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Truesdale v. Guerra

May 1, 2008

JOY TRUESDALE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SGT. LAURA GUERRA, CHARLES BARTH WILLIAM VERBURG, SGT. TOM LYNCH, SGT. BIANCI, JASON FORD, AND THE TOWN OF ORLAND PARK DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, Joy Truesdale ("Truesdale") filed suit under Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") against Defendants Sgt. Laura Guerra ("Guerra"), Charles Barth ("Barth"), William Verburg ("Verburg"), Sgt. Tom Lynch ("Lynch"), Sgt. Bianci ("Bianci"), and Jason Ford ("Ford") (collectively "the Individual Defendants"), and the Village of Orland Park ("Orland Park").*fn1 In separate motions, Defendants Guerra, Verburg, Lynch, Bianci, Ford, and Orland Park moved to dismiss Truesdale's claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim. Orland Park moved to dismiss Truesdale's ADA claim. For the reasons stated herein, Defendants' Motions to Dismiss are granted and Truesdale's Complaint is dismissed in part without prejudice.

Procedural History

Truesdale filed her Complaint on May 31, 2007. Dk. # 1. Shortly after both parties' attorneys entered appearances on their behalf, Orland Park sought sanctions against Truesdale for leaving several vexatious and abusive voice mails laden with profanity on the voicemail of some of the defendants. Dk. #12. On August 30, 2007, this Court denied Defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint as a sanction for bad faith conduct on the part of Truesdale. However, the Court admonished Truesdale and ordered her to refrain from contacting Orland Park, its employees, it agents, and the individual defendants in any way, including via telephone calls, letters, e-mails, electronic mail, text messaging or visits. Dk. # 17. The Court also directed Truesdale to have any future contact with the defendants through her counsel only and instructed the defendants to file an emergency motion should additional problems arise. Dk. # 12; Aug. 30, 2007 Tr. In spite of the Court's order, Truesdale continued to send e-mails and place telephone calls to Orland Park employees including the individual defendants. As a result, Defendants filed an emergency motion for sanctions less than a month after the Court's order. Dk. # 21. On September 20, 2007, the Court once again admonished Truesdale for her conduct, warned her that further violations could result in the dismissal of her case, and instructed her to refrain from contacting the Defendants in any way. Sept. 20, 2007 Tr.; Dk. #28. The Court entered and continued Defendants' motion to October 22, 2007 and entered a Rule to Show Cause against Truesdale for her failure to comply with the Court's August 30, 2007 order. Dk. #28.

On September 13, 2007, this Court ordered Defendants to answer or otherwise plead to the Complaint by September 27, 2007 and ordered Truesdale to respond by October 11, 2007. Dk. # 18. Defendants timely filed their Motion to Dismiss on September 26, 2007. Dk. # 26; 27. Although represented by counsel at the time, Truesdale failed to respond to Defendants' Motions.

The parties appeared for status on the Rule to Show Cause on October 22, 2007. At that time, Defendants advised that Truesdale complied with the Court's August 30, 2007, and the Rule to Show Cause and Defendants' emergency motion were dismissed as moot. Dk. # 30; 31. Truesdale's attorney, Scott Kamin, failed to appear for the October 22, 2007 status. Dk. #30. Plaintiff's counsel further failed to comply with the Court's standing order to prepare a Joint Status Report.

On November 5, 2007, Truesdale's attorney requested an extension of time to file a response to Defendants' motions and the Court granted his request. Dk. # 35. Truesdale was granted an extension to November 19, 2007 to respond. Defendants were ordered to reply by December 7, 2007. Dk. # 35. Once again, Truesdale failed to respond to Defendants' Motions to Dismiss. As such, Defendants filed a motion for ruling on the pleadings in lieu of a reply on December 7, 2007. Dk. # 43. The Court granted Defendants' motion on December 12, 2007.

On March 20, 2008, while the Motions to Dismiss were pending, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss for lack of prosecution. Dk. # 52. Defendants advised that Truesdale failed to conduct any discovery despite the Court's order scheduling fact discovery to close on April 22, 2008.*fn2 Dk. # 54. Truesdale's attorney responded stating that neither party engaged in discovery and that he failed to do so because the Court was scheduled to rule on the Defendants' Motions to Dismiss. Dk. # 57.

STANDARD

When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court must accept as true all facts alleged in the complaint and construe all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Murphy v. Walker, 51 F.3d 714, 717 (7th Cir. 1995). To state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). A plaintiff need not allege all facts involved in the claim. See Sanjuan v. Am. Bd. of Psychiatry & Neurology, Inc., 40 F.3d 247, 251 (7th Cir. 1994). However, in order to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the claim must be supported by facts that, if taken as true, at least plausibly suggest that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007). Such a set of facts must "raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence" of illegality. Id. at 1965.

Truesdale's Complaint, although not divided into numbered counts, alleges four claims against Orland Park and the Individual Defendants.*fn3 Counts I, II, and III seek damages against Defendants for violating Truesdale's due process rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 under the 4th Amendment and Count IV seeks damages against Orland Park under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA").

STATEMENT OF FACTS

Truesdale is a resident of Cook County who suffers from a mental impairment and the Individual Defendants are employed by Orland Park as police officers. Cplt. ¶¶ 1-12, pp. 1-2; ¶ 3, p. 4. In Count I, Truesdale pleads that in the summer of 2005, including May 31, 2005 and June 7, 2005, the Individual Defendants arrested her; filed seven misdemeanor complaints against her, hospitalized and committed her in violation of her due process rights.*fn4 Cplt. ¶ 13, p. 3m, ¶ 3, p. 4.

The two arrests resulted in criminal prosecution. Cplt. ¶ 3, p. 4. Although innocent, Truesdale pleaded guilty to some of these complaints because her mental impairment prevented her from weighing counsel's advice to plead guilty in order to be released. Cplt. ¶ 4, p. 4. Truesdale was convicted of unspecified misdemeanors and spent more than three months in Cook County Jail. Cplt. ¶ 5, p. 5. Truesdale claims that the aforementioned arrests were made without probable cause, and thus, violated her due process rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. She further alleges that her arrests ...


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