1303, 75 L.Ed.2d 206 (1983); Exxon Mobil, 125 S.Ct. at 1521-22
The Rooker-Feldman doctrine is a consequence of the limited
jurisdiction of lower federal courts which, unlike the Supreme
Court, may exercise only power granted to them by Congress.
Rooker made explicit that this power does not include the power
to review state court judgments. Affirming the dismissal of a
suit seeking to have the judgment of an Indiana court declared
void as unconstitutional, the Supreme Court stated: "If the
[state court] decision was wrong, that did not make the judgment
void, but merely left it open to reversal or modification in an
appropriate and timely appellate proceeding. Unless and until so
reversed or modified, it would be an effective and conclusive
adjudication." Rooker, 263 U.S. at 415, 44 S.Ct. 149 (1923).
The Court noted that the plaintiffs had not timely appealed from
the Indiana Supreme Court to the United States Supreme Court,
adding "an aggrieved litigant cannot be permitted to do
indirectly what he no longer can do directly." Id. at 416,
44 S.Ct. 149 (1923).
Subsequently the Supreme Court clarified its holding in
Rooker in Feldman. In Feldman, the Court decided two suits
brought by rejected applicants to the District of Columbia bar
who had been denied waivers of a bar admission rule requiring
applicants to be graduates of law schools approved by the
American Bar Association. The applicants unsuccessfully appealed
in state court, and then brought claims in federal district court
alleging that the rule violated the Fifth Amendment. They further
alleged that the District of Columbia Court of Appeals had ...