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Griffin v. Meagher

December 21, 2009


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

Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr.


Plaintiff Narmer Griffin filed a four-count amended complaint [17] on July 27, 2009, alleging violations of state and federal law by Defendants Paul Meagher, six "John Doe" officers, and the City of Chicago. The Court has before it Defendant Meagher's motion to dismiss Counts I-III [33] as well as Defendant City of Chicago's motion to dismiss Counts III and IV [37]. For the reasons stated below, the Court grants in part and denies in part Defendant Meagher's motion to dismiss and denies Defendant City of Chicago's motion to dismiss.

I. Background

A. Procedural History

On March 9, 2009, while incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center, Plaintiff filed a pro se complaint and a motion for appointment of counsel. On March 26, the Court granted Plaintiff's motion for appointment of counsel and dismissed sua sponte the pro se complaint without prejudice, giving appointed counsel leave to file an amended complaint consistent with counsel's obligations under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11. On July 27, Plaintiff filed a four-count amended complaint, naming Paul Meagher, the City of Chicago, and six unknown officers as Defendants. Counts I and II allege § 1983 excessive force and due process claims against Defendants Meagher and the unknown officers. Count III alleges a common law battery claim against all Defendants, and Count IV alleges an indemnification claim pursuant to 745 ILCS 10/9-102 against the City of Chicago.

B. Factual Background*fn1

At approximately 10:30 a.m. on June 1, 2008, Plaintiff was arrested and transferred to the Area Two Chicago Police Station at 727 East 111th Street. Plaintiff was placed in an interview room with a wall-mounted camera and his right hand was handcuffed to a wall restraint. According to Plaintiff, the handcuff was too tight, causing him severe pain and loss of feeling in his wrist and hand. When he yelled out in pain, Defendant John Doe #1 entered the interview room, ignored his request to loosen the handcuffs, and told Plaintiff to stop yelling. John Doe #1 returned to the interview room with Defendant Meagher and informed Plaintiff that he was being transferred downstairs to the Fifth District lock-up because he would not stop yelling. John Doe #1 and Meagher uncuffed Plaintiff's right hand and, according to Plaintiff, without provocation began stepping on and smashing Plaintiff's shoeless feet and twisting his arms. In order to protect himself, Plaintiff alleges that he tried to curl up in a fetal position, but Meagher and John Doe #1 threw him to the ground and repeatedly punched, kicked, and kneed Plaintiff. According to Plaintiff, Defendant John Does #2-6 then entered the interview room and joined in kicking, kneeing, punching, and stomping on Plaintiff. Defendant Officers, using force, cuffed Plaintiff's hands behind his back, shackled his legs, and dragged Plaintiff down a set of metal stairs to a holding cell.

According to Plaintiff, once Defendant Officers placed him in the holding cell, they ignored his cries for medical attention. Eventually, Plaintiff was taken to South Shore Hospital, where he was diagnosed with contusions, given pain medication, and referred for follow-up care. Plaintiff then was returned to the 5th District for further processing. According to Plaintiff, on several occasions after the incident, he received dental treatment at the Stateville Correctional Center for conditions caused or exacerbated by Defendant Officers.

II. Legal Standard on a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion

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). "Detailed factual allegations" are not required, but the plaintiff must allege facts that, when "accepted as true, * * * 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, --- U.S. ----, ----, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). "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 1949. "[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).

III. Discussion

A. § 1983 Claims Against Defendants Meagher and John Doe Officers

To state a claim for relief in an action brought under § 1983, a plaintiff must establish that he was deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States and that the alleged deprivation was committed under color of state law. Am. Mfrs. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Sullivan, 526 U.S. 40, 49-50 (1999); see also Garfield v. Cook County, 2009 WL 4015553, at *3 (N.D. Ill. 2009). Plaintiff brings § 1983 claims pursuant to the ...

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