The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael M. Mihm United States District Judge
Now before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Johnathan M. Coursey's Complaint against the City of Peoria and the Police Department. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion to Dismiss [#10] is GRANTED.
The Court has original jurisdiction in this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, as the claim arises under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff Johnathan M. Coursey filed this lawsuit pro se pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Brad Scott, Brock Lavin, the City of Peoria, and the Police Department to recover damages incurred during his arrest on June 4, 2006.
Coursey alleges that Defendants Peoria Police Officers Brad Scott and Brock Lavin forced their way into the apartment building in which he lived and attempted "to pry there [sic] way into my door." Compl. at 5. Coursey alleges that he opened the door and stepped into the "hallway or stairway" upon the officers' request, at which time "one office hold me to detent me, and the other spray pepper spray in both of my eyes with-out read me my right or told me the charges." Id. The Court infers from these allegations that Coursey asserts a claim of excessive force and possibly a claim of false arrest.
On August 2, 2007, Defendants City of Peoria and Police Department (collectively, Defendants) moved to dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Defendants argue that Coursey has not alleged that the City of Peoria implemented an unconstitutional policy nor that there is a custom of such conduct. Defendants also argue that the Police Department is not a proper party to the suit because it does not have a legal existence separate from the City of Peoria. The matter is now before the Court, and this Order follows.
Since Coursey represents himself pro se, the Court shall construe the complaint liberally and will not hold it "to the stringent standards expected of pleadings drafted by lawyers." McCormick v. City of Chicago, 230 F. 3d 319, 325 (7th Cir. 2000). "Therefore, a pro se civil rights complaint may only be dismissed if it is beyond a doubt that there is no set of facts under which the plaintiff could obtain relief." Id.
In resolving a motion to dismiss, this Court considers all well-pleaded facts as true and draws all inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Bontkowski v. First Nat'l Bank of Cicero, 998 F.2d 459, 461 (7th Cir. 1993). In ruling on a motion to dismiss, this Court considers whether relief is possible under any set of facts that could be established consistent with the allegations in the complaint. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45--46 (1957). This Court will dismiss a claim only if it is beyond doubt that no set of facts would entitle the plaintiff to relief. Chaney v. Suburban Bus. Div., 52 F.3d 623, 627 (7th Cir. 1995); Venture Associates. Corp. v. Zenith Data Sys. Corp., 987 F.2d 429, 432 (7th Cir. 1993).
Although the Court will consider "whether a plaintiff could prevail under any legal theory or set of facts," it is not required to "invent legal arguments for litigants." County of McHenry v. Ins. Co. of the West, 438 F.3d 813, 818 (7th Cir. 2006); Stransky v. Cummins Engine Co., 51 F.3d 1329, 1335 (7th Cir. 1995). In responding to a motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must state some legal basis to support the cause of action. Stransky, 51 F.3d at 1335.