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Brantley v. Tencza

April 13, 2010

EDDIE BRANTLEY, STANLEY HUNTER, AND UYLONDA HENDERSON, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO POLICE OFFICERS DAVID TENCZA, #9203 MICHELLE WANTUCK, #19973, SERGEANT JOHN LEE #909, AND THE CITY OF CHICAGO, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wayne R. Andersen District Judge

MEMORANDUM, OPINION AND ORDER

This case is before the court on defendants' motion to dismiss [127]. Plaintiffs Eddie Brantley, Stanley Hunter and Uylonda Henderson have filed a six-count amended complaint against defendant Police Officers David Tencza and Michelle Lee, Sergeant John Lee and the City of Chicago alleging claims for false arrest, illegal detention, failure to prevent civil rights violation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, malicious prosecution and respondeat superior against the City of Chicago. For the following reasons, the motion to dismiss [129] is granted in part and denied in part.

BACKGROUND

This lawsuit arises from a traffic stop on October 23, 2007 which involved plaintiffs Eddie Brantley and Stanley Hunter and a third person, Christopher Grooms, who is not a plaintiff in this lawsuit. Plaintiffs claim that they were stopped without probable cause and that Officer Tencza fabricated evidence by planting drugs in the back of the vehicle and as a result Grooms was arrested and charged with a drug offense. Plaintiffs allege that they were left at the scene of the stop and told to walk home or to go to the station.

Plaintiffs allege that they went to the station and that Brantley was verbally attacked and arrested without cause by Officer Wantuck and charged with disrespect to an officer. Plaintiffs allege that Brantley also was issued a traffic violation. Plaintiffs claim that Brantley was then taken by Officer Wantuck to the back of the jail and not allowed to leave. Plaintiffs claim that Officer Lee observed Brantley being harassed and held without cause and failed to do anything about Officer Wantuck alleged verbal abuse.

Plaintiffs allege that the vehicle involved in the traffic stop was owned by plaintiff Uylonda Henderson. Plaintiffs claim that the vehicle was impounded, and as a result, she was without a vehicle for several months and had to take time off work to get her vehicle back. Plaintiffs claim that Henderson suffered mental and emotional distress, particularly when she was unable to visit her dying brother because she did not have access to transportation to the suburbs. Plaintiffs claim that as a result she was taken to the emergency room and treated for a mild heart attack.

Based upon the allegations set forth above, plaintiffs have asserted several claims against Police Officers Tencza, Wantuck and Lee and the City of Chicago. In Count I and II, plaintiffs assert section 1983 claims for false arrest and illegal detention against Officers Tencza, Wantuck, and Lee. In Count III, plaintiffs assert a section 1983 claim for failure to prevent civil rights violation. In Count IV and V, plaintiffs assert claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress and malicious prosecution under Illinois law against Officers Tencza, Wantuck, and Lee.

In Count VI, plaintiffs assert a claim of respondeat superior against the City of Chicago. Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss plaintiffs' amended complaint

STANDARD OF REVIEW

In order to survive a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. ___, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1940 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "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 1940 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The complaint must be construed in a light favorable to the plaintiff and the court must accept all material facts alleged in the complaint as true. See Jackson v. E.J. Branch Corp., 176 F.3d 971, 978 (7th Cir.1999). However, "the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements do not suffice." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1940 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

Also, to survive a motion to dismiss, the facts asserted in the complaint if accepted as true must "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." See Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. (citing Twombly, at 570). "The plausibility standard is not akin to a 'probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id.

Additionally, a complaint must describe the claim with sufficient detail as to "give the defendants fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).

However, a complaint does not need to set forth all relevant facts or recite the law. Rather, all that is required is "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a); see ...


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