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Williams v. City of Chicago

November 21, 2006

MARIO WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO 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 Plaintiff Mario Williams' ("Williams") motion for summary judgment, Defendants' motion for summary judgment, and Williams' motion to strike. For the reasons stated below, we grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment in its entirety, deny Williams' motion for summary judgment in its entirety, and deny Williams' motion to strike.

BACKGROUND

Williams alleges that on February 15, 2005, at around 2:00 a.m., Defendant Officer Rodriguez ("Rodriguez"), a police officer for Defendant City of Chicago ("City"), observed Williams in his parked truck in a traffic lane with his brother on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Illinois. Williams alleges that Rodriguez made a traffic stop, performed a sobriety test on Williams, and then arrested Williams for obstruction of traffic and driving under the influence. Williams also claims that he suffers from asthma and that Rodriguez refused to provide Williams with his inhaler for his asthma at the scene of the arrest or during his detention at the police station. According to Williams, while he was confined he also asked an unknown officer ("Unknown Officer") for his inhaler. Williams contends that neither Rodriguez nor the Unknown Officer provided him with his inhaler until after he had already been confined for hours.

Williams brought the instant action and includes in his complaint a claim brought against Rodriguez alleging a false arrest in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") (Count I), a Section 1983 deliberate indifference claim brought against Rodriguez and the Unknown Officer (Count II), an Illinois state law denial of medical treatment claim brought against all Defendants (Count III), and a malicious prosecution claim brought against Rodriguez and the City (Count IV). Williams and Defendants have filed motions for summary judgment and Williams has moved to strike Defendants' memorandum in support of their motion for summary judgment.

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). When there are cross motions for summary judgment, the court should "construe the evidence and all reasonable inferences in favor of the party against whom the motion under consideration is made." Premcor USA, Inc. v. American Home Assurance Co., 400 F.3d 523, 526-27 (7th Cir. 2005).

DISCUSSION

I. Motion to Strike

Williams argues that Defendants failed to comply with Local Rule 56.1 and that the court should thus strike Defendants' memorandum of law in support of their motion for summary judgment ("Memorandum") or in the alternative grant Williams' motion for summary judgment. Williams argues that Defendants improperly incorporated by reference their statement of material facts into the Memorandum ("Reference") and Defendants failed to include a recitation of the facts of this case in the Memorandum. Williams argues that the Reference allowed Defendants to circumvent the fifteen page limit for briefs and include additional arguments. Defendants state in the Memorandum that "[t]he statement of facts is found in Defendants' Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) Statement of Uncontested Facts." (Mem. DSJ 1). Defendants did not explicitly incorporate the statement of facts into the Memorandum and Williams has not cited any rule or precedent that bars a movant from notifying the court that the facts of the case are included in the Local Rule 56.1 statement of material facts.

Williams also contends that under Local Rule 56.1, a party "has an obligation to recite its version of facts in its supporting memorandum . . . ." (Mot. Str. 2). However, Local Rule 56.1 addresses the parties' statements of facts and responses and contains no such requirement in regards to memorandums of law. A party is not required by Local Rules to include a facts section in a memorandum of law and Williams has not cited any controlling precedent that requires such a section. A party is free to provide a fact section in its memorandum of law, and such a section might improve the clarity of that party's positions and arguments, but no such factual section is required. Therefore, we deny Williams' motion to strike.

II. False Arrest Claim (Count I)

Defendants argue that Rodriguez had probable cause to perform the traffic stop, perform a sobriety test and to arrest Williams. The Fourth Amendment guarantees that "[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause." U.S. Const. amend. IV. In reviewing a Fourth Amendment claim, the "touchstone" for the "inquiry is reasonableness, . . . a standard measured in light of the totality of the circumstances and determined by balancing the degree to which a challenged action intrudes on an individual's privacy and the degree to which the action promotes a legitimate government interest." Green v. Butler, 420 F.3d 689, 694-95 (7th Cir. 2005). An arrest is not constitutional unless the arresting officer has probable cause. Lawrence v. Kenosha County, 391 F.3d 837, 842 (7th Cir. 2004); Smith v. City of Chicago,913 F.2d 469, 473 (7th Cir. 1990)(stating that "[r]egardless of the defendant's motives toward the plaintiff, the existence of probable cause for arrest is an absolute bar to a Section 1983 claim for unlawful arrest, false imprisonment, or malicious ...


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