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WILLIAMS v. DERIFIELD

December 13, 2005.

PHYLLIS WILLIAMS, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
SHAUN DERIFIELD, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the court on Plaintiffs' partial motion for summary judgment on Counts II, III, IV, and VII and on Defendants' motions for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, we deny Defendants' motion for summary judgment, grant Plaintiffs' partial motion for summary judgment in its entirety, and sua sponte enter summary judgment in favor of Plaintiffs on the remaining claims.

BACKGROUND

  Plaintiffs, who refer to themselves as being "African-American/Black," allege that they moved to Fox Lake, Illinois in August 2001. (Compl. Par. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6). Defendants are alleged former members of a White supremacist organization. According to Plaintiffs, on the night of August 30, 2002, Defendants accosted Plaintiffs Tywon Williams, Juwon Williams, Deona Williams, as well as Deona Williams' male friend, while they were walking home from a football game. Plaintiffs claim that two of the Defendants possessed knives. Defendants allegedly made threats that included racial epithets and told the group "You better get out of town niggers!" (Compl. 2). Plaintiffs claim that the male members of their group were able to flee from Defendants, but that Defendants were able to trap Deona Williams against a parked car. Defendant Shaun Derifield ("Derifield") allegedly took off his shirt to expose a tattoo of a swastika and put a knife to Deona's throat. While Deona allegedly pled with Derifield not to kill her, he allegedly told her something to the effect of: "Remember our faces, nigger! This is our town and you better get out before we kill you! We're going to kill you and your whole f____ing family if you don't get out of town!" (Compl. 2). After some time passed, Defendants allegedly released Deona.

  Plaintiffs brought the instant action and include in their complaint a claim against all Defendants alleging a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604 of the Fair Housing Act ("FHA') (Count I), a claim against all Defendants alleging a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3617 of the FHA (Count II), a claim against all Defendants alleging a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1982 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 ("Section 1982") (Count III), a claim against all Defendants alleging a violation of the Ku Klux Klan Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3) ("Section 1985(3)") (Count IV), an assault claim against all Defendants (Count V), a battery claim against Derifield (Count VI), a civil hate crime claim against all Defendants (Count VII), a false imprisonment claim against all Defendants (Count VIII), and an intentional infliction of emotional distress ("IIED") claim against all Defendants (Count IX). Plaintiffs now move for summary judgment on Counts II, III, IV, and VII. Defendant Harley Hermes ("Hermes") and Derifield have each moved for summary judgment as well.

  LEGAL STANDARD

  Summary judgment is appropriate when the record, viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, reveals that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). In seeking a grant of summary judgment, the moving party must identify "those portions of `the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). This initial burden may be satisfied by presenting specific evidence on a particular issue or by pointing out "an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case." Id. at 325. Once the movant has met this burden, the non-moving party cannot simply rest on the allegations in the pleadings, but, "by affidavits or as otherwise provided for in [Rule 56], must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). A "genuine issue" in the context of a motion for summary judgment is not simply a "metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue of material fact exists when "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Insolia v. Philip Morris, Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 599 (7th Cir. 2000). The court must consider the record as a whole, in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, and draw all reasonable inferences that favor the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; Bay v. Cassens Transport Co., 212 F.3d 969, 972 (7th Cir. 2000).

  DISCUSSION

  I. Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment

  Hermes and Derifield have each moved for summary judgment. However, neither motion offers a justification for a finding in their favor as a matter of law. Hermes argues that he has more than paid a price for his lapse in judgment" because he was convicted of a criminal crime relating to the incident and he was incarcerated. (H SJ Par. 2). Hermes also argues that "there is nothing to be gained by continuing this trial." (H SJ Par. 1). However, the law affords Plaintiffs a civil remedy as well as a criminal remedy and Plaintiffs are entitled to pursue the entry of a civil judgment against Hermes. Hermes further argues that the incident "was the direct result of defendant's immaturity and excess beer drinking." (H SJ Par. 1). However, such facts do not excuse Hermes from civil liability. Hermes also argues that he does not have any money, and Derifield likewise argues in his motion that he does not have sufficient funds and that his "prospects of earning a decent wage are glum. . . ." (Df SJ Par. 2). Such matters pertaining to Defendants' financial status relate to Plaintiffs' ability to collect on a civil judgment, rather than to the issue of civil liability. Therefore, we deny Hermes' and Derifield's motions for summary judgment.

  II. Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment

  Plaintiffs move for summary judgment on Counts II, III, IV, and VII. We first note that none of the Defendants responded to Plaintiffs' motion or to Plaintiffs' Local Rule 56.1 statement of material facts. Therefore, all of the facts contained in Plaintiffs' 56.1 statement of material facts are deemed to be undisputed. Local Rule 56.1; Ammons v. Aramark Uniform Servs., Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817 (7th Cir. 2004) (stating that "that a district court is entitled to expect strict compliance with Rule 56.1" and that "[s]ubstantial compliance is not strict compliance"); Dent v. Bestfoods, 2003 WL 22025008, at *1 n. 1 (N.D. Ill. 2003); Malec v. Sanford, 191 F.R.D. 581, 585 (N.D. Ill. 2000). We also note that Defendants have not even made any effort in their motions for summary judgment to contest Plaintiffs' version of the facts in this case.

  A. FHA Claim (Count II)

  Plaintiffs move for summary judgment on the FHA claim in Count II, which they allege in the complaint is based upon a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3617 ("Section 3617"). (Compl. Par. 34). Section 3617 states that "[i]t shall be unlawful to coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of his having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of his having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of, any right granted or protected by section 3603, 3604, 3605, or 3606 of this title." 42 U.S.C. § 3617. Plaintiffs allege in the complaint an interference with their "right to occupy a dwelling without injury, intimidation, or interference because of their race." (Compl. Par. 27). As is explained below, Plaintiffs have clearly shown a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604. Also, even though Section 3617 makes reference to violations of rights "granted or protected by section 3603, 3604, 3605, or 3606" of the FHA, a violation of such sections is not absolutely necessary in order to recover under Section 3617. Stackhouse v. DeSitter, 620 F.Supp. 208, 210 (D.C. Ill. 1985) (stating that "§ 3617 may be violated absent a ...


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