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Carlson v. Banks

February 12, 2007

MARLENE CARLSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
OFFICER BANKS AND THE VILLAGE OF SOUTH CHICAGO HEIGHTS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Filip

DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR JUDGMENT AS A MATTER OF LAW

NOW COME the defendants, THE VILLAGE OF SOUTH CHICAGO HEIGHTS and OFFICER DEAN BANKS, by their attorneys, DOWD & DOWD, LTD., and pursuant to F.R.C.P. 50, move for judgment as a matter of law as to all counts in the plaintiff's complaint. In support thereof, Defendants state as follows:

I. LEGAL STANDARD

F.R.C.P. 50(a)(1) establishes the standard by which a district court should decide a motion for judgment as matter of law:

If during a trial by jury a party has been fully heard on an issue and there is no legally sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find for that party on that issue, the court may grant a motion for judgment as a matter of law against that party with respect to a claim or defense that cannot under the controlling law be maintained or defeated without a favorable ruling on that issue. Mayer v. Gary Partners & Company, Ltd., 29 F.3d 330, 335 (7th Cir.1994).

A district court must enter judgment if, under the governing law, a reasonable fact finder could not find for the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510 (1986). If a reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party, judgment as a matter of law is inappropriate. Shields Enterprises v. First Chicago Corp., 975 F.2d 1290, 1294 (7th Cir.1992).

II. DEAN BANKS IS ENTITLED TO JUDGMENT AS A MATTER OF LAW BOTH SUBSTANTIVELY AND BASED ON QUALIFIED IMMUNITY

A. Dean Banks is Entitled to Qualified Immunity as to Plaintiff's Claim for Unlawful Arrest Claim

The parties herein agree that Marlene Carlson was arrested on May 9, 2004 and charged with the following offenses:

· Obstructing a peace officer;

· Resisting arrest;

· Battery to a police officer.

In addition to denying the material allegations contained in the complaint, raised qualified immunity as an affirmative defense and did so in a timely manner (See document number 18). Carlson's false arrest claim must necessarily fail because the arrest was supported by probable cause or at the very least, it was supported by "arguable probable cause".

The existence of probable cause constitutes an absolute bar as to Section 1983 false arrest claim. Fernandez v. Perez, 927 F.2d 368, 370 (7th Cir.1991). Probable cause "does not require evidence sufficient to support a conviction, nor even evidence demonstrating that it is more likely than not that the suspect committed a crime". United States v. Mounts, 248 F.3d 712, 715 (7th Cir.2001). Rather, "so long as the totality of circumstances viewed in a ...


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