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Montgomery v. City of Harvey

September 29, 2008


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge George W. Lindberg


Plaintiff Geoffrey Montgomery's complaint against Defendants Sean Waller, Nichole Lewis, and Eyad Askar alleges the following claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983: use of excessive force by Waller and the City of Harvey (Count I); false arrest, false imprisonment, and conspiracy against all Defendants (Counts II, III, and V); and failure to train against the City of Harvey (Count VI).*fn1 In addition, Plaintiff alleges a state law claim of malicious prosecution against all Defendants (Count IX). Before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment as to Counts I and VI as to the City of Harvey, and Counts II, III, V, and IX as to all Defendants. For the reasons stated below, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.

I. Factual Background

Unless otherwise noted, the following facts are undisputed. At all times relevant to the complaint, Defendants Lewis and Waller were Deputy Marshals with the City of Harvey Police Department, and Defendant Askar was a certified police officer with that department. On November 29, 2005, Lewis, Waller, Askar, and other officers conducted a prostitution sting operation in Harvey, Illinois. During the sting operation, Lewis posed as a prostitute, while the other officers remained in visual or radio contact with her.

On the date of the sting, Plaintiff parked a van in the parking lot of a liquor store. Plaintiff's uncle, George Moore, was a passenger in the van. Moore got out of the van and walked toward the store entrance, while Plaintiff remained in the van. Moore approached Lewis and asked her the price for oral sex. During their conversation, another man (not Plaintiff) approached, also offered Lewis money for sex, and began arguing with Moore. After Moore told the man that he would have to wait, the man walked away. Lewis and Moore then began walking toward the van. At that time, Lewis gave a pre-arranged signal to the other officers.

After Lewis gave the signal, Waller and another officer, Clovis Woods, arrived on the scene and parked behind the van. Waller yelled for the occupants of the van to raise their hands in the air. According to Defendants, Waller also told the van occupants to get out of the van. Plaintiff and Moore did not get out of the van.

Waller then approached the driver's side of the van. According to Defendants, Waller yelled at the van occupants to get out of the van two more times, but no one got out. Waller tried to open the driver's door, but it was locked. Waller told Plaintiff to unlock the door. Plaintiff did not do so. According to Plaintiff, another officer told him not to unlock his door. Plaintiff knew that the individuals outside the van were police officers.

When Waller realized that the passenger side door of the van was open, he ran around to the passenger side. Waller pulled Plaintiff out of the van through the passenger side door and placed him under arrest. According to Plaintiff, Waller also struck him in the eye.

Defendant Askar arrived at the scene after Plaintiff and Moore had been taken into custody. Askar approached Lewis, pointed toward the scene of the arrest, and asked her if those were the two men who solicited her. Lewis said yes, and that they had offered her money in exchange for sex.

Plaintiff was charged with soliciting a prostitute, in violation of 720 ILCS 5/11-15(a)(1), and resisting or obstructing a peace officer, in violation of 720 ILCS 5/31-1. The parties agree that Plaintiff did not solicit Lewis for prostitution. Plaintiff was acquitted of the charge of resisting a peace officer.

II. Legal Standard

Summary judgment shall be granted "if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The Court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000). The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating that no material issue exists for trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the moving party has properly supported its motion, the nonmoving party must offer specific facts demonstrating that a material dispute exists, and must present more than a scintilla of evidence to support its position. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986).

III. Analysis

As an initial matter, the Court notes that in their briefs, the parties -- particularly Plaintiff -- refer to facts that are not presented in their statements of fact. This is improper. Local Rule 56(a)(1)(3) requires the party filing a motion for summary judgment to support its motion with "a statement of material facts." Similarly, Local Rule 56.1(b)(3) provides the only acceptable means of presenting additional facts to the Court. See Midwest Imports, Ltd. v. Coval, 71 F.3d 1311, 1317 (7th Cir. 1995). Providing facts in a brief "is insufficient to put those facts before the Court." See Malec v. Sanford, 191 F.R.D. 581, 584 (N.D. Ill. 2000).

The procedures prescribed in Rule 56.1 are not mere technicalities. They "assist the court by organizing the evidence, identifying undisputed facts, and demonstrating precisely how each side proposed to prove a disputed fact with admissible evidence." Bordelon v. Chicago Sch. Reform Bd. of Trustees, 233 F.3d 524, 527 (7th Cir. 2000) (quoting Markham v. White, 172 F.3d 486, 490 (7th Cir. 1999)). Accordingly, this Court requires strict compliance with Rule 56.1, and disregards any facts presented in the briefs that are not properly presented in the parties' statements of fact. See Cichon v. Exelon Generation Co., L.L.C., 401 F.3d 803, ...

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