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Bakaj v. Village of Franklin Park

May 15, 2006

BOB TARAS BAKAJ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
VILLAGE OF FRANKLIN PARK, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Blanche M. Manning

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Lying in a pool of blood in the middle of the street, plaintiff Bob Taras Bakaj struggled for his cellphone. When he finally reached it, he called 911 and reported that he'd been repeatedly hit with a pipe in the head and face. But the Franklin Park police officer who responded did not arrest the man who allegedly hit Bakaj, defendant Frank Grippo. Instead, he arrested Bakaj. According to Bakaj, Grippo and the officer are friends, and conspired to arrest Bakaj in order to keep Grippo out of jail.

Bakaj sued Grippo, the officer-Bill Parthimos-and the Village of Franklin Park for various constitutional violations. Defendant Franklin Park has filed a motion to dismiss which, for the reasons that follow, the court denies.

BACKGROUND

The incident between Bakaj and Grippo started in front of Bakaj's home. According to the complaint, Bakaj watched his 20-year-old daughter get into the car of an unknown man, who turned out to be Grippo. Bakaj got in his car and followed Grippo's car. Grippo noticed, stopped, got out, and told Bakaj to "Get the f*** out of here" while punching him in the face. In the meantime, Bakaj's daughter got out of Grippo's car, yelled at her father, warned him not to call police, and knocked his cellphone out of his hand. Bakaj got out of his car, only to be met once again by Grippo, who had retrieved a pipe from his car and began to repeatedly hit Bakaj with it until Bakaj fell to the ground.

Officer Parthimos responded to Bakaj's 911 call. According to the complaint, Parthimos knew Grippo and the two conspired to protect Grippo by framing Bakaj. To that end, Parthimos arrested Bakaj for battery upon Grippo and domestic battery upon Bakaj's daughter. Bakaj alleges that Parthimos felt free to frame him because Franklin Park has a policy of not disciplining its police officers for their misconduct.

After his arrest, Bakaj was held at the police station where his requests for medical treatment went unanswered until several days later. Bakaj alleges that he now suffers from permanent nerve damage and disfigurement as a result of being denied prompt treatment for his injuries.

Three months after his arrest, the state's attorney dropped the charges against him.

In his three-count complaint, Bakaj alleges that Grippo, Parthimos, and the Village of Franklin Park violated his rights under the constitution through false arrest and unlawful detention (Count I), as well as unreasonable detention (Count II). See 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He also seeks indemnification under Illinois law (Count III). Defendant Franklin Park has filed a motion for partial dismissal directed at only Count II, contending that (1) Bakaj has failed to plead necessary facts and theories, and (2) Count II is premised on the doctrine of respondeat superior, which is not a basis for § 1983 liability.

ANALYSIS

In reviewing a motion to dismiss, the court accepts as true the well-pleaded facts in the complaint. County of McHenry v. Ins. Co. of the West, 438 F.3d 813, 817 (7th Cir. 2006). The motion to dismiss will be granted only if the plaintiff can prove no set of facts consistent with his complaint that would entitle him to relief. Id.

As the court reads Bakaj's amended complaint, Count II contains two components. First, Bakaj contends that his detention was unreasonable because of the time that elapsed between his arrest and when a court determined that police had probable cause to arrest him. See County of Riverside v. McGlaughlin, 500 U.S. 44, 57 (1991) ("a person arrested without a warrant is entitled to a fair and reliable determination of probable cause and that this determination must be made promptly"). Second, Bakaj contends that his detention was unreasonable because the defendants denied him medical treatment.

Failure To Plead Facts & Theories

Franklin Park advances two reasons for dismissing Count II. First, it contends that Count II must be dismissed because Bakaj has failed to "either plead facts or conclusions" to support his claim that his detention was unreasonable. Specifically, Franklin Park argues that Bakaj failed to plead (1) how long he waited for a court to determine whether there was probable cause to arrest him, ...


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