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Kevin Simpson v. Jeffrey Engle

May 23, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: James E. Shadid United States District Judge


Tuesday, 24 May, 2011 02:55:33 PM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD



Plaintiff, Kevin Simpson, filed a pro se complaint alleging four counts of civil rights violations committed by Defendants. Defendants filed motions to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Plaintiff filed his responses and on May 11, 2011, oral arguments were heard on the matter.

Plaintiff's allegation stem from an arrest that occurred November 5, 2009. Plaintiff had a tumultuous relationship with his sister Kimberly Fitzgerald and mother Nancy Miller. Earlier in the day on the 5th, Plaintiff drove by his sister's place of business as she was outside putting up a sign and extended his middle finger in her direction (gave her the finger). Plaintiff's sister called her/their mother to discuss the incident and their mother then called the police. Upon arrival, Defendant Officer Jeffrey Engle spoke with the mother who stated over the preceding months, she had beenreceiving phone calls from Plaintiff stating that he wanted her dead and to stay away from him. The mother also told Engle that Plaintiff told her that he wanted his sister Kimberly dead. The mother told Engle this had been an-ongoing situation and Plaintiff was bi-polar. She also told Engle that she knows something bad is going to happen and that things just keep getting worse and that she is scared of what might happen. Plaintiff disputes that his sister and mother made any mention of feeling threatened by his behavior and contends that he has conducted himself in this same manner for many years without incident.

Engle then proceeded to Plaintiff's home where he engaged in a heated conversation with Plaintiff outside of Plaintiff's tool shed. At this point the record becomes less clear as to what happened. Both parties agree that Engle left Plaintiff's residence. Plaintiff alleges that after leaving, Engle spoke with Plaintiff's sister, who after hearing of the heated argument, asked Engle why he did not arrest Plaintiff, at which time Engle returned to Plaintiff's home and proceeded to make an arrest. Engle alleges he left the residence and conducted an additional hour-or-so period of investigation, which involved speaking with Plaintiff's sister, and returned to the residence to make an arrest. Both parties agree Plaintiff was inside his home when Engle returned with other officers to effectuate the arrest, and after being asked to come outside, Plaintiff voluntarily did so. Following Plaintiff's arrest, he filed a citizens complaint with the Bloomington Police Department requesting an internal investigation, which was finished 197 days after its filing.

This complaint contains four counts. Counts I, II and IV are against Jeffrey Engle and are titled as follows: (I) Violation of Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment Right to be Free From Unreasonable Seizures; (II) Violations of Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment Right to Due Process; and (IV) Violations of Plaintiff's Civil Rights under the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Count III is against the Bloomington Police Department, Assistant Chief Robert Siron and Sergeant Randall Wikoff. Count III is titled "Violations of Plaintiff's Rights Under the Fourth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendments: Conspiracy to Commit Unreasonable Seizure, Conspiracy to Prevent Due Process_Assistant Police Chief Robert Siron, Sgt. Randall Wikoff and the Bloomington Police Department".


It is well established that complaints are to liberally construed for pro se complainants. Kaba v. Stepp, 458 F.3d 678, 681, 687 (7th Cir.2006). Pro se submissions are held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by lawyers. Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 546 (7th Cir.2009). F.R.C.P. 8(a)(2) requires only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief" in order to "give the defendant fair notice of what the...claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)(quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). While a motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaicrecitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Bell Atlantic Corp., 550 U.S. at 555.

Additionally, when considering whether to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the court assumes all factual allegations in the complaint to be true, viewing all facts-as well as any inferences reasonably drawn therefrom-in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Parish v. City of Elkhart, 614 F.3d 677, 679 (7th Cir.2010). A well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it appears "that actual proof of those facts is improbable, and that a recovery is very remote and unlikely." Bell Atlantic Corp., 550 U.S. at 556.

The four counts in Plaintiff's complaint will be addressed in turn, with the three counts ...

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