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CRANE v. JUSTER

October 4, 2005.

MICHAEL R. CRANE, Plaintiff,
v.
SERGEANT RICK JUSTER; OFFICER D. DENAULT; OFFICER M. BOYLE, OFFICER BRYMER; OFFICER A. COX; OFFICER K. DELANEY; OFFICER C. HOLT; OFFICER JOHN DOE; CITY OF WILMINGTON POLICE DEPARTMENT; and CITY OF WILMINGTON, a Municipal Corporation, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: AMY ST. EVE, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Michael Crane ("Crane") has brought the present three-count First Amended Complaint alleging false imprisonment in violation of the Fourth Amendment, malicious prosecution under Illinois law, and a respondeat superior claim against Defendants Wilmington Police Department, the City of Wilmington, and the individual police officers. Before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c). For the following reasons, the Court grants Defendants' motion.

BACKGROUND

  I. Northern District of Illinois Local Rules

  The Court derives the facts in the background section from the parties' Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1 Statements of Fact. Facts in the parties' statements that are not controverted are deemed admitted if supported by the record. See Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 660, 683 (7th Cir. 2003). Responses that do not cite to specific references to the affidavits, depositions, and other supporting materials are subject to the Court's discretion as to their admission. See Ammons v. Aramark Unif. Servs., Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817-18 (7th Cir. 2004); Brasic v. Heinemann's Inc., 121 F.3d 281, 284 (7th Cir. 1997). With these standards in mind, the Court turns to the facts of this case.

  II. Facts

  On December 13, 2001, James Riggs and his sister Valerie Riggs went to a laundromat in Wilmington, Illinois. (R. 29-1, Defs' Local Rule 56.1 Statement, ¶ 1.) Valerie drove them to the laundromat and on the way, they picked up James' girlfriend. (Id. ¶ 2.) That same day, Crane and his two friends, Jacob Peters and Sean Doyle, were riding their bicycles. (Id. ¶ 3.) While riding their bicycles, Crane and his friends stopped to talk to another friend, Sylyna Ficarella, who had pulled her car over at the laundromat. (Id.; R. 44-1, Pl.'s Local Rule 56.1 Statement of Add'l Facts, ¶ 1.) Crane, Peters, Doyle, and Ficarella were standing outside of the laundromat when Stephen Krand and Jeremy Hicks arrived. (Defs' Stmt. ¶ 3, Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 1.) Shortly thereafter, Krand went into the laundromat to use the bathroom. (Defs' Stmt. ¶ 4, Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 3.)

  After a few minutes, Hicks followed Krand into the laundromat and then quickly returned. (Defs' Stmt. ¶ 5.) Hicks stated that he had gone inside and kicked the bathroom door while Krand was using the bathroom. (Id., Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 3.) A few minutes later, Krand came out of the laundromat and was very upset. (Defs' Stmt. ¶ 6, Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 4.) Krand asked who had kicked the door open. (Defs' Stmt. ¶ 6.) Hicks told him that someone from the back part of the laundromat had done so. (Id., Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 4.) Krand then went back inside the laundromat. (Defs' Stmt. ¶ 6, Pl.'s Stmt ¶ 4.)

  Meanwhile, James Riggs noticed that people had come into the laundromat while he was doing laundry and he went outside to the back of the laundromat because he did not want any trouble. (Defs' Stmt. ¶ 8.) Valerie Riggs, however, did not initially go outside when the person came into the laundromat to use the bathroom. (Id. ¶ 9.) When Valerie first saw this person enter the laundromat, she thought it was Crane. (Id.) Eventually, Valerie went outside to join James and his girlfriend. (Id. ¶ 10.)

  A short time later, Valerie returned to the laundromat where she was confronted by a person who asked her who had opened the bathroom door and she told him that she did not know what he was talking about. (Id. ¶ 11.) After confronting her, this person went outside to confront James Riggs. (Id.; Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 5.) While back in the laundromat, the person started yelling at James and accused James of having opened the bathroom door. (Defs' Stmt. ¶ 12, Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 5.) The two of them then argued. (Defs' Stmt. ¶ 12.) During the argument, the person punched James in the nose. (Id. ¶ 13.) At that time, Valerie thought that it was Crane who had punched James in the nose. (Id. ¶ 14.) After her brother was punched, Valerie jumped on the person. (Id. ¶ 15, Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 5.)

  After the incident, James Riggs went back into the laundromat to get tissues for his bloody nose. (Defs' Stmt. ¶ 19.) Valerie Riggs meanwhile called the police to report what had happened. (Id.) City of Wilmington Police Officers Delaney and Denault then met with James and Valerie Riggs at the laundromat. (Id. ¶ 21, Def.'s Ex. 4, Denault Dep. at 15; Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 9.) Valerie explained to the officers what had happened, describing the assailant as clean shaven, approximately six feet tall with dark hair, 18-25 years old, wearing a hat, black jacket, and blue jeans. (Defs' Stmt. ¶ 22; Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 10.) The only description James gave was that the person smelled of alcohol. (Defs' Stmt. ¶ 23, Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 10.) The officers then canvassed the area. (Defs' Stmt. ¶ 25, Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 14.)

  Meanwhile, Donald Riggs met his children, Valerie and James, at the fire department where they had gone to get James medical treatment. (Defs' Stmt. ¶ 26.) When Donald Riggs arrived, the paramedics were treating James, so Valerie told her father what had happened at the laundromat. (Id.) Donald Riggs then left the fire department and started driving around to see if he could find out if anyone saw anything. (Id. ¶ 27, Def.'s Ex. 6, at 14-15.) Donald Riggs met up with Officer Delaney, who explained to him that they were canvassing the area. (Id.)

  As Officer Denault was canvassing the area, he saw three juveniles on bicycles riding toward him. (Id. ¶ 28, Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 14.) One of the juveniles pulled a hood over his head and continued riding toward the officer while the other two went in the opposite direction. (Defs' Stmt. ¶ 28.) Officer Denault did not recognize the juveniles who went in the opposite direction. (Id., Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 14.) Officer Denault then activated his emergency lights and directed the juvenile on the bicycle to approach him. (Defs' Stmt. ¶ 29.) The juvenile was Sean Doyle. (Id., Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 14.) Officer Denault asked Doyle if he had been at the laundromat and Doyle responded that he had. (Defs' Stmt. ¶ 30.) Doyle also told him that Crane and Peters had been at the laundromat. (Id., Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 15.) Doyle did not give Officer Denault any additional information at that time. (Defs' Stmt. ¶ 30, Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 15.)

  After Officer Denault spoke to Doyle, the officer arranged for Valerie and James Riggs to drive to the location to determine if they could identify Doyle as the assailant. (Defs' Stmt. ¶ 31.) Valerie indicated that although Doyle was present at the laundromat, he was not the person who had punched James. (Id. ¶ 32, Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 16.) After Valerie indicated that ...


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