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Katrice Rhyan v. City of Waukegan

May 25, 2011

KATRICE RHYAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF WAUKEGAN, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Samuel Der-yeghiayan, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the court on Defendants' partial motion for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, the partial motion for summary judgment is granted.

BACKGROUND

On January 30, 2009, at approximately 1:52 p.m., Plaintiff Katrice Rhyan (Rhyan) allegedly exited the house of a friend in the City of Waukegan, Illinois (City). When Rhyan got into her vehicle, her vehicle was allegedly immediately surrounded by three police cars occupied by the individual Defendants (Defendant Officers), who were police officers for the City. Rhyan contends that one of Defendant Officers asked her to exit her vehicle and she complied. When one of Defendant Officers attempted to search Rhyan, she allegedly requested that a female officer search her. According to Rhyan, one of the male Defendant Officers continued to search her. Rhyan contends that she was thrown to the ground and held down by two Defendant Officers while another Defendant Officer sprayed pepper spray in her face. Rhyan was allegedly then arrested and taken to a City police station.

Rhyan includes in her amended complaint claims alleging excessive force brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Section 1983), assault and battery claims (Count II), Section 1983 false arrest and illegal imprisonment claims (Count III), a Section 1983 Monell claim (Count IV), and willful and wanton conduct claims (Count V). Defendants moved to dismiss all claims and this court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss the willful and wanton conduct claim brought against the City to the extent that Rhyan seeks punitive damages, and this court denied the remainder of Defendants' motion to dismiss. Defendants now move for summary judgment on Counts IV and V.

LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate when the record, viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, reveals that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Smith v. Hope School, 560 F.3d 694, 699 (7th Cir. 2009). A "genuine issue" in the context of a motion for summary judgment is not simply a "metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue of material fact exists when "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Insolia v. Philip Morris, Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 599 (7th Cir. 2000). In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must consider the record as a whole, in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; Bay v. Cassens Transport Co., 212 F.3d 969, 972 (7th Cir. 2000).

DISCUSSION

Defendants move for summary judgment on the Section 1983 Monell claim in Count IV and on the willful and wanton conduct claims in Count V.

I. Local Rule 56.1

Defendants filed a statement of material facts with the instant motion. Rhyan has filed a response to the instant motion, but has not filed a response to Defendants' statement of facts. Pursuant to Local Rule 56.1, the facts included in Defendants' statement of material facts are deemed to be undisputed for the purposes of the instant motion. LR 56.1; Cracco v. Vitran Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009)(stating that "[w]hen a responding party's statement fails to dispute the facts set forth in the moving party's statement in the manner dictated by [Local Rule 56.1], those facts are deemed admitted for purposes of the motion"). In addition, although under Local Rule 56.1, Rhyan was allowed to file her own statement of additional material facts, she did not file any statement of additional facts.

II. Monell Claim

Defendants move for summary judgment on the Section 1983 Monell claim, arguing that there is insufficient evidence to support a Monell claim. In accordance with Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658 (1978), "[a] village or other municipality may be found liable under § 1983 when it violates constitutional rights via an official policy or custom." Wragg v. Village of Thornton, 604 F.3d 464, 467 (7th Cir. 2010). In order to show the existence of "an official policy or custom, a plaintiff must show that his constitutional injury was caused 'by (1) the enforcement of an express policy of the [municipal entity], (2) a widespread practice that is so permanent and well settled as to constitute a custom or usage with the force of law, or (3) a person with final policymaking authority.'" Id. (quoting Latuszkin v. City of Chicago, 250 F.3d 502, 504 (7th Cir. 2001)).

In the instant action, Rhyan alleged in her amended complaint that the City developed and maintained policies or customs exhibiting deliberate indifference to the constitutional rights of persons in the City. (A. Compl. Par. 34). Rhyan also alleged that it was the policy and/or custom of the City to inadequately and improperly investigate citizen complaints about police ...


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