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Rivera v. City of Chicago

October 24, 2005

EMILY RIVERA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Matthew F. Kennelly, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Emily Rivera has sued the City of Chicago for indemnification under Rule 69(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and 745 ILCS 10/9-102. Rivera's suit arises from an incident on June 21, 2001 during which Mario Morales, an off-duty Chicago police officer, came to Rivera's home, falsely claimed he had a search warrant, and unlawfully detained and handcuffed her. Morales was also prosecuted criminally for offenses relating to this incident and others; he pled guilty and was sentenced to a term of 294 months imprisonment.

On March 14, 2003, Rivera filed suit against Morales pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. She claimed that Morales's actions on June 21, 2001 violated her rights under the Fourth Amendment and state law. This Court entered a $175,000 default judgment against Morales.

On October 21, 2004, Rivera filed this supplemental collection proceeding against Morales's employer, the City of Chicago. The City of Chicago moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, arguing that the Court should not exercise its ancillary jurisdiction because the City was not a party to the original suit. Id. The Court denied the motion on the authority of Yang v. City of Chicago, 137 F.3d 522 (7th Cir. 1998), in which the Seventh Circuit held that a district court has ancillary jurisdiction over an indemnification proceeding against a third party so long as the supplemental proceeding "'does not inject so many new issues that it is functionally a separate case.'" Id. at 526 (citing Wilson v. City of Chicago, 120 F.3d 681, 684 (7th Cir. 1997)).

Following discovery, the City moved for summary judgment. For the reasons outlined below, the Court grants the City's motion.

Facts

On June 21, 2001, Rivera lived at 2548 North Tripp Avenue on the second floor of a two-flat building. At the time, she lived with her boyfriend Jerome Carman and two of her children, who were one-month old and seven years old. That night, Rivera was home with her children. Some time between 11:30 p.m. and midnight, Rivera heard someone pounding on the back door to her apartment. She walked downstairs and asked who was there. The person identified himself as a Chicago police officer and told her to open the door. Rivera complied. Prove-up Tr. at 3-6.

Rivera states that the man at her door -- who she later learned was Morales -- wore jeans, a t-shirt, a black bulletproof vest, and a badge pouch she had seen police officers wear. Id. at 7; Rivera Dep. at 63-66. Rivera did not see Morales's badge because it was turned to face away from her, Prove-up Tr. at 63-64, but in his plea agreement in the criminal case, Morales stated he was wearing his badge. Plea Agreement at 6. Rivera states that Morales was also carrying a long, black flashlight that she had seen police officers use. Prove-up Tr. at 8. Morales stated that he was carrying a gun, see Morales Plea Agreement at 6, but Rivera has never claimed that Morales had a weapon.

Once Rivera opened the door, Morales told her that he had a search warrant for the premises. He grabbed Rivera's arm and took her to the front room. He then stopped her and demanded, "Where's the shit at?" Rivera responded that she did not know what he was talking about. She then heard her one-month old son crying upstairs. She told Morales several times that her son was crying -- most likely because it was his feeding time -- but Morales ignored her and repeatedly asked, "where's the shit?" Prove-up Tr. at 7-10.

After Rivera expressed concern for her son several times, Morales pulled Rivera's hands behind her back and took her up the stairs to her bedroom. Once there, he handcuffed Rivera's hands behind her back. He then sat Rivera on her bed next to her son. Because her hands were handcuffed behind her back, Rivera told Morales she could not feed her son, who was lying on the bed. Morales responded that he would put the child in her lap. As Morales proceeded to do so, Rivera told him she still could not feed her son if her hands were handcuffed behind her. Morales then took Rivera's son off her lap and placed him on the bed again. Id. at 10-13.

At this point, Rivera asked Morales for a search warrant. Morales said he would go downstairs to get it. Before leaving the room, Morales also told Rivera he knew where she worked. Id. at 13-14.

Rivera waited in her room for about five minutes and then freed one hand from the handcuffs because it was quite loose. Id. She then pulled her other hand out. Rivera Dep. at 75-76. It is unclear what Rivera heard at this time: during the prove-up hearing, Rivera stated that she did not hear anything, Prove-up Tr. at 14-15, but at a later deposition, she said she heard "scrambling and walking" downstairs, which she believed to be Morales's partner. Rivera Dep. at 70. Morales has confirmed that he let another person into the apartment-- James O'Neill, a criminal associate with whom Morales stole drugs and money, possessed and distributed drugs, and kidnapped members of rival criminal gangs. See Plea Agreement at 3-8.

At the deposition, Rivera stated that after she stopped hearing noises for some time -- it is unclear how long -- she went downstairs. Rivera Dep. at 74-75. She did not see anyone in the apartment, but she saw her home was "ransacked." Prove-up Tr. at 15-16. Rivera called her brother to come to her home, and she left the apartment to stay at her mother's home that night because she was scared. Id. at 16-17. After this incident, Rivera did not call the Chicago Police Department; she claims she "was scared because the police did come to my house." Id. at 19.

Rivera states she did not learn the name of the police officer who came into her home until she saw a newspaper article about Morales being arrested for breaking into other homes. Rivera Dep. at 71-72. Approximately one year after the incident, Rivera received a telephone call from federal prosecutors who wanted to speak with her about Morales breaking into her home. Id. at 73-74. This was the first time Rivera discussed the incident with law enforcement officials. Rivera states ...


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