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William D. Brown v. Blue Island Police Officer F. Navarro

June 4, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Virginia M. Kendall


Plaintiff William Brown ("Brown") sued four individual police officers of the City of Blue Island (the "City") pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to be free from false arrest, excessive force, and other officers' failure to intervene, as well as malicious prosecution pursuant to Illinois state law. Brown also sued the City for indemnification pursuant to Illinois state law. The four officers (together, the "Individual Defendants") and the City move jointly for summary judgment on Counts I through IV. For the reasons stated herein, summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part. Brown also moves to bar the testimony of Defendants' expert on police procedures, which is granted.

I. Undisputed Material Facts

The following facts are undisputed.*fn1 On June 24, 2007, between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., Brown and his brother, Quincy Brown ("Quincy") were driven by a friend to the White Castle drive thru at 127th and Western Avenue in Blue Island (the "White Castle"). (Pl. 56.1 Resp.¶7; Pl. Add'l 56.1

¶1.) Quincy placed his order through the drive-thru intercom, and became upset with what he perceived as the White Castle employee's unprofessional response. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶8). Without receiving the order, Quincy went into the White Castle after his friend parked the car. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶9). Brown followed his brother into the White Castle 3 to 7 minutes later to tell his brother "let's go." (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 10; Pl. Add'l 56.1 ¶5.).

Four to eight minutes later, Officers Navarro and Murray, two Blue Island Police officers, arrived at the White Castle. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 11; Pl. Add'l 56.1 ¶ 6). Defendant Officer Murray (white) and Defendant Officer Navarro (Hispanic) each testified that he responded to a call from the dispatcher to go to the White Castle for a disturbance. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶12, 13). Defendant Officer Delgadillo was dispatched to the White Castle also (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶14). Defendant Officers Navarro, Murray, and Delgadillo are together referred to as the "Arresting Officers."

The substance of the conversation between Officers Murray and Navarro, on the one hand, and Brown and Quincy, on the other hand, while in the White Castle, are in dispute. The content of any conversation, and even the occurrence of a conversation, with a White Castle employee regarding Brown's and/or Quincy's behavior, is also in dispute. One of the officers asked Brown his ID while they were in the restaurant, and Brown gave it to him. (Pl. Add'l 56.1 ¶9). The Arresting Officers, Brown and Quincy left the restaurant together and stood outside the restaurant door. (Pl. Add'l 56.1 ¶10).

While outside, Quincy was placed under arrest. (Quincy Dep at 53, Pl. Add'l 56.1 ¶17). Officer Delgadillo arrested and handcuffed Quincy, and then stayed with Quincy during the entirety of the verbal exchange and subsequent arrest of Brown. (Delgadillo Dep. at 29-30) (Quincy Dep at 64., 69,72) (Navarro Dep. At 120, 137). The record is not clear as to how far apart Quincy and Delgadillo stood from Brown and Murray. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶22). Officer Navarro directed Brown to leave the scene, while Officer Murray still held Brown's identification and told Brown to stay. (Pl. Add'l 56.1 ¶13, Quincy Dep at 60, 63). Brown repeatedly requested the return of his ID; after one of the officers returned the ID to Brown, Brown proceeded to leave as directed. (Pl. Add'l 56.1 ¶¶15, 20). Officer Navarro told Brown to come back. (Pl. Add'l 56.1 ¶20). Officer Navarro directed Officer Murray to arrest Brown. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶34, Pl. Add'l 56.1 ¶21). The details of the manner in which Officer Murray handled and/or handcuffed Brown, and Brown's degree of resistance, if any, are all firmly contested issues. At some point during the arrest, Officer Navarro used a taser on Brown. (Quincy Dep. at 65-66; Murray Dep. at 85-86). Officer Murray was immediately next to Brown (indeed, securing Brown's left hand, possibly with handcuffs) when Officer Navarro approached Brown and tasered him. (Navarro Dep. At 144-45, 149-50). The only undisputed movement by Brown is a single hand-raise with his right hand to approximately shoulder height after Officer Navarro pulled out his taser and before he used it. (Pl. Dep. at 61.) Brown fell to the ground following the use of the taser (Navarro Dep. At 149-50; Quincy Dep. At 64, 72). Officers Murray and Delgadillo did not intervene to stop the taser use or to break Brown's fall. (Pl. Add'l 56.1 ¶27). Brown's ankle fractured during the arrest and he had two surgeries to correct it. (Pl. Add'l 56.1 ¶¶34-36).

Later that evening, Officer Navarro and Officer Murray prepared the charging documents for obstruction of a police officer. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 43, 44). Officer Sisk, who was not present at the time of Brown's arrest, approved charging Brown. (Pl. Add'l 56.1 ¶32.-33, Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶44). Brown was charged with two counts of obstructing a peace officer, one of which was subsequently changed to resisting arrest. (Pl. Add'l 56.1 ¶¶30, 31).

II. Standard of Review

Summary judgment is proper when "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). In determining whether a genuine issue of fact exists, the Court must view the evidence and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the party opposing the motion. Ezell v. Potter, 400 F.3d 1041, 1042 (7th Cir. 2005); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). However, the Court will "limit its analysis of the facts on summary judgment to evidence that is properly identified and supported in the parties' [Local Rule 56.1] statement." Bordelon v. Chicago Sch. Reform Bd. of Trustees, 233 F.3d 524, 529 (7th Cir. 2000). "Summary judgment is properly denied where an issue of material fact can be resolved only after a determination of the credibility of witnesses, upon observing their demeanor; and where the evidence in support of the motion does not establish the absence of a genuine issue of material facts, even if no evidence opposing the motion has been presented." Spreen v. Brey, 961 F.2d 109, 111 (7th Cir. 1992).

Where a proposed statement of fact is supported by the record and not adequately rebutted, the court will accept that statement as true for purposes of summary judgment. An adequate statement requires a citation to specific support in the record. See Albiero v. City of Kankakee, 246 F.3d 927, 933 (7th Cir. 2001); Drake v. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co., 134 F.3d 878, 887 (7th Cir. 1998) ("'Rule 56 demands something more specific than the bald assertion of the general truth of a particular matter[;] rather it requires affidavits that cite specific concrete facts establishing the existence of the truth of the matter asserted.'"). A party's statement of facts is not a vehicle for factual or legal arguments. See Patterson v. Ind. Newspapers, Inc., 589 F.3d 357, 359 (7th Cir. 2009) (holding that where "much of [the party's] factual submission was argumentative" it was appropriate to strike it); Judson Atkinson Candies v. Latini-Hohberger Dhimantec, 529 F.3d 371, 381 n. 2 (7th Cir. 2008) ("It is inappropriate to make legal arguments in a Rule 56.1 statement of facts."). Legal arguments are the province of the supporting memorandum of law provided for by Rule 56.1(b)(2). Furthermore, the statement of facts must be concise, containing only one or two factual propositions per paragraph. See Cracco v. Vitran Express, Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009) ("The numbered paragraphs should be short; they should contain only one or two individual allegations, thereby allowing easy response.") (quoting Malec v. Sanford, 191 F.R.D. 581, 583 (N.D. Ill. 2000)).

In cases in which the moving party fails to file anything controverting the non-movant's statement of additional material facts, the non-movant's additional material facts, to the extent they are adequately supported by the record, shall be deemed admitted. See L.R. 56.1(a) ("All material facts set forth in the statement filed pursuant to section ...

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