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Holm v. Village of Coal City

September 19, 2008


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wayne R. Andersen United States District Judge

Wayne R. Andersen District Judge


This matter is before the court on separate motions for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure by defendant Grundy Sheriff's Deputy Rick Onsen ("Deputy Onsen"), as well as defendants Village of Coal City, Coal City Police Officers Harsiem, Nidiffer, Best, and Clark, Coal City Police Sergeants Klegman and Howell, and Coal City Police Chief Neary (the "Coal City defendants"). For the following reasons, those motions are granted.


Plaintiff Adam Holm filed this action on behalf of himself and his three children, Nicholas (19 years old), Daniel (16 years old), and Rebecca (14 years old), against the Village of Coal City, Illinois, as well as several Coal City police officers, for alleged violations of the plaintiffs' civil rights. More specifically, the plaintiffs' complaint alleges various constitutional violations relating to alleged harassment, discrimination, and other negative interactions with the defendant Coal City police officers, based upon the following factual allegations:

A. June 30, 2005 Arrest of Adam Holm

On June 30, 2005, Adam Holm was arrested for battery based upon a civilian complaint signed by Rhonda Bannon alleging that Adam Holm spit on Bannon's minor son, Kenny Smith. Defendant Officers Harsiem and Nidiffer were the arresting officers. Neither officer testified at Adam Holm's criminal trial on the battery charge, and Holm was ultimately found not guilty of the charge. Bannon was also arrested on June 30, 2005 for assault based upon a civilian complaint filed by Adam Holm.

B. July 3, 2005 Scooter Citations and Criminal Complaint Against Adam Holm

On July 2, 2005, at approximately 7:17 p.m., defendant Officers Harsiem and Clark responded to a citizen complaint that Daniel Holm, an unlicensed driver, was in a Coal City skate park attempting to hit other individuals while riding a motorized scooter. At that time, Officers Harsiem and Clark advised Daniel and Adam Holm, who also was present in the skate park, that the use of a motorized scooter at the skate park, on the sidewalks, or on the roadway was prohibited. At approximately 10:14 p.m. on July 2, 2005, Officer Harsiem again observed Daniel Holm riding the electric scooter, this time on a roadway with no registration and no headlights. Adam Holm was with Daniel Holm, but was not riding the scooter. Officer Harsiem advised Daniel and Adam Holm that the scooter was going to be impounded based upon the Holms' failure to abide by a prior warning, inoperable lights, and no registration. However, Officer Harsiem did not take possession of the scooter at that time. Instead, Daniel and Adam Holm agreed to walk the scooter to the police station, but they did not do so. Officer Harsiem did not issue citations on the scene, and testified that he had intended to do so when Daniel and Adam Holm arrived at the police station with the scooter.

Because the Holms failed to bring the scooter to the Coal City police station on July 2, 2005, on July 3, 2005, Officer Harsiem wrote citations to Daniel Holm for operating a motorized scooter on the roadway and to Adam Holm for permitting an unlicensed driver to operate a motor vehicle. Later in the day on July 3, 2005, Officer Harsiem and Sergeant Klegman went to the Holms' residence to deliver the citations to Daniel and Adam Holm, but allege that they were unable to do so because the Holms refused to open the door. The officers further allege that they observed Adam and Daniel Holm in the residence, in plain view, through the window while the officers knocked on the Holms' door. A criminal complaint was issued against Adam Holm for obstructing a police officer based upon his refusal to accept the citations. The charge was later modified to obstruction of service of process, and Adam Holm was found guilty of that charge after a trial by jury. Adam Holm alleges that he did nothing wrong and that the Coal City officers created false police reports to obtain that conviction.

C. July 3, 2005 Arrest of Adam Holm

On the evening of July 3, 2005, Officer Clark witnessed Adam Holm driving on Route 113 in Coal City in a vehicle that was missing a headlight and headlight mount. Officer Clark, who was aware of the criminal complaint that had been issued against Holm earlier that day, pulled over Holm. Officer Clark was the only Coal City police officer on duty at the time, so Deputy Onsen was dispatched to the scene because it is standard procedure to have a second officer present during an arrest. Once Deputy Onsen arrived on the scene, Officer Clark advised Onsen that Clark was going to serve Adam Holm with a signed complaint for Holm's arrest.

Upon pulling his car to the side of the street, Adam Holm directed his daughter, Rebecca, to call Adam Holm's friend, William VanArkel, to the scene of the traffic stop. VanArkel arrived on the scene with his wife approximately three to five minutes after he was called. VanArkel parked his vehicle across the street from Holm's vehicle and attempted to approach Holm's vehicle. Officer Clark advised VanArkel to remain in his vehicle. Adam Holm then began a conversation with VanArkel's wife across the street through the vehicles' open windows.

Officer Clark approached Adam Holm's vehicle. After two requests from Officer Clark, Adam Holm exited the vehicle and walked to the trunk area. Officer Clark then informed Adam Holm that there was a signed complaint for Holm's arrest and Officer Clark asked Holm to put Holm's hands behind his back. Adam Holm alleges that he complied with Officer Clark's orders and that he turned around to walk ...

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