The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES HOLDERMAN, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff John Koranda ("Koranda"), filed a four-count
complaint on March 31, 2005 against defendants City of Chicago
and unknown Chicago officials (collectively "the City"), alleging
federal civil rights claims for First Amendment retaliation and
conspiracy pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law claims for
respondeat superior and indemnification. (Dkt. No. 1). The City
filed on May 25, 2005 the pending motion to dismiss or, in the
alternative, for a stay of these proceedings. (Dkt. No. 13). For
the reasons set forth below, this court grants the City's May 25,
2005 motion to dismiss.
In his complaint, John Koranda alleges that he attended a party
on June 29, 2003 at 713 West Wrightwood, a three flat apartment
building in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. (Dkt. No. 1 at ¶
5). Koranda's brother, Robert Koranda, lived on the second floor
of the apartment building and was one of the hosts of the party.
(Id.) During the event, the apartment building's multi-story
back porch collapsed killing or injuring several of the
party-goers. (Id. at ¶ 6). John Koranda survived the porch collapse but his brother
Robert was killed. (Id.)
Robert Koranda's estate filed suit in the Circuit Court of Cook
County against a number of defendants including the City of
Chicago over Robert Koranda's death. Koranda v. L.G. Prop. Co.
et al., 03 L 9791; (Dkt. No. 14 at Ex. A). The estate's lawsuit
alleged in part that the Chicago Department of Buildings was
understaffed, its employees and agents were untrained and
unqualified, and many obtained positions in the department
through political patronage. (Dkt. No. 1 at ¶ 8). The complaint
further alleged that the City's building department failed to
properly inspect the porch at 713 West Wrightwood and also
alleged that the failure was partially responsible for Robert
Koranda's death. (Id.)
Robert Koranda's family, including plaintiff John Koranda, also
publically criticized the City through public statements reported
in the local and national media. These public statements alleged
that the porch collapse would not have happened had the City
enforced its own codes regarding the permitting, construction and
inspection of porches. (Id. at ¶ 10).
In February 2005, the City filed a third-party complaint
against John Koranda in Robert Koranda's state court case. Ware
v. L.G. Prop. Co. et al., 03 L 8084 (Consolidated); (Dkt. No. 14
at Ex. C). The City alleged that John Koranda was responsible for
the porch collapse and resulting deaths and injuries. (Id. at ¶
12). According to the City's third-party complaint, John Koranda
jumped up and down on the porch before it collapsed. (Dkt. No.
14, Ex. C).
John Koranda's complaint pending before this court alleges that
the City filed the third-party complaint in the state case in
direct retaliation for the public statements Koranda made
criticizing the City. (Id. at ¶ 11). According to Koranda's
complaint, the City knows that the allegations it made against
him in the state case are false, that the allegations are based
on fabricated evidence, and that the allegations were made for the
purpose of retaliating against Koranda for his public comments
against the City.
The City argues in its present motion that John Koranda's
complaint should be dismissed under the Younger abstention
doctrine, or in the alternative, the suit should be stayed under
the Colorado River abstention doctrine. The City also argues
for dismissal pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure ("Rules"), if the court reaches the merit of
Koranda's claims, for what the City asserts is a failure by
Koranda's complaint to state a claim upon which relief may be
The City argues for a dismissal pursuant to the Younger
abstention doctrine. Koranda counters that Younger is
inappropriate in this case because of the bad faith exception to
Younger. The court agrees with the City that dismissal pursuant
to Younger is appropriate in this case.
"In Younger, the Supreme Court held that absent extraordinary
circumstances federal courts should abstain from enjoying ongoing
state criminal proceedings." Simpson v. Rowan, 73 F.3d 134, 137
(7th Cir. 1995) (citing Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 53
(1971)). "The Younger abstention requires that a federal court
abstain out of comity to a state court because both proceedings
involve important state functions." Daniels v. Sheahan, No. 97
C 5430, 1997 WL 786649, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 15, 1997). It is
presumed under Younger "that a plaintiff's federal
constitutional claims can be fairly vindicated in the state court
proceedings without federal intrusion." Snell v. Pucinski, No.
02 C 8172, 2003 WL 21321348, at *2 (N.D. Ill. June 6, 2003).
The Younger, doctrine has been applied beyond its original
factual situation to "non criminal judicial proceedings when important state interests are
involved." Middlesex County Ethics Comm. v. Garden State Bar
Ass'n, 457 U.S. 423, 432 (1982). This includes civil suits
seeking monetary relief. Robinson v. Lother, ...