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Cunningham v. Village of Sauget

August 23, 2007

RYAN CUNNINGHAM PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE VILLAGE OF SAUGET, ILLINOIS, RICHARD SAUGET, JR., PATRICK DELANEY, JEFF DONAHEY, BRIAN PHILLIPS, AND RENEE SHERMAN, IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, AND IRC L.P., D/B/A PENTHOUSE CLUB, AND MRC L.P., D/B/A PT'S SPORTS CABARET DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Before the Court are two separate Motions to Dismiss, both of which have been fully briefed by the parties. The first Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 19) was filed by defendants IRC L.P. d/b/a Penthouse Club ("IRC") and MRC, L.P. d/b/a PT's Sports Cabaret ("MRC"), pursuant to FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 12(b)(6). The second Rule 12(b)(6) Motion (Doc. 22) was filed by defendants the Village of Sauget, Illinois ("Village"), Richard Sauget, Jr., Patrick Delaney, Renee Sherman, Brian Phillips and Jeff Donahey (collectively referred to as "the Sauget Defendants"). IRC and MRC move to dismiss all of Plaintiff's claims in his First Amended Complaint (Doc. 10) against them, whereas the Sauget Defendants move to dismiss Counts II through XI.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff initially filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit on July 20, 2006 (Doc. 2). He subsequently amended his Complaint on November 9, 2006 (Doc. 10), after the Sauget Defendants filed a Motion for More Definite Statement (Doc. 7).*fn1 In his First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff pleads the following: in Count I, Plaintiff brings a claim of use of Excessive Force in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights against defendants Donahey, Phillips and Sherman (all law enforcement officers of the Village of Sauget); in Count II, Plaintiff states a claim for violation of his First Amendment freedom of speech rights against defendants Donahey, Phillips and Sherman; in Count III, Plaintiff states a claim of Retaliation, in violation of his civil rights, against defendants Donahey, Phillips and Sherman; in Count IV, Plaintiff states a claim for Conspiracy to Retaliate, in violation of his civil rights, against the Village of Sauget, Richard Sauget, Jr. (the Mayor of the Village of Sauget), Patrick Delany (the Chief of Police of the Village of Sauget), Donahey, Phillips and Sherman; in Count V, Plaintiff states a common law Assault and Battery claim against defendants Donahey, Phillips and Sherman; in Count VI, Plaintiff states a common law Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress claim against defendants Donahey, Phillips and Sherman; in Count VII, Plaintiff states a common law Illegal Conspiracy claim against all Defendants; in Count VIII, Plaintiff states a Constitutional Deprivation claim against the Village of Sauget; in Count IX, Plaintiff states a common law claim of Negligent Hiring, Supervision and Retention against the Village of Sauget, Richard Sauget, Jr. and Patrick Delaney; in Count X, Plaintiff states a common law Malicious Prosecution claim against defendants Delaney, Donahey, Phillips and Sherman; and in Count XI, Plaintiff states a common law claim of Respondeat Superior for Assault and Battery, False Arrest, Malicious Prosecution, Negligent Supervision, and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress against the Village of Sauget.

This suit stems from the following incident, as alleged in Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint (Doc. 10). On July 23, 2004, plaintiff Ryan Cunningham was driving his pickup truck through the Village of Sauget, Illinois when he was stopped by Donahey, Phillips and Sherman, all law enforcement officers employed by the Village, who accused him of theft (Doc. 10,¶¶ 9, 14 & 15). When Plaintiff protested that he had not stolen anything, defendants Donahey, Phillips and Sherman arrested Plaintiff on charges of driving on a revoked license and resisting arrest (Id. at ¶ 16). During the arrest, Plaintiff alleges defendants Donahey, Phillips and Sherman interrogated, threatened and beat him (Id. at ¶¶ 17 & 18). On November 1, 2005, the charges brought against Plaintiff during his arrest were dismissed on the merits (Id. at ¶ 26). Plaintiff further makes various allegations of conspiracy.

Finally, Plaintiff alleges that due to Defendants' collective actions, he has suffered personal injury, loss of freedom, loss of property, indignity, mental suffering, emotional strain, and humiliation (Id. at ¶ 28). As damages, Plaintiff seeks a declaratory judgment that Defendants have violated the Constitution of the United States and the laws of the State of Illinois, an injunction requiring Defendants adopt "effective remedial measures," as well as compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees, costs, and prejudgment interest (Id. at p. 12).

III. DISCUSSION

Even though there are two separate Motions to Dismiss (Docs. 19 and 22), the Court will analyze the merits of both in this single Order.

A. FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 12(b)(6)

Previously, when ruling on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the district court assumes as true all facts well-pled plus the reasonable inferences therefrom and construes them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Fries v. Helsper, 146 F.3d 452, 457 (7th Cir. 1998) Dist. 207, 29 F.3d 1149, 1151 (7th Cir. 1994)). The question is whether, under those assumptions, the plaintiff would have a right to legal relief. Id. This standard was articulated as such:

[U]nder "simplified notice pleading," . . . the allegations of the complaint should be liberally construed, and the "complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief."

Lewis v. Local Union No. 100 of Laborers' Int'l Union, 750 F.2d 1368, 1373 (7th Cir. 1984)(quoting Conley v. ...


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