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Victor Baltimore v. Obeckyo Quinn-Mims

August 20, 2012

VICTOR BALTIMORE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
OBECKYO QUINN-MIMS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Ronald A. Guzman

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Victor Baltimore brought suit alleging various claims against, among others, Obeckyo Quinn-Mims, regarding a child abuse investigation she performed. He alleges three claims against Quinn-Mims including deprivation of his Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count I); conspiracy under 42 U.S.C §§ 1983 and 1985 (Count II); and a state law claim for false light (Count IV).*fn1 Quinn-Mims has moved for summary judgment with respect to all claims against her and Baltimore moves to voluntarily dismiss the conspiracy claim. Baltimore's motion to voluntarily dismiss Count II is granted and, for the reasons stated below, Quinn-Mims' motion for summary judgment as to Counts I and IV is granted.

I. Facts

Background

The Court has jurisdiction over Baltimore's claims under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1343(a), and 1367, and venue is proper in the Northern District of Illinois because a substantial portion of the events giving rise to Baltimore's claims took place in this district. (Def.'s Rule 56.1(a) Stmt., Dkt. # 176, ¶ 4.)

The parties agree on many of the following facts. Any dispute with proper support in the record is noted. All times are approximations. In March 2009, Baltimore had three biological children, whom the Court will identify as K1, K2, and K3. (Id. ¶ 5.) Baltimore currently resides in Zion, Illinois, with his second wife, Princess Singleton and her son, whom the Court will identify as E. (Id.) At the time the events at issue took place, K1, K2, and K3 lived with Baltimore during the school year and with their biological mother, Kari Ann Young, during the summers and on holidays. (Id. ¶¶ 5, 7.)

Roberta Vanorsby is a case manager for Aunt Martha's Youth Service Center Teen Parenting Program and has been an employee of Aunt Martha's since 1998. (Id. ¶ 8.) She was assigned to be the case manager for Princess Singleton, a ward of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services ("DCFS"), from August 2006 through June 2009. (Id.) As a case manager for Aunt Martha's, Vanorsby is a mandated reporter of child abuse pursuant to the Abused Neglected Child Reporting Act, 325 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/1 et seq. (Id.)

Quinn-Mims has been employed by DCFS as a child protection services worker since 2008. (Id. ¶ 2.) Her duties include investigating reports of physical and sexual abuse and neglect of children. (Id. ¶ 9.) She assesses risk factors of involved children, takes necessary action to ensure protection of children and makes recommendations about investigative findings. (Id.)

Pamela Foster-Stith is a Child Protection Supervisor for DCFS in its Waukegan Office and has been an employee of the Department since 1993. (Id. ¶ 10.) She was Quinn-Mims' direct supervisor at the time of the events at issue. (Id.) She also conducted various parts of the March 4, 2009, investigation of Baltimore. (Id.)

David Durpetti is a Manager for DCFS and has been a DCFS employee since 1995. (Id. ¶ 11.) He was the manager overseeing the Baltimore child abuse investigation in March 2009. (Id.)

Baltimore's History

In November 1991 and February 1992, Baltimore was investigated and indicated*fn2 by DCFS for child sexual abuse. (Id. ¶¶ 14-15.) In criminal court proceedings, he was found not guilty of the charge of criminal sexual assault. (Id. ¶ 17.) DCFS's retention period for indicated findings of sexual abuse for sexual penetration is fifty years. (Id. ¶ 18.) Baltimore did not appeal the DCFS indicated findings regarding the 1991 and 1992 incidents and they remain on the State Central Register. (Id. ¶ 19.)

March 2009 Investigation of Baltimore

In January 2009, Vanorsby did a background check on Baltimore because he was living with Singleton, a DCFS ward. (Id. ¶ 20.) The check disclosed Baltimore's prior DCFS indicated findings of sexual abuse from 1991 and 1992. (Id.) On March 4, 2009, Vanorsby reported to the DCFS hotline that Singleton and her son were living with Baltimore, an indicated sex offender. (Id. ¶ 21.) The hotline transmitted Vanorsby's report to the DCFS Waukegan field office as an "action needed" case, requiring DCFS to take prompt action, investigate, and proceed immediately to locate the child or children who are the subject victims of the hotline report. (Id. ¶ 22.) The action needed directive from the hotline report stated: "Please check on the welfare and safety of the child . . . [because] a sex offender has access." (Id.) The report further specified that Singleton, a DCFS ward, and her son were living with Baltimore, an indicated sex offender. (Id.)

On March 4, 2009, Foster-Stith assigned the investigation to Quinn-Mims and directed her to visit Singleton's residence in order to see her child and interview Singleton and Baltimore. (Id. ¶¶ 23-24.) Foster-Stith also directed Quinn-Mims to interview the child's biological father and instructed her to determine whether Baltimore had completed sexual offender treatment subsequent to the 1991 and 1992 indicated findings of abuse against him. (Id. ¶ 24.)

