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Hardrick v. City of Bolingbrook

October 31, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: James F. Holderman Chief Judge, United States District Court


On March 10, 2006, plaintiff Robert Hardrick ("Hardrick") filed a complaint against the City of Bolingbrook, and Bolingbrook police officers Limacher, Salerno, Riend, and Liazuk, alleging that the individual defendants violated his Fourth Amendment rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 16.) For the reasons stated below, the motion is granted.


This case stems from Hardrick's arrest on March 14, 2005 by the defendant officers for aggravated battery, 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/12-3(a)(2), and resisting or obstructing a peace officer in violation of 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/31-1. The formal criminal complaint, dated March 16, 2006, listed battery as Count I, "in that, said defendant, without legal justification, knowingly made physical contact of an insulting and provoking nature with Eli Lamacher, in that defendant struck Eli Limacher in the arm." (Def. L.R. 56.1. Ex. 2.) Count II of the criminal complaint for resisting a peace officer stated that "defendant knowingly resisted the performance of Eli Limacher, of an authorized act within his official capacity, being the arrest of Robert Hardrick, knowing Eli Limacher to be a peace officer engaged in the execution of his official duties, in that he fled from Eli Limacher and struggled while being handcuffed." (Id.)

Counsel for Hardrick filed a motion to quash the arrest, and a hearing on the motion was held on June 2, 2005 in front of a state court judge, where defendant Officers Liazuk and Limacher testified about Hardrick's arrest. Plaintiff Hardrick attached the transcript of the hearing, from which the court recounts the events leading up to Hardrick's arrest. (Pl. L.R. 56.1 Ex. 1, herein after "Tr.")

According to the testimony of Officer Liazuk, he and other officers received a dispatch stating that a black male wearing a black coat and a black female wearing a red coat were engaged in a domestic dispute in the parking lot of the Jewel grocery store at the intersection of Boughton and Route 53 in Bolingbrook, and that the man had been choking the woman. (Tr. at 3-4, 19, 21, 27-28, 30.) Responding to the dispatch, Officer Liazuk spotted two people matching the description of the dispatch walking from the Jewel and crossing Boughton Road to the BP Amoco gas station. (Id. at 4.) Officer Liazuk asked the two if they would come over and talk to him. (Id. at 7.) The woman chose to talk to Officer Liazuk, while the man, later identified as Hardrick, continued to walk away. (Id. at 7-8.) The woman informed Officer Liazuk that she had been in the Jewel parking lot moments ago and had engaged in a verbal argument with Hardrick. (Id. at 8.) Believing that these were the two individuals identified by the dispatch, Officer Liazuk radioed to his fellow officers, including Officer Limacher to stop Hardrick and provided directions as to Hardrick's approximate location. (Id. at 10.)

Almost simultaneously, upon hearing the radio message from Officer Liazuk, Officer Limacher spotted Hardrick and stopped him. (Tr. at 10.) Officer Limacher asked Hardrick to stop, take his hands out of his pocket, and place them on Officer Limacher's squad car. (Id. at 33.) At that point, Officer Limacher testified that Hardrick was not free to leave. (Id. at 35.) In response to Officer Limacher's questions, Hardrick stated that he had been involved in an altercation, but the altercation was not physical. (Id.) Believing that a physical altercation had occurred, Officer Limacher asked Hardrick for his name and his birthdate. (Id. at 39.) Hardrick lied, giving the name Robert Carter and a different birthdate. (Id.) The several times that Officer Limacher ran the name given by Hardrick through dispatch no records on the name came back at all. (Id. at 41-42, 46, 49.) After a total of seven minutes had elapsed from the initial stop, Officer Limacher patted Hardick down for weapons. (Id. at 50.) Officer Limacher intended to search Hardrick more carefully for identification and had his hand on Hardrick's jacket, when Hardrick "spun off the car to his left, swinging his right arm, struck [Officer Limacher] in the left arm." (Id. at 53.) Hardrick then "took off running in the northeast direction." (Id. at 54.) Officer Liazuk, nearby at the time, gave chase and eventually Hardrick was stopped, handcuffed, and arrested. (Id. at 55.)

There was no testimony regarding any injuries that Hardrick may have suffered during or after the arrest provided to the court. The only evidence in the record regarding the use of excessive force or alleged injuries sustained by Hardrick was submitted to the court by Hardrick in the form of Hardrick's own unsworn answers to the defendants' interrogatories. Responding to the interrogatories, Hardrick answered that "I was beaten after I had stopped running and was peaceably waiting to be handcuffed. Defendant Limacher intentionally broke my wrist when he was handcuffing me. Limacher also sprayed mace in my eyes after I was handcuffed for no reason other than sadistic glee." (Pl. L.R. 56.1 Ex. 2 Resp. 17.) This evidence, taken only from Hardrick's unsworn answers that he submitted to the court, is inadmissible hearsay that the court cannot consider on summary judgment. See Dillard v. Chicago Transit Authority, No. 00-C-8028, 2003 WL 22136309, *2 n.1 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 16, 2003) (party's own unsworn answers to interrogatories are inadmissible hearsay on summary judgment); see also Stinnett v. Iron Work Gym/Executive Health Spa, Inc., 301 F.3d 610, 613 (7th Cir. 2002).

Following the hearing regarding Hardrick's arrest, but before the decision by the judge, Hardrick pleaded guilty to Count II of the criminal complaint, resisting a peace officer, and the government dismissed Count I. In pleading guilty, Hardrick explicitly waived his right to hear the court's decision on his motion to quash his arrest. (Tr. at 112-13.)

Hardrick's for resisting a peace officer remains valid. Nonetheless, Hardrick filed a 2-page complaint, alleging only that "Defendants Limacher, Salerno, Riend, and Liazuk unlawfully arrested plaintiff on March 14, 2005," and that "In the course of making the above referred arrest, one or more of defendants Limacher, Salerno, Riend, and Liazuk used excessive and unreasonable force, causing the plaintiff to sustain personal injuries." (Cmpl. ¶¶ 5, 6.) The defendants subsequently filed the present motion for summary judgment.


Under Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment is proper "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, this court takes all facts and inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). This court's function is not to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter, but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial. A party who bears the burden of proof on a particular issue, however, may not rest on its pleadings, but must affirmatively demonstrate, by specific factual allegations, that there is a genuine issue of material fact that requires trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986). In considering a motion for summary judgment, this court is not required to scour the record in search of evidence to defeat the motion; the nonmoving party must identify with reasonable particularity the evidence upon which the party relies. Johnson v. Cambridge Indus., Inc., 325 F.3d 892, 898 (7th Cir. 2003). Finally, the evidence relied upon must be competent evidence of a type otherwise admissible at trial. Stinnett, 301 F.3d at 613.

Because Hardrick's conviction for resisting a peace officer still stands, Hardrick cannot succeed on a civil tort claim if the lawsuit would be a collateral attack on the conviction, in that it would necessarily imply its invalidity. Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 487 (1994). In other words, Hardrick would only be able to proceed on his claim if the success of his claim would not ...

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