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Abeid Armour and Patricia Armour v. Country Club Hills

September 27, 2012

ABEID ARMOUR AND PATRICIA ARMOUR, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
COUNTRY CLUB HILLS, COUNTRY CLUB HILLS OFFICERS JOHN SILAS (#857), GUIVEDA FRANCOIS (#108), BRIAN ZARNOWSKI (#819), JOSEPH WILLIAMS (#814), J. STRAYER (#866), DORLA THOMPSON (#860), DETECTIVE DEMPSEY, ASA SYLVIE MANASTER, UNKNOWN COUNTRY CLUB HILLS POLICE OFFICERS, AND COOK COUNTY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Joan B. Gottschall

MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

Plaintiffs Abeid and Patricia Armour brought a thirteen-count Amended Complaint against the City of Country Club Hills ("the City"), various City police officers, Assistant State's Attorney ("ASA") Sylvie Manaster, and Cook County, asserting claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Illinois state law. Plaintiffs' claims stem from an incident on July 24, 2010, during which Abeid Armour was shot by a police officer, then charged with attempted murder, of which he was eventually acquitted. Patricia Armour's vehicle, which Abeid Armour was driving at the time of the incident, was taken into custody and later destroyed. Now before the court are the motion of the City and City law enforcement officers John Silas, Guiveda Francois, Brian Zarnowksi, Joseph Williams, J. Strayer, Dorla Thompson, Detective Dempsey, and unknown police officers (collectively, "the City Defendants") to dismiss Counts IV, V, X, and XI of the Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), and ASA Manaster and Cook County's motion to dismiss Counts X, XI, and XIII against them pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). For the reasons that follow, the motions are granted in part and denied in part. The court dismisses Count IV and X of the Amended Complaint without prejudice, and Counts V and XIII with prejudice.

I. BACKGROUND

For purposes of the motions to dismiss, the court accepts the following facts alleged by Plaintiffs as true. According to the Amended Complaint, at about 1:30 a.m. on July 24, 2010, Officer Silas fired at least six bullets at Abeid Armour, two of which struck him in the side. Officer Francois was present at the shooting. To cover up the unjustified shooting, Officers Silas and Francois concocted false charges against Abeid Armour.

Acting as an investigator, ASA Manaster coerced false testimony from six eyewitnesses, all of whom were teenagers seized at the scene of the shooting and held at the City police station for sixteen hours before they were interviewed. ASA Manaster drafted written statements for three of the eyewitnesses to sign, which stated that Abeid Armour drove toward Silas and that Silas fired at the car while in fear for his life. The statements bolstered Officers Silas and Francois's version of the shooting.

The Cook County State's Attorney's office approved felony charges of attempted murder against Abeid Armour at approximately 11:30 p.m. on July 24, 2010. He was formally indicted by a grand jury on August 17, 2010, and spent fourteen months as a pretrial detainee before being found not guilty of all charges in September 2011. Meanwhile, the car driven by Abeid Armour at the time of the shooting, which belonged to his mother Patricia Armour, was taken into custody and destroyed without her consent in September 2010.

Plaintiffs further allege that all of the individual Defendants entered into an agreement to charge and prosecute Abeid Armour for attempted first-degree murder, and that the individual Defendants failed to thoroughly investigate the shooting, made false statements in police reports, and destroyed or hid material and exculpatory evidence, including an investigative report prepared by the Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force.

Based on these alleged facts, Plaintiffs assert the following claims: (I) excessive force in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments against Officer Silas; (II) unlawful seizure/false arrest in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments against Officers Silas and Francois; (III) failure to intervene in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments against Officer Francois; (IV) unreasonable seizure of property in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments against unknown City police officers; (V) conversion in violation of Illinois law against the City; (VI) battery in violation of Illinois law against the City; (VII) assault in violation of Illinois law against Officer Silas and the City; (VIII) malicious prosecution in violation of Illinois law against the City Defendants; (IX) intentional infliction of emotional distress in violation of Illinois law against the individual City Defendants; (X) conspiracy to interfere with Abeid Armour's rights against all individual Defendants; (XI) conspiracy to deprive Abeid Armour of due process in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment against all individual Defendants; (XII) respondeat superior liability for violations of Illinois law against the City; and (XIII) contribution for tort judgments against the City and Cook County, pursuant to 745 Ill. Comp. Stat. 10/9-102.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) should be granted if Plaintiffs fail to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The factual allegations in a complaint must "raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56; see also Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 404 (7th Cir. 2010) ("[P]laintiff must give enough details about the subject-matter of the case to present a story that holds together."). For purposes of a motion to dismiss, the court takes all facts alleged in Plaintiffs' complaint as true and draws all reasonable inferences from those facts in Plaintiffs' favor, although conclusory allegations that merely recite the elements of a claim are not entitled to this presumption of truth. Virnich v. Vorwald, 664 F.3d 206, 212 (7th Cir. 2011).

III. ANALYSIS

A. The City Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

The City Defendants move to dismiss Counts IV, V, X, and XI of the Amended Complaint. These Counts include claims brought by Patricia Armour related to the seizure and destruction of her vehicle, and two conspiracy counts brought by Abeid ...


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