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Eckert v. City of Chicago

May 20, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Marvin E. Aspen United States District Judge

Judge Marvin E. Aspen


Presently before us are two motions to dismiss: one filed by the City of Chicago (the "City") and one filed by Cook County and Thomas Dart, Sheriff of Cook County.*fn1 The City argues that the Monell claim asserted by Plaintiff Jeffrey Eckert should be dismissed because he did not sufficiently identify the policy, custom, or practice that caused his constitutional violation and did not allege a direct link between that policy and his violation. Dart and Cook County join in the City's motion and further argue that any individual claims against Dart must fail because Eckert did not allege that Dart was individually involved in the alleged misconduct. Cook County argues that the claim against it should be dismissed because it cannot be held liable under respondeat superior and Eckert did not plead indemnification. For the following reasons, we grant in part both motions.


While at a restaurant in Chicago late in the evening on December 31, 2007 through early January 1, 2008, Eckert became involved in an altercation with another restaurant patron after the other patron made comments about Eckert's wife. (Compl. ¶¶ 6-7.) Chicago Police Officers ("Officers") responded to a call reporting the incident. (Id. ¶ 8.) After conducting interviews, the Officers decided not to arrest anyone based on their involvement in the altercation, but arrested Eckert on an outstanding warrant for his arrest in DuPage County. (Id.) The Officers transported Eckert, in handcuffs, to lockup at Chicago Police District 23. (Id. ¶ 9.) While at District 23, Eckert requested medical attention and pain medication for injuries to his knee that he sustained during the altercation at the restaurant. Eckert alleges that the Officers continually refused and ignored his requests for pain medication and medical attention. (Id. ¶ 10.) He further alleges that the Officers did not give him any food or water while in lockup. (Id. ¶ 12.)

At some point during the day on January 1, 2008, Eckert was transported from District 23 to the Cook County jail. (Id. ¶ 13.) Eckert requested medical attention and pain medication from the physician and/or physician assistant conducting his "intake medical screening" at the jail and from other jail officials. (Id. ¶¶ 14-15.) He also requested that they give him his daily prescription medicine. (Id. ¶ 16.) All of Eckert's requests were denied. (Id. ¶¶ 15-16.)

In addition to denying his requests for medical attention, Eckert alleges that he was held in a general holding area without an opportunity to sit or lie down. (Id. ¶ 18.) Accordingly, Eckert had to stand on his injured leg all day. He was further required to bend his injured leg several times for the purpose of removing his shoes and clothing, and for strip searches. (Id.)

Eckert alleges that the standing and bending caused "excruciating pain." (Id.) Late on January 1, 2008, Eckert was taken from the general holding area to a cell. The jail officials told Eckert that the cell was available because its prior inhabitant hanged himself, which was, according to Eckert, "an effort to further torment [him]." (Id. ¶ 19.) Eckert also claims that he was not provided food or water while at Cook County jail. (Id.)

On January 2, 2008, Eckert was transported to DuPage County jail, where he was processed and released. (Id. ¶¶ 20-21.) After his release, Eckert went to Northwest Community Hospital, where doctors told him that he needed surgery, but that his knee and leg were too swollen to perform the procedure. (Id. ¶ 21.) Eckert was finally able to have the surgery over four months later. Eckert alleges that "[a]s a result of the defendants' malicious delay in treatment, [his] injury was exacerbated, complicated, and required additional treatment and therapy." (Id.)

Eckert has since filed a five-count complaint. Count I alleges excessive force in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983; Count II alleges that the City, Cook County, and Dart acted pursuant to policies and practices to deprive him of medical attention in violation of § 1983; Count III seeks damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress; Count IV attempts to hold Defendants responsible for the actions of its employees under respondent superior; and finally, Count V asserts common law claims. All Defendants have filed motions to dismiss.


The purpose of a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is to test the sufficiency of the complaint, not to decide the merits of the case. Gibson v. City of Chi., 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990). Accordingly, a court may grant a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) only if a complaint lacks "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007); see Killingsworth v. HSBC Bank Nev., N.A., 507 F.3d 614, 618-19 (7th Cir. 2007); EEOC v. Concentra Health Servs., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776-77 (7th Cir. 2007). A sufficient complaint need not give "detailed factual allegations," but it must provide more than "labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. at 1964-65 (2007); Killingsworth, 507 F.3d at 618-19. These requirements ensure that the defendant receives "fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. at 1964 (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct. 99, 102 (1957)); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a). In evaluating a motion to dismiss, we must accept all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Thompson v. Ill. Dep't of Prof'l Reg., 300 F.3d 750, 753 (7th Cir. 2002). However, "our favor toward the nonmoving party does not extend to drawing 'inferences that are supported by only speculation or conjecture.'" Argyropoulos v. City of Alton, 539 F.3d 724, 732 (7th Cir. 2008) (quoting Fischer v. Avanade, Inc., 519 F.3d 393, 401 (7th Cir. 2008)). Therefore, the plaintiff cannot merely "raise some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts; he must come forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Keri v. Bd. of Trs. of Purdue Univ., 458 F.3d 620, 628 (7th Cir. 2006).


I. Claims Against Cook ...

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