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Carmichael v. Village of Palatine

December 4, 2008


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


Plaintiffs Abraham Carmichael ("Carmichael") and Keith Sawyer ("Sawyer") filed suit against Defendants Village of Palatine, Illinois ("Palatine"), Detective Timothy Sharkey ("Sharkey") and Police Officer Steve Bushore ("Bushore") based upon a traffic stop. Specifically, Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint states claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Sharkey and Bushore for unreasonable search and seizure (Count I), false arrest and unlawful detention (Count II) and excessive force (Count III). Additionally, Carmichael states claims under Illinois law against Sharkey for false imprisonment (Count IV), malicious prosecution (Count V) and intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count VI). Carmichael has also included claims against Palatine for respondeat superior liability (Count VII) and indemnification (Count VII). Defendants moved for summary judgment as to all claims. For the reasons stated below, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is granted.


Carmichael and Sawyer met with a woman named Kita and two of her female friends on the south side of Chicago, Illinois on September 15, 2006. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 1-4.)*fn1 Carmichael and Kita smoked marijuana and afterward Kita drove Carmichael, Sawyer and the two other females to a motel in Palatine, Illinois. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 6-8.) When they arrived at the motel, Kita rented a room where all five people drank vodka. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 9-10.) Additionally, Carmichael and Kita smoked more marijuana in the hotel room. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 10.) After an hour and a half, Kita loaned her car to Carmichael and Sawyer so they could drive to a nearby gas station and purchase condoms. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 11-13.) On the way back to the motel, Carmichael drove while Sawyer sat in the passenger seat. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 14-15.)

When Carmichael reached the motel's parking lot, he parked the car and began to step out of the car. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 16.) After he placed one foot on the ground, he heard someone tell him to "freeze." (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 17-18.) Carmichael turned and saw Sharkey approximately ten to twelve feet away with his handgun drawn and pointed at him. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 18, 20.) Carmichael raised his hands when he realized the person speaking was a police officer. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 18-19.) Sharkey directed Carmichael to return to the car. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 19.) Carmichael returned to the car and placed his hands on the steering wheel. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 19, 22.) Sharkey approached the car from the driver's side with his handgun put away and asked Carmichael for his driver's license. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 23-24.) Carmichael explained that he did not have a driver's license but he handed Sharkey his Illinois State Identification card. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 24-25.) Sharkey took the card back to his vehicle. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 25.)

When Sharkey returned, he informed Carmichael that his driver's license had been revoked. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 28.) Sharkey then asked for the vehicle's insurance and registration. Carmichael responded that he did not know where the documents were because the car did not belong to him. (Id.) At that point, Sharkey ordered Carmichael to step out of the car. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 29.) Sharkey brought Carmichael to the rear of the car while Sawyer remained inside. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 30.) Without Carmichael's consent, Sharkey conducted a search of his's person and found a bag of marijuana in the pocket of his jeans. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 31; Def. 56.1 Add'l Resp. ¶ 10.) After finding the marijuana, Sharkey handcuffed Carmichael's hands behind his back. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 32.) At that time, another police officer, Bushore, arrived on the scene. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 33, 57.) After he handcuffed Carmichael, Sharkey ordered Sawyer to get out of the car. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 34.) Sharkey then conducted a pat-down search of Sawyer. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 35.) Sawyer did not consent to the search. (Def. 56.1 Add'l Resp. ¶ 10.) After the search, Sharkey handcuffed Sawyer. (Id.) When Sawyer asked why the car had been pulled over, Sharkey responded that he pulled them over because the car did not have a front license plate and because the car had tinted front windows. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 35-36.) Kita's car did not have a front license plate because it only had a single temporary plate on its rear end and it had tinted front windows. (Pl. 56.1 Resp.¶37.)*fn2 Sharkey now admits that he did not make the traffic stop because of tinted front windows or the lack of a front license plate. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 52.) Instead, Sharkey states that he stopped Carmichael because the vehicle did not have operational tail or brake lights at the time he made the stop. (Def. 56.1 Add'l Resp. ¶¶ 1-2.)

