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Applewhite-Townsend v. Village of Maywood

October 23, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: David H. Coar United States District Judge

Honorable David H. Coar


Plaintiff Rosetta Applewhite-Townsend brings an action against Defendants Yvette Daniel, Chris Butler, and the Village of Maywood for civil rights violations pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, alongside various state law claims. Before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss the Village of Maywood from Counts I, II, IV, and V of Plaintiff's complaint, and to dismiss Counts III and VI in their entirety. For the reasons stated below, the motion is GRANTED in part, and DENIED in part.


On November 8, 2006, Plaintiff was walking her dog when she noticed her former boyfriend Jonathan Hill on the sidewalk in front of her home. Hill had moved out of Plaintiff's home the previous day under police escort, as per her request. After Plaintiff took in her dog, she seated herself on her front porch and saw Hill flag down a patrol car, operated by Officer Chris Butler. After Hill and Officer Butler conversed, another squad car, driven by Officer Yvette Daniel, pulled up behind Butler's vehicle. Officer Daniel allegedly joined the discussion, then approached Plaintiff on the porch and asked if she had a gun in the house. Plaintiff responded to Officer Daniel's ensuing line of questioning by affirming her possession of a gun and an FOID card. Plaintiff also explained the events of the previous day. Officer Daniel then walked down to the front landing and asked Plaintiff to follow her. After a brief exchange as to why this was necessary, Plaintiff stated that she intended to get her FOID card. Plaintiff started walking towards Officer Daniel, but backed away when Daniel allegedly reached for Plaintiff's pocket. Plaintiff then turned and began walking up her driveway to get her paperwork. Plaintiff alleges that while her back was turned, Officer Daniel delivered a blow that rendered Plaintiff unconscious. When Plaintiff came to, Daniel was allegedly lying on top of her and digging a fingernail into Plaintiff's face.

After Plaintiff began to shout, her sister, Arnita Evans, came out of the house and yelled at Officer Butler to get Officer Daniel off Plaintiff. While Officer Butler went after Evans, Officer Daniel allegedly pressed her upper body into Plaintiff's face, smothering Plaintiff and causing her to squirm for air. Officer Daniel also allegedly grabbed Plaintiff by the hair while pinning her right arm in a contorted and painful position beneath her. Plaintiff reacted by grabbing Daniel's hair with her left arm.

Other officers arrived shortly thereafter and separated Plaintiff from Daniel. They turned Plaintiff over and handcuffed her behind her back. Plaintiff alleges that Officer Daniel then slammed Plaintiff's face into the ground, injuring her chin, and punched Plaintiff on the left side of her head four or five times. Plaintiff was allegedly bleeding at this point.

Plaintiff, Evans, and Plaintiff's daughter Timisha Applewhite were arrested and taken to the Maywood Police Station. Before leaving the scene, Officer Daniel allegedly entered Plaintiff's household without a warrant and removed her gun. Plaintiff alleges that, despite being the legal, registered owner of the gun, it was never returned to her, nor has she received a receipt for it.

Upon her request, Plaintiff was eventually taken to Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park, where she was treated for multiple contusions and abrasions, trauma to her right shoulder, and injuries to her head and hands. Plaintiff was then returned to the police station lock-up. After Plaintiff's pain increased, she requested to be taken back to the hospital. Officer Daniel allegedly entered the lock-up and denied her request. Plaintiff tried to get further medical treatment by making calls on a pay phone to an ambulance service and her family. Plaintiff alleges that she was taken back to the hospital only after an attorney hired by her mother came to the station to make the request on Plaintiff's behalf.

Plaintiff was booked, charged with aggravated battery and resisting arrest, and released on a $5,000 bond. During her three days in custody, Plaintiff was allegedly denied her medication for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (resulting from a traumatic incident that occurred while Plaintiff was in the armed forces), denied sufficient food and water, and continually mocked by Maywood police officers. Plaintiff's sister, Helen Pritchett, allegedly brought Plaintiff's medication, food, and water to the police station, but was prevented from delivering these items by police officers. Plaintiff also alleges that she had no running water due to a broken sink, and that she burned her hand twice on the hot water that flushed through the metal toilet.

Plaintiff went to trial on the charges against her on September 8, 2008. Plaintiff alleges that Officer Daniel filed the charges falsely and falsely testified against her in court. Plaintiff was ultimately acquitted of all charges.

II.Standard of Review

The purpose of a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is to test the sufficiency of a complaint. Weiler v. Household Finance Corp., 101 F.3d 519, 524 n. 1 (7th Cir.1996). To survive the motion, a complaint need only describe the claim in sufficient detail to give the defendant fair notice of the claim and its basis. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2); Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, (2007). A plaintiff's factual allegations must suggest a plausible, rather than merely speculative, entitlement to relief. Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1083 (7th Cir. 2008); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009); Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555. That is, the complaint must present "enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence" supporting the plaintiff's allegations. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556. In ruling on a motion ...

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