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Saffold v. Village of Schaumburg

August 24, 2009

DEXTER SAFFOLD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
VILLAGE OF SCHAUMBURG, ET AL. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert M. Dow, Jr. United States District Judge

Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, Dexter Saffold ("Plaintiff"), filed a six-count pro se complaint [64] against Defendants, the Village of Schaumburg ("the Village"), Schaumburg Police Officers Kurt Metzger ("Metzger") and Gregory Klebba ("Klebba"), the City of Chicago ("the City"), Chicago Police Officers Jonathan Martinez ("Martinez") and Badriyyah Fateen ("Fateen"), and Verizon Wireless employees Diane Wilson ("Wilson"), Peter Austin ("Austin"), and Lowell McAdam ("McAdam"), alleging violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and state law, and seeking damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988.

The City, Martinez, and Fateen (collectively the "City Defendants") filed a motion to dismiss [61] pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), which is currently before the Court.*fn1 For the reasons stated below, the City Defendants'motion to dismiss is granted in part and denied in part.

I. Background

On November 6, 2006, Defendants Metzger, Klebba, Fateen, and Martinez arrived at Plaintiff's residence and identified themselves as police officers. Cmplt. Count 1 at ¶ 5; id. Count 2 at ¶ 5; id. Count 3 at ¶ 5; id. Count 4 at ¶ 5. Plaintiff answered the door and asked why the officers were there and whether they had a warrant. Id. Count 1 at ¶ 6; id. Count 2 at ¶ 6; id. Count 3 at ¶ 6; id. Count 4 at ¶ 6. The officers informed Plaintiff that they did not need a warrant because they had probable cause to arrest him and search his apartment. Id. Plaintiff maintains that one of the officers then slammed him up against the wall and handcuffed him. Id. p. 3 at ¶ 2. After searching Plaintiff's apartment for a Verizon Wireless cell phone, the officers transported Plaintiff to the Schaumburg Police Department, where he was held from approximately 7:00 p.m. on November 6th until approximately 12:30 or 12:45 a.m. on November 7th. Cmplt. p. 3 at ¶¶ 3-4; id. Count 1 at ¶ 11; id. Count 2 at ¶ 9.

Plaintiff was arrested as a result of reports that the police had received from Defendants Wilson and Austin, both of whom are Verizon Wireless employees, about threatening phone calls that they received from an individual who identified himself as Dexter Saffold. Id. Count 5 at ¶ 1; id. Count 6 at ¶ 1. Wilson complained that a person identifying himself as Dexter Saffold had left a threatening message on her voicemail and informed the police that she had been told that the same person called earlier with a bomb threat. Id. Count 5 at ¶ 1. Similarly, Austin told police that a person named Dexter Saffold had made threatening calls, including a bomb threat. Id. Count 6 at ¶ 1.

On December 19, 2008, Plaintiff pled guilty to telephone harassment, the crime for which he was arrested on November 6, 2006. Pl. Resp. at ¶¶ 3, 12; id. at 6 (Motion To Withdraw Plea of Guilty And Vacate Judgment); id. at 7, ¶ 1 (Saffold Affidavit).*fn2 Plaintiff has advised the Court [see 77] that his motion to withdraw his plea was denied by the state trial court and that Plaintiff has appealed that ruling.

The claims against the City Defendants are set forth in Counts 3 and 4 of the complaint. Count 4 is directed against Defendant Martinez individually and as "as servant and/or employee and/or agent for the City of Chicago," and asserts a Section 1983 false arrest claim and state law claims for false arrest and false imprisonment. Count 3 asserts nearly identical claims against Defendant Fateen individually and as "as servant and/or employee and/or agent for the City of Chicago."*fn3 None of the counts are nominally directed against the City.

II. Legal Standard On Motion To Dismiss

A motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of the complaint, not the merits of the case. See Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the complaint first must comply with Rule 8(a) by providing "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief" (Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)), such that the defendant is given "fair notice of what the * * * claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Second, the factual allegations in the complaint must be sufficient to raise the possibility of relief above the "speculative level," assuming that all of the allegations in the complaint are true. E.E.O.C. v. Concentra Health Servs., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). "[O]nce a claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 563. The Court accepts as true all of the well-pleaded facts alleged by the plaintiff and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom. See Barnes v. Briley, 420 F.3d 673, 677 (7th Cir. 2005). While "[a] pro se complaint is held to ' less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers,'* * * a pro se complainant can plead himself out of court by pleading facts that undermine the allegations set forth in his complaint." Henderson v. Sheahan, 196 F.3d 839, 845-46 (7th Cir. 1999) (citation omitted). In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court may consider the complaint, the answer, and any written instruments attached to the complaint as exhibits. See Beanstalk Group, Inc. v. AM Gen. Corp., 283 F.3d 856, 858 (7th Cir. 2002); Beam v. IPCO Corp., 838 F.2d 242, 244 (7th Cir. 1988).

III. Analysis

A. Section 1983 Claims Against Officers ...


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