Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Thompson v. Village of Monee

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

July 1, 2013

KENNETH N. THOMPSON, SR. et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
VILLAGE OF MONEE, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

AMY J. ST. EVE, District Judge.

On December 17, 2012, pro se Plaintiffs Kenneth N. Thompson, Sr. and Keenan T. Thompson (collectively, the "Plaintiffs") filed a sixty-six page, twenty-four count Second Amended Complaint against the Village of Monee, the Village of Monee Board of Trustees, Trustee Popp, Trustee Farquhar, Trustee Stockon, Chief John Cipkar, Russel Caruso, Sergeant Anthony Lazzaroni, Officer Michael Drumm, Officer Chad Blake, Officer Crescenti, Officer Fowler, Officer Cash, Officer Jones, Teresa Catey, Stanley Catey, Martin D. Bachand, and Phyllis M. Bachand, (collectively, the "Defendants"). (R. 53, SAC.) Defendants filed three motions to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule ("Rule") of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Specifically, Martin and Phyllis Bachand filed a motion to dismiss on January 8, 2013 (R. 64, Bachands' MTD); Teresa and Stanley Catey filed a motion to dismiss on January 11, 2013 (R. 66, Cateys' MTD); and the Village of Monee, the Village of Monee Board of Trustees, Trustee Popp, Trustee Farquhar, Trustee Stockon, Chief John Cipkar, Russel Caruso, Sergeant Anthony Lazzaroni, Officer Michael Drumm, Officer Chad Blake, and Officer Crescenti (collectively the "Monee Defendants") filed a motion to dismiss and supporting memorandum on January 11, 2013 (R. 69, Monee MTD). Because the issues presented by each motion to dismiss overlap, the Court addresses all three pending motions in this opinion.

BACKGROUND

Pro se Plaintiffs Kenneth N. Thompson, Sr. ("Kenneth") and Keenan T. Thompson ("Keenan") allege the following facts, which the Court deems true for the purposes of this motion.

Plaintiffs are an African-American father and son who reside on a 3-acre estate in Monee, Illinois. (SAC ¶¶ 4-5, 14, 49.) According to Plaintiffs, Defendants have conspired together in a discriminatory scheme - spanning from 2007 to 2011 - designed to force Plaintiffs to move from the community. (SAC ¶ 43.) This conspiracy included Chief Caruso, Chief Cipkar, the Monee Officers, and Officer Drumm (collectively, the "Officers") "continuously trespassing on Plaintiff's property" and threatening to arrest Kenneth over fifty times during that period, as well as three actual arrests of Kenneth without probable cause. (SAC ¶¶ 20, 25-26, 55.) According to Plaintiffs, as part of this conspiracy, the Cateys and the Bachands (collectively, the "Neighbors") made false statements to the Officers to facilitate false arrests of Kenneth. (SAC ¶¶ 16, 21, 23.) The Officers, Trustees, and Neighbors also made statements "with intent to deceive and mislead [the] State Prosecutor for the purposes of instituting a false arrest and incarcerat[ing] Plaintiff." (SAC ¶ 201.)

Plaintiffs refer to ten particular instances of police harassment on Kenneth's property, some of which the Neighbors provoked by their complaints to the police. (SAC ¶¶ 13-26.) The dates of these incidents are August 15, 2007, June 21, 2008, May 11, 2009, July 11, 2009, January 2-3, 2010, June 26, 2010, July 10, 2010, July 9, 2011, July 17, 2011, and August 27, 2011. ( Id. ) On each of these dates, Officers arrested, threatened arrest, or attempted to arrest Kenneth, Keenan, or Plaintiffs' friends. ( Id. )

Specifically, Officers threatened to or attempted to arrest Kenneth on June 21, 2008, May 11, 2009, July 11, 2009, January 3, 2010, July 10, 2010, and July 9, 2011. (SAC ¶¶ 14-15, 17, 19, 22, 24.) On June 21, 2008, Kenneth was hosting a birthday party for his daughter when Officer Drumm arrived at his home and threatened to arrest him, claiming that a Neighbor had called complaining of noise coming from his property. (SAC ¶ 14.) On May 11, 2009, Kenneth called the police because someone trespassed on his property. (SAC ¶ 15.) Officer Drumm arrived on the scene and attempted to arrest Kenneth, but Kenneth went inside his home and locked the door, preventing Officer Drumm from arresting him. ( Id. ) According to Plaintiffs, they recorded this incident and gave the videotape to Chief Caruso. ( Id. )

