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Martinez v. Haleas

September 2, 2009

NOE MARTINEZ, ON BEHALF OF HIMSELF AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CHICAGO POLICE OFFICER JOHN HALEAS, (STAR # 6719) AND THE CITY OF CHICAGO, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Robert W. Gettleman

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Noe Martinez has brought a seven count complaint against Chicago Police Officer John Haleas and the City of Chicago arising out of defendant Haleas' arrest of plaintiff for driving under the influence of alcohol ("DUI"). Counts I through V are brought solely against Haleas alleging two separate claims for unconstitutional seizure, false imprisonment, a violation of plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment due process rights and a state law claim for malicious prosecution. Counts VI and VII are brought against the City. Count VII is a claim for respondeat superior based on the state law claims alleged against Haleas. Count VI is a claim brought against the City pursuant to Monell v. Department of Social Services of the City of New York, 436 U.S. 658 (1978), alleging that a policy or practice of the City resulted in Haleas' violation of plaintiff's constitutional rights. Plaintiff purports to bring this claim individually and on behalf of all other similarly situated, and has moved, under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23, for class certification. For the reasons described below that motion is denied.

BACKGROUND

Defendant Haleas is a Chicago police officer who, according to the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists, was the "Top DUI Cop" in the state of Illinois for the years 2004 through 2006. He had 372 DUI arrests in 2004, 374 arrests in 2005 and 344 arrests in 2006. For those three years he averaged 113 more DUI arrests than the next closest officer in the state.

By 2002, however, dozens or even hundreds of DUI suspects had testified under oath that Haleas had ignored procedures and filed false reports. On April 9, 2005, two Assistant State Attorneys personally observed Haleas' unlawful arrest of a citizen. Two days later supervisors within the Cook County State Attorney's Traffic Division were informed of Haleas' conduct. By May 17, 2005, the State Attorney's Office was aware that in addition to falsely arresting DUI suspects, Haleas was swearing out false complaints and false police reports in support of those false arrests, which was leading to unwarranted prosecutions.

Also by that time the State Attorney's Office had informed the Chicago Police Department's Internal Affairs Division of Haleas' conduct. Nonetheless, Haleas remained on the street and continued to make DUI arrests for an additional two years. The information in the State Attorney's possession that Haleas had a history of making false DUI arrests, falsifying arrest reports and complaints, was not turned over in discovery in the DUI prosecutions.

Haleas was finally removed from his DUI beat on October 11, 2007. He was indicted for official misconduct on April 9, 2008. In 2008 the State Attorney's Office nolle prosequi'd, or dismissed, 167 pending DUI cases initiated by an Haleas arrest from December 7, 2006 to December 7, 2007.

Plaintiff was arrested by Haleas on June 7, 2007. According to plaintiff he had exited a lounge and walked to his car to retrieve his cellphone. He unlocked his car, opened the door, placed the keys back in his pocket and then entered the car. He never started the car. Haleas then approached, ordered plaintiff out of the car and placed plaintiff under arrest. No Standardized Field Sobriety Test was administered. Haleas took plaintiff to the 25th District Police Station and administered a Breathalyzer test. The results was "insufficient breath." Haleas kept plaintiff for approximately 40 minutes, charged him with DUI, and then released him from custody. Plaintiff's car was impounded, requiring him to pay approximately $1,700 for its release. Haleas completed and signed several reports containing perjured information. In those reports Haleas swore he saw plaintiff driving the car, administered the Standardized Field Sobriety Test and that plaintiff refused to take a Breathalyzer test.

In the instant case, plaintiff alleges "that each and every DUI arrest Haleas made after May 17, 2005 violated two of the arrestees' constitutional rights to due process," resulting in damages including court costs, vehicle impoundment costs and attorney's fees. According to plaintiff, those constitutional violations "were only made possible by the City's municipal policies and/or customs that created a deliberate indifference to the constitutional rights of the class members."

DISCUSSION

Plaintiff seeks certification of two classes under Count VI. Class A, which plaintiff describes as a substantive due process claim, is defined as: all people who were arrested for driving under the influence by defendant Officer Haleas from October 29, 2005 until the present.

Class B, which plaintiff describes as a "Brady due process claim" is defined as:

All people who (1) were arrested for driving under the influence by defendant Officer Haleas from October 29, 2005 until the present, (2) sought discovery in their DUI proceeding, and (3) never received exculpatory evidence that Haleas provided false charges, false police reports and provided perjured testimony in his previous DUI arrests.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 23, which governs class actions, requires a two step analysis to determine whether class certification is appropriate. First, plaintiff must satisfy all four requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a): (1) numerosity; (2) commonality; (3) typicality; and (4) adequacy of representation. Harriston v. Chicago Tribune Co., 992 F.2d 697, 703 (7th Cir. 1993). These elements are a prerequisite to certification and failure to meet any one of the elements precludes certification of the class. Joncek v. Local 714 International of Teamsters Health and Welfare Fund, 1999 WL 755051 at *2 (N.D. Ill. 1999) (and cases cited therein). Additionally, plaintiffs must satisfy one of the conditions of Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(b). Roe v. Publishers Clearing House, Inc., 1999 WL 966977 at *1 (N.D. Ill. 1999). In the instant case, plaintiff attempts to certify under Rule 23(b)(3), which requires that he show that "questions of law or fact common to the ...


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