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Clark v. City of Chicago

November 17, 2010

MATTHEW CLARK, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Samuel Der-Yeghiayan United States District Court Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge

This matter is before the court on Defendants' motion to dismiss. For the reasons stated below, we grant in part and deny in part the motion to dismiss.

BACKGROUND

On February 6, 2010, Plaintiff Matthew Clark (Clark) and Plaintiff Gregory Malandrucco (Malandrucco) allegedly stopped at a restaurant named Arturo's Tacos (Arturo's) to eat. After Plaintiffs finished their meals, Malandrucco allegedly stood up to leave and encountered two male plainclothes police officers and a female plainclothes police officer (Plainclothes Officers), who had been dining at Arturo's. One of the male Plainclothes Officers allegedly shoved Malandrucco because Malandrucco had unintentionally obstructed the Plainclothes Officers' path to the cashier or exit. Malandrucco allegedly told the officer that he was putting on his coat and would get out of the way shortly. When Plaintiffs exited Arturo's, the Plainclothes Officers were allegedly waiting in the parking lot.

According to Plaintiffs, the Plainclothes Officers physically assaulted Plaintiffs in the parking lot. While being beaten, Clark allegedly tried to raise his arms to protect himself, but was told by one of the Plainclothes Officers that they were policemen. Uniformed police officers (Uniformed Officers) then allegedly arrived on the scene. Some of the Uniformed Officers allegedly joined the Plainclothes Officers in beating Malandrucco. Plaintiffs contend that none of the Uniformed Officers attempted to intervene to stop the beating. Plaintiffs also claim that they asked for medical assistance, but that the Uniformed Officers told Plaintiffs that they were not going to help Plaintiffs. The Uniformed Officers then allegedly escorted the Plainclothes Officers to their car and allowed them to leave the scene without getting their names or otherwise questioning the Plainclothes Officers. The Uniformed Officers allegedly told Plaintiffs to go home and then left the scene without calling for any medical assistance for Plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs brought the instant action against the Plainclothes Officers, the Uniformed Officers (collectively referred to as "Individual Defendants"), and the City of Chicago, and include in their amended complaint claims brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Section 1983) alleging excessive force, Section 1983 unlawful seizure claims, Section 1983 failure to provide medical aid claims, Section 1983 failure to intervene claims, a Section 1983 Monell claim, assault and battery claims, intentional infliction of emotional distress claims, Section 1983 conspiracy claims, state law conspiracy claims, and an indemnity claim. Defendants now move to dismiss the instant action.

LEGAL STANDARD

In ruling on a motion to dismiss brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (Rule 12(b)(6)), a court must "accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint" and make reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)(stating that the tenet is "inapplicable to legal conclusions"); Thompson v. Ill. Dep't of Prof'l Regulation, 300 F.3d 750, 753 (7th Cir. 2002). To defeat a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (internal quotations omitted)(quoting in part Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A complaint that contains factual allegations that are "merely consistent with a defendant's liability . . . stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (internal quotations omitted).

DISCUSSION

I. Claims for Failure to Provide Medical Aid

Defendants argue that Plaintiffs have failed to plead facts that can support valid claims for failure to provide medical aid. Defendants contend that such claims have been recognized only in limited instances that are not applicable to the instant action. Defendants also argue that there are no facts that indicate that the Individual Defendants deprived Plaintiffs of an opportunity to seek medical aid themselves.

A. Substantial Contribution to Increasing Danger

Defendants contend that the facts alleged by Plaintiffs do not indicate that this case fits into the limited instances in which a claim for failure to provide medical aid would be applicable. There is no affirmative right under the Due Process Clauses "to governmental aid, even where such aid may be necessary to secure life, liberty, or property interests of which the government itself may not deprive the individual." DeShaney v. Winnebago County Dept. of Social Services, 489 U.S. 189, 196 (1989); see also Hill v. Shobe, 93 F.3d 418, 422 (7th Cir. 1996)(stating that "[t]he government . . . has no affirmative constitutional duty to provide emergency medical services to its citizens"). However, in certain limited instances, "the Constitution imposes upon the State affirmative duties of care and protection with respect to particular individuals." DeShaney, 489 U.S. at 198. The Seventh Circuit has stated that a plaintiff may state a Section 1983 claim based on a failure to provide medical aid ...


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