On July 11, 2009, Kenneth was hosting a birthday party at his home with over seventy-five friends and business associates present. (SAC ¶ 17.) Neighbors made repeated calls to the police, saying:

1) "Those colored folks are riding All Terrene Vehicles on our property"
2) "Those Black people are playing loud music I want them arrested"
3) "Those Black people are walking on my property"
4) "Those colored folks are parking their cars on my Grass"
5) "Those colored folks are not cutting their grass and brining down my property value"
6) "Those Black people have their dog and toys are on my property"

( Id. ) Certain Officers arrived at Kenneth's home several times that day, and attempted to arrest him. ( Id. ) The officers did not arrest him, though, because he locked himself in his house. ( Id. ) According to Plaintiffs, the Officers left, but "continued to return every hour." ( Id. )

On January 3, 2010, certain Officers "busted down" the front door of Kenneth's house "from the hinges, " and alleged that they had a warrant for Kenneth's arrest. (SAC ¶ 19.) Additionally, Officer Drumm "rammed down" the bedroom door of Kenneth's thirteen-year-old daughter. ( Id. ) Kenneth called his attorney, and then the Officers left. ( Id. )

On July 10, 2010, Kenneth was hosting a business networking function at his home with over eighty-five friends and business associates. (SAC ¶ 22.) Neighbors made repeated calls to the police, once again complaining about the behavior of "Black people" or "colored folks" on or near their property. ( Id. ) Officers arrived at Kenneth's home several times that day, and attempted to arrest him. ( Id. ) Officers did not arrest him, though, because he locked himself in his house, and a residential security officer prevented Officers from entering Kenneth's home. ( Id. )

Similarly, on July 9, 2011, Officers arrived at Kenneth's home several times, while he was hosting a business networking function with over seventy-five friends and business associates. (SAC ¶ 24.) Officers attempted to arrest Kenneth after Neighbors made repeated calls to the Village of Monee Police, but again did not do so because he locked himself in his home. ( Id. ) The Officers left, but "continued to return throughout the day" and harass Kenneth's family, friends, and business associates "frequently." ( Id. )

Police arrested Kenneth on June 26, 2010, July 17, 2011, and August 27, 2011. (SAC ¶¶ 20, 25-26.) During these three arrests, the Monee Officers and Officer Drumm placed handcuffs on him "excessively tight." (SAC ¶¶ 27, 64.) On June 26, 2010, some Officers arrested Kenneth and charged him with six citations: fleeing and attempt to elude an officer; vehicle fail to yield right of way to emergency vehicle; "unsafe backing up on road way"; driving under the influence; obstruction of justice/failure to yield to peace officer; and suspended driver's license. (SAC ¶¶ 20, 102.) During this arrest, Officer Drumm held a gun to Kenneth's head, "excessively choked" Kenneth "around his neck preventing [him] from breathing resulting in [him] becoming faint, " slammed Kenneth on the ground "face [f]irst, " "brutally jabbed" both knees into the Kenneth's back causing "immediate extreme pain, " and, when placing Kenneth in the squad car, applied "extreme pressure" to Kenneth's head, and then "forcefully push[ed]" Kenneth to the seat "while jabbing [him] in the neck with his closed fist." (SAC ¶¶ 62, 178, 186.)

On July 17, 2011, some of the Officers arrived at Kenneth's home and claimed that they "need[ed] to arrest" him. (SAC ¶ 25.) Kenneth, "tired of running in the house, " told an officer "okay arrest me, " and some Officers arrested him for disorderly conduct or loud noise violation. (SAC ¶¶ 25, 104.)

On August 27, 2011, Officers arrested Kenneth again, charging him with battery. (SAC ¶¶ 26, 105.) Prosecutors dismissed this charge on February 8, 2012. ( Id. ) Kenneth spent three days in Will County jail, and then posted a $1000 bond. (SAC ¶26.)

According to Plaintiffs, Officers illegally searched a vehicle at Kenneth's home on June 26, 2010 (SAC ¶127), illegally searched his home on seven occasions (SAC ¶120), and illegally searched his person on nine occasions (SAC ¶ 113).

