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Hu v. Village of Maywood

January 19, 2010

YAODI HU, PLAINTIFF,
v.
VILLAGE OF MAYWOOD AND ROBINSON TOWING DEFENDANTS.



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

Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Yaodi Hu filed a pro se third amended complaint [47] on April 6, 2009, alleging numerous federal and state law violations by the Village of Maywood and Robinson Towing. Before the Court are Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment [76]*fn1 and the Village' s cross-motion for partial summary judgment [92], both of which are directed at Count II of the third amended complaint. Count II is a procedural due process claim based, in part, on the November 2007 towing of two of Plaintiff's vehicles pursuant to §§ 99.01 and 99.03 of the Village of Maywood Code, which govern the towing of abandoned vehicles. Also before the Court is the Village' s Rule 56(f) motion [104] to deny Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment on the grounds that additional discovery is needed. For the reasons stated below, the Village' s Rule 56(f) motion [104] is granted, the Village' s motion for partial summary judgment [92] is granted in part and denied in part, and Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment [76] is denied. To the extent the cross-motions for partial summary judgment are denied, those denials are without prejudice to allow additional discovery; the parties may refile motions for summary judgment after further discovery is taken.

I. Background

The Court takes the relevant facts primarily from the parties'Local Rule ("L.R.") 56.1 statements*fn2 Plaintiff's Statement of Facts ("Pl. SOF") [81], Defendant Village of Maywood's Response to Plaintiff's Statement of Facts and Statement of Additional Facts ("Def. Resp.") [96], and Defendant Village of Maywood' s Statement of Facts ("Def. SOF") [100].*fn3

Plaintiff owns property located at 1115 S. 5th Ave. in the Village of Maywood. Def. Resp. ¶ 1. Plaintiff resides at 3258 S. Paulina in Chicago. Id. ¶ 3. The Village has both Plaintiff's 1115 S. 5th Ave. address and his 3258 S. Paulina address on record. Def. Resp., Ex. A ¶ 4. The parties dispute whether, in November 2007, the Village knew that Plaintiff resided at the 3258 S. Paulina address.

Section 99.02 of the Village Code authorizes the towing of any abandoned or inoperative vehicle. The term "abandoned vehicle" is defined in § 99.01 as:

(1) A vehicle parked that has been unmoved for a period of at least 24 hours and from its condition, the period during which it has not been moved, or some other circumstance appears to have been abandoned by its owner; or

(2) A vehicle parked in a public parking lot or on private property without the consent of the lot owner, proprietor or agent of the property, which person has requested that the vehicle be towed * * *.

Section 99.03 provides for pre-tow notice to owners of vehicles deemed to be abandoned or inoperable "by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, to the address of the owner of the vehicle as indicated in the most current registration list of the Secretary of State."

In November of 2007, two vehicles belonging to Plaintiff were partially parked on the deeded property of 1110 S. 4th Ave. and 1116 S. 4th Ave. Def. SOF ¶ 8. On November 9, 2009, the Village sent two pre-tow vehicle notices to Plaintiff's1115 S. 5th Ave. address. Id. ¶ 16. The notices advised Plaintiff that the vehicles appeared to be "abandoned or inoperative" because they had been "abandoned at the above-mentioned location for a period exceeding 7 (seven) days and property owner authorization" had been obtained. Def. Resp., Exs. 1 and 2 to Ex. A. The notices further stated that the vehicles would be towed seven days after the date on which the notices were mailed pursuant to § 99.02 of the Village Code. Id. On November 19, 2007, the Village authorized Robinson Towing to tow Plaintiff's vehicles. Def. SOF ¶ 17. Robinson Towing towed Plaintiff's vehicles on November 30, 2007. Id. ¶ 18.

In his motion for partial summary judgment, Plaintiff asserts facial and as applied challenges to the constitutionality of §§ 99.01(1) and 99.03 of the Village Code. The Village cross-moves for partial summary judgment on the grounds that the challenged provisions are constitutional on their face and as applied to Plaintiff. Somewhat incongruously, the Village also argues -- both in opposition to Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment and in its Rule 56(f) motion -- that summary judgment should be denied as premature because no discovery has been taken in this case.

II. Legal Standards

Summary judgment is proper where "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). In determining whether there is a genuine issue of fact, the Court "must construe the facts and draw all reasonable inferences in ...


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