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Renaud v. City of Chicago

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

May 21, 2013

PETER RENAUD, Plaintiff,


MARVIN E. ASPEN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Peter Renaud ("Renaud" or "Plaintiff"), filed a six-count complaint alleging various state and federal law claims against Defendants Officer Fiorito ("Fiorito") and the City of Chicago (collectively, "Defendants"). Plaintiff seeks damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged violations of the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. Additionally, Plaintiff alleges state law claims of malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Plaintiff also seeks to hold the City of Chicago liable under 745 ILCS 10/9-102 for Defendant Fiorito's alleged misconduct. Presently before us is Defendants' motion to dismiss all six counts of Plaintiff's complaint as time-barred. For the reasons set forth below, we grant Defendants' motion.


The following facts are drawn from Plaintiff's complaint and accepted as true for the purposes of this motion. In the early morning hours of February 12, 2008, Plaintiff was driving North on Clark Street in Chicago with one passenger in his car. (Compl. §§ 6, 7.) In the vicinity of Grace and Clark Streets Plaintiff realized he was being followed by a Chicago police car driven by Fiorito. ( Id. § 8.) Fiorito followed Plaintiff for approximately three quarters of a mile until Plaintiff parked his car at 828 W. Dakin Street. ( Id. §§ 8-9.) Plaintiff got out of his car and approached Fiorito's vehicle and asked if he could park at that location. ( Id. § 11.) Fiorito responded hostilely to Plaintiff and instructed him to remain in the area for an interview and field sobriety tests. ( Id. §§ 11-12.) Plaintiff performed a serious of tests according to Fiorito's instructions. ( Id. § 13.) After successfully completing the tests Plaintiff asked for permission to leave, at which point Fiorito informed him that he was not free to go and placed him under arrest. ( Id. § 14.)

Plaintiff was charged with "failure to stay in lane, failure to stop at a stop sign, failure to wear a seat belt, operating a vehicle without insurance, and DUI." ( Id. § 16.) Plaintiff was held in custody at the Belmont and Western Police Station for approximately nine hours and his car was impounded. ( Id. §§ 18-19.) On February 12, 2008, the same day as the arrest, Fiorito allegedly created false police reports pertaining to Plaintiff's arrest. ( Id. § 20.)

On November 1, 2011, Plaintiff appeared before the Honorable Lorna E. Propes in the Circuit Court of Cook County. (Reply, Ex. A.) Judge Propes found Plaintiff guilty of improper traffic lane usage and gave him supervision for the remaining charges. ( Id. ) Plaintiff filed the present lawsuit on November 1, 2012.


A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) is meant to test the sufficiency of the complaint, not to decide the merits of the case. Gibson v. City of Chi., 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990). A court may grant a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) only if a complaint lacks enough facts "to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007)); Killingsworth v. HSBC Bank Nev., N.A., 507 F.3d 614, 618-19 (7th Cir. 2007). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. at 1949. At this stage in the litigation we take as true all factual allegations made in the complaint, and construe all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Murphy v. Walker, 51 F.3d 714, 717 (7th Cir. 1995).

Defendants' argument that Plaintiff's claims are barred by the applicable statutes of limitations is an affirmative defense. "While a statute of limitations defense is not normally part of a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), when the allegations of the complaint reveal that relief is barred by the applicable statute of limitations, the complaint is subject to dismissal for failure to state a claim." Logan v. Wilkins, 644 F.3d 577, 582 (7th Cir. 2011); U.S. Gypsum Co. v. Ind. Gas Co., Inc., 350 F.3d 623, 626 (7th Cir. 2003) ("[A] litigant may plead itself out of court by alleging (and thus admitting) the ingredients of a defense...").


Defendants argue that Plaintiff's state law claims are barred by the one-year statute of limitations found in the Local Government and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act, 745 ILCS 10/8-101. (Mot. at 2.) Additionally, Defendants argue that Plaintiff's federal claims are time-barred according to the applicable statute of limitations for § 1983 claims, which is derived from Illinois personal injury actions. ( Id. at 3.) We first address the sufficiency of Plaintiff's federal claims since they provide the basis for our jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.


A. Plaintiff's federal claims are time-barred.

The appropriate statute of limitations period for § 1983 claims is the limitations period for personal injury claims in the state in which the alleged violation occurred. See Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 276, 105 S.Ct. 1938, 1947 (1985); Ashafa v. City of Chi., 146 F.3d 459, 461 (7th Cir. 1998). In Illinois, the limitations period is two years, as set forth in 735 ILCS 5/13-202. See Ashafa, 146 F.3d at 461. Federal law, however, determines when a § 1983 action accrues, which is generally "when a plaintiff knows or has reason to know of the injury that is the basis for the action." See Sellers v. Perry, 80 F.3d 243, 245 (7th Cir. ...

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