Officers also harassed Keenan's friends on August 15, 2007 while Keenan hosted a "trunk party in celebration of him attending the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign." (SAC ¶ 13.) Officers "wrongfully arrested" two of his friends. ( Id. ) Additionally, on January 2, 2010, Officers threatened to arrest Keenan at his house. (SAC ¶ 18.) This led to much ridicule of Keenan among his college friends and "caused a lot of stress." ( Id. )

In total, Plaintiffs allege twenty-four counts against Defendants. Against the Trustees, Officers, and Neighbors, Plaintiffs allege federal claims of 42 U.S.C §§ 1982, 1983 and 1985 claims for civil rights conspiracy and 42 U.S.C § 1983 claim of equal protection class of one, as well as state claims of abuse of process, willful, reckless, and wanton conduct, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false light or defamation, and common-law fraud. (SAC at Counts I, VII, XII, XIV, XVI, XIX, XX.) Against the Trustees and Officers, Plaintiffs additionally allege unreasonable seizure and substantive due process in violation of 42 U.S.C § 1983, as well as state claims of malicious prosecution, assault, battery, indemnification, and false imprisonment claims. (SAC at Counts V, XIII, XV, XVII, XVIII, XXII, XXIV.) Against the Officers, Plaintiffs additionally allege excessive force, failure to intervene, false arrest, unreasonable search of person, unreasonable search of home, unreasonable search of vehicle, and unlawful seizure in violation of 42 U.S.C § 1983. (SAC Counts II, VI, VIII, IX, X, XI, XXIII.) Against the Village of Monee, Plaintiffs allege two federal 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Monell claims and a state law claim of respondeat superior. (SAC at Counts III, IV, XXI.)

LEGAL STANDARD

"A motion under Rule 12(b)(6) tests whether the complaint states a claim on which relief may be granted." Richards v. Mitcheff, 696 F.3d 635, 637 (7th Cir. 2012). Under Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must include "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The short and plain statement under Rule 8(a)(2) must "give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (citation omitted). Under the federal notice pleading standards, a plaintiff's "factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Put differently, a "complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "In evaluating the sufficiency of the complaint, [courts] view it in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, taking as true all well-pleaded factual allegations and making all possible inferences from the allegations in the plaintiff's favor." AnchorBank, FSB v. Hofer, 649 F.3d 610, 614 (7th Cir. 2011).

Courts construe pro se allegations liberally. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007) (per curiam) ("A document filed pro se is to be liberally construed and a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.") (citation and internal quotation marks omitted); see also Gomez v. Randle, 680 F.3d 859, 864 (7th Cir. 2012) (courts must construe pro se pleadings liberally). A plaintiffs's pro se status, however, does not absolve him from complying with the federal and local procedural rules. See Pearle Vision, Inc. v. Romm, 541 F.3d 751, 758 (7th Cir. 2008); Greer v. Board of Ed. of City of Chi., 267 F.3d 723, 727 (7th Cir. 2001). As the Supreme Court instructs, "we have never suggested that procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation should be interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed without counsel." McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113, 113 S.Ct. 1980, 124 L.Ed.2d 21 (1993).

ANALYSIS

As a threshold matter, the Second Amended Complaint lists both Kenneth Thompson, Sr. and Keenan T. Thompson as Plaintiffs. Paragraph four of Second Amended Complaint states that Plaintiffs will reference Kenneth Thompson as "Thompson" or "Plaintiff" and Keenan Thompson as "Keenan." (SAC ¶ 4.) The Court, therefore, interprets all singular references to "Plaintiff" in the Second Amended Complaint as referring only to Kenneth Thompson. Based on such a reading, the Second Amended Complaint does not appear to state any injury which Keenan suffered supporting any of the twenty four claims in the Second Amended Complaint. Indeed, in one of the only paragraphs referencing Keenan, Plaintiffs state that Monee Police harassed Keenan's friends during a party Keenan hosted and later wrongfully arrested two of his friends - not Keenan himself. (SAC ¶ 4.) Unlike allegations throughout the Second Amended Complaint regarding harassment which Kenneth allegedly experienced, times officers allegedly wrongfully arrested Kenneth, or events which occurred on Kenneth's property, the Second Amended Complaint does not contain any allegations indicating that Keenan was the victim of any of the wrongdoing alleged in the Second Amended Complaint. At most, Plaintiffs allege that officers threatened to arrest Keenan, which caused him to experience ridicule and stress. (SAC ¶ 18.) Plaintiffs fail, however, to specifically tie that threat of arrest to any of the claims they allege, particularly because Plaintiffs generically refer to "Plaintiff" in most paragraphs of the Second Amended Complaint, which, as noted above, the Court interprets as Kenneth not Keenan. Plaintiffs also allege in paragraph twenty that Monee Police towed Keenan's car, though in Count Twenty-Three regarding the unlawful seizure of a vehicle, Plaintiffs allege that it is Plaintiff's - a.k.a. Kenneth's - vehicle, not Keenan's. ( See, e.g, SAC ¶¶ 216, 217.) Keenan, therefore, may not have standing to assert any of the claims alleged in the Second Amended Complaint. Because Plaintiffs filed pro se and it is unclear what allegations relate to Keenan rather than Kenneth, the Court cannot resolve the standing issue at this time. Instead, the Court directs Plaintiffs to clarify in a Third Amended Complaint which Plaintiff asserts each claim and what injury each suffered in each count.

