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Gonzalez et al. v. Dominick et al

June 28, 2012

GONZALEZ ET AL.
v.
DOMINICK ET AL



Name of Assigned Judge Harry D. Leinenweber Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

Defendants' motion for summary judgment [Dkt. No. 187] is granted. Defendants' motion to strike Plaintiff's responses to Defendants' statement of facts is granted in part and denied in part. Defendants' motion for fees and costs as a sanction under Rule 11 is denied.

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

Mailed AO 450 form.

STATEMENT

Before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment, Defendants motion to strike Plaintiffs' denial of Defendants' statements of fact, and Defendants' motion for attorney's fees and costs as a Rule 11 sanction. For the following reasons, the motion for summary judgment is granted; the motion to strike is granted in part and denied in part; the motion for attorney's fees and costs is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Ramiro Gonzalez ("Ramiro") is the past president of the Town of Cicero. He lost his 2005 bid for re-election; Defendant Larry Dominick ("Dominick") won. Prior to the election, Ramiro and his wife, Plaintiff Anna Saucedo ("Saucedo") received permits to build their home at 3624 South 61st Avenue in Cicero ("The Ramiro Property"). Ramiro's brother, Gustavo Gonzalez ("Gustavo") also had received permits prior to the election to build his home at 3603 South Central Avenue in Cicero ("The Gustavo Property"). Ramiro's other brother, Adalberto Gonzalez ("Adalberto"), purports to be the owner of a vacant lot at 3604 South Central Avenue ("The Adalberto Property"). All three claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that shortly after Ramiro lost the election and Dominick was sworn in, they were retaliated against for Ramiro's First Amendment speech opposing Dominick's election and voicing concern for how Dominick used town funds. The campaign against Plaintiffs allegedly consisted of inspections of The Ramiro and Gustavo Properties, issuances of stop-work orders and denials of work and occupancy permits. Adalberto was issued citations for failure to construct a fence around his property. Also named as a Plaintiff is Family Bank and Trust, as Trustee ("The Trust"), of the Ramiro Property.

Plaintiffs also sued the village of Cicero as indemnifier of Dominick. Attorneys Michael Del Galdo and Joseph Giglio, who acted as Cicero attorneys, are also accused of First Amendment retaliation. All individual defendants are also accused of § 1983 conspiracy. Lastly, Ramiro alleged that the village withheld some of his final salary payments without cause. This survived a motion to dismiss as a contract claim, but Plaintiffs withdrew that count in responding to the motion for summary judgment. Accordingly, all that remains are Plaintiffs' allegations of First Amendment retaliation and conspiracy.

Defendants have moved for summary judgment and to strike Plaintiffs' response to Defendants; statements of facts for failure to comply with Local Rule 56.1. They also move for attorney's fees as a sanction for filing a frivolous lawsuit.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

To prevail on their § 1983 retaliation claim, Plaintiffs need to prove (1) that they were engaged in constitutionally protected speech; (2) that public officials took adverse actions against them; and (3) that the adverse actions were motivated at least in part as a response to the Plaintiffs' protected speech. Springer v. Durflinger, 518 F.3d 479, 483 (7th Cir. 2008).

Summary judgment is proper where there is no showing of a genuine issue of material fact in the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions to file, and affidavits, and where the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Id. Summary judgment is the "put up or shut up" moment in a lawsuit. Id. If a movant alleges sufficient facts that would require summary judgment, the non-moving party may not rest on his pleadings, but must put ...


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