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Taylor v. City of Chicago

August 10, 2009

IRIS TAYLOR, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, DORNIS COOPER, JOHN THILL, AND JOSE DE JESUS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable David H. Coar

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This case concerns Iris Taylor's claim that officers of the Chicago Police Department fabricated evidence and gave false evidence against her in pretrial proceedings and in her criminal trial. Before the court is the defendants' motion to dismiss Taylor's first amended complaint, which includes a due-process claim under the Fifth Amendment and a state-law claim for malicious prosecution. In response, Taylor does not dispute that her Fifth Amendment due-process theory is untenable because she was acquitted, and she concedes that her state-law malicious-prosecution claim is time-barred. Instead, she seeks leave to file a second amended complaint to advance an alternative legal theory: that the officers' conduct caused her continued "seizure" until she was acquitted, in violation of her Fourth Amendment rights. Because the Seventh Circuit has rejected Taylor's proposed legal theory, and because she has abandoned her other legal theories, the court GRANTS the uncontested motion to dismiss her first amended complaint and DENIES Taylor leave to file a second amended complaint.

Background

Taylor's proposed second amended complaint, like the two that preceded it, alleges the following facts:

On an unspecified date in late July 2005, at about 3:00 p.m., Taylor was at her mother's house, located at 5734 S. Calumet in Chicago, Illinois. The police were called to break up an argument at the home, and at least six officers arrived. (R.1, Compl. ¶5.) Following their arrival, Taylor heard her mother screaming that an officer was twisting her arm. Taylor and her brother went to investigate. The officers had called for backup, and additional officers were now at the scene. (Id. ¶6.)

When Taylor and her brother went to check on their mother, officers attempted to arrest Taylor's brother. He protested, and an officer attempted to use a taser on him; but the officer instead struck Taylor on the hand with the taser. Taylor, who was five months' pregnant at the time, was then dragged, face down, downstairs. (Id. ¶7.) She was jailed and charged with resisting arrest, see 720 ILCS 5/31-1(a-7), and battery to a police officer, see 720 ILCS 5/12-4(b). She spent eight days in jail before she was bailed out. (Id.)

According to Taylor, the officers fabricated evidence, used falsified evidence in the criminal complaints against her, and provided false evidence and testimony in post-arrest judicial proceedings and at trial. (Id. ¶9.) All criminal charges were eventually resolved in her favor. (Id. ¶8.)

On May 9, 2008, Taylor filed her complaint in federal court against unnamed Chicago police officers and the City of Chicago, asserting that the preceding facts supported (1) a claim that the officers violated her due-process rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth amendments; (2) a claim that the officers conspired to violate her constitutional rights; and (3) a state-law claim of malicious prosecution. She also advanced a state-law respondeat superior theory against the City of Chicago. (R.1, Compl.)

The City of Chicago filed a motion to dismiss on September 15, 2008, arguing that (1) there is no federal remedy for Taylor's due-process claim, which is premised on the officers' pretrial misconduct and is essentially one for malicious prosecution; (2) because she was acquitted, a due-process claim based on the officers' misconduct at trial cannot succeed; (3) the absence of an underlying constitutional violation dooms her conspiracy claim; and (4) Taylor's state-law malicious prosecution claim and respondeat superior theory are barred by Illinois's one-year statute of limitations, as she was found "not guilty" on May 8, 2007-a year and a day before she filed her complaint. (R.15.)

On October 10, 2008, Taylor responded to the motion, asserting that she had pled sufficient facts to support a Brady claim despite her acquittal. (R.20.) Six days later, Taylor filed her first amended complaint. (R.22, 1st Am. Compl.) In it, her allegations remained the same, but she identified and named the police officers.

On April 9, 2009, Taylor's attorney, Angela Lockett, filed a motion to withdraw her representation on the grounds that she was no longer working for the law firm that represents Taylor. A week later, Attorney Standish Willis filed an appearance on Taylor's behalf.

On April 17, 2009, the City of Chicago filed a motion to dismiss the first amended complaint, which the individual officers later joined. (R.34.) They advanced the same arguments as in their first motion to dismiss, along with a contention that the amended complaint should be dismissed based on Taylor's failure, without good cause, to serve the defendant officers within 120 days of filing her amended complaint. (R.34.)*fn1

In Taylor's response, she concedes that her state-law claims are time-barred under Illinois law, and she does not otherwise dispute the grounds for dismissal of her first amended complaint. Instead, she seeks leave to file a second amended complaint to advance an alternative legal theory grounded in the Fourth Amendment. She has submitted along with her response a proposed second amended complaint that would advance two claims: (1) in fabricating evidence and providing false evidence in criminal complaints, post-arrest judicial proceedings, and at trial, the officers caused the continuous seizure of Taylor until her acquittal, in violation of her rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments; and (2) the defendant officers conspired to deprive Taylor of her Fourth Amendment rights. (R.42.)

In their reply, the defendants argue that amending Taylor's complaint would be futile, cause undue prejudice, ...


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