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Fontanez v. Cornier

January 22, 2009

FERNANDO FONTANEZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN CORNIER, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John F. Grady, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Before the court is defendant's motion for summary judgment. For the reasons explained below, the motion is granted.

BACKGROUND

This is a civil rights action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pro se plaintiff Fernando Fontanez complains that he was falsely arrested on June 7, 2006, and that defendant John Cornier, a Special Agent for the Illinois State Police, caused the arrest "by initiating an investigative alert negligently purporting that" plaintiff had threatened Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Defendant now moves for summary judgment.

DISCUSSION

A. Summary Judgment Standards

Summary judgment "should be rendered 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). In considering such a motion, the court construes the evidence and all inferences that reasonably can be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See Pitasi v. Gartner Group, Inc., 184 F.3d 709, 714 (7th Cir. 1999). "Summary judgment should be denied if the dispute is 'genuine': 'if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.'" Talanda v. KFC Nat'l Mgmt. Co., 140 F.3d 1090, 1095 (7th Cir. 1998) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)).

The court will enter summary judgment against a party who does not "come forward with evidence that would reasonably permit the finder of fact to find in [its] favor on a material question." McGrath v. Gillis, 44 F.3d 567, 569 (7th Cir. 1995). Once the moving party has supported its motion for summary judgment, the "opposing party may not rely merely on allegations or denials in its own pleading; rather, its response must--by affidavits or as otherwise provided in [Rule 56]--set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2). If the adverse party does not so respond, "summary judgment should, if appropriate, be entered against that party." Id.

Local Rule 56.1 of the Northern District of Illinois requires the moving party to file a statement of material facts as to which he contends there is no genuine issue and that entitle him to a judgment as a matter of law. N.D. Ill. L.R. 56.1(a)(3). The local rule also requires the nonmoving party to file a "response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon." N.D. Ill. L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(B). "All material facts set forth in the statement required of the moving party will be deemed to be admitted unless controverted by the statement of the opposing party." N.D. Ill. L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(C); Metropolitan Life Ins. Co. v. Johnson, 297 F.3d 558, 562 (7th Cir. 2002).

Local Rule 56.2 requires "[a]ny party moving for summary judgment against a party proceeding pro se" to "serve and file as a separate document, together with the papers in support of the motion, a 'Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment.'" N.D. Ill. L.R. 56.2. The Notice provides pro se litigants information about the nature of a summary judgment motion, what a litigant must do to defeat such a motion, and what is required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(e) and Local Rule 56.1.

Defendant Cornier served and filed the Notice required by Local Rule 56.2, but plaintiff still failed to file the required response to defendant's Rule 56.1 statement.*fn1 Therefore, pursuant to Local Rule 56.1(b), we deem admitted all of the facts in defendant's submission, which are properly supported by affidavits and documents. Those facts are as follows.

B. Facts Deemed Admitted

Defendant Cornier has been an officer with the Illinois State Police ("ISP") since 1980, and he has been a Special Agent since 2004. Krista Thien, who is not a party to this case, has been an officer with the ISP for twelve and a half ...


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