United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
August 22, 2005.
DANIEL M. GIAMPIETRO, Plaintiff,
STEVEN SCHINDLBECK, VINCENT CLARK, and WILLIAM KOVARIK, each in his individual capacity, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN W. DARRAH, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff, Daniel Giampietro, filed suit against Defendants,
Steven Schindlbeck, Vincent Clark, and William Kovarik, alleging
violations of Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Presently pending before
the Court is the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss.
A reading of the Complaint supports the following summary of
the alleged operative conduct of the parties.
On or about April 3, 2003, Giampietro was evicted from his
residence in Chicago, Illinois. On that date, after accepting an
offer by Adrian Gonzalez to assist him in moving his personal
property to another location, Giampietro, along with Gonzalez,
loaded certain of Giampietro's belongings into Gonzalez's pick-up
truck. Gonzalez then drove Giampietro and his belongings to the
home of Giampietro's mother in Westmont, Illinois. Following his
refusal to let Giampietro store his furniture and other items at
her residence, Giampietro's brother placed a call to the Westmont
Police Department. After responding to the scene, the police
conducted a search of the pick-up truck. The police subsequently
released both Gonzalez and Giampietro after having discovered no
contraband in the vehicle. Gonzalez then drove Giampietro and his
belongings to the home of Giampietro's mother-in-law in
After dropping off Giampietro's belongings in Yorkville,
Gonzalez and Giampietro, while en-route back to Chicago, were
stopped by Schindlbeck, a Naperville police officer.
Subsequently, Clark and Kovarik, also Naperville police officers, arrived at
the scene. Thereafter, Gonzalez was arrested for driving with a
suspended license, and Giampietro was ordered to exit the
vehicle. The police conducted a search of the vehicle and found a
counterfeit $100.00 bill. Giampietro, who denied knowledge of the
contraband and ownership of the truck in response to questions
posed by Schindlbeck, was placed under arrest for forgery in
relation to the counterfeit $100.00 bill. Giampietro was
transported to the Naperville Police Department; he was later
released without being charged.
In reviewing a motion to dismiss, the court considers all facts
alleged in the complaint and any reasonable inferences drawn
therefrom in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See
Marshall-Mosby v. Corp. Receivables, Inc., 205 F.3d 323, 326
(7th Cir. 2000); Lee v. City of Chi., 330 F.3d 456, 459 (7th
Cir. 2003). Dismissal is warranted if "it appears beyond a doubt
that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his
claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson,
355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). A suit should not be dismissed if it is
possible to hypothesize facts, consistent with the complaint that
would make out a claim. Graehling v. Vill. of Lombard, Ill.,
58 F.3d 295, 297 (7th Cir. 1995). A filing under Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure need not contain all the facts that will be
necessary to prevail. To survive a motion to dismiss, a pleading
must only contain enough information to allow the court and the
defendant to understand the gravamen of the plaintiff's
complaint. McCormick v. City of Chi., 230 F.3d 319, 323-24 (7th
Cir. 2000). A claim for relief need contain only "a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief." Cook v. Winfrey, 141 F.3d 322, 327 (7th Cir. 1998)
(Cook). A plaintiff is not compelled to plead facts or legal
theories or cases or statutes but merely to describe his claim
briefly and simply. Shah v. Inter-Contl. Hotel Chi. Operating
Corp., 314 F.3d 278, 282 (7th Cir. 2002). A court will dismiss a
complaint only "if it is clear that no relief could be granted
under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the
allegations." See Ledford v. Sullivan, 105 F.3d 354, 356 (7th
Cir. 1997); Cook, 141 F.3d at 327. Giampietro alleges that the Defendants violated Giampietro's
Fourth Amendment rights by arresting him without probable cause.
Defendants argue that Giampietro has failed to state a claim upon
which relief could be granted because of their qualified immunity
Ordinarily, in stating a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
with respect to an unlawful arrest, a plaintiff must allege that
the arrest was made without a warrant and without probable cause
to believe that the plaintiff had committed or was committing a
crime. Joseph v. Rowlen, 402 F.2d 367, 370 (7th Cir. 1968),
appealed after remand, 425 F.2d 1010 (7th Cir. 1970)
(Joseph). In bringing a § 1983 claim alleging deprivation of a
Fourth Amendment right not to be arrested without probable cause,
a plaintiff is only required to plead that a person acting under
color of state law, typically a law enforcement officer, arrested
him without probable cause. Bergstrom v. McSweeney,
294 F. Supp. 2d 961, 965 (N.D. Ill. 2003).
Qualified immunity is a defense to a § 1983 claim. Deloughery
v. City of Chicago, 2002 WL 31654942 at 4 (N.D. Ill. 2002)
(Deloughery). Under notice-pleading requirements in the federal
courts, a plaintiff is under no obligation to plead around an
anticipated qualified immunity defense. See Gomez v. Toledo,
446 U.S. 635, 639-40 (1980); Deloughery, 2002 WL 31654942 at 4.
When confronted with a claim of qualified immunity, a court must
ask first the following question: "Taken in the light most
favorable to the party asserting the injury, do the facts alleged
show the officer's conduct violated a constitutional right?"
Brosseau v. Haugen, 125 S. Ct. 596, 598 (2004). Nearly always,
the qualified immunity defense is "a bad ground for dismissal"
under Rule 12(b)(6). Deloughery, 2002 WL 31654942 at 4; Jacobs
v. City of Chicago, 215 F.3d 758, 765 n. 3 (7th Cir. 2000)
(Jacobs). However, a qualified immunity defense may be
applicable under Rule 12(b)(6) in instances where the grounds for
dismissal are purely legal and do not depend on the facts.
Jacobs, 215 F.3d at 765. The question presented in this case is not purely legal; the
defense of qualified immunity rests on a factual finding that the
Defendants, at the point of making the arrest, had probable cause
to make the arrest. See Joseph, 402 F.2d at 370. At this stage
of the litigation, the Court cannot conclude that Giampietro
could prove no set of facts under which a claim of qualified
immunity would be denied.
For the reasons stated above, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is
© 1992-2005 VersusLaw Inc.