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Lanza v. City of Chicago

October 1, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wayne R. Andersen District Judge


This case is before the court on the motion of defendants Daniel Faermark and the County of Cook (collectively "the County defendants") to dismiss the claims asserted against them for: 1) malicious prosecution; 2) conspiracy arising out of the malicious prosecution; 3) intentional infliction of emotional distress; 4) respondeat superior; and 5) indemnification. For the reasons set forth below, the County defendants' motion to dismiss is granted. Daniel Faermark and Cook County are dismissed as defendants in this lawsuit.


On September 8, 2008, plaintiff Dany Lanza ("Lanza") filed this lawsuit, which stems from the arrest and subsequent prosecution for the molestation of two minor girls. Lanza claims that on November 26, 2001, he was visiting his aunt at her apartment complex and a woman approached him claiming that he resembled a man who molested her daughter months prior. (2d Am. Compl. ¶ 5.) The complaint asserts that because Lanza was a minor and did not speak English, his mother called the police to help clarify the situation. (Id. ¶¶ 6-7.) Officers Okrasinski and Herrera arrived at the apartment complex and allegedly arrested Lanza and brought him to the police station. (Id. ¶ 8.)

The complaint asserts that Lanza was interrogated at length without receiving his Miranda warnings, was held for longer than forty-eight hours without receiving a probable cause hearing, and was not fed or given the opportunity to see a family member during the interrogation. (Id. ¶¶ 9-10.) Further, Lanza alleges that, when he requested a polygraph examination, he was brought to a separate area and the interrogation resumed. (Id. ¶ 13.) The complaint also asserts that defendant Bartik and two detectives claimed that Lanza confessed to the molestation before they had the opportunity to give him a lie detector test. (Id. ¶ 15.) Lanza's mother obtained an attorney, Dawn Sheikh ("Sheikh"), to represent him, and the complaint alleges that when Sheikh was at the police station, neither defendant Riggio nor defendant Faermark told Sheikh that Lanza had already "confessed" to the crime on two separate occasions. (Id. ¶ 23.) The complaint further alleges that officers continued interrogating Lanza outside of Sheikh's presence, even after Faermark, the Assistant State's Attorney reviewing the State's criminal case against Lanza, made assurances that they would not do so. (Id. ¶¶ 25-26.)

Lanza, a Spanish speaker, claims that eventually he was given a "form" written in English that, unbeknownst to him, was actually a fabricated confession. (Id. ¶¶ 28-29.) Lanza alleges that he was told that he would be able to go home if he signed it. (Id.) The complaint asserts that after signing, Lanza was immediately transferred to Cook County Jail and charged with several counts of sexual assault and related offenses. (Id. at ¶ 30.) The allegedly fabricated confession was then used against Lanza in hearings during his criminal case. (Id.)

Furthermore, Lanza alleges that in 2003, Jose Rivas, the actual perpetrator, was arrested and confessed to being active in the area since 1999, but that Lanza's attorneys did not learn of Rivas's crimes until 2007. (Pl.'s Resp. at 2-3.) Rivas ultimately confessed to the offenses for which Lanza had been charged and the Cook County State's Attorney's Office dropped the charges against Lanza in 2008. Id. By the time the charges were dropped, Lanza had spent almost four years in jail. (2d. Am. Compl. ¶ 1.) Approximately five months after the charges were dropped, Lanza filed this lawsuit. (Pl.'s Resp. at 3.)

Based upon the allegations set forth above, Lanza has asserted several claims against the City of Chicago, several Chicago police officers (collectively "the City defendants"), Faermark, and Cook County. In Counts I & II Lanza asserts Section 1983 claims for unreasonable detention and conspiracy solely against the City defendants. In Counts III, IV, and V, Lanza sets forth claims for malicious prosecution, conspiracy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress against the City defendants and Faermark (Cook County is also included in Count IV for conspiracy). Counts VI and VII set forth claims for respondeat superior and indemnification against the City of Chicago and Cook County.

On June 2, 2009, the court granted in part and denied in part the City defendants motion to dismiss. Additionally, we ordered Lanza to file a second amended complaint that clarified the remaining claims. On June 30, 2009, Lanza filed his second amended complaint. On July 20, 2009, the County defendants filed a motion to dismiss Lanza's claims against them (Counts IIIV as to Faermark and Counts IV, VI and VII as to Cook County). We now turn to that motion.


In order to survive a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. ___, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1940 (2009)(quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1940 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The complaint must be construed in a light favorable to the plaintiff and the court must accept all material facts alleged in the complaint as true. Jackson v. E.J. Branch Corp., 176 F.3d 971, 978 (7th Cir. 1999). However, "the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements do not suffice." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1940 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

Additionally, a complaint must describe the claim with sufficient detail as to "give the defendants fair notice of what the...claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)(quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). However, a complaint does not need to set forth all relevant facts or recite the law. Rather, all that is required is "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a); see also Doherty v. City of Chicago, 75 F.3d 318, 322 (7th Cir. 1996).


I. Counts I & II: Section 1983 Unreasonable Detention ...

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