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Misael Padilla v. City of Chicago

August 24, 2011

MISAEL PADILLA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge James B. Zagel

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Misael Padilla ("Padilla" or "Plaintiff"), is seeking to recover damages as well as reasonable attorneys' fees, costs, and expenses from Defendants, Frank R. Villareal ("Villareal"), Guadalupe Salinas ("Salinas"), and the City of Chicago ("City"). Padilla alleges that Villareal and Salinas violated his constitutional right to due process when they stopped, searched, and arrested him without probable cause, had him prosecuted on the basis of falsified evidence, and withheld material evidence from the prosecutor. In addition, Padilla asserts a Monell claim against the City of Chicago and supplemental state law claims. Defendants now move to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).

For the reasons to follow, the motion to dismiss is denied as to Counts I, II, IV, V, VI, and VII, but granted as to Count III.

I. BACKGROUND

According to Plaintiff, on May 9, 2005, Defendant officers Villareal and Salinas, at the time both members of the Special Operations Section ("SOS"), were on duty driving a police vehicle. Padilla claims the officers pulled him over near the 4900 block of South Tripp Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. Both Padilla and his vehicle were searched. After allegedly stealing money from Padilla, Villareal and Salinas proceeded to plant drugs and a gun on Padilla, who was falsely charged with a moving violation, drug possession, and a weapons violation. Padilla's vehicle was also impounded.

Villareal and Salinas allegedly lacked probable cause to lawfully stop, search, and arrest the plaintiff and then made false statements about their conduct concerning the incident. Defendants never revealed either their own history of fabricating evidence and falsifying charges or the SOS's similar history.*fn1 It was due to the officers' false statements and manufactured evidence that Padilla was charged, prosecuted, and incarcerated for approximately sixteen months until the Cook County State's Attorney's Office dismissed the charges against Padilla on September 15, 2006, in a way which was indicative of his innocence. The Cook County State's Attorney's Office has also filed criminal charges against Villareal for engaging in the activities alleged in Padilla's complaint. Padilla has suffered the loss of his liberty, extreme emotional distress, and financial loss due to the conduct of defendants Villareal and Salinas.

According to Padilla, the City of Chicago is also liable for the actions of the defendant officers since the actions taken by said officers were done pursuant to numerous policies, practices or customs of the City, including: failure to properly investigate allegations of police misconduct; failure to maintain a system which monitors patterns of alleged police misconduct; lack of proper discipline in response to sustained allegations of police misconduct; failure to properly maintain records of police misconduct and allegations of police misconduct, including the use of excessive force and false arrest; and a failure to properly hire, monitor, and supervise police officers. The City maintained and implemented such policies with deliberate indifference and permitted a code of silence to exist in the department which gave rise to the Constitutional and legal violations alleged by Padilla, protected them from internal discipline or retaliation, and encouraged Villareal and Salinas to engage in the wrongful acts alleged here by Padilla.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Rule 12(b)(6) permits a court to dismiss a claim where plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In reviewing a motion to dismiss, the court must construe all allegations in the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and accept all well-pleaded facts and allegations as true. Pisciotta v. Old Nat'l Bancorp, 499 F.3d 629, 633 (7th Cir.2007) (internal citation omitted). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint need only contain a 'short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" EEOC v. Concentra Health Servs., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir.2007) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). The plaintiff need not plead particularized facts, but the factual allegations in the complaint must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, (2007) (quotation marks omitted). The facts must provide the defendant with "fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Id.

III. ANALYSIS

Plaintiff alleges seven counts in his complaint: In Count I, he alleges that the conduct of Defendant officers violated his due process rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; in Count II, Plaintiff alleges a Monell claim against the City of Chicago under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; in Count III, Plaintiff alleges a state law false imprisonment claim; in Count IV the plaintiff alleges a state law malicious prosecution claim; in Count V the plaintiff alleges a state law intentional infliction of emotional distress claim; in Count VI the plaintiff alleges a respondeat superior claim; and in Count VII the plaintiff alleges a state law indemnification claim.

A. Due Process Claim

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant officers Villareal and Salinas violated his due process rights by stopping, searching, and arresting him without probable cause and causing him to be prosecuted based on falsified evidence. Plaintiff also alleges that the defendant officers' fabrication of evidence, lies about their actions, and failure to disclose their own history of misconduct, as well as the history of misconduct in the SOS, amounted to Brady due process violations. Plaintiff asserts that if Villareal and Salinas had disclosed their history of falsifying evidence, including of the fabrication of the evidence in the incident involving the plaintiff himself, the prosecutor would have never pursued the charges against him. In support of this, plaintiff claims that the prosecutor dismissed the charges against him in a manner "indicative of his innocence."

Defendants contend that Plaintiff's pleadings amount to nothing more than conclusory allegations that fail to pass the requirements of Twombly v. Bell Atlantic Corp., 550 U.S. 544 (2007). Defendants further contend that there is no due process right to be prosecuted without probable cause and that the plaintiff's due process claim must fail because his claim is in essence a Fourth Amendment false arrest claim combined with a claim for malicious prosecution and should be treated as such. Defendants also contend ...


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