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Nick W. Holm and Daniel M. Holm v. Jason M. Clark

March 23, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Feinerman


Plaintiffs Nick Holm and Daniel Holm brought this suit under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986 and Illinois law against two groups of defendants. The first group consists of private citizens: Ziad Aiyash, Ryan Gasteier, Necia Gudgeon, Patrick Oslakovich, and Patricia Yodka. The second group consists of public officials: former Grundy County State's Attorney Sheldon Sobol, and Coal City Police Officers Jason M. Clark, Fred J. Ehrman, Chris Harseim, and David Craig Kasher.

Officers Clark, Ehrman, Harseim, and Kasher have moved for summary judgment, and the Holms have moved to supplement their response to the officers' motion. Docs. 50, 59. The Holms' motion is granted. For the following reasons, the officers are granted summary judgment on the federal claims and the state law false arrest and false imprisonment claims. The other state law claims against the officers-which sound in malicious prosecution, assault, battery, and civil conspiracy-are dismissed without prejudice under 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c).


The following facts are undisputed, either by the parties' agreement or because the objecting party failed to comply with Local Rule 56.1. All inferences are drawn in favor of Plaintiffs, who are the non-movants. Nick Holm and Daniel Holm are brothers, and Adam Holm is their father. (For ease of exposition, the Holms will be referred to by their first names.)

This case involves two separate episodes. The first commenced on March 16, 2010, when Officer Kasher was dispatched to 485 Marguerite Street for a "fight in progress." Doc. 52 at ¶ 8. Upon arriving at the scene, Kasher observed Adam, Daniel, and Gasteier-all of whom he knew previously-involved in an altercation. Kasher, along with non-party Officer Logan, defused the situation and asked Gasteier what had occurred. Gasteier reported that he had been with Yodka, his girlfriend, when Yodka's daughter Alyssa Garcia called and said that Daniel and Adam were harassing her and calling her a "cock blower." Id. at ¶ 10.Gasteier told Kasher that he then went to Lions Park, where Garcia had been, and saw Daniel and Adam in a large black truck traveling on South Mary Street. Gasteier said that as he approached the truck, it started to move in reverse, with Daniel hanging out the window and yelling "pussy" and "you are fucking dead," prompting Gasteier to throw a rock at the truck. Id. at ¶ 11. According to Gasteier, the truck stopped on Marguerite Street and Daniel and Adam exited and grabbed a rake and a large stick, respectively, from the truck's bed. Gasteier told Kasher that Daniel and Adam began swinging those items at him.

Officers Kasher and Logan returned to the Coal City Police Department, where they took statements from Gasteier and other witnesses. Oslakovich told Kasher that he observed Daniel and Adam swinging weapons at Gasteier. Non-party Adam Steffes told Kasher that Daniel and Adam were swinging sticks at Gasteier. Garcia said that she was at the park with her friends when Daniel and Adam began yelling "you blow dick" at them while driving by in a truck. Id. at ¶ 18. Logan also took voluntary statements from Daniel, Adam, Gasteier, and two other witnesses.Kasher then prepared an Incident/Investigation Report and forwarded it, along with the statements, to the State's Attorney's Office for further review. (The statements and the Report are admissible for present purposes. See Woods v. City of Chi., 234 F.3d 979, 986-87 (7th Cir. 2000) (criminal complaint, arrest report, and statements made by a complaining witness are admissible to show whether a reasonable officer in the arresting officer's position had probable cause to believe a crime had been committed).)

On April 20, 2010, Officer Ehrman swore out a criminal complaint against Daniel, charging him with aggravated assault in violation of 720 ILCS 5/12-2(a)(1) (amended 2011) and disorderly conduct in violation of 720 ILCS 5/26-1(a)(1). The criminal charges were based on Ehrman's review of Officer Kasher's Incident/Investigation Report. Ehrman also consulted with an Assistant State's Attorney, who advised that the Report's allegations established probable cause to charge Daniel with those crimes. The disorderly conduct charge was eventually dismissed, but Daniel was convicted of aggravated assault.

The second episode occurred in May 2010. On May 18, 2010, Yodka went to the Coal City Police Department and told Officer Clark that on May 15, at approximately 2:00 a.m., she returned home from work and found Nick at her apartment door. Yodka told Clark that the apartment's owner had prohibited the Holms from being on the property. Yodka reported that when Nick saw her approaching, he began "yelling and cussing" at her, that she grabbed Nick, and that Daniel then appeared and began kicking her in the legs, ribs, back, and shoulder. Doc. 52 at ¶ 26. Yodka added that Daniel pulled her to the ground by her hair and continued to kick her while Nick attempted to bite her right arm, leaving her with visible bruises. Yodka provided Clark with a written statement of her allegations. Clark completed an Incident/Investigation Report detailing Yodka's allegations and including photographs of Yodka's injuries, and forwarded the Report to the State's Attorney's Office for review.

On May 19, after reviewing the Report, Officer Harseim swore out criminal complaints against Daniel and Nick, charging them with criminal trespass to residence in violation of 720 ILCS 5/19-4(a)(1) and battery in violation of 720 ILCS 5/12-3(a)(1). Later that day, the Circuit Court of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, Grundy County, issued warrants for the arrest of Daniel and Nick on those charges. After the warrants were issued, Harseim spoke to State's Attorney Sobol, who advised him to interview Nick and Daniel to obtain their version of the incident. Harseim served Nick with the arrest warrant, took him into custody, and brought him to the Police Department. Nick declined Harseim's request for an interview and was booked, processed, and released from custody on a $100 cash bond. Doc. 52-5 at ¶ 13.

On May 20, 2010, Officer Kasher arrested Daniel pursuant to the arrest warrant. The criminal charges against Daniel and Nick for the alleged May 15 incident were dismissed because Yodka, the complaining witness, did not appear to testify at trial.


The Holms allege that Officers Clark, Ehrman, Harseim, and Kasher violated 42 U.S.C. ยงยง 1983, 1985, and 1986 by conspiring to have them arrested despite the lack of probable cause. Although the Holms do not explicitly identify the constitutional deprivations giving rise to their federal claims, it appears that they are alleging false arrest, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Holms also bring supplemental state law claims for false arrest, false ...

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