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Tywon Posey v. Officer Rocco Pruger

January 3, 2011

TYWON POSEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
OFFICER ROCCO PRUGER, OFFICER ANTHONY KEANEY, OFFICER TODD MUELLER, OFFICER JOSEPH LOPEZ, UNKNOWN EMPLOYEES OF THE COOK COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, COOK COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, COOK COUNTY, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT, AND CITY OF CHICAGO, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Morton Denlow

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This case comes before the Court on three separate motions to dismiss. In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges various civil rights violations against the City of Chicago; the Chicago Police Department; Cook County; the Cook County Sheriff's Department; four police officers; and several employees of the Cook County Sheriff's Department yet to be identified by Plaintiff. The motions to dismiss assert that various sections of the complaint fail to state claims upon which relief can be granted. The first motion requests the Court to dismiss the City of Chicago from Counts I through III of the complaint and to dismiss the Chicago Police Department from all counts in which it is named (the "City's Motion to Dismiss"). The second motion asks that the Court dismiss Cook County from all counts in which it is named ("Cook County's Motion to Dismiss"). The third motion argues that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted in Counts I and III (the "Joint Motion to Dismiss Counts I and III").On December 21, 2010, the Court held an oral argument on the three motions.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND*fn1

Plaintiff's claims arise from two basically independent sets of facts. First, Plaintiff alleges that four police officers violated his civil rights by searching, arresting, and prosecuting him without probable cause. Plaintiff's second set of claims arise from his detention in Cook County Jail during the pendency of his criminal case. He alleges that while he remained in prison, several employees of the Cook CountySheriff's Department denied him appropriate medical care.

A. Plaintiff's Arrest and Prosecution

A traffic stop and resulting drug arrest form the basis for Plaintiff's claims against the City of Chicago (the "City"), the Chicago Police Department (the "CPD"), and four CPD officers (collectively "the City Defendants"). On June 13, 2009, Plaintiff was driving a vehicle near Fulton and Kilpatrick in Chicago. Four officers of the CPD (collectively "theofficers") stopped Plaintiff, removed him from the vehicle, handcuffed him, and placed him in the back seat of their patrol car. They then performed a search of Plaintiff's vehicle and his person, finding contraband. The officers did not have a warrant to arrest Plaintiff or to search his car, and Plaintiff alleges that both the vehicle stop and search occurred without probable cause. As a result of the search, Plaintiff was charged in Illinois state court with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

Two pretrial hearings followed, at which one of the officers allegedly perjured himself. At Plaintiff's preliminary hearing, Defendant Rocco Pruger ("Officer Pruger") testified that he and the other officers witnessed Plaintiff run a stop sign at Fulton and Kilpatrick before conducting the traffic stop. At a later suppression hearing, Officer Pruger again stated that he saw Plaintiff run the stop sign. Officer Pruger also testified that he recovered contraband lying in plain view before the officers began a systematic search of Plaintiff's vehicle. The trial court, however, found that the officers lacked probable cause to arrest Plaintiff or search his vehicle or person. Consequently, the prosecutor dropped the charges against Plaintiff.

B. Plaintiff's Detention in Cook County Jail

Plaintiff was held in Cook County Jail from June 13, 2009 to February 24, 2010 pending resolution of his criminal case. His treatment there forms the basis for his claims against Cook County, the Cook County Sheriff's Department (the "Sheriff's Department"), and as-yet unknown employees of the Sheriff's Department (collectively "the County Defendants").At the time of the traffic stop that led to his arrest, Plaintiff was outfitted with a colostomy bag, due to an earlier gunshot wound to the abdomen that resulted in a perforated bowel. Because of his injury, Plaintiff developed a Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection, which Plaintiff controlled with medication prior to his arrest.

Plaintiff alleges that the County Defendants became aware of his medical condition during intake procedures at the Cook County Jail, but failed to provide Plaintiff sufficient medical attention. According to the complaint, Plaintiff requested medical treatment and supplies from various employees of the Sheriff's Department but never received the treatment or supplies that his condition required. Specifically, Plaintiff states that the County Defendants prevented him from receiving surgical repair of his injury and denied him the proper medication to control his staph infection. Eventually, the Circuit Court of Cook County ordered the County Defendants to provide Plaintiff with medical supplies and treatment, but Plaintiff alleges that the County Defendants failed to comply with the court's order. Plaintiff asserts that his medical condition significantly deteriorated due to his lack of treatment while in Cook County Jail.

C. Plaintiff's Claims

Plaintiff's complaint contains seven counts. Count I alleges that the City Defendants violated Plaintiff's due process rights by withholding material exculpatory evidence required to be disclosed and by testifying falsely about the circumstances surrounding his arrest.

Count II asserts that the City Defendants arrested and detained Plaintiff without probable cause in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Count III states that the City Defendants unlawfully prosecuted Plaintiff in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Count IV alleges that the County Defendants violated the Fourteenth Amendment by acting with deliberate indifference toward Plaintiff's medical needs. Counts V and VI assert Illinois state law malicious prosecution and false arrest claims against the City ...


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