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Kane v. Village of Southern View

July 30, 2007

RON KANE AND KAREN KANE, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
THE VILLAGE OF SOUTHERN VIEW, AN ILLINOIS MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, JANIE STANLEY, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY, NORA PETROSKY, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY, THE V.O.I.C.E. OF SOUTHERN VIEW, INC., AN ILLINOIS NOT-FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION, JANIS GRAY, INDIVIDUALLY, WALTER ADE, INDIVIDUALLY, AND LEROY SOLOMON, INDIVIDUALLY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, U.S. District Judge

OPINION

The Plaintiffs have asserted six counts pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, wherein they allege that the Defendants violated their constitutional rights. Pending before the Court is the Defendants' motion for summary judgment.

At the end of the day, this Court finds that no constitutional rights of Ron and Karen Kane were violated in this case. Thus summary judgment is granted to The Village of Southern View, The V.O.I.C.E. of Southern View, Inc., Janie Stanley, Nora Petrosky, Janis Gray, Walter Gray and Leroy Solomon.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs Ron and Karen Kane allege that prior to July 12, 2004, a group of citizens of the Village of Southern View, one of the Defendants, began organizing and meeting in opposition to the construction of a structure on the property owned by the Plaintiffs located at 3133 Carman. On April 5, 2005, Defendants Janie Stanley and Nora Petrosky were elected to serve as trustees of the Village of Southern View and were sworn in as such trustees at a Village Board meeting held on May 9, 2005, along with two other individuals who were members of The V.O.I.C.E., one of the Defendants. The four newly elected trustees had run for office utilizing joint campaign literature which had been produced by Stanley and Defendant Janis Gray. The Defendants claim this constitutes protected political activity.

The Plaintiffs have pled in Count I that Defendant Stanley was guilty of the following statements, acts and/or admissions:

On June 1, 2005, Defendant Stanley, while acting individually and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Village, complained to members of the Police Department of the Village, that Plaintiff Ron Kane was working on cars in his garage and further stated that this was in direct violation of the Court Order issued by the Honorable Judge Robert Eggers . . . Defendant Stanley further stated that 'no one is supposed to work on any cars in that garage unless they were registered to Ron Kane or a family member living there.' Such statements by Defendant Stanley were false and misrepresented the Order entered by aforesaid, acting under color of law and in furtherance of the policy of the Village, acted to deprive Plaintiffs of their rights as aforesaid. A copy of the Police Report marked as Exhibit 'I' is attached hereto and incorporated herein.

The Defendants allege Mr. Kane testified that he has no understanding of any evidence that tends to prove Stanley misused her official power as a Village Board Member in order to effectuate any alleged acts and/or omissions against the Plaintiffs. The Plaintiffs acknowledge this accurately reflects Mr. Kane's deposition testimony; however, the deposition was taken prior to the deposition of the Defendants and prior to the production of documents by the Defendants.

Plaintiff Karen Kane agrees that Stanley could have believed she was acting as an individual, as opposed to a Village official, when she reported to the police about Plaintiffs. Even though Stanley was a Village Board Member, Stanley could do things as an individual and not as a Village Board Member. The Defendants allege that Ms. Kane has not identified any admissible evidence that tends to prove Stanley misused her official power as a Village Board Member in order to effectuate any alleged acts and/or omissions against Plaintiffs. The Plaintiffs acknowledge this accurately reflects Ms. Kane's deposition testimony, but make the same objection as previously noted. The Defendants further contend that during the deposition, the Plaintiffs did not ask Stanley any questions to attempt to establish that Stanley misused any power, possessed by virtue of law, or to establish that Stanley was able to act as alleged only because she was clothed with the authority of law. The Plaintiffs dispute this allegation, noting that Stanley was questioned regarding whether she directed individuals to take pictures of the Kanes' property or whether she herself took pictures of their property. The Plaintiffs further assert that they questioned Stanley regarding her involvement with passage of the amendment to a certain ordinance banning automobile sales and services in residential districts in the Village and her reasons for doing so.

The Plaintiffs have pled in Count II that Defendant Nora Petrosky was guilty of the following statements, acts and/or omissions:

Pursuant to the Narrative Report of the Police Department of the Village, the Reporting Officer interviewed Defendants Solomon and Ade who advised that Defendant Petrosky, a Village Board member, had advised them to take pictures of the activities going on in the Plaintiffs' private garage. A copy of the Police Report marked as Exhibit 'J' is attached hereto and incorporated herein.

Defendant Petrosky, acting in her individual capacity, acting aforesaid under color of law and in furtherance of the policy of the Village, conspired with Defendants Solomon and Ade to deprive Plaintiffs of their rights as aforesaid.

Because Petrosky was a Village official at the time, Ms. Kane assumes Petrosky was acting in an official capacity when making the statements, acts and/or omissions in Count II. The Defendants assert that neither Plaintiff has identified any admissible evidence which tends to prove Petrosky misused her official power as a Village Board Member in order to effectuate any alleged acts and/or omissions against Plaintiffs. In response, the Plaintiffs note that their depositions were taken before those of others in this case. The Defendants contend that the Plaintiffs did not ask Petrosky any questions to attempt to establish that Petrosky misused any power, possessed by virtue of law, or to establish that Stanley was able to act as alleged only because she was clothed with the authority of law. The Plaintiffs dispute this allegation by claiming that they specifically asked Ms. Petrosky whether she told anyone to take pictures of the Kanes' property.

The Plaintiffs have pled in Count III that Defendant Village of Southern View was guilty of the following acts and/or omissions:

Acting under color of law and pursuant to policy, the Village knowingly, recklessly or with gross negligence failed to instruct, supervise, control and discipline Defendants Stanley and Petrosky in their duties as Trustees to refrain from unlawfully and maliciously harassing and invading the privacy of Plaintiffs, thereby violating their constitutional rights and privileges; conspiring to violate the rights and privileges guaranteed to Plaintiffs by the constitutional laws of the United States and otherwise depriving Plaintiffs of their constitutional and statutory rights and privileges.

Defendant Village had knowledge or, had it deliberately exercised its duties to instruct, supervise and control its Trustees, Defendants Stanley and Petrosky, should have had knowledge of the unlawful acts of Defendants Stanley and Petrosky.

Defendant Village directly or indirectly, under color of law, approved and ratified unlawful, deliberate, malicious, reckless and wanton conduct of Defendants Stanley and Petrosky as aforesaid.

The Defendants assert that the Plaintiffs have no evidence to show the Village had or has a policy that, when enforced, caused Plaintiffs to be deprived of a federally protected right.*fn1 Village President Matthew J. Lauterbach was not aware of any allegation that Petrosky told other Defendants to take pictures of the Plaintiffs' property until he read the police report regarding the alleged incident. Moreover, he was not aware of any ...


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