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Walden v. City of Chicago

February 1, 2007

OSCAR WALDEN, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE CITY OF CHICAGO, ET AL., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mag. Judge Michael T. Mason

Judge Mark Filip

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion For Relief Pursuant To Rule 37 ("Motion"). Plaintiff Oscar Walden ("plaintiff") seeks sanctions under Rule 37(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ("Rule 37") because defendant City of Chicago ("City") failed to produce a 30(b)(6) witness to testify as to the policies and practices of the Chicago Police Department ("CPD") and the City as alleged in paragraphs 107-110 of the complaint. This matter was referred to this Court by Judge Filip in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and Local Rule 72.1. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is denied.

Background

Plaintiff has sued the City, among other defendants, in a multi-count complaint with claims alleged under both federal and state law. The case involves Walden's arrest and prosecution in 1952 for rape, which resulted in his conviction by a jury for the charged crime. See generally Illinois v. Walden, 19 Ill.2d 602, 169 N.E.2d 241 (1960) (denying post-conviction petition following jury verdict of guilty). Walden served approximately fourteen years in prison, and he was released on parole in 1965. Walden received a general pardon in 1978 from then-Governor James R. Thompson. In 2003, then-Governor George Ryan granted a pardon of innocence to Walden.

Plaintiff has alleged that in 1952, he was falsely arrested for rape; coercively interrogated; brutalized; subjected to highly suggestive identification procedures; denied counsel; and forced to give an inculpatory statement. Proceeding under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiff has further alleged that the Chicago police officers who engaged in this behavior were acting according to the policies and practices of the City and the CPD at the time and that those policies and practices proximately caused plaintiff's arrest, conviction and imprisonment. In connection with the latter claim, plaintiff served a 30(b)(6) Notice of Deposition on the City, requesting that the City produce a knowledgeable witness to testify to the subject areas relevant to plaintiff's policy and practice claim. The City does not contest that the 30(b)(6) notice ("notice") was proper.

The subject matters contained in the notice include, for example:

* Any investigation, evaluation, report, findings, analysis, or conclusions done or made by, or for, the Chicago Police Department, the Mayor or his Office or the City of Chicago or any of its subdivisions concerning the allegations set forth in the ACLU Report: "Secret Detention By the Chicago Police Department" (1959).

* All regulations, rules, directives, or orders of the Chicago Police Department which related to the writing, filing, distribution and retention of police reports, memos, notes, files and any other records of investigations, that were in effect at any time between 1945 and 1955.

* Any investigation, evaluation, report, findings, analysis, or conclusions done or made by, or for, the Chicago Police Department, the Mayor or his Office or the City of Chicago or any of its subdivisions concerning the antiblack riot in Englewood Park in 1949 and the conduct of members of the Chicago Police Department in relation to that riot.

* The training of Chicago Police Department employees between 1930 and 1960 as to the avoidance of race discrimination.

* The history of the Chicago Police Department between 1930 to 1980.*fn1

Analysis

Plaintiff seeks sanctions pursuant to Rule 37(d) because the City failed to produce a Rule 30(b)(6) witness in response to plaintiff's notice. Plaintiff seeks either (1) a jury instruction that the policies and practices alleged by the plaintiff existed at the time of his arrest, prosecution and imprisonment, or (2) an order barring the City ...


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