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Wilson v. O'Brien

September 2, 2009

ROBERT WILSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES O'BRIEN (STAR NO. 20466), GERALD CARROLL, JOHN HALLORAN, ESTATE OF EDWARD TRIGGS, CHICAGO POLICE DETECTIVE ROLSTON (STAR NO. 20101), CHICAGO POLICE DETECTIVE MCINERNEY (STAR NO. 20202), CHICAGO POLICE DETECTIVE MOSER (STAR NO. 20465), CHICAGO POLICE DETECTIVE THOMAS M. COUGHLIN (STAR NO. 20983), CHICAGO POLICE DETECTIVE RICHARDS (STAR NO. 21200), CHICAGO POLICE SERGEANT BONKE (STAR NO. 2108), AND CITY OF CHICAGO, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles P. Kocoras, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter comes before the court on two motions filed by Defendants James O'Brien, Gerard Carroll, John Halloran, Leonard Rolston, Daniel McInerney, William Moser, Albert Graf, Warren Richards, Fred Bonke, and the City of Chicago (collectively referred to as "O'Brien"). The first is a motion to dismiss ¶¶ 2, 23, and 25 of the second amended complaint; the second is a motion for release of mental health records of Jerryco Wagner. For the reasons set forth below, the motions are denied.

BACKGROUND

According to the allegations of the complaint, which we must accept as true for present purposes, Wilson was arrested in March 1997 for an attack that took place the day before, in which a woman was badly cut while waiting at a bus stop in Chicago. Defendants James O'Brien, Gerald Carroll, and John Halloran were the arresting officers; they were officers in the Chicago Police Department. After his arrest, Wilson was held in police custody for an extended period of time, during which he was allegedly physically abused; denied adequate sleep, food, and necessary medication; intimidated; and promised leniency if he confessed and violence if he did not. The interrogation period ceased when Wilson gave an oral statement stating that he had committed the attack for which he had been arrested.

The complaint contends that the arresting officers as well as other members of the Chicago Police Department manipulated the victim of the attack into identifying Wilson as her assailant and then withheld from Wilson and his counsel that she had initially expressed doubt. Other similar crimes had been committed during the same time period in the same area, and a man named Jerryco Wagner had been arrested for their commission and had confessed. Wagner was tried for the other attacks but was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He has been housed at the Chester Mental Health Center since that time.

Wilson was convicted of attempted murder and was imprisoned for nine years before obtaining a writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254. When directed by the federal court to retry Wilson within ninety days or release him from custody, the State chose the latter.

Thereafter, Wilson brought suit against Defendants, alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on due process, conspiracy, and failure to intervene. The initial complaint asserted that Wagner was not interviewed regarding the attack for which Wilson was arrested. The most recent pleading states instead that the police did interview Wagner and that he confessed to the attack in the interview, but the police did not provide that information to Wilson or his attorney. Wagner has provided an affidavit stating that he is willing and competent to testify that he was interviewed regarding the attack for which Wilson was convicted and that during that interview he admitted to its commission.

O'Brien now moves to dismiss the new allegations and for an order mandating the release of all of Wagner's mental health records.

LEGAL STANDARDS

A. Motion to Dismiss

Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) evaluates the legal sufficiency of a plaintiff's complaint.

Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990). In ruling on a motion to dismiss, a court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff, construe all allegations of a complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and accept as true all well-pleaded facts and allegations in the complaint. Bontkowski v. First Nat'l Bank of Cicero, 998 F.2d 459, 461 (7th Cir. 1993); Perkins v. Silverstein, 939 F.2d 463, 466 (7th Cir. 1991). To state a claim on which relief can be granted, a plaintiff must satisfy two conditions: first, the complaint must describe the claim in sufficient detail to give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests; and second, its allegations must plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a speculative level. EEOC v. Concentra Health Servs., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, - U.S. -, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007). The court will apply the notice-pleading standard on a case-by-case basis to evaluate whether recovery is plausible. Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1083 (7th Cir. 2008).

A complaint's legal sufficiency is not compromised simply because it does not anticipate or otherwise preemptively address potential defenses. Xechem, Inc. v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., 372 F.3d 899, 901 (7th Cir. 2004). However, if the complaint so unmistakably establishes the presence of a defense that the suit is rendered frivolous, the affected allegations can be dismissed ...


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