Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Menefee v. City of Country Club Hills

October 23, 2008

CARL R. MENEFEE, SR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF COUNTRY CLUB HILLS AND DONALD W. ANDERSON, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Harry D. Leinenweber

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant City of Country Club Hills. For the reasons given below, the Motion to Dismiss is granted.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

This case arises out of the disclosure of Plaintiff Carl R. Menefee, Sr.'s (hereinafter, "Menefee") criminal history and credit history information by Defendant City of Country Club Hills (hereinafter, "the City"). In 2004, the City obtained Menefee's criminal history and credit history information pursuant to authorizations by Menefee in conjunction with his application for employment by the City. On January 8, 2008, in an unrelated legal proceeding, the City of Zion, through its attorney Donald Anderson (hereinafter, "Anderson"), issued a subpoena to the City of Country Club Hills for Menefee's employment application file. In response to the subpoena, the City produced the file, including Menefee's criminal history and credit history information.

On May 21, 2008, Menefee filed a Pro Se Complaint alleging that the City is liable to him for damages resulting from the disclosure of his criminal history information in violation of Section 3789g(b) of the Justice System Improvement Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3701 et seq. (hereinafter, the "JSIA"). On August 5, 2008, the Court granted the City's Motion to Dismiss, holding that Section 3789g(b) does not create an enforceable right to prevent the disclosure of criminal history information.

On August 21, 2008, Menefee filed an Amended Complaint, adding two new counts and Defendant Anderson, attorney for the City of Zion. In the Amended Complaint, Menefee alleges that Defendants violated Section 3789g(a) of the JSIA (Counts I and III) and that Defendants violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681e(a) and 1681o(a) (hereinafter, the "FCRA") (Counts II and IV).

In its Motion to Dismiss, the City argues that the Amended Complaint fails to state a claim under the JSIA because Section 3789g(a) does not provide a private cause of action and because the information allegedly disclosed does not constitute "research or statistical information." The City contends that the Amended Complaint fails to state a claim under the FCRA because the City is not a "consumer reporting agency," and because Menefee failed to allege any actual damages.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

In deciding a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court accepts all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and draws all reasonable inferences in a light favorable to the plaintiff. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964 (2007). "A complaint must always, . . . allege 'enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face,' " Limestone Development Corp. v. Village of Lemont, Ill., 520 F.3d 797, 803 (7th Cir., 2008) (quoting Bell Atlantic, 127 S.Ct. at 1974). To avoid dismissal, the "allegations must plausibly suggest that the defendant has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a 'speculative level.'" E.E.O.C. v. Concentra Health Services, Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir., 2007) (citing Bell Atlantic, 127 S.Ct. at 1965).

III. DISCUSSION

A. Justice System Improvement Act Claims

Section 3789g(a) of the JSIA imposes duties and restrictions relating to the release of "research or statistical information" for reasons unrelated to law enforcement. 42 U.S.C. § 3789g(a); Polchowski v. Gorris, 714 F.2d 749, 750 (7th Cir., 1983). The Seventh Circuit has held that Section 3789g(a) "creates a right to be free from unwarranted disclosures of statistical and research information" and imposes an "affirmative obligation" upon persons and entities possessing this information "to use it only for its intended purpose." Polchowski, 714 F.2d at 751.

Although Section 3789g(a) creates a right to be free from unwarranted disclosures of research and statistical information, the JSIA does not provide a private right of enforcement for a violation of this provision. Id. at 752; Cline v. Rogers, 87 F.3d 176, 182 (6th Cir., 1996) (holding that Congress created a "generalized administrative scheme," not a private right of action). Additionally, while in some instances, an action against a state or local official who violates rights created by a federal statute may be brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Seventh Circuit has held that a Section 1983 action may not be maintained to remedy a violation of Section 3789g(a). Polchowski, 714 F.2d at 752; see also, Cline, 87 F.3d at 184 (Sixth Circuit concurring). Consequently, no private cause of action exists for a violation of Section 3789g(a), and Menefee's claims must be dismissed.

Even if a private cause of action somehow could be brought under the JSIA, the Amended Complaint still fails to state a claim. "[S]tatistical and research information" in Section 3789g(a) refers to "general information collected to be used solely for research and statistical summaries." Polchowski, 714 F.2d at 751 n.3. According to the Seventh Circuit, "[t]his information is normally gathered in a fashion which makes the information impossible to attribute to a specific individual." Id. The information that the City disclosed, namely information relating to Menefee's criminal and credit histories from its employment files, is not the type of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.