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Israel v. Crime Victims Services Division

November 16, 2006

RABBI K. A. ISRAEL, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CRIME VICTIMS SERVICES DIVISION, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable David H. Coar

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Rabbi K.A. Israel ("Plaintiff"), a pro se plaintiff, filed a civil complaint against the Crime Victims Services Division; Violent Crimes Assistance Program; Meisha Lyons;*fn1 the Violent Crimes Services Division; the Office of the Illinois Attorney General; Lisa Madigan, Attorney General of Illinois and several unidentified defendants (collectively, "Defendants") for a wide variety of constitutional, federal statutory and international human rights violations arising out of their allegedly discriminatory and malfeasant management of the Crime Victims Assistance Program. Before this Court now is Defendants' motion to dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim and lack of jurisdiction pursuant to Rules 12(b)(6) and 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion to dismiss is GRANTED with prejudice.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND*fn2

Plaintiff was the victim of a burglary, a home-invasion and a hate crime. Having suffered a violent crime, Plaintiff reported the crime to the local police and also researched appropriate crime victim resources throughout the state of Illinois. Plaintiff received a telephone number of the Crime Victims Services Division of the Illinois Attorney General in Chicago, Illinois. Plaintiff called the number and announced his name and that he wanted to report an incident and file a claim and complaint. The telephone answerer put Plaintiff on hold and when she returned to the line, she informed him that he was ineligible for the program. Plaintiff does not include any other allegations in his complaint relating to the gravamen of this action.

Plaintiff alleges that he was denied service based on his age, ethnicity, religion and gender. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendants have violated the Sarbanes- Oxley Act of 2002; the Age Discrimination Employment Act ("ADEA"), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), the Rehabilitation Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, 1985 and 1988. He also alleges that Defendants violated the following sections of the United States Constitution when they discriminated against him and others similarly-situated to him: Article IV, Section 2; Article VI, paragraph 2; the First, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Lastly, Plaintiff also alleges that the Defendants' discrimination violated the following international laws: Article III of the Geneva Convention; Protocol II of the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda; Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter; and Article 14 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

As relief for his injury, Plaintiff seeks damages in an amount between $2,700 and $27,000 and employment by the Attorney General as a paralegal/attorney/attorney-in-training with the specific duties of assisting crime victims throughout Illinois. Plaintiff also seeks class action certification in this action.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

The purpose of a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is to test the sufficiency of the complaint, not to decide the merits of the case. Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990) (citation omitted). On a 12(b)(6) motion, the Court accepts all well-pleaded allegations in the plaintiff's complaint as true, Fed. R. Civ. P. (12)(b)(6), views the allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, drawing all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Bontkowski v. First National Bank of Cicero, 998 F.2d 459, 461 (7th Cir. 1993). In addition, complaints of pro se litigants are construed liberally. McCready v. Ebay, Inc., 453 F.3d 882, 890 (7th Cir. 2006). A court should not dismiss a complaint "unless it appears beyond all doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957).

III. ANALYSIS

A. Standing

Defendants attack Plaintiff's complaint by arguing that he does not have standing to sue the Defendants in federal court. Determining standing is akin to determining "whether the litigant is entitled to have the court decide the merits of the dispute or of particular issues." Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 498 (1975). Thus, standing is a question of justiciability, which a court must have to hear a matter. Under Article III of the United States Constitution, to establish standing a plaintiff must first have suffered an actual injury or be subject to an imminent injury. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561 (1992). Second, that injury must be fairly traceable to the defendant's actions. Id. Lastly, a favorable decision rendered by the court must likely redress the plaintiff's injury. Id.

Defendants assert that Plaintiff's injury is not fairly traceable to their actions. Specifically, they assert that Plaintiff has not alleged a causal connection between his denial of crime victim assistance and Defendants because he has not alleged specific adverse action taken by the Defendants against him. "To be held liable for conduct of their subordinates, supervisors must have been personally involved in that conduct." Jones v. City of Chicago, 856 F.2d 985, 992 (7th Cir.1988). But supervisors who have known of and approved the unconstitutional conduct, or who have acted with deliberate or reckless indifference to that conduct can also be liable. Id. at 992-93.

Plaintiff's alleged injury is the denial of crime victim assistance. He alleges that he called the Crime Victims Services Division and that he was told that he did not qualify. Being told that one does not qualify for a benefit is the same as being denied. Furthermore, Plaintiff alleges the basis of the denial was ethnicity, age, gender and religion. The Defendants are the official state actors who administer that program. ...


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