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Karolina Obrycka v. City of Chicago and Anthony Abbate

February 23, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Amy J. St. Eve, District Court Judge:


On April 30, 2007, Plaintiff Karolina Obrycka brought the instant five-count Complaint alleging that Defendants City of Chicago and former Chicago police officer Anthony Abbate, Jr. violated her constitutional rights in relation to an incident on February 19, 2007 at Jesse's Shortstop Inn in Chicago, Illinois and the subsequent investigation into the incident.*fn1 In Count I, Obrycka alleges that the City violated her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights based on the City's de facto policy of concealing or suppressing investigations into police officer misconduct, along with a code of silence within the Chicago Police Department. See Monell v. Department of Soc. Servs. of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978). In Counts II, III, and IV, Obrycka alleges conspiracy claims against Abbate, the former Defendants to this lawsuit, and other alleged co-conspirators pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985(2). Count V is an indemnification claim against the City pursuant to 735 ILCS 10/9-102.

Before the Court is the City's motion for partial summary judgment as to Counts I and V of the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), to which Defendant Abbate joined. For the following reasons, the Court grants in part and denies in part the City's motion. Specifically, the Court grants the City's motion for summary judgment as to its obligation to indemnify Obrycka for Abbate's conduct in relation to Count I of the Complaint. The Court denies the remainder of the City's motion for summary judgment.


I. Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1

Local Rule 56.1 assists the Court by "organizing the evidence, identifying undisputed facts, and demonstrating precisely how each side propose[s] to prove a disputed fact with admissible evidence." Bordelon v. Chicago Sch. Reform Bd. of Trs., 233 F.3d 524, 527 (7th Cir. 2000). "The Rule is designed, in part, to aid the district court, 'which does not have the advantage of the parties' familiarity with the record and often cannot afford to spend the time combing the record to locate the relevant information,' in determining whether a trial is necessary." Delapaz v. Richardson, 634 F.3d 895, 899 (7th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted). Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires the moving party to provide "a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue." Cracco v. Vitran Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009). "The opposing party is required to file 'a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon." Id.

(citing N.D. Ill. R. 56.1(b)(3)(B)). Also, Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) requires the nonmoving party to present a separate statement of additional facts that requires the denial of summary judgment. See Ciomber v. Cooperative Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d 635, 643-44 (7th Cir. 2008).

The purpose of Local Rule 56.1 statements is to identify the relevant admissible evidence supporting the material facts, not to make factual or legal arguments. See Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1060 (7th Cir. 2006) ("statement of material facts did [] not comply with Rule 56.1 as it failed to adequately cite the record and was filled with irrelevant information, legal arguments, and conjecture"). Therefore, the Court will not address the parties' legal and factual arguments made in their Rule 56.1 statements and responses. See System Dev. Integration, LLC v. Computer Sci. Corp., 739 F.Supp.2d 1063, 1068 (N.D. Ill. 2010). Moreover, the requirements for responses under Local Rule 56.1 are "not satisfied by evasive denials that do not fairly meet the substance of the material facts asserted." Bordelon, 233 F.3d at 528. The Court may also disregard statements and responses that do not properly cite to the record. See Cady, 467 F.3d at 1060; Cichon v. Exelon Generation Co., LLC, 401 F.3d 803, 809-10 (7th Cir. 2005).

In many of the City's responses to Obrycka's Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) Statement of Additional Facts, the City fails to cite to the record when disputing the facts. Thus, the Court disregards the City's responses that do not properly cite to the record. See Cady, 467 F.3d at 1060. With these standards in mind, the Court turns to the relevant facts of the case.

