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Kathleen Quenzel Eaker v. Nicholas Mooshegian

August 1, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert District Judge


This matter is before the Court on the motion for summary judgment filed by Defendants Nicholas Mooshegian, Robert Hertz, and Madison County, Illinois. (Doc. 9). Plaintiff Kathleen Eaker ("Mrs. Eaker") has responded to the motion. (Doc. 11).

I. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate where "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 Anderson v. Liberty Lobby Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Spath v. Hayes Wheels Int'l-Ind., Inc., 211 F.3d 392, 396 (7th Cir. 2000). In reviewing the motion, the Court must construe the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of that party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.

The initial burden for a motion for summary judgment lies with the moving party to identify those portions of the record that show there is no genuine issue of material fact. Johnton v. City of Fort Wayne, Ind., 91 F.3d 922, 931 (7th Cir. 1996); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). In responding to the motion, the non-moving party then may not rest simply on the pleadings on which she has the burden of proof, but must respond by showing that there is a genuine issue of material fact. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324.

A genuine issue of material fact is not merely demonstrated by "some alleged factual dispute between the parties." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247. Only disputes of facts that might affect the outcome of the suit while considering substantive law are sufficient to defeat summary judgment. Clifton v. Schafer, 969 F.2d 278, 281 (7th Cir. 1992). A "fair-minded jury must be able to return a verdict for the [non-moving] party." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.

II. Facts

The evidence in this case, viewed in the light most favorable to Mrs. Eaker, establishes the following relevant facts.

Mrs. Kathleen Eaker lives in Troy, Illinois, located in Madison County with her husband William Scott Eaker ("Mr. Eaker"). The incident in question began at 3:16 p.m. on July 23, 2010, when Deputy Nicholas Mooshegian of the Madison County Sheriff's Department arrived at the Eaker residence to serve Mr. Eaker with an order of protection. The order specified that Mr. and Mrs. Eaker could not attend the Troy Homecoming celebration on July 23, 2010, but that they would be allowed to attend on July 24, 2010. Unfortunately for Deputy Mooshegian, the Troy Homecoming festivities began on July 23, 2010 at 4:00 p.m. giving him only 45 minutes to serve Mr. Eaker.

Upon arrival at the Eaker residence, Deputy Mooshegian informed Mrs. Eaker that he was there to serve her husband with an order of protection. In response, Mrs. Eaker called her husband and told him to return home because the deputy was there to serve him with an order of protection. Mrs. Eaker then informed Deputy Mooshegian that her husband had gone in to town to wash her Mustang for the Homecoming parade, buy candy, and pick up magnetic signs for the car. Mrs. Eaker further gave Deputy Mooshegian a description of her Mustang, the car's license plate number, and the specific road Mr. Eaker would be taking to the Troy VFW where Mr. Eaker was to help fry fish at 4:00 p.m. Nevertheless, the deputy demanded that Mr. Eaker return home immediately.

After this initial discussion, Mrs. Eaker told the deputy that she needed to go back inside her home to speak with her mentally challenged son and shower. She asked the deputy if he would like to wait inside until her husband returned home but he declined. While Mrs. Eaker was in the shower, Deputy Mooshegian began calling the house and knocking on the front door, but Mrs. Eaker did not answer. Deputy Mooshegian then called "On Duty Watch Commander Lt. Morris.who advised him to try and attempt to contact her a few more times." (Compl. Attach. 2).

Unaware of the deputy's attempts to contact her, Mrs. Eaker stepped outside the back of the house and called the courthouse to inquire about the order Deputy Mooshegian was attempting to serve. As she was on the phone, Deputy Mooshegian came up behind Mrs. Eaker and said, "he was not going to wait around all day while she called her lawyer." (Compl. ¶ 18). The deputy then slapped the phone out of Mrs. Eaker's hand, placed her under arrest for obstructing the service of process, and said "something like we will see how fast your husband would show up if I arrest you." Id. at ¶ 47.

At this time, the only clothes that Mrs. Eaker was wearing was a "bath wrap". (Compl. ¶ 55). This bath wrap was essentially a towel, "which connected at the top but was open at the bottom." Id. She had no shoes or undergarments on to protect her from being exposed. Mrs. Eaker requested that she be allowed to go back inside to put on clothes and speak with her son, but Deputy Mooshegian refused. Further, Mrs. Eaker asked Deputy Mooshegian to loosen the handcuffs because they were hurting her hands, but Deputy Mooshegian responded by "squeezing the handcuffs tighter and saying that she would be able to figure out where her husband was a little faster now." Id. at ¶ 22.

Once back at the jail, Mrs. Eaker was processed, charged with a misdemeanor for obstructing the service of process and released. However, when the deputy brought Mrs. Eaker into the station, he walked Mrs. Eaker in front of the other inmates while her bath wrap was open at the bottom. After being released, Mrs. Eaker went to the Anderson Hospital emergency room to be treated for a knot and contusion on her right hand.

Mrs. Eaker filed this lawsuit on July 19, 2011. The complaint she filed consists of nine counts. The first seven counts are against Deputy Nicholas Mooshegian and the remaining two are against Sheriff Robert Hertz and Madison County, Illinois. The first two counts brought against Nicholas Mooshegian are brought under 42 U.S.C. §1983 for a violation of Mrs. Eaker's Fourth Amendment rights. These counts consist of the use of excessive force (Count I) and arrest without probable cause (Count II). The remaining five counts are State law claims for false arrest (Count III), malicious prosecution (Count VI), battery (Count V), intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count VI), and negligent infliction of emotional distress (Count VII). The last two counts against Sheriff Hertz and Madison County are also brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for a violation of Mrs. Eaker's Fourth Amendment rights. The claim against Sheriff Robert Hertz is for a failure to adequately supervise and train Deputy Mooshegian (Count VIII), and the claim against Madison County, Illinois is for a custom of unlawful activity (Count IX).

In response, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss on November 8, 2011. However, given that the defendants attached affidavit, this Court converted the motion into a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 on November 16, 2011. Mrs. Eaker countered on November 23, 2011 with a memorandum in opposition to Defendants' motion for summary judgment.

III. Analysis

The Court will first take up the issues concerning Deputy Nicholas Mooshegian. Next, the Court will address the claim against Sheriff Robert Hertz, and lastly ...

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