In addition, the law is clear that a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the sufficiency of the pleadings, and as such, the Court's "consideration of matters outside the pleadings is not generally permitted, " unless the Court converts the motion into one for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 12(d). See Mclntyre v. McCaslin, No. 11 C 50119, 2011 WL 6102047, at *4 (N.D. Ill.Dec. 7, 2011) (citing Levenstein v. Salafsky, 164 F.3d 345, 347 (7th Cir. 1998)). An exception to this general rule exists where the parties present records "to which the Complaint ha[s] referred" and that are "concededly authentic, " and "central" to the claims presented. See Hecker v. Deere & Co., 556 F.3d 575, 582 (7th Cir. 2009); Rosenblum v. Travelbyus.com Ltd., 299 F.3d 657, 661-62 (7th Cir. 2002). Another exception includes documents that are attached to the complaint. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c) ("A copy of a written instrument that is an exhibit to a pleading is a part of the pleading for all purposes."); see also Tierney v. Vahle, 304 F.3d 734, 738 (7th Cir. 2002) ("Because the letter was attached to the complaint, it became a part of it for all purposes, and so the judge could consider it in deciding the motion to dismiss without having to convert the motion to one for summary judgment.") (internal citations omitted). Plaintiffs attached numerous exhibits and affidavits to their consolidated response to Defendants' motions to dismiss.[1] The Court did not consider these documents, many of which the Court could not identify.

Finally, the Neighbors and the Monee Defendants argue that certain of Plaintiffs' claims are time-barred by the applicable statute of limitations. (R. 69, Monee MTD at 2; R. 64 Bachands' MTD at 7; R. 66, Cateys' MTD at 6-7). A statute of limitations provides an affirmative defense, however, and a plaintiff is not required to plead facts in the complaint to anticipate and defeat affirmative defenses. See Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 579 (7th Cir. 2009). Nonetheless, "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. v. Lewis, 411 F.3d 838, 842 (7th Cir. 2005) (motion to dismiss appropriate where "complaint plainly reveals that an action is untimely under the governing statute of limitations"). The Court addresses whether Plaintiffs pled themselves out of court on a count by count basis below. The Court notes that, while a two-year statute of limitations applies to Plaintiffs' 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims and generally applies to personal injury actions in Illinois, a one-year period applies to Plaintiffs' state-law claims here. See 735 ILCS 5/13-202 (two year statute of limitations for Illinois personal injury); Williams v. Lampe, 399 F.3d 867, 870 (7th Cir. 2005) (one year statute of limitations for state law claims against local governmental entities) (citing 745 Ill. Comp. Stat. 10/8-101).

