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Daniel Ortiz, Sr v. City of Chicago

May 18, 2011


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


Before the Court is Defendants' motion for reconsideration [69] of the portion of the Court's September 22, 2010 Memorandum Opinion and Order that denied summary judgment on Plaintiff's claims against Defendant Hicks for use of excessive force and false arrest [65]. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion for reconsideration [69] is respectfully denied.

I. Background

Because the relevant facts are set forth in the September 22, 2010 order [65]*fn1 , the Court need not repeat them in full here. Briefly, this case arises out of a visit that several Chicago police officers (the "Individual Defendants") paid to Plaintiff's home. Individual Defendants had a warrant to search Plaintiff's son's apartment, but not Plaintiff's apartment, which was located immediately above his son's apartment. Plaintiff's complaint alleged unlawful entry, excessive force/failure to intervene, false arrest, and a due process claim against the Individual Defendants. On February 5, 2010, Defendants moved for summary judgment [48]. During the course of briefing on that motion, Plaintiff abandoned his due process claim. The Court ultimately granted Defendants' motion as to Defendants Hall and Edwards, and granted summary judgment as to the unlawful entry claim against Defendant Hicks. See [65] at 25. However, the Court denied the motion as to the false arrest and excessive force claims against Defendant Hicks. Id. It is these aspects of the Court's prior ruling that are the subject of the instant motion.

II. Legal Standard

Because the Court's September 22, 2010 opinion did not dispose of this case in its entirety, the Court reviews Defendants' motion for reconsideration under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b), which states in relevant part: "any order or other decision, however designated, that adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all the parties does not end the action as to any of the claims or parties and may be revised at any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all the claims and all the parties' rights and liabilities." Accordingly, under Rule 54(b), the Court may exercise its inherent authority to reconsider its interlocutory orders because such orders may be revised at any time before the Court enters a final judgment. See Moses H. Cone Mem. Hosp. v. Mercury Const. Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 12 (1983) ("every order short of a final decree is subject to reopening at the discretion of the district judge"); Sims v. EGA Prods., Inc., 475 F.3d 865, 870 (7th Cir. 2007) ("non-final orders are generally modifiable").

However, it is well established in this district and circuit that "'[m]otions for reconsideration serve a limited function: to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence.'" Conditioned Ocular Enhancement, Inc. v. Bonaventura, 458 F. Supp. 2d 704, 707 (N.D. Ill. 2006) (quoting Caisse Nationale de Credit Agricole v. CBI Indus., Inc., 90 F.3d 1264, 1269 (7th Cir. 1996)). In regard to the "manifest error" prong, the Seventh Circuit has explained that a motion to reconsider is proper only when "the Court has patently misunderstood a party, or has made a decision outside the adversarial issues presented to the Court by the parties, or has made an error not of reasoning but of apprehension." Bank of Waunakee v. Rochester Cheese Sales, Inc., 906 F.2d 1185, 1191 (7th Cir. 1990); see also Oto v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 224 F.3d 601, 606 (7th Cir. 2000) ("A 'manifest error' is not demonstrated by the disappointment of the losing party," instead it "is the 'wholesale disregard, misapplication, or failure to recognize controlling precedent.'"); Bilek v. American Home Mortg. Servicing, 2010 WL 3306912, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 19, 2010). And with respect to the second prong, the court of appeals has explained that a motion to reconsider may be appropriate if there has been "a controlling or significant change in the law or facts since the submission of the issue to the Court." Id. Because the standards for reconsideration are exacting, our court of appeals has stressed that issues appropriate for reconsideration "rarely arise and the motion to reconsider should be equally rare." Id. Defendants do not invoke a change of law or the availability of new facts; thus, the Court's consideration is limited to whether the Court previously committed "manifest error." In performing this analysis, the Court keeps in mind that "[r]econsideration is not an appropriate forum for rehashing previously rejected arguments." Caisse Nationale de Credit Agricole, 90 F.3d at 1270.

III. Analysis

A. Excessive Force Claim

Plaintiff's excessive force claim is based in part on his allegations that his wrist and back were injured when Defendant Hicks "pushed and tackled [Plaintiff] onto a glass table with iron chairs, and pinned him to the floor." Pl. SOF at ¶¶ 13; 17. Defendants argue that the Court erred in denying summary judgment on the excessive force claim against Defendant Hicks because Plaintiff is bound by his own testimony "that he tripped and fell and no excessive force was used to detain him." Def. Mot. [69] at 2. In its previous Order, the Court found that there was a factual dispute regarding whether Plaintiff fell or was taken down by Hicks intentionally. See [65] at 6-7 and n.7. Defendants' motion for reconsideration is based on the following snippets of testimony from Plaintiff's deposition:

Q: After Officer [Hicks] tells you, you know, "I don't have to show you a warrant," or however you described it, what happens next?

A: When he says that, that's when they grabbed me this way and the back of me hit the glass table that was there in the living room. The glass table and the chairs are all iron. And when they grabbed me, that's when they grabbed me-[Hicks] was the one that grabbed me. And then I don't know if he, like, put my arms this way and that's when I was pinned down to the floor facing up."

Q: Officer [Hicks] is the one who grabbed you?

A: Grabbed me, yeah.

Q: And I'm sorry. I -- he first grabbed your arm? How did -- A: This arm ...

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