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Haynes v. City of Chicago

April 29, 2008

MICHAEL HAYNES, EDWARD REID, RICKEY JONES, JAMES GREEN AND JOHN WARDELL, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
THE CITY OF CHICAGO, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, OFFICER IVAN RAY, AN INDIVIDUAL, OFFICER TERRENCE MCMAHON, AN INDIVIDUAL, OFFICER LOU TOTH, AN INDIVIDUAL, OFFICER RODOLFO CAMARILLO, AN INDIVIDUAL, AND OFFICER HARRIS, AN INDIVIDUAL. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert M. Dow, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This matter is before the Court on Individual Defendants' Joint Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' State Law Claims as Time Barred (DE 41), filed on January 10, 2008. Plaintiffs' response was due on February 25, 2008. This deadline has passed, and Plaintiffs have not responded to Individual Defendants' motion. For the following reasons, the Court grants Individual Defendants' motion.

I. Background

On April 23, 2007, Michael Haynes, Edward Reid, Rickey Jones, James Green, and John Wardell filed a seven-count complaint against the City of Chicago and unknown police officers, alleging violations of Plaintiffs' constitutional rights and tortious conduct under Illinois law. Plaintiffs allege that on March 26, 2006, they were detained without probable cause and then unlawfully arrested and searched by Chicago police officers. On August 20, 2007, Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint to name the individual officers -- originally pled as "unknown officers" -- and to add new counts. Specifically, the amended complaint alleges claims for violations of Plaintiffs' Fourteenth Amendment right to liberty without due process of law (Counts I -- V); violations of Plaintiffs' rights to equal protection (Counts VII -- XI); claims for battery under Illinois law (Counts XIII -- XVII); claims for malicious prosecution under Illinois law (Counts XIX -- XXIII); and claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress under Illinois law (Counts XXV -- XXIX). Plaintiffs have also sued the City of Chicago. On January 10, 2008, Individual Defendants Ivan Ray, Terrence McMahon, Lou Toth, Rodolfo Camarillo, and Officer Harris (Star #12185) moved to dismiss Plaintiffs' state law claims pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, contending that these claims are barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Plaintiffs have not responded to Individual Defendants' motion to dismiss.

II. Analysis

A. Standard of Review

A motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of the complaint and not the merits of the suit.See Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990). To survive a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the complaint must first comply with Rule 8(a) by providing "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2), such that the defendant is given "fair notice of what the * * * claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1969 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Second, the factual allegations in the complaint must be sufficient to raise the possibility of relief above the "speculative level," assuming that all of the allegations in the complaint are true. E.E.O.C. v. Concentra Health Servs., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atlantic, 127 S.Ct. at 1965, 1973 n.14). "[O]nce a claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint." Bell Atlantic, 127 S.Ct. at 1969. The Court accepts as true all of the well-pleaded facts alleged by the plaintiff and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom. See Barnes v. Briley, 420 F.3d 673, 677 (7th Cir. 2005).

Although the statute of limitations is an affirmative defense, and a plaintiff is not required to negate an affirmative defense in his complaint, "if a plaintiff pleads facts that show its suit barred by a statute of limitations, it may plead itself out of court under a Rule 12(b)(6) analysis." Whirlpool Financial Corp. v. GN Holdings, Inc., 67 F.3d 605, 608 (7th Cir. 1995); see also Tregenza v. Great Am. Communications Co., 12 F.3d 717, 718 (7th Cir. 1993) ("if [a plaintiff] pleads facts that show that his suit is time-barred or otherwise without merit, he has pleaded himself out of court"). When the face of the complaint affirmatively indicates that the time limit for bringing the claim has passed, the plaintiff may not escape the statute of limitations by saying nothing. See, e.g., Kathaur SDN BHD v. Sternberg, 149 F.3d 659, 670 n. 14 (7th Cir. 1998) (citing LRL Properties v. Portage Metro Housing Auth., 55 F.3d 1097, 1107 n. 6 (6th Cir. 1995)).

B. Statute of Limitations on State Law Claims

As set forth above, Plaintiffs allege the following state law claims in their amended complaint: (1) claims for battery under Illinois law (Counts XIII -- XVII); (2) claims for malicious prosecution under Illinois law (Counts XIX -- XXIII); and (3) claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress under Illinois law (Counts XXV -- XXIX). Plaintiffs filed their original complaint on April 23, 2007, and their amended complaint, which named Individual Defendants, on August 20, 2007.

A two-year statute of limitations generally applies to personal injury actions in Illinois. 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-202 (West 2007). Thus, § 1983 claims in Illinois also are governed by a two-year statute of limitations. However, Illinois local governmental entities and their employees benefit from a one-year statute of limitations for "civil actions" against them. 745 Ill. Comp. Stat. 10/8-101 ("No civil action * * * may be commenced in any court against a local entity or any of its employees for any injury unless it is commenced within one year from the date that the injury was received or the cause of action accrued"). "While the two-year period still applies to § 1983 claims against such defendants, the one-year period applies to state-law claims that are joined with a § 1983 claim." Williams v. Lampe, 399 F.3d 867, 870 (7th Cir. 2005).

1. Battery Claims

Plaintiffs' amended complaint states that on March 26, 2006, Plaintiffs were "lawfully on a public street located at approximately 9000 South Mackinaw Street in Chicago, Illinois," were "detained [ ] for several minutes without probable cause," and "were subjected to an intrusive body search" by each of the Individual Defendants. In Counts XIII through XVII, Plaintiffs allege state law battery claims against each of the Individual Defendants.

Under Illinois law, a battery claim accrues on the date that the battery occurred. See Montgomery v. City of Harvey, 2007 WL 4232729, *2 (N.D. Ill. November 28, 2007). Plaintiffs did not file their lawsuit until April 23, 2007, and did not name Individual Defendants until August 20, 2007. Because Plaintiffs did not bring their battery claims against Individual Defendants within the one-year statute of ...


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