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Irvin v. City of Chicago

October 15, 2007


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Virginia M. Kendall


Plaintiff Kyle Irvin ("Irvin") brings this action against the City of Chicago (the "City"), Officer Dion Boyd ("Boyd"), Officer Cedrick Parks ("Parks"), Officer Carl Witherspoon ("Witherspoon"), and other unknown Chicago Police Officers. Before this Court is defendant Parks's Motion to Dismiss. For the reasons stated herein, defendant Parks's Motion to Dismiss is Granted.

Plaintiff's Allegations

Irvin alleges that he was arrested by members of the Chicago Police Department on March 18, 2005. Following his arrest, Irvin was taken to Area Two police headquarters, where he was detained for over 48 hours in a small interrogation room with his hands shackled to a bar on the wall. During this time, Irvin was subjected to interrogation regarding the July 19, 2004 murder of Sherman Freeny ("Freeny"). Irvin claims that during his 48-hour detention he was only sporadically offered food and was permitted to leave the interrogation room only at irregular intervals to use the bathroom. Subsequently, Irvin was charged with Freeny's murder and was incarcerated at the Cook County Jail.

Irvin alleges that he was arrested without probable cause and that, during his time at Area Two headquarters, his repeated requests for access to an attorney were denied. Irvin further alleges that, because he was held with his hand shackled to a bar on the wall, and because he was not provied with any bedding, it was impossible for him to get any restful sleep during his detention there.

Irvin alleges that he was thereafter charged with Freeny's murder in spite of fact that he did not confess and that there was no probable cause for the charge. He claims that, in order to build a false case against him, the defendants fabricated inculpatory evidence and destroyed exculpatory evidence. Irvin also alleges that the defendants coached and manipulated witnesses and that Boyd, as a complaining witness, testified falsely at Irvin's criminal trial.

Irvin was acquitted of Freeny's murder in March of 2006. Irvin was incarcerated for the majority of the time between his arrest in March 2005 and the acquittal in March 2006. He alleges that -- as an innocent young man housed among violent criminals -- he was forced unncecessarily to endure harsh and brutal conditions.


I. Standard

The purpose of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is to test the legal, not factual, sufficiency of a complaint. See Szabo v. Bridgeport Machs., Inc., 249 F.3d 672, 675-76 (7th Cir. 2001). In general, a complaint filed in federal court need only provide enough detail to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests and the allegations therein must demonstrate that the plaintiff's entitlement to relief is plausible, rather than merely speculative. Lang v. TCF Nat'l Bank, No. 07-1415, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 22588, *5 (7th Cir. Sep. 20, 2007) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964, 167 L.Ed. 2d 929 (2007) (additional citations omitted)). Although "complaints do not have to anticipate affirmative defenses to survive a motion to dismiss, [an] exception occurs where . . . the allegations of the complaint itself set forth everything necessary to satisfy the affirmative defense, such as when a complaint plainly reveals that an action is untimely under the governing statute of limitations." United States v. Lewis, 411 F.3d 838, 842 (7th Cir. 2005) (internal citation omitted).

II. Plaintiff's Claims Against Defendant Cedrick Parks are Time-Barred and are not Saved by the Misnomer Statute

Irvin's claims in this case arise out of his arrest on March 18, 2005. Irvin filed his original Complaint in this Court on March 1, 2007. That complaint did not name Cedrick Parks as a defendant but instead named a "Chicago Police Officer Parks." Subsequently, on March 14, 2007, Irvin filed an Amended Complaint that identified "Chicago Police Officer Parks" as Earl Parks. It was not until June 12, 2007 that Irvin filed a Second Amended Complaint that identified Cedrick Parks as a defendant for the first time. In his Motion to Dismiss, Parks argues that the claims against him should be dismissed because the two-year statute of limitations had run before Irvin filed the Second Amended Complaint.*fn1 Accordingly, prima facie, Irvin's suit is time-barred as against Cedrick Parks.

Irvin responds, however, that the Illinois misnomer statute applies in this case as an exception to the statute of limitations. Under that statute, the "[m]isnomer of a party is not a ground for dismissal but the name of any party may be corrected at any time, before or after judgment, on motion, upon any terms and proof that the court requires." 735 ILCS 5/2-401(b). Where "a plaintiff's timely-filed original complaint merely misnames the real party in interest and the provisions of section 2-401(b) are applicable to the misnomer, the expiration of the statute of limitations prior to an amendment of the complaint and a service of process upon the defednant will not bar the plaintiff's right of action." Schryver v. Eriksen, 627 N.E.2d 291, 292-93 (Ill. App. Ct. 1993).

The misnomer rule is a narrow one, however, and Illinois courts have "consistently distinguished the misnomer rule from rules applicable to a mistake in identity." Arendt v. Vetta Sports, 99 F.3d 231, 234 (7th Cir. 1996) (citing Barbour v. Fred Berglund & Sons, Inc., 567 N.E.2d 509, 511-12 (Ill. App. Ct. 1990)). Mistaken identity occurs when the wrong person is named and served. Id. (citing Shaifer v. Folino, 650 N.E.2d 594, 597 (Ill. App. Ct. 1995)). "A misnomer occurs where the plaintiff brings an action and serves summons upon the party intended to be made the defendant, thus giving actual notice of the lawsuit to the real party in interest, but the process and complaint do not refer to the person by his correct name." Id. (emphasis in original). In other words, a "misnomer is nothing more than an error in the drafting of the complaint, and it ought to be corrigible by amendment, whereas in a case of mistaken identity the plaintiff has sued the wrong person, and he cannot be allowed by doing that to prevent the right person from ...

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