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Van Thuy Vong v. True Religion Sales LLC

December 12, 2012

VAN THUY VONG, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TRUE RELIGION SALES LLC, D/B/A TRUE RELIGION BRAND JEANS;
VILLAGE OF NORTHBROOK; AND JONATHON SALMI, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles P. Kocoras, District Judge:

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Now before the Court are Defendants True Religion Sales LLC's ("True Religion"), Village of Northbrook's ("Northbrook"), and Jonathon Salmi's ("Salmi") (together "Defendants") motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is granted.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Van Thuy Vong ("Vong") is a resident of Cook County, Illinois. True Religion, a Delaware concern, maintains a retail clothing store ("Store") at Northbrook Court, a shopping mall in Northbrook, Illinois. Salmi is a Northbrook police officer.

Vong visited the Store with her husband and nine-year-old daughter on the afternoon of December 11, 2011. Store employee Cassandra Melick ("Melick") brought Vong four pairs of jeans to try on. Vong tried the jeans on in a fitting room, but did not purchase any of them. Vong then left the Store and Northbrook Court with her husband and daughter.

Later that day, Melick found a sensor in one of the fitting rooms. The sensor had been removed from a pair of jeans that were missing. She notified mall security and the Northbrook Police Department that a pair of jeans had been stolen. Salmi arrived on the scene and wrote up a police report documenting the matter. Salmi was told that Vong had taken the jeans, and was shown portions of a video recording from a camera in the Store. Salmi asked that a copy of the recording be prepared for him, but he never followed up on his request, and the recording was eventually destroyed.

Salmi called Vong's phone number, which the Store had on file. Salmi informed Vong that a pair of jeans was missing from the Store and asked Vong to return to the Store. Vong denied any wrongdoing, and asked Salmi to look at the video recording. Vong at first refused to comply with Salmi's request that she immediately return to the Store, but changed her mind after Salmi threatened to arrest her if she refused to cooperate.

Vong returned to the Store. She was accompanied by her husband, daughter, a friend and the friend's boyfriend, who helped interpret Salmi's words into Vong's arterial language. Vong spoke with Salmi and again denied taking the jeans. Salmi told Vong that True Religion would not prosecute her if she gave the jeans back. After Vong explained that she did not have the jeans, she was charged with retail theft. Melick signed the charging document. Salmi handcuffed Vong and walked her to the mall security office. There, her picture and personal information were entered into the mall shoplifter database. Salmi then escorted Vong to the Northbrook Police Station, where she was detained for three hours. Upon her release, Vong was given a notice forbidding her from returning to Northbrook Court for one year, and a summons to appear in court on January 19, 2012.

Vong hired an attorney to represent her in the criminal proceeding. The attorney served subpoenas on the Northbrook Police Department for records related to the criminal case and on True Religion for the video surveillance tapes and copies of all reports pertaining to the incident.

Vong appeared for her January 19th court date, but no one representing any of the Defendants was present. The case against Vong was dismissed by non-suit at the prosecutor's direction, and the case has not been reinstated.

Vong filed the instant five-count first amended complaint ("complaint"). She alleges claims against all the Defendants for false arrest (Count I) and malicious prosecution (Count II); Salmi and True Religion under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") (Count IV) for false arrest and malicious prosecution; True Religion for intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count III); and Northbrook for indemnification (Count V).

The complaint does not state the basis of the Court's jurisdiction, as Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(1) requires. Inasmuch as Vong alleges a federal law claim and state common law claims based on the same underlying conduct, it is apparent that Vong seeks to invoke federal question and supplemental jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1367, respectively. The Defendants now move to dismiss Counts I-IV under Rule 12(b)(6).

LEGAL STANDARD

In assessing a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts all well pled facts as true and draws all permissible inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Agnew v. NCAA, 683 F.3d 328, 334 (7th Cir. 2012). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint. Szabo v. Bridgeport Machs., Inc., 249 F.3d 672, 675 (7th Cir. 2001). The allegations in a complaint must set forth a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). A plaintiff need not provide detailed factual allegations; she must only provide enough factual support to raise her right to relief above a speculative level. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Furthermore, a claim must be facially plausible, a ...


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