After Sharkey had handcuffed Carmichael and Sawyer, he left them with Bushore and searched the interior of the car. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 38.) Sharkey found a black plastic bag inside the car. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 39.) He removed the bag from the car, searched it, and found a large amount of crack cocaine inside. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 40.) Carmichael and Sawyer claimed that they did not know who owned the bag or what was inside of it. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 39.) After he found the crack cocaine inside of the black bag, Sharkey put Carmichael into his police car and then searched Sawyer again. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 41-42.) During this search, Sharkey briefly pulled the front and back waistband of Sawyer's underwear away from Sawyer's body to shine a flashlight down his pants. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 43.) At Sharkey's direction, Sawyer then removed his shoes. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 44.) After Sharkey searched Sawyer's shoes, he handed them back and informed Sawyer that he was free to leave but he was going to arrest Carmichael. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 44-45.)

After Sawyer left the scene, Sharkey drove Carmichael to the Palatine Police Station. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 45-46.) Sharkey had Kita's car towed to Palella's Auto Body in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, where it remains. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 47.) An investigator for the Cook County Public Defender's Office, James Madden, later examined the vehicle and found its tail lights and brake lights to be operational. (Def. 56.1 Add'l Resp. ¶ 3.)

When Sharkey and Carmichael arrived at the police station, Sharkey strip-searched Carmichael. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 48.) Ultimately, Carmichael received traffic citations for driving with a revoked driver's license and driving a vehicle without tail lights or brake lights in violation of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 49.) Carmichael did not receive a traffic citation for not having a front license plate or for having a tinted driver's side window. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 51.) Additionally, Carmichael was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and the unlawful possession of cannabis. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 50.)

At Carmichael's bond hearing on September 16, 2008, the judge set his bond at $100,000. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 53.) Because Carmichael did not have the ability to post bond at that time, he remained in the Cook County Jail until January 17, 2007, the date of a hearing on his Motion to Suppress and Quash Arrest. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 54.) At the hearing, Sharkey testified that he had probable cause to stop Carmichael's vehicle because the vehicle did not have operational tail lights or brake lights. (Def. 56.1 Add'l Resp. ¶ 1.) Based upon Madden's investigation that revealed operational tail lights and brake lights, the judge found that Sharkey lied about whether the car had operational tail lights and brake lights on the night he made the traffic stop. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 55; Def. 56.1 Add'l Resp. ¶ 5.) Accordingly, the judge granted Carmichael's Motion to Suppress and Quash Arrest. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 55.) On that same date, the Cook County State's Attorney moved to nolle prosequi the charges against Carmichael. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 56.)

On September 14, 2007, Carmichael and Sawyer initiated this lawsuit against Sharkey, Bushore and the Village of Palatine. Carmichael and Sawyer state claims against Sharkey and Bushore under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for unreasonable search and seizure, false arrest/unlawful detention and excessive force. Carmichael also states claims against Sharkey under Illinois law for false imprisonment, malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Finally, Carmichael states claims against Palatine for respondeat superior liability and indemnification for the causes of action arising under Illinois law.


Summary judgment is proper when "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). In determining whether a genuine issue of fact exists, the Court must view the evidence and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the party opposing the motion. Bennington v. Caterpillar Inc., 275 F.3d 654, 658 (7th Cir. 2001); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). However, the Court will "limit its analysis of the facts on summary judgment to evidence that is properly identified and supported in the parties' [Local Rule 56.1] statement."

Bordelon v. Chicago Sch. Reform Bd. of Trustees, 233 F.3d 524, 529 (7th Cir. 2000). Where a proposed statement of fact is supported by the record and not adequately rebutted, the court will accept that statement as true for purposes of summary judgment. An adequate rebuttal requires a citation to specific support in the record; an unsubstantiated denial is not adequate. See Albiero v. City of Kankakee, 246 F.3d 927, 933 (7th Cir. 2001); Drake v. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co., 134 F.3d 878, 887 (7th Cir. 1998) ("'Rule 56 demands something more specific than the bald assertion of the general truth of a ...

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