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Click v. Lang

February 16, 2010

ANTHONY V. CLICK, PLAINTIFF,
v.
OFFICER JEFFREY LANG, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joan B. Gottschall United States District Court Judge

Judge Joan B. Gottschall

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, Anthony Click, currently incarcerated at the Will County Adult Detention Facility, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against South Barrington Officers Jeffrey Lang and Sam Lopez ("Defendants"). Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants falsely arrested Plaintiff on October 9, 2007 and maliciously prosecuted him for theft and trespassing. The Defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff has responded. For the following reasons, the court grants the motion for the Defendants. The court dismisses with prejudice the false arrest and false imprisonment claims, and the court dismisses for lack of jurisdiction and without prejudice to refiling in state court the malicious prosecution claim.

I. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

Summary judgment "should be rendered if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Spath v. Hayes Wheels Int'l-Indiana, Inc., 211 F.3d 392, 396 (7th Cir. 2000). In determining the existence of a genuine issue of material fact, the court construes all facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of that party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986); Spath, 211 F.3d at 396.

The movant bears the initial burden of demonstrating that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that judgment based upon the uncontested facts is warranted. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 325. If the movant meets this burden, the nonmoving party must "go beyond the pleadings and affirmatively demonstrate, by specific factual allegations, that there is a genuine issue of material fact which requires trial." Borello v. Allison, 446 F.3d 742, 748 (7th Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-26. A genuine issue of material fact is not demonstrated by the mere existence of "some alleged factual dispute between the parties," Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247, or by "some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue of material fact exists only if a reasonable finder of fact could return a decision for the nonmoving party based upon the record. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252; Insolia v. Phillip Morris Inc., 216 F.3d 596 (7th Cir. 2000).

Because Plaintiff is a pro se litigant, the Defendants served him with a "Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment" as required by N.D. Ill. Local Rule 56.2. The notice explains the consequences of failing to respond properly to a motion for summary judgment and to a statement of material facts under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e) and Local Rule 56.1.

Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires the moving party to provide "a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue." Ammons v. Aramark Uniform Servs., Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817 (7th Cir. 2004). The nonmoving party must admit or deny each factual statement proffered by the moving party and concisely designate any material facts that establish a genuine dispute for trial. Schrott v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., 403 F.3d 940, 944 (7th Cir. 2005). Any uncontested fact in the movant's Rule 56.1 Statement not addressed by the non-movant may be considered true. Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 608 (7th Cir. 2006). Furthermore, "evasive denials that do not fairly meet the substance of the material facts asserted" do not satisfy a litigant's obligation to properly respond to a Rule 56.1 factual statement. Bordelon, 233 F.3d 524, 528 (7th Cir. 2000).

In the instant case, Plaintiff has responded to the Defendants' Rule 56.1 Statement. (See R. 44, Pl.'s Answer.) The Defendants have filed a motion to strike several of Plaintiff's responses. (R. 47.) Although some of Plaintiff's responses do not cite to the record and present an argument, as opposed to a statement of fact, even without striking these responses, the Defendants are entitled to summary judgment. Accordingly, the court grants summary judgment in favor of the Defendants, but denies their motion to strike several portions of Plaintiff's Answer as unnecessary.

II. FACTS

The summary judgment evidence shows the following. On October 9, 2007, at 2:49 a.m., an officer with the Village of Hoffman Estates, Adam Marak, who is not a defendant in this case, conducted a traffic stop on a Buick Century for making an illegal turn into a gas station. The occupants of the Buick were Plaintiff and his brother, George Click. Officer Marak contends that Plaintiff was the driver, while Plaintiff states that his brother was the driver. (R. 32-7, Marak's Affidavit, ¶¶ 1-5; R. 44, Plaintiff's Answer to Defendants' Local Rule 56.1 Statement, ¶¶ 15-16.) Officer Marak states that the bottom halves of Plaintiff's and his brother's pants were wet and muddy. Officer Marak allegedly also noticed a significant amount of copper piping in a trash can in the back seat of the Buick. Plaintiff asserts that his pants were not wet or muddy and that he did not know what was in the back seat of his brother's car since his brother had picked up Plaintiff just prior to the stop. (R. 32-7, Marak's Aff. ¶¶ 5-6; R. 44, Pl's Answer ¶¶ 17-18.) According to the Defendants, Officer Marak ran a check of Plaintiff's license and learned that the license was suspended and that there was an active warrant for Plaintiff's arrest. Plaintiff states that Marak ran a check of Plaintiff's brother's license and learned that it was suspended, and that Plaintiff then informed Marak that he had an active Will County arrest warrant. (R. 32-7, Marak's Aff. ¶¶ 7-8; R. 44, Pl.'s Answer ¶ 19.) The parties agree that Plaintiff was taken into custody at that time. (R. 44, ¶ 20.)

Officer Marak conducted a search of the vehicle subsequent to the arrest and found copper piping, pipe cutters, saws, and copper panels in the Buick. Plaintiff states that he did not know what was in the car since he had entered the car just prior to the stop. (R. 32-7, Marak's Aff. ¶ 9; R. 44, Pl.'s Answer ¶ 21.) According to Officer Marak, he was aware that the Hoffman Estates Police Department had recently received reports of thefts of copper piping. The copper pipes in the Buick appeared to Officer Marak to be freshly cut. (R. 32-7, Marak's Aff. ¶ 9.)

Officer Marak brought Plaintiff and his brother to the Hoffman Estates Police Department. (R. 32-7, Marak's Afff. at ¶¶ 11-12.) Plaintiff was arrested pursuant to the arrest warrant, and he and his brother were taken to the Hoffman Estates Police Department for further investigations of the reports of stolen copper piping. (Id. at ¶¶ 8, 12; R. 44, Pl.'s Answer ¶ 20.) Plaintiff states that at the police station, he ws accused of driving with a suspended license. (R. 44, Pl.'s Answer ¶ 24.)

South Barrington Officer Jeffrey Lang (a defendant in this case) stated in an affidavit that he was informed that copper piping had been stolen from two houses under construction. Officer Lang visited the sites where copper piping had been cut and copper panels had been taken. (R. 32-2, Lang's Affidavit ¶¶ 3-10.) Officer Lang contacted South Barrington Evidence Technician Mark Hamiszewski and walked through the theft sites with him. (Id. at ¶¶ 11-12.) Lang later learned that the Hoffman Estates Police Department had two persons who were recently picked up with copper piping in their car. Officer lang went to the Hoffman Estates Police Department around 7:00 p.m. on October 9, 2007. He attempted to interview George Click, but he refused to talk. Officer Lang left and returned on October 10, 2007, with Detective Sam Lopez (a defendant in this ...


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