I. Plaintiffs Have Not Alleged Sufficient Facts to State Any Claim Against the Trustees

Plaintiffs named the Village of Monee Board of Trustees, Trustee Popp, Trustee Farquhar, and Trustee Stockon (collectively, the "Trustees") as defendants in both their "official and individual/personal capacit[ies]." (SAC ¶ 6.) Specifically, Plaintiffs include the Trustees as defendants in fourteen counts - Counts I, V, VII, XII, XIII, XIV (mislabeled VX), XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, IXX, XX, XXII, and XXIV. Plaintiffs fail, however, to offer any factual allegations to support any claim against the Trustees. Indeed, there is only one paragraph in Plaintiffs' sixty-six page Second Amended Complaint alleging specific conduct by any Trustee. Specifically, in paragraph fifty-four, Plaintiffs allege: "Trustee Stockon intentionally misled the Village of Monee Board of Directors by informing the Board members that there was a Residential Noise Ordinance' in place for loud noise when he in fact was fully aware that no such ordinance exists." (SAC ¶ 54.) Notably, this allegation does not identify any conduct by Trustees Popp or Farquhar. Plaintiffs also fail to connect this allegation, which appears in the general background section of the Second Amended Complaint, to conduct at issue in any particular claim.

As noted above, when Plaintiffs filed their Second Amended Complaint they failed to attach any exhibits, although they reference exhibits throughout. Even if the Court were to assume that Plaintiffs intended to incorporate the exhibits attached to the initial Complaint or Amended Complaint, Exhibit G - which Plaintiffs cite to as the source of Trustee Stockton's alleged misrepresentation - does not save their claims against even Trustee Stockon. Exhibit G - Minutes of the Regular Village Board Meeting on July 13, 2011 - merely states that, after Trustee Farquhar stated that he could not find an ordinance regarding loud noise, "Stockon stated that he believes the Village does in fact have an ordinance regarding noise." (R. 7, Compl. Ex. G at 2.) Even if the Court considered this exhibit when evaluating the Second Amended Complaint, these notes of what Stockon stated he believed about a noise ordinance do not state a fact sufficient to assert any claim against Trustee Stockton, let alone any other Trustee. Because Plaintiffs do not allege any factual basis for any claims against the Trustees sufficient to pass muster under Rule 8, the Court dismisses all claims against the Trustees. The Court dismisses the claims against the Trustees in their official capacities with prejudice because those claims are treated as claims against the Village of Monee, who is a named defendant in this case. See Albritton v. Village of Dolton, No. 10 C 7581, 2011 WL 4501418, at *5 (N.D. Ill. Sep. 28, 2011) (citing Walker v. Sheahan, 526 F.3d 973, 977 (7th Cir. 2008)). The Court dismisses Plaintiffs' claims against the Trustees in their personal capacities without prejudice.

II. Count I - Civil Conspiracy Under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1982, 1983, and 1985(3)

In Count I, Plaintiffs allege that Chief Caruso, Chief Cipkar, Officer Drumm, the Monee Officers, and the Neighbors violated 42 U.S.C. §§ 1982, 1983, and 1985(3) by conspiring to "racially discriminate against Plaintiff due to the race/color and to try and Force Plaintiff to move from the community by filing numerous false allegations against Plaintiff, Plaintiff's Family, Plaintiff's business associates and Plaintiffs Friends." (SAC ¶ 43.) Specifically, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants knowingly and intentionally schemed, over a period spanning from August 15, 2007 to August 27, 2011, to create false police reports, harass, oppress, discriminate against, and incarcerate Kenneth. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants conspired and discriminated against them based on their African-American descent. ( See, e.g., SAC ¶¶ 47-54.) Plaintiffs' specific allegations include that the Neighbors made false statements to Chief Caruso, Chief Cipkar, Officer Drumm, and the Monee Officers on multiple occasions. ( See, e.g., SAC ¶¶ 16, 21, 23, 47-54.) Plaintiffs also allege that Chief Caruso, Chief Cipkar, Officer Drumm, and the Monee Officers "made out false and incomplete official reports and gave a false and incomplete version of the events to other police officers investigating the incident in order to cover up his/her own conduct." (SAC ¶ 45.) Plaintiffs further allege that Chief Caruso, Chief Cipkar, Officer Drumm, and the Monee Officers have continuously trespassed on Kenneth's property and have threatened to arrest him "in an excess of over FIFTY times in the past five (5) years." (SAC ¶ 55(c).) According to Plaintiffs, Defendants' conspiracy deprived Kenneth of his constitutional rights protected by the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution. (SAC ¶ 42.) Defendants argue that Plaintiffs have not alleged a sufficient agreement between the co-conspirators to support a conspiracy under any of these statutes. (Bachands' MTD at 8; Cateys' MTD at 8-9; Monee Defendants' MTD at 5.)

A. The Neighbors as Co-Conