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Thomas White v. City of Chicago

June 29, 2012

THOMAS WHITE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, OFFICER JEFFREY CHUDY, OFFICER THOMAS
WAKE, OFFICER STEVEN KAJDI, OFFICER NEIL GRIFFIN, OFFICER LORENZO COLUCCI, OFFICER KENNETH LEFLORE, OFFICER DAVID FIETKO AND OTHER UNKNOWN CITY OF CHICAGO POLICE OFFICERS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Harry D. Leinenweber

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the Court is a Partial Motion to Dismiss filed by the seven individually-named Defendant police officers (the "Named Officers"). For the reasons stated herein, the Defendants' Motion is granted in part and denied in part.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Thomas White ("White") brings this suit alleging violations of his Constitutional rights under the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as state law claims for malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress. All of these claims are based on his arrest and detainment by Chicago Police Officers on October 6, 2009 and the subsequent short-lived prosecution. Along with the Named Officers, Plaintiff sues other unknown officers (the "Unknown Officers") and the City of Chicago.

The following facts are taken from Plaintiff's Complaint, which the Court accepts as true at this stage of the litigation. Cole v. Milwaukee Area Tech. Coll. Dist., 634 F.3d 901, 903 (7th Cir. 2011).

On the evening of October 6, 2009 Defendant Officers Jeffrey Chudy ("Chudy") and Thomas Wake ("Wake") responded to a report of a burglary in Plaintiff's neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. Around that time, Plaintiff left his house to walk to a convenience store.

Upon seeing Plaintiff on the sidewalk, Defendants Chudy and Wake exited their vehicle, instructed Plaintiff to place his hands on the hood of their vehicle, and proceeded to search his person. Defendants Chudy and Wake found nothing unlawful on Plaintiff's person and began asking questions regarding Plaintiff's prior whereabouts and his destination.

Plaintiff's allegations regarding the circumstances of his subsequent arrest are somewhat unclear in his Complaint and this lack of clarity is central to a portion of Defendants' Motion. First, Plaintiff alleges that "Defendants Chudy and Wake" handcuffed him and placed him under arrest after they questioned him. Compl. 3. However, Plaintiff's Complaint later states that he was arrested by the more-generally termed "Defendants." Id. at 5. Plaintiff specifically identifies Defendant Officers Neil Griffin ("Griffin") and Lorenzo Colucci ("Colucci") as the officers who, while Plaintiff was detained on the sidewalk, drove a witness past Plaintiff on the opposite side of the street and shined a light on Plaintiff for approximately 10 seconds.

The Complaint also alleges that "Defendants" created false reports in order to bolster the witness' identification and that Defendant Detective Steven Kajdi ("Kajdi") testified before a grand jury to the contents of those reports. Plaintiff was then indicted on felony charges of residential burglary and burglary. As a result, Plaintiff spent a number of months imprisoned in Cook County Jail before he posted a reduced bond and was released. On or around June 20, 2011, the witness recanted her statement and the charges against Plaintiff were dismissed.

Plaintiff's claims are based on his allegations that Defendants falsely arrested and unlawfully detained him, used unduly suggestive identification procedures, and maliciously prosecuted him. He alleges that Defendants acted with malice, willfulness, and reckless indifference, and that these actions caused him pain and injury, as well as emotional distress.

Defendants' Motion argues that all claims against Officer Kenneth LeFlore ("LeFlore"), Detective David Fietko ("Fietko"), and Detective Kajdi should be dismissed for failure to plead facts sufficient to state a cause of action against them. It further argues that any claims based on Defendant Kajdi's grand jury testimony should be dismissed as they are barred by the doctrine of absolute immunity. Finally, it argues that any claims based on the unduly suggestive identification should be dismissed against all Defendants, as such claims are not actionable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

For purposes of a Motion to Dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court accepts as true all well-pleaded facts in the complaint and draws all inferences in Plaintiff's favor. Cole, 634 F.3d at 903. A complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2). Plaintiff need not allege "detailed factual allegations," but must offer more than conclusions or "a formulaic recitation of the elements of the cause of action[.]" Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The complaint's allegations "must plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a 'speculative level.'" E.E.O.C. v. Concentra Health Servs., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). "A claim has facial plausibility when the ...


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