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Saffold v. Village of Schaumburg

April 30, 2010


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


Plaintiff, Dexter Saffold ("Plaintiff"), filed a six-count pro se complaint [64] against Defendants, the Village of Schaumburg ("the Village"), Schaumburg Police Officer Kurt Metzger ("Metzger"), Schaumburg Police Officer Gregory Klebba ("Klebba"), the City of Chicago ("the City"), Chicago Police Officer Jonathan Martinez ("Martinez"), Chicago Police Officer Badriyyah Fateen ("Fateen"), and Verizon Wireless of employees Diane Wilson ("Wilson"), Peter Austin ("Austin"), Lowell McAdam ("McAdam") alleging violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments and state law, and seeking damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988.

Currently before the Court is Defendants Martinez and Fateen' s ("the Defendant Officers") motion for summary judgment [87]. For the reasons stated below, the motion is granted.

I. Background

A. Procedural Background

On January 13, 2009, the City, Martinez, and Fateen (collectively the "City Defendants") filed a motion to dismiss [61] the claims against them, which are set forth in Counts 3 and 4 of the complaint. Count 4 is directed against Defendant Martinez individually and as "as servant and/or employee and/or agent for the City of Chicago," and asserts a Section 1983 false arrest claim and state law claims for false arrest and false imprisonment. Count 3 asserts nearly identical claims against Defendant Fateen individually and as "as servant and/or employee and/or agent for the City of Chicago." While none of the counts are nominally directed against the City, Plaintiff names the City as a Defendant in the case caption, and the complaint describes the case as one against "the Village of Schaumburg, Illinois[,] * * * Officer Kurt Metzger[,] * * * Officer Klebba[,] * * * City of Chicago, Illinois[,] * * * Officer Badriyyahi Fateen[,] * * * Officer Jonathan Martinez[,] * * * Diane Wilson, [and] Peter Austin." In view of its "special responsibility * * * to view the pro se complaint with an understanding eye," the Court construed the complaint as asserting a Section 1983 and state law claims against the City based on the conduct of officers Martinez and Fateen. Donald v. Cook County Sheriff's Dep't, 95 F.3d 548, 555 (7th Cir. 1996).

In an order [79] dated August 24, 2009, this Court granted the City Defendants'motion to dismiss as to the Section 1983 claims against the City and the state law claims against all the City Defendants. However, the Court denied the motion as to the Section 1983 false arrest claims against the Defendant Officers.

B. Factual Background

On motions for summary judgment, the Court takes the relevant facts primarily from the parties'Local Rule ("L.R.") 56.1 statements.*fn1 Here, the Defendant Officers filed a Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) statement of material facts ("Def. SOF") [89] with their motion for summary judgment. The Defendant Officers also served on Plaintiff and filed the Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment [90], as required by Local Rule 56.2. Plaintiff failed to submit responses to Defendants' statement of facts as required by L.R. 56.1(b)(3).*fn2 Pursuant to Local Rule 56.1, facts included in a party's Local Rule 56.1 statement that are not properly denied by the opposing party are deemed to be admitted. L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(C) ("All material facts set forth in the statement required of the moving party will be deemed to be admitted unless controverted by the statement of the opposing party."); Cracco v. Vitran Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009) (district court has discretion to require strict compliance with L.R. 56.1). Even pro se litigants are required to follow the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules; therefore, Plaintiff is not excused from complying with L.R. 56.1(b)(3). See Pearle Vision, Inc. v. Romm, 541 F.3d 751, 758 (7th Cir. 2008) ("pro se litigants are not excused from compliance with procedural rules"); Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1061 (7th Cir. 2006) (stating that "the Supreme Court has made clear that even pro se litigants must follow rules of civil procedure"); Walridge v. Am. Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 924 (7th Cir. 1994) (failure to comply with L.R. 56.1 is "not a harmless technicality"). Because Plaintiff failed to deny Defendants'statement of facts -- despite repeated reminders from the Court of the obligation to do so [71, 76, 99, 110] -- the Court deems admitted all of Defendants'factual allegations that are properly supported by admissible record evidence. See Malec v. Sanford, 191 F.R.D. 581, 583 (N.D. Ill. 2000) ("Factual allegations not properly supported by citation to the record are nullities."); Cady, 467 F.3d at 1061 (finding that a district court did not abuse its discretion by adopting the version of events in defendants' L.R. 56.1 statement where the pro se plaintiff failed to respond to those facts despite the opportunity to do so); McIntosh v. Illinois Dept. of Employment Sec., 2007 WL 1958577, at *5 (N.D. Ill. July 2, 2007) (deeming all facts in defendant' s Rule 56.1 statement admitted where pro se plaintiff failed to respond to defendant' s statement); Othon v. LG Electronics USA, Inc., 2009 WL 1748243, at *2 (N.D. Ill. June 18, 2009) (where pro se plaintiff failed to comply with Local Rule 56.1, deeming "the properly supported facts contained in [defendant' s] Local Rule 56.1 statement of facts * * * to be admitted"). Therefore, the factual background set forth below is based on the Defendant Officers'Rule 56.1 statement.

