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Finwall v. City of Chicago

August 16, 2007

TIMOTHY FINWALL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, ET AL. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Blanche M. Manning

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Timothy Finwall was arrested for the attempted abduction of two young girls. He was tried in state court and acquitted. After his acquittal, he sued the City of Chicago, two Chicago police detectives (defendants Martin Garcia and Dion Boyd), and the mother of one of the purported victims, alleging that they violated various constitutional rights by, in essence, setting him up. The defendants moved for summary judgment, but were only partially successful.

Presently before the court are two motions for reconsideration. One was filed by defendant City of Chicago; the other by defendants Garcia and Boyd. The court considers each in turn.

ANALYSIS

I. Standard of Review

To be entitled to relief under a motion for reconsideration, the defendants may not simply rehash old arguments, but rather must identify either newly discovered evidence, or a manifest error of law or fact. See Sigsworth v. City of Aurora, 487 F.3d 506, 511-12 (7th Cir. 2007).

Whether to grant a motion for reconsideration is left to the sound discretion of the district court. Id. at 512.

II. City of Chicago's Motion for Reconsideration

The court previously denied defendant City of Chicago's motion for summary judgment on claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 of false arrest (Count II) and unlawful detention (Count IV). The city had argued that (1) the claims were untimely; and (2) Finwall presented no evidence that the detectives operated under a policy of unlawfully detaining persons, an element required to establish municipal liability under Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978). The court gave the following reasons for denying the motion: (1) the statute of limitations on Finwall's claims were tolled during the pendency of an earlier-filed class action suit in which similar claims were raised and in which Finwall was a putative class member; and (2) Finwall presented sufficient evidence of a city policy of unlawfully detaining persons. The city moves for reconsideration.

A. Statute of Limitations on Counts II & IV

In determining whether Finwall's claims in this suit were timely, the court first examined whether Finwall fell within the description of the proposed classes in the earlier class action suit, Lopez v. City of Chicago, No. 01 CV 1823 (N.D. Ill.). That suit involved allegations that Chicago police officers (1) subjected suspects to interrogations exceeding 24 hours in small rooms without food, bathroom breaks, or the opportunity to sleep, and (2) held suspects for more than 48 hours without a probable cause hearing in violation of County of Riverside v. McLaughlin, 500 U.S. 44, 56 (1991). The plaintiff in Lopez proposed the following two classes:

I. All persons arrested by the Chicago Police Department without an arrest warrant from March 15, 1999 to October 15, 2003 and who were detained in excess of 48 hours before approval of charges or release. [and]

II. All arrestees detained in a Chicago Police Department Detective Division interrogation room(s) in excess of 24 hours before approval of charges or release at any time from March 15, 1999 to October 15, 2003.

Lopez, No. 01 CV 1823, Memorandum In Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification (Docket # 90-1), at 11. Based upon Finwall's allegations that he was detained for more than 48 hours in a police interrogation room, as well as the evidence submitted in association with the motion for summary judgment, the ...


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