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Cheryl Yachnin v. Village of Libertyville et al

September 28, 2011


Name of Assigned Judge Virginia M. Kendall Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge than Assigned Judge



The Court denies Yachnin's Motion for Reconsideration.

O[ For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.


Plaintiff Cheryl Yachnin ("Yachnin") moves the Court pursuant to Rule 59(e) to reconsider its March 10, 2011 Order dismissing Counts I and III of her Complaint. For the following reasons, the Court denies Yachnin's Motion for Reconsideration.

I. Standard of Review

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) serves the limited function of allowing courts to correct manifest errors of law or fact or consider newly discovered material evidence. See Oto v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 224 F.3d 601, 606 (7th Cir. 2000) (manifest error is the wholesale disregard, misapplication, or failure to recognize controlling precedent). Rule 59(e), however, "does not provide a vehicle for a party to undo its own procedural failures, and it certainly does not allow a party to introduce new evidence or advance legal arguments that could and should have been presented to the district court prior to the judgment." Moro v. Shell Oil Co., 91 F.3d 872, 876 (7th Cir. 1996). Reconsideration is only appropriate 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) (internal quotations omitted). Whether to grant a Rule 59(e) motion "is entrusted to the sound judgment of the district court." Matter of Prince, 85 F.3d 314, 324 (7th Cir. 1996).

II. Discussion

The Court previously held that Yachnin failed to state a claim in Counts I and III of her Complaint, which alleged that the Village of Libertyville, Libertyville Police Chief Patrick Carey, Liberty Police Sergeant James Finn, and Lake County State's Attorney Michael Waller (together "Defendants") violated her constitutional rights when they pulled her over and held her in contempt pursuant to a No Refusal Weekend and maliciously prosecuted her. The Supreme Court of the United States has held that such sobriety checkpoints are constitutionally permissible as reasonable intrusions on an individual's constitutional rights, especially in light of the state's interest in preventing deaths and mutilations that result from drunk driving. See Mich. Dep't of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444 (1990); see also United States v. Brock, 632 F.3d 999 (7th Cir. 2011) (mandatory eight-car-at-a-time sobriety checkpoint constitutionally permissible); United States v. Trevino, 60 F.3d 333 (7th Cir. 1995) (traffic safety check performed on all cars constitutionally permissible). The Court allowed Yachnin to pursue her claims in Count II, which alleged that the Defendants falsely arrested her.

Here, Yachnin does not seek to reinstate Counts I or III but instead directs her Motion for Reconsideration "at the Court's limitation of Count II to only a claim for false arrest." (Doc. 53 at 1.) Yachnin now seeks to pursue "claims for violations of her rights to Due Process, Equal Protection and Liberty under Count II, because the Defendants had no authority to adopt a No Refusal Weekend." (Id.) Yachnin also alleges, for the first time, that Libertyville was unable to enact a No Refusal Weekend because it is a non-home-rule municipality.

A. Constitutional Claims

As an initial matter, the due process and equal protection claims that Yachnin seeks to add to Count II are not cognizable under the false arrest claim that she alleged in her Complaint, which stated only that the Defendants "lacked probable cause to arrest" her in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Compl. ¶ 70.) Therefore, Yachnin's Motion for Reconsideration improperly attempts to expand the reach of Count II to include additional constitutional violations. See Bally Export Corp. v. Balicar, Ltd., 804 F.2d 398, 404 (7th Cir. 1986) ("...a motion for reconsideration is an improper vehicle to introduce evidence previously available or to tender new legal theories."). Moreover, these additional constitutional violations-of due process and equal protection-were already presented to the Court in Count I of the Complaint and the Court considered and rejected them in its March 10th Order. ...

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