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Brad Sandefur v. Village of Hanover Park

June 7, 2012

BRAD SANDEFUR, PLAINTIFF,
v.
VILLAGE OF HANOVER PARK, ILLINOIS, RONALD CRAIG, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS PRESIDENT OF HANOVER PARK, RONALD MOSER, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS VILLAGE MANAGER OF HANOVER PARK, THOMAS CORTESE, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS DEPUTY CHIEF OF POLICE OF HANOVER PARK, MARK GATZ, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS DEPUTY CHIEF OF POLICE OF HANOVER PARK, JOHN DOE HANOVER PARK POLICE OFFICERS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: James F. Holderman, Chief Judge:

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

On February 1, 2011, plaintiff Brad Sandefur filed his First Amended Complaint against defendants the Village of Hanover Park ("Village"), Ronald Craig, Ronald Moser, Thomas Cortese, and Mark Gatz, bringing claims for violations of his First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count I); "supervisory refusal/neglect to properly instruct, supervise, control and discipline" also under § 1983 (Count II); and false light under Illinois common law (Count III). (Dkt. No. 23 ("1st Am. Compl.") ¶¶ 23-50.) Pending before the court are the parties' cross motions for summary judgment on all counts. (Dkt. Nos. 53, 70.) For the reasons explained below, Sandefur's motion (Dkt. No. 70) is denied and the defendants' motion (Dkt. No. 53) is granted. Judgment will be entered in favor of defendants and the case dismissed.

BACKGROUND

The Village of Hanover Park Village Board (the "Board") allows members of the public to speak at its meetings for up to five minutes each during a designated portion of the agenda. (Dkt. No. 67 ¶ 11.) On February 4, 2010, Brad Sandefur, a Sergeant with the Office of the Cook County Sheriff and a resident of the Village, attended a regularly scheduled, semi-monthly Board meeting with his neighbor Paul Lussky to address the Board about ice building up on Sandefur's street (Dkt. No. 55 ("ASOF") ¶¶ 7, 13.) Prior to the Board meeting in 2009, the Village had increased security at Board meetings following an incident in Missouri in which several board members and a police officer were killed by a disgruntled resident.*fn1

The February 4 meeting was the first Board meeting that Sandefur had ever attended, (ASOF ¶ 9) so none of the defendants recognized Sandefur as a correctional officer (Id. ¶¶ 10, 11). Sandefur was wearing jeans, a red and gold nylon jacket with the words "U.S. Marines" on it, and a 9-millimeter Glock handgun in a shoulder holster. (Id. ¶¶ 12, 13.) The weapon was concealed behind Sandefur's jacket, but the jacket was not snapped shut. (Id. ¶ 15.) The jacket also obscured the Sheriff's badge attached to Sandefur's belt. (Id. ¶ 17.)

During Sandefur's presentation, Sandefur approached the board to show photographs. (Id. ¶ 16.) Kim Pohl, a reporter for the Daily Herald who regularly attends Board meetings, testified that Sandefur became "very animated" while he spoke, lifting up his arms and allowing her to see the gun holster. (Id. ¶ 19.) At some point, the Village Manager Ron Moser noticed that Sandefur was armed. (Id. ¶ 18.) The Fire Chief, who was also present at the meeting, advised Deputy Chief Mark Gatz, an officer with the Village of Hanover Park Police Department, that Sandefur had a gun. (Id. ¶ 20.) Gatz advised Sergeant John Dossey that Sandefur had a gun. (Id.) Gatz and Dossey then approached Sandefur, secured his arms, and told him that he needed to step away from the podium and come with them. (Id. ¶ 21.) Sandefur's neighbor Paul Lussky was also escorted out of the meeting by Moser. (Id. ¶ 22.)As Sandefur was being escorted out, he never told any of the officers that he was correctional officer. (Id. ¶ 23.) Lori Kaiser, a Village Trustee who was familiar with Sandefur, testified that she probably mentioned to the Trustee sitting next to her that Sandefur is a cop, although the defendants dispute this fact. (Dkt. No. 80 ¶ D1.)

Outside of the meeting, the officers held Sandefur face first against the wall for two to four minutes, searched him, examined his credentials, and removed his weapon. (ASOF ¶¶ 24, 25.) Sandefur was never handcuffed or told he was under arrest. (Id. ¶ 26.) Sandefur was "a bit loud" and upset in the hallway.*fn2 Moser stated that Sandefur was "agitated." (Dkt. No. 80, ¶ D3.) During the detention, Sandefur mentioned that he was in law enforcement. (ASOF ¶ 27.) Sandefur's gun was returned to him (Dkt. No. 80 ¶ D3), but Moser determined that Sandefur would not be allowed to return to the meeting to continue his presentation because of the disturbance he had caused and because it would not be safe to allow him to return with a gun (Id.; ASOF ¶ 29). Moser told Sandefur, however, that he could return to the next Board meeting in two weeks. (ASOF ¶ 30.) Deputy Chief Tom Cortese, another officer with the Village of Hanover Park Police Department, then told Sandefur that he needed to leave or he would be arrested for trespassing, and that he would not be able to return to the Board meeting. (Id. ¶¶ 33-34.) Sandefur then left. (Id. ¶ 35.)

When Moser returned to the Board meeting, he advised the Board that Sandefur had been removed from the meeting, that Sandefur was armed, and that it appeared that Sandefur had a badge.*fn3 The Village President Ronald Craig, who was presiding over the meeting, thanked the police for their diligence and continued with the meeting. (ASOF ¶ 37.) Lussky, who was allowed to return to the Board meeting, then made his presentation on the same topic Sandefur had just addressed. (Dkt. No. 76 ¶ P20.)

After the meeting, Pohl interviewed Moser. (Id. ¶ P23.) According to an article Pohl published in the Daily Herald on February 12, 2010, "Moser said he made the call to bar Sandefur because the incident was disruptive and his issue could be heard by the board two weeks later." (Dkt. No. 69.) The article also noted that "Moser said the officers handled the situation very well."

LEGAL STANDARD

A grant of summary judgment is proper "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). "There is no genuine issue of material fact when no reasonable jury could find in favor of the nonmoving party." Brewer v. Bd. of Trs. of the Univ. of Ill., 479 F.3d 908, 915 (7th Cir. 2007). When ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must consider the facts before it in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, drawing all reasonable inferences in the nonmoving party's favor. McCann v. Iroquois Mem'l Hosp., 622 F.3d 745, 752 (7th Cir. 2010). The court does not make credibility determinations or weigh conflicting evidence. McCann v. Iroquois Mem'l Hosp., 622 F.3d 745, 752 (7th Cir. 2010).

ANALYSIS

The parties have agreed on the majority of the facts in this case and, as explained below, there is no genuine dispute about any of the material facts. The case is thus a good candidate for determination on summary judgment.*fn4

I. Count I: § 1983 Claims*fn5

"Section 1983 creates a federal cause of action for the 'deprivation, under color of law, of a citizen's rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States.'" Finwall v. City of Chicago, 490 F. Supp. 2d 918, 921 (N.D. Ill. 2007) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983). A claim under § 1983 requires that "(1) the defendant acted under the color of state law or invoked state authority, and (2) deprived the plaintiff of a constitutionally protected right." Id.; see also ...


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