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Horton v. Schultz

April 16, 2010

GEORGE J. HORTON, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
NANCY K. SCHULTZ, AIR SERV CORP., MARY M. FLAHERTY, NANCY J. MALES, MICHAEL MALES, R.F. WHALEN, UNKNOWN OFFICERS OF THE CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT, AND CITY OF CHICAGO DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Virginia M. Kendall United States District Court Judge Northern District of Illinois

Judge Virginia M. Kendall

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff George J. Horton ("Horton") filed a ten count Complaint against Defendants Mary M. Flaherty, Nancy J. Males, Michael Males, R.F. Whalen ("Whalen"), Unknown Officers of the Chicago Police Department (collectively the "Officers"), the City of Chicago (the "City"), Nancy K. Schultz ("Schultz") and Air Serv Corporation ("Air Serv") alleging violations of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and bringing various supplemental state law claims. The Defendants have filed three separate Motions to Dismiss.*fn1 For the reasons set forth below, the Officers' and the City's Motion to Dismiss is granted with respect to Horton's federal claims and dismissed for lack of jurisdiction with respect to his state law claims. Schultz's Motion to Dismiss is similarly granted in part and dismissed for lack of jurisdiction in part. Air Serv's Motion to Dismiss is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

The following facts are taken from Horton's Complaint and are assumed to be true for purposes of this Motion to Dismiss. See Murphy v. Walker, 51 F.3d 714, 717 (7th Cir. 1995).

The arrest underlying this lawsuit occurred on May 1, 2008. (Compl. ¶¶ 10, 19.) At that time, Horton, who is African-American, was employed by Air Serv as a cargo handler at O'Hare International Airport. (Compl. ¶¶ 10, 11, 45.) Horton and Schultz, his supervisor, had a disagreement over Horton's work orders for the day in question, which escalated when Schultz "suddenly lunged at [Horton], grabbing him at the neck and shaking him." (Compl. ¶¶ 13-15.) Horton left the work area in order to turn in his identification badge (apparently in order to end his employment with Air Serv). (Compl. ¶ 17.) As he left, Horton told Schultz that he "would be seeking legal action," in response to which Schultz falsely stated that Horton had hit her. (Compl. ¶ 18.)

The Officers, all of whom are Caucasian and at least some of whom are "friends or friendly acquaintances" of Schultz, responded to the scene.*fn2 (See Compl. ¶¶ 20, 45.) Schultz swore a criminal complaint for battery against Horton, alleging that she had received a scratch on her pinky finger as a result of his battery. (Compl. ¶ 21.) The Officers did not question other witnesses about the incident. (Compl. ¶ 20.) Horton was then arrested and charged with criminal battery, and was detained for an unspecified period of time post-arrest. (Compl. ¶¶ 22-23.) Horton was eventually found not guilty of battery following a jury trial. (Compl. ¶ 27.)

STANDARD OF REVIEW

When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court accepts as true all facts alleged in the complaint and construe all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Murphy, 51 F.3d at 717. To state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). "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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). In analyzing whether a complaint has met this standard, the "reviewing court [must] draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950. When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, the Court assumes their veracity and then determines if they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief. Id.

DISCUSSION

Counts I, II, and III of the Complaint bring constitutional civil rights claims against Officers for false arrest, failure to investigate, and unlawful detention, respectively. Count IV brings a claim of conspiracy to violate Horton's civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1985 against Defendant Officers and Schultz; Count V brings a similar conspiracy claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The remainder of the Counts of the Complaint bring a variety of Illinois state law claims under the Court's supplemental jurisdiction. However, the Defendants have moved to dismiss all of the Counts arising under the Court's subject matter jurisdiction, and 28 U.S.C. § 1367 allows the Court to decline to exercise supplemental state law jurisdiction if the Court dismisses "all claims over which it has original jurisdiction." Thus, the Court first analyzes the Defendants' Motions to Dismiss Horton's constitutional civil rights claims.

I. The Officers' Motion to Dismiss Counts I, II, IV, and V

The Officers move to dismiss Counts I, II, IV, and V on the grounds that Horton's allegations establish that the Officers had probable cause to arrest him, and that they cannot therefore be held liable for false arrest, failure to ...


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