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Caldwell v. City of Chicago

July 8, 2010

GRACE CALDWELL AND LATONYA CALDWELL, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, CHICAGO POLICE OFFICERS GALLEGOS, STAR NO. 15130, MARCO BRUNO STAR NO. 18850, WILLIAM LIPKE, STAR NO. 8382.
JIMMY WOODS, STAR NO. 8990, BRIAN LEAHY, STAR NO. 13624, JOHN LUCID, STAR NO. 2361, DAVID GREENWOOD, STAR NO. 15128, DENTON, STAR NO. 19152, EDWARDS, STAR NO. 19970, M. LITTLE, STAR NO. 885, AND LIEUTENANT NATHAN HAMILTON, STAR NO. 656, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter comes before the court on the motion of Defendants the City of Chicago ("the City"), Alejandro Gallegos, Marco Bruno, Jimmy Woods, Brian Leahy, John Lucid, David Greenwood, Nathan Hamilton, and Matthew Little for summary judgment in their favor on Counts I, II, and III of the amended complaint of Plaintiffs Grace and Latonya Caldwell. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.

BACKGROUND

Gallegos, Bruno, Woods, Leahy, Lucid, Greenwood, Hamilton, and Little are officers in the Chicago Police Department.*fn1 On November 21, 2007, Gallegos communicated with a confidential informant whom he had known for approximately eight months and who had provided information leading to arrests during that time. The informant told Gallegos that he had been buying heroin from a man named Shiloh Caldwell for the previous six months. According to the informant, he had been with Shiloh earlier that day at an apartment on the second floor of a building located at 1921 South St. Louis Avenue in Chicago and had observed a large amount of heroin, drug paraphernalia, and $3,500 in cash. The informant related to Gallegos that Shiloh had stated an intention to sell a large amount of heroin during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, even going so far as to state that he would conduct a sort of "two-for-one" sale of smaller units of the drug. The informant reported seeing about 200 grams of heroin in the apartment at that time.

Gallegos and his partner Bruno drove with the informant to the South St. Louis address to allow him to confirm that the building at that location was the one where he had been with Shiloh. Gallegos subsequently searched police records for reports relating to the apartment. The search revealed several arrest reports for a person named Shiloh Caldwell who reported living at 1921 S. St. Louis. After viewing a photograph of Shiloh, the informant confirmed that the person in the photo was the same person who had been in the apartment.

Two days later, Gallegos sought and obtained a search warrant for the apartment from a judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County. The warrant application was supported by a complaint stating the details provided by the informant. Based upon these representations, the judge concluded that there was probable cause to search the apartment. The warrant also authorized the seizure of heroin; documents showing residency; any paraphernalia used in weighing, cutting, or mixing of illegal drugs; and money and records detailing illegal drug transactions.

Later that day, the officers went to the apartment to execute the warrant. At that time, Grace, Latonya, and Latonya's son were residing in the apartment, and all three were at home when the officers arrived. The parties dispute many of the specifics of what took place during the search, but they agree that the lock on the front door of the apartment building was broken and some paint was missing. It is also undisputed that the officers took clothes and other items out of the bedrooms and a storage room, scattered them on the living room floor, and stepped on the clothing. In the course of the search, dressers, a scanner/fax machine, the kitchen stove, and doors were damaged. The springs in Latonya's bed were broken and a hole was cut in her bedroom wall. A computer, $3,500 in cash, and at least one firearm discovered inside the apartment were seized. No heroin, documents showing residency, drug paraphernalia, or records showing drug transactions were recovered.

Thereafter, Grace and Latonya filed the instant suit against the City and the officers, alleging causes of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for unreasonable search and procurement of the search warrant as well as a state law claim for trespass. After an amendment and a stipulation to dismiss certain officers and one count of the original complaint, three counts remain against the City, Gallegos, Bruno, Woods, Leahy, Lucid, Greenwood, Hamilton, and Little. Defendants now move for summary judgment in their favor on all remaining counts.

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 is 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 (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 (1986).

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

DISCUSSION

I. Claims Brought Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983

Counts I and II of the complaint allege violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. To recover under § 1983, a plaintiff must show a deprivation of a right guaranteed by the laws or Constitution of the United States by a person or persons acting under color of state law. Reynolds v. Jamison, 488 F.3d 756, 764 (7th Cir. 2007). Count I asserts that the officers deprived Grace and Latonya of the protections of the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable search and seizure in the way that the warrant was executed. In Count II, the Caldwells contend that Gallegos violated their Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure by obtaining a search warrant that was not supported by probable cause. With respect to both of these claims, there is no dispute that the officers were ...


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