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Richard Schmidt v. Village of Forest Park et al.

June 5, 2012

RICHARD SCHMIDT
v.
VILLAGE OF FOREST PARK ET AL.



Name of Assigned Judge John A. Nordberg Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a second amended complaint instanter [61] is denied.

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

STATEMENT

Introduction. Plaintiff Richard Schmidt seeks to file a second amended complaint, adding a state law claim for malicious prosecution to go with his § 1983 excessive force claim. Defendants object, arguing that plaintiff has been aware of the facts underlying this claim for 14 months and inexplicably waited until the end of fact discovery to add it. Allowing this claim, defendants further argue, would prejudice them by requiring additional discovery. We agree.

Background. The facts alleged in the proposed second amended complaint are essentially the same as in the original complaint. On March 1, 2008, at around 7:30 p.m., plaintiff was at Slainte Irish Pub in Forest Park, Illinois. (2AC ¶ 12.) The Forest Park police department was called about a possible disturbance (¶ 13.) Officers Morrissette, Miller, and Pater arrived and arrested plaintiff for breaking a table. (Id.) Plaintiff was a Chicago police officer who was off duty at this time. The three officers transported plaintiff to the Forest Park Police Station. (Id.) Plaintiff was then allegedly beaten until he was unconscious. (¶¶ 14-15.) Officers also allegedly discharged a TASER gun seven times into plaintiff's lower back and left leg. (¶ 16.) Plaintiff allegedly did nothing to provoke these actions.

In February 2010, plaintiff filed his original complaint, naming four police officers, the Police Chief, and the Village of Forest Park as defendants. Plaintiff asserted an excessive force claim under § 1983 and four related state law claims. Defendants filed a combined motion to stay and dismiss. They requested a stay of the federal claim until the resolution of plaintiff's criminal trial arising out of the same incident. They moved to dismiss the four state law claims because they were barred by the one-year statute of limitations in the Tort Immunity Act, 745 ILCS 10/8-101. This Court granted the stay motion and set a briefing schedule on the motion to dismiss. Plaintiff did not file a response brief. Defendants argued in their reply brief that the failure to respond was an implicit admission that his state law claims were untimely. We agreed and dismissed those claims. (Docket # 12.)

Plaintiff's criminal trial took place in late September 2010. We will summarize the charges and the trial. This description is taken from defendants' response brief, and plaintiff has not objected to the accuracy of the underlying facts. Following the March 1, 2008 incident, two of the officers (Pater and Morrissette) signed criminal complaints against plaintiff for aggravated battery against a police officer. Pater alleged that plaintiff hit him in the face and elbowed him. Morrissette alleged that plaintiff tackled him and grabbed his legs.

At the bench trial, Pater testified that plaintiff elbowed him leaving a tender spot on his body and that plaintiff scratched him during a struggle. A picture of the scratch was introduced at the trial. Morrissette testified that his head was bruised by plaintiff during the struggle. Plaintiff's counsel made the following argument about the officers' alleged injuries:

Officer Pater doesn't have a mark on him. He's got a scratch on the palm of his hand. You heard from Morrissette that Morrissette never once put in any police report that he received a bruise on his head. Evidence technicians were called. He never asked anybody to take a photograph of his head or take a photograph of any injury that he may have sustained.

(Id. at 3.) The Judge found plaintiff not guilty based on the following analysis:

THE COURT: I have found the officers to be credible in their testimony. I have found that their conduct was proper and appropriate. I have found that the Defendant who testified is credible in his testimony. I have found after reviewing the evidence that there is not sufficient evidence beyond a reasonable degree to show intent to do these things or ...


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