Defendants Martinez and Fateen are employed as police officers with the City of Chicago Police Department. Def. SOF ¶ 2. At approximately 5:00 p.m. on November 6, 2006, while on routine patrol, Officers Martinez and Fateen received a message to come back to the Fourth District police station to assist two Schaumburg Police Detectives who were trying to apprehend a suspect within the Chicago city limits. Def. SOF ¶ 3. The Defendant Officers met with Detectives Klebba and Metzger of the Schaumburg Police Department, who informed them that they were investigating Dexter Saffold for allegedly making multiple threatening calls, including a bomb threat, to Verizon Wireless. Def. SOF ¶ 4. Metzger briefed Officers Martinez and Fateen on his investigation, during which Metzger reviewed multiple Schaumburg Police reports detailing the threats made by an individual who identified himself as Dexter Saffold. Def. SOF ¶ 5; Metzger Aff ¶ 11. As part of his investigation, Metzger also spoke with Verizon Wireless employee Diane Wilson, who received a threatening voice message from an individual who identified himself as Dexter Saffold, and listened to an audio recording of the threatening calls provided by Wilson. Def. SOF ¶ 6.

The Defendant Officers escorted Metzger and Klebba to Plaintiff's residence at 7947 S. Marquette Ave. Def. SOF at ¶ 7. Metzger knocked on the door and identified himself as a police officer. Def. SOF at ¶ 8. A male voice responded, asking what they wanted and whether they had a warrant. Def. SOF at ¶ 8. Metzger stated that they did not need a warrant because they had probable cause to arrest him. Def. SOF at ¶ 8. Plaintiff then opened the door and, at the threshold, complied with the officers verbal commands to place his hands behind his back. Def. SOF at ¶ 9.*fn3 A protective pat down and a custodial search, of Plaintiff's person, were then performed. Def. SOF at ¶ 9. Metzger advised Plaintiff that he was under arrest, and was going to be transported to the Schaumburg Police Department. Def. SOF at ¶ 10. Plaintiff indicated that he suffered from numerous medical conditions and he needed his medication. Def. SOF at ¶ 11. At Plaintiff's direction, the officers collected various medication and clothing that Plaintiff wished to take with him. Def. SOF at ¶ 11. No search of Plaintiff's apartment was conducted. Def. SOF at ¶ 12.

Officers Martinez and Fateen followed Detectives Metzger and Klebba as they escorted Plaintiff to their car. Def. SOF at ¶ 13. Once Plaintiff was placed in the car, Officers Martinez and Fateen left the scene and continued their normal patrol. Def. SOF at ¶ 13. Detectives Metzger and Klebba transported Plaintiff to the Schaumburg Police department. Def. SOF at ¶ 14. Plaintiff was charged with two counts of harassment by telephone, to which he pled guilty on December 19, 2008. Def. SOF at ¶¶ 15-16.

II. Legal Standard on Summary Judgment

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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