Name of Assigned Judge Amy J. St. Eve Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge than Assigned Judge
The Court denies Defendants' request for reasonable expenses and attorneys' fees  and denies Defendants' motion for sanctions .
O[ For further details see text below.] Notices mailed by Judicial staff.
Defendants Sergeant Bukovic, Officer Suroviak, and the Village of Lynwood (collectively, "Defendants") seek their reasonable expenses and attorneys' fees for the time that they spent opposing Plaintiffs' unsuccessful consolidated motion to quash Defendants' subpoenas and to sanction Defendants.
(R. 38.) Defendants also request their expenses and fees in responding to Plaintiffs' motions to strike and to compel, both of which the Court denied. (Id. at 1.) In response, Plaintiffs argue that their motions were substantially justified, and so the Court should deny Defendants' request for expenses. (R. 40.) Before the Court ruled on their motion for expenses, Defendants filed a motion for sanctions against Plaintiffs. (R. 42.)
On February 18, 2011, Defendants removed the present case from the Circuit Court of Cook County to this Court. (R. 1.) Plaintiffs allege that Defendants failed to protect them from Ms. Montgomery's deceased husband, who, on October 8, 2008, shot both himself and Ms. Montgomery. (R. 1 at 41-63.) Plaintiffs bring claims for violation of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, for intentional infliction of emotional distress, for civil conspiracy, and for violation of their civil rights. (Id. at 51-62.)
While the case was pending in state court, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the statute of limitations barred Plaintiffs' claims. (R. 25 at 2-3.) In response, Plaintiffs argued that Illinois law tolled the statute of limitations because Ms. Montgomery experienced a life-threatening injury, which caused her to be under a legal disability. (Id. at 50-51.) The state court denied Defendants' motion to dismiss on the ground that "plaintiff alleged sufficient facts to establish that she was not fully able to manage her person or estate and was, therefore, under a legal disability." (Id. at 51.) Thereafter, Defendants sought discovery regarding Ms. Montgomery's alleged disability. (Id. at 4.)
On March 31, 2011, and after removal, Plaintiffs filed a consolidated motion for sanctions against Defendants for abuse of the discovery process and to quash Defendants' subpoenas. (R. 17.) Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants improperly (1) used "a subpoena to compel a witness to come to an office to be interviewed," and (2) employed coercive tactics on a nonparty witness in order to obtain a signed affidavit. (Id. at 3-4.) Plaintiffs also sought to quash subpoenas that Defendants had served on a variety of financial institutions. (Id. at 5-7.) Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants were engaging in an "abusive fishing expedition," which went beyond the scope of permissible discovery. (Id. at 7.)
On May 5, 2011, the Court denied Plaintiffs' consolidated motion in its entirety, finding that-contrary to Plaintiffs' assertion-the subpoena served on the relevant witness, Cynthia Frye, would not lead a reasonable recipient to believe that it required physical appearance. (R. 36.) The Court noted that the subpoena, which was comprised of four separate sentences, prominently stated that "THIS SUBPOENA IS FOR RECORDS ONLY. IF YOU COMPLY, YOUR APPEARANCE WILL NOT BE NECESSARY." (Id. at 3 (quoting R. 17-1 at 1, 3).) The Court also found no evidence to support Plaintiffs' allegation that Defendants "coercively kept [Ms. Frye] at counsel's office for a total of almost four hours," during which time Defendants "interrogat[ed]" her in an "intimidating manner." (Id. (quoting R. 28 at 3.) The Court further observed that Defendants, in failing to serve Plaintiffs with a copy of the subpoena that they served ...