II. Relevant Facts

On February 19, 2007, Obrycka was working as a bartender at Jesse's Shortstop Inn, a neighborhood bar in Chicago. (R. 372, Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 9-10.) Obrycka's shift started at 6:00 p.m. and ended at 2:00 a.m. (Id. ¶ 11.) Abbate, who was a patron at Jesse's Shortstop Inn on February 19, 2007, was a Chicago police officer, although he was not on duty that day. (Id. ¶¶ 7, 8; R. 381, Pl.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. Facts ¶ 1.) A physical altercation between Abbate and Obrycka occurred at approximately 9:30 p.m. that evening at Jesse's Shortstop Inn in which Abbate repeatedly punched and kicked Obrycka. (Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 12, 22.) Earlier that day, Abbate had started a fight with a patron of Jesse's Shortstop Inn around 3:00 p.m. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 1.) The bartender at that time, Patti Chiriboga, who is Abbate's friend, told him she would not serve him any more alcohol and he left the bar. (Id.) Later that day, Abbate returned to Jesse's Shortstop Inn at approximately 8:00 p.m. at which time he consumed some mixed drinks and shots of brandy. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 2; Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 13, 15.) Also, prior to the altercation with Obrycka, Abbate went behind the bar, after which Obrycka asked him to leave the bar area. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 3; Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 17, 18.) Abbate complied. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 3.) Evidence in the record reveals, however, that as the night progressed, Abbate became more physically and verbally abusive. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 2; Pl.'s Ex. C.) Despite Obrycka telling Abbate not to come behind the bar, Abbate went behind the bar a second time and began punching and kicking Obrycka telling her that "nobody tells me what to do." (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 3; Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 21, 22.) Before the altercation, Abbate repeatedly yelled "Chicago Police Department" while flexing his biceps. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 2, 3.)

After punching and kicking Obrycka, Abbate left Jesse's Shortstop Inn and Obrycka immediately called 911. (Id. ¶ 4; Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 23, 24.) At that time, Obrycka did not know that Abbate was a police officer, but then a patron of the bar told her that Abbate was a Chicago police officer and Obrycka relayed this information to the 911 operator. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 4; Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 25.) Thereafter, Officers Peter Masheimer and Jerry Knickrehm, veteran 25th District patrolmen, arrived at Jesse's Shortstop Inn. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 5; Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 26, 27.) When Officers Masheimer and Knickrehm spoke to Obrycka, she told them that the offender was a Chicago police officer and that the incident was caught on the bar's video cameras. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 5, 6.) At some point, Obrycka also informed the officers that the perpetrator was named Tony. (Id. ¶ 6.) In addition, the manager of Jesse's Shortstop Inn, Martin Kolodziej, informed Officers Masheimer and Knickrehm that the entire incident was on videotape. (Id. ¶ 7.)

Some of the information that Obrycka and Kolodziej reported to Officers Masheimer and Knickrehm was not contained in their final police report of the February 19, 2007 incident, including that the perpetrator was a Chicago police officer and that the incident was taped by the bar's video cameras. (Id. ¶ 7.) Moreover, the Sergeant in charge did not sign off on the final police report until four days after the incident. (Id. ¶ 8.) Later, when the Chicago Police Department's Office of Professional Standards ("OPS") was investigating the incident, Officers Masheimer and Knickrehm stated that no one told them that the perpetrator was a Chicago police officer.*fn2 (Id. ¶ 9.)

Later on February 19, 2007, Chiriboga, Abbate's friend and a bartender at Jesse's Shortstop Inn, viewed the videotape of the incident with the bar's manager Kolodziej. (Id. ¶ 18.) After Chiriboga viewed the videotape, she told Abbate's girlfriend, Linda Burnickas, how bad the attack appeared on the videotape. (Id. ¶ 19.) Burnickas, Abbate, and Chiriboga had been communicating with each other off and on during the hours immediately following the February 19, 2007 incident. (Id. ¶¶ 13-19.) After the incident, Abbate made numerous telephone calls to other Chicago police officers, including to his partner at the 20th District. (Id. ¶¶ 21, 24.) In turn, Abbate's partner called other Chicago police officers, including detectives. (Id. ¶¶ 23-25.)

That same evening, Chiriboga also talked to Gary Ortiz, another City employee and Abbate's friend, after which Ortiz went to Jesse's Shortstop Inn and asked Obrycka if she would agree to not press charges against Abbate. (Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 31.) In particular, Ortiz told Obrycka that Abbate had offered to pay for her medical bills and time off if she did not register a complaint or file a lawsuit against Abbate. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 20.) Obrycka said no. (Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 31.) The City concedes that Ortiz's action was an attempted "bribe." (R. 370, Def.'s Mem., at 11.)

Also after the incident, Abbate's girlfriend Burnickas called Jesse's Shortstop Inn asking Obrycka for her last name. (Id. ¶ 22.) Obrycka testified that she was too scared to give her last name to Burnickas after she found out that Abbate was a Chicago police officer. (Id.) Later, Chiriboga told Obrycka that she had met with Abbate and that Abbate told Chiriboga that she had to get the surveillance tape or there would be problems for the bar and its employees. (Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 34.) There is also evidence in the record that Abbate tried to intimidate and threaten Obrycka and Kolodziej from disclosing the videotape of the incident because Abbate acknowledged that without the tape, there would be no case against him. (Pl.'s ...

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