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Huerta v. Village of Carol Stream

February 18, 2010

ALFREDO HUERTA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
VILLAGE OF CAROL STREAM, OFFICER CAMILLO INCROCCI, OFFICER PETER SPIZZIRI, OFFICER BRIAN COOPER, VILLAGE OF GLENDALE HEIGHTS, UNKNOWN GLENDALE HEIGHTS POLICE OFFICER, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles P. Kocoras United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

CHARLES P. KOCORAS, District Judge

This matter comes before the court on the motion of Defendants Camillo Incrocci, Peter Spizziri, and Brian Cooper*fn1 for summary judgment in their favor on Count I of the nine-count amended complaint of Plaintiff Alfredo Huerta. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.

BACKGROUND

On March 10, 2008, Incrocci, Spizziri, and Cooper (all police officers with Defendant Village of Carol Stream) arrived at Huerta's home in response to a report of domestic disturbance. According to the police report authored by Incrocci, the three officers first met Huerta in the parking lot outside his apartment building. During this initial encounter, Huerta and two others told the officers that a man named Ivan, who was in Huerta's apartment, had been violent with its occupants that night. Huerta told the officers that they should go inside and that he would let them into the apartment. He accompanied them into the building and through the front door, which his wife opened.

When Incrocci entered, he saw a door to one of two rooms in the back of the apartment close. He went to the door and attempted to open it, but it was locked. Incrocci then began knocking on the door and demanding that the occupants open it. At that point, Huerta approached Incrocci, grabbed his arm, and told him that he hadn't given permission for the officers to go into that part of the apartment. Incrocci extricated himself from Huerta's grip and instructed Huerta not to touch him. A woman then came out of one of the bedrooms and went into the other bedroom; when she did so Incrocci saw several children in the room she entered. Despite Incrocci's previous admonition, Huerta again took hold of Incrocci's arm. Incrocci pushed Huerta up against a wall and told him that he was under arrest.

Incrocci had difficulty placing Huerta under arrest because he refused to turn around or place his hands behind his back when Incrocci instructed him to do so and physically struggled with Incrocci and Spizziri. At some point after Incrocci initially told Huerta he was under arrest, Huerta hit Incrocci in the chest with his body, though no description of that event is included in the police report. Eventually, Huerta was taken into custody and charged with two counts of aggravated battery to a police officer and one count of resisting a peace officer.

Huerta filed the instant suit on March 9, 2009, and amended his complaint on June 16, 2009. The amended complaint consists of nine counts. The first count is a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for false arrest. In it, Huerta alleges that during the incident on March 10, 2008, the officers arrested him without probable cause to do so for crimes he did not commit, specifically aggravated battery to a police officer and resisting arrest.

On September 2, 2009, Huerta pled guilty in Illinois state court to a misdemeanor criminal charge of making contact of an insulting or provoking nature with Incrocci by shoving his body into Incrocci's chest. His attorney stipulated at the change of plea hearing that Incrocci would provide testimony consistent with the amended indictment,*fn2 but Huerta refused to agree with any of the facts set forth by Incrocci that were not presented in the amended indictment. He was sentenced to one year of court supervision.

Though discovery had not yet closed in the instant case, on December 11, 2009, Incrocci, Spizziri, and Cooper moved for summary judgment in their favor on Count I of Huerta's complaint.

LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate when "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 in entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). A genuine issue of material fact exists when the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could find for the non-movant. Buscaglia v. United States, 25 F.3d 530, 534 (7th Cir. 1994). The movant in a motion for summary judgment bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact by specific citation to the record; if the party succeeds in doing so, the burden shifts to the non-movant to set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue of fact for trial. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2554 (1986). In considering motions for summary judgment, a court construes all facts and draws all inferences from the record in favor of the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2513 (1986).

With these principles in mind, we turn to the ...


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