That same day at 12:15 p.m., Quinn-Mims met with Singleton at her apartment in Zion and advised her of the DCFS investigation concerning Baltimore. (Id. ¶ 25.) During that meeting, Quinn-Mims confirmed that Singleton lived with her son and Baltimore as well as his children from a previous marriage, K1, K2, and K3. (Id.) Following the meeting with Singleton, at 1:15 p.m., Quinn-Mims contacted Baltimore by telephone at his place of employment. (Id. ¶ 26.) Quinn-Mims identified herself as a DCFS Child Protection Investigator but Baltimore refused to speak with her because he said she sounded like a bill collector, asked her not to call him at his place of employment and hung up on her. (Id.)

Quinn-Mims avers that she tried to call him several more times but could not reach him. (Id.) Baltimore, however, stated at his deposition that Quinn-Mims called him back approximately five minutes later and asked him to come to the DCFS office on Green Bay Road in Waukegan. (Baltimore Dep., Dkt. #187-1, at 176.)

At 1:25 p.m., Quinn-Mims reported to Foster-Stith that she had interviewed Singleton but was not able to determine the whereabouts of the Baltimore children. (Id. ¶ 27.) Quinn-Mims contacted the Zion School District and determined that the children attended a Zion elementary school. (Id. ¶ 28.) She found out that the older children routinely went from the school to the Firm Foundation Childcare Center across the street when school was over. (Id. ¶ 29.) At 1:50 p.m., Quinn-Mims interviewed K2 in the presence of the school social worker. (Id. ¶ 30.) K2 stated that she did not like living with her father (Id. ¶ 30) and responded no when asked if anyone had ever touched her "private parts" inappropriately. (Pl.'s Rule 56.1(b)(3) Resp., Dkt. # 182, ¶ 30.) She also stated that her father caused bruises to her biological mother. (Def.'s Rule 56.1(a) Stmt., Dkt. # 176, ¶ 30.)

At 1:58 p.m., Foster-Stith spoke with manager Durpetti about the Baltimore investigation. (Id. ¶ 31.) Foster-Stith's notes indicate that she needed Quinn-Mims to find out if Baltimore had completed any sexual offender treatment services subsequent to the indicated sexual abuse findings against him. (Id.) Foster-Stith and Durpetti decided to try to work out a safety plan with the family "otherwise protective custody [was] to be taken of the minors." (Def.'s Ex. A-1, Dkt. # 178-1, Bates 132.) At approximately 2:05 p.m., Quinn-Mims told Foster-Stith that she had confirmed the whereabouts of some of the children at the school and Foster-Stith directed her to follow those children from school to the daycare center to see if the other younger children were there.*fn3 (Id. ¶ 32.)

At 2:20 p.m., Foster-Stith spoke to DCFS Child Protection Supervisor Amanda Catheline who informed Foster-Stith that prior DCFS reports on the biological mother were unfounded. (Id. ¶ 33.)

At 2:30 p.m., Quinn-Mims interviewed K1 who told her he did not like living with his father and that his father hit his biological mother and left bruises on her body. (Id. ¶ 34.) K1 further stated that he had not been inappropriately touched. (Pl.'s Rule 56.1(b)(3) Resp., Dkt. # 182, ¶ 34.) A few minutes later, Foster-Stith spoke with the biological mother who stated that Baltimore had been arrested for domestic battery in August 2007 and that he had been in rehabilitation several times for a "crack habit." (Def.'s Rule 56.1(a) Stmt., Dkt. # 176, ¶ 35.)

At 2:50 p.m., Quinn-Mims told Foster-Stith that she had interviewed the Baltimore children and that although they did not report any abuse, they stated they did not want to live with their father. (Id. ¶ 36.) Foster-Stith contacted Baltimore at his place of employment at 2:59 p.m., told him there was a current investigation pending and that she needed to speak with him about his children. (Id. ¶ 37.) She told Baltimore that he had a prior indicated report of sexual abuse and he stated he recalled the report but that he had not participated in sexual offender treatment and would not be willing to go to treatment. (Id.) He agreed to meet Foster-Stith at the DCFS Waukegan office between 4:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. that day. (Id.) Baltimore contends that it was Quinn-Mims who called him, but points to no record evidence in support of this assertion. (Pl.'s Rule 56.1(b)(3) Resp., Dkt. # 182, ¶ 37.)

At or before 3:15 p.m., Quinn-Mims interviewed K1 and K2's teachers at their elementary school. (Def.'s Rule 56.1(a) Stmt., Dkt. # 176, ΒΆ 38.) K2's teacher said she had concerns about K2 because she had had several urinary tract infections, a case of ringworm and had found K2 sitting in the bathroom. (Id.) Foster-Stith documented that Quinn-Mims ...


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