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Pinson v. Will County State's Attorney's Office

July 7, 2009

JOSEPH L. PINSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WILL COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY'S OFFICE; THE LAW OFFICE OF MITCHELL, BOLDEN, AND AMY MELTON; SHOREWOOD POLICE DEPARTMENT; RYAN MARK BRUEMMER; PHILLIP PETER PILON; THE LAW OFFICE OF PHELAN, NOLAND AND STEVE LANDICE; THE LAW OFFICE OF CHRYSTEL GALVIN; AND JUDGE MARZELL RICHARDSON OF THE WILL COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Joseph L. Pinson ("Pinson") filed suit pro se against the Will County State's Attorney's Office ("WCSAO"), the Law Office of Mitchell, Bolden, and Amy Melton ("Mitchell firm"), the Law Office of Phelan, Noland and Steve Landice ("Phelan firm"), the Law Office of Chrystel Galvin ("Galvin"), the Shorewood Police Department ("SPD"), Phillip Peter Pilon ("Pilon"), Ryan Mark Bruemmer ("Bruemmer") and Judge Marzell Richardson of the Will County Circuit Court ("Judge Richardson") alleging claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and under the Illinois Constitution. Pinson filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis and a motion for appointment of counsel. This Court denied the application and the motion and dismissed Pinson's Complaint without prejudice for failure to state a claim. Pinson filed a motion to vacate the order and reopen his case which this Court granted and Pinson thereafter filed a First Amended Complaint against the same parties alleging causes of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming violations of his rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution as well as under the Illinois Constitution. Each of the Defendants, with the exception of Bruemmer, moved to dismiss the First Amended Complaint.*fn1 For the reasons stated below, the WCSAO's Motion to Dismiss is granted with prejudice, Galvin's Motion to Dismiss is granted in part with and in part without prejudice and SPD, the Phelan firm, the Mitchell firm and Pilon's Motions to Dismiss are granted without prejudice. In addition, this Court appoints counsel for Pinson.

PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

Pinson's claims arise from two cases captioned 03 DT 366 and 03 TR 25099-106. Am. Cmplt. at ¶ 11. The related arrests, or at least one of them, involved a traffic stop in March of 2003. Id. at 14. Pinson contends that the prosecutors submitted perjured affidavits authored by Bruemmer and Pilon on March 16, 2003 to support charges against him. Id. at ¶¶ 14-16. The WCSAO prosecuted Pinson on these charges in spite of knowing that they were supported by perjury. Id. at ¶ 7.

Pinson entered a guilty plea to the charges in at least one of the cases on April 21, 2004. Id. at ¶ 10. Four months later, on August 13, 2004 he attempted to withdraw his guilty plea, but Judge Richardson would not allow him to do so, having previously advised Pinson that he had only thirty days in which to withdraw the plea. Id. at ¶ 10. Pinson later petitioned the court to review this decision and Judge Burnett denied his petition on June 18, 2007. Id. at ¶ 11. Pinson also filed a motion for a jury trial on the charges which the Chief Judge denied on July 16, 2007. Id. at ¶ 12.

The Defendant law firms each represented Pinson in his underlying criminal matters. The Mitchell Firm represented Pinson in case 03 DT 366. Id. at ¶ 17. According to Pinson, the firms had knowledge of the perjured statements and failed to disclose material documents him. Id. In addition, Pinson claims that the firms did not inform him that his two cases were being tried at the same time. Id.

The Phelan Firm began representing Pinson in case 03 DT 366 on July 3, 2004. Id. at ¶ 18. The Phelan firm did not appeal Judge Richardson's decision denying Pinson's request to withdraw his guilty plea. Id. In addition, attorney Steve Landice of the Phelan firm had knowledge of Pinson's cases because he worked at the prosecutor's office in 2003 and never informed Pinson of the perjured documents. Id.

Pinson's allegations against Galvin are less clear. It appears that Galvin represented Pinson on charges filed against him by the Village of Shorewood ("Shorewood") in case number 04 TR 022965 arising from Pinson's alleged operation of a vehicle on March 2, 2004. Id. at ¶ 19. Galvin represented Pinson from March 8, 2004 until August 8, 2005. Id. Galvin did not pursue any witnesses on Pinson's behalf nor did she obtain the relevant police report as of February 21, 2005. Id. Galvin had also worked for the State's Attorney's Office in 2000 during which time she prosecuted Pinson. Pinson asked for his case files from Galvin on July 16, 2007 and Galvin threatened to accuse him of criminal trespass. Id. Galvin still has the files. Id.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court must accept as true all facts alleged in the complaint and construe all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Murphy v. Walker, 51 F.3d 714, 717 (7th Cir. 1995). To state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). A plaintiff need not allege all facts involved in the claim. See Sanjuan v. Am. Bd. of Psychiatry & Neurology, Inc., 40 F.3d 247, 251 (7th Cir. 1994). However, in order to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the claim must be supported by facts that, if taken as true, at least plausibly suggest that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007). Such a set of facts must "raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence" of illegality. Id. at 1965. In making this determination the Court construes Pinson's pro se pleadings liberally, not holding them to the standards expected of pleadings drafted by lawyers. See McCormick v. City of Chicago, 230 F.3d 319, 325 (7th Cir. 2000).

DISCUSSION

Statute of Limitations

Pinson purports to bring his claims under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. The statute of limitations for claims under Section 1983 is the statute of limitations for personal injury torts in the state in which the cause of action arose. See Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 388 (2007). Pinson's cause of action arose entirely in the state of Illinois where the statute of limitations for personal injury actions is two years. See 735 ILCS 5/13-202. Accrual of a cause of action under Section 1983, however, is governed by federal law. See Wallace, 549 U.S. at 388. A cause of action under Section 1983 accrues when the plaintiff has a complete and present cause of action. See Wallace, 549 U.S. at 388 (internal citations omitted). Put ...


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