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Mandis v. City of Belleville

December 4, 2006

NICK MANDIS, AS ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF EVELYN MANDIS, DECEASED, AND MICHAEL MANDIS, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
THE CITY OF BELLEVILLE, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, AND MATT EISKANT, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, District Judge

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the Court on defendants' Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 34), accompanied by defendants' Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 35). The defendants are the City of Belleville ("Belleville") and Matt Eiskant ("Officer Eiskant") (collectively, "Defendants"). Plaintiffs Nick Mandis, as Administrator of the Estate of Evelyn Mandis, and also Michael Mandis filed an opposing Response to the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 38), to which Defendants filed a Reply (Doc. 40).

Although Defendants make a valiant effort in their argument to negate Officer Eiskant's state of mind, as alleged by Plaintiffs', a Motion that examines the face of the Complaint is not the proper vehicle for such argument, at least not in Federal court. Accordingly, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss must be denied, as the Court will now explain.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs brought this action against Officer Eiskant, a Belleville police officer, in his individual capacity, and against Belleville (Doc. 33, p.1, ¶ 1). Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 33) alleges four counts:

Count I In Count I, plaintiff Evelyn Mandis claims damages against Officer Eiskant under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of her Fourteenth Amendment rights and for injuries sustained by the collision (Doc. 33, ¶ 24).

Count II In Count II, plaintiff Nick Mandis, as Administrator of the Estate of Evelyn Mandis, claims damages for the wrongful death of Evelyn Mandis and for other damages against Officer Eiskant under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Illinois Wrongful Death Statute (Doc. 33, ¶ 25).

Count III In Count III, plaintiff Michael Mandis claims damages against Officer Eiskant under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of his Fourteenth Amendment rights and for injuries sustained by the collision (Doc. 33, ¶ 27).

Count IV Count IV alleges that Belleville violated Plaintiffs' Fourteenth Amendment rights by failing to supervise and train its officers (Doc. 33, ¶¶ 30-32).

On or about September 29, 2003, at approximately 8:04 p.m., Michael Mandis was driving his 1998 Mazda on Illinois Route 157, at or near its intersection with West Main Street, when a vehicle being pursued by Officer Eiskant collided with Michael Mandis's car (Doc. 33, ¶ 4, 8). As a result of the accident, Michael Mandis was injured and his mother, Evelyn Mandis, who had been riding in the passenger's seat, was killed (Doc. 35, p. 4).

Prior to the collision, Officer Eiskant had been on patrol, traveling eastbound on the 9800 block of West Main Street (Doc. 33, ¶ 9). While on patrol, he observed a silver Oldsmobile pull out of a parking lot at 9618 West Main Street (Doc. 33, ¶ 10). Allegedly, the driver of the Oldsmobile failed to turn on his headlights (Doc. 33, ¶ 11). Officer Eiskant followed the driver for several blocks until the driver switched on his headlights, turned on to South 89th Street, and parked his car (Doc. 33, ¶ 11). South 89th Street is a dead-end street (Doc. 33, ¶ 11). Officer Eiskant continued eastbound on West Main Street (Doc. 33, ¶ 13). At some point, Officer Eiskant turned around, pulled into a vacant lot around the 8900 block of West Main Street and waited for the driver to proceed from South 89th Street (Doc. 33, ¶ 13).

As Officer Eiskant had apparently anticipated, the same Oldsmobile eventually emerged at the intersection of South 89th Street and West Main Street. The driver of the Oldsmobile then proceeded to turn right onto West Main Street, heading eastbound; Officer Eiskant again followed this vehicle for three blocks (Doc. 33, ¶ 13, 14). Officer Eiskant claims he noticed that the trunk lock had been punched (Doc. 33, ¶ 14). Officer Eiskant activated his overhead lights and, in response, the driver of the Oldsmobile made a U-turn, thereby heading westbound on West Main Street (Doc. 33, ¶ 14). Officer Eiskant gave chase -- the pursuit allegedly reached speeds in excess of 75 miles per hours (Doc. 33, ¶ 14).

Plaintiffs claim that "the high speed pursuit was initiated by [Officer Eiskant] after having the luxury of time and reflection before initiating the chase" (Doc. 33, ΒΆ 15). Plaintiffs believe that instead of calling for backup when the suspect was parked on South 89th Street, which may have avoided any pursuit, Officer Eiskant, with deliberate indifference, invited and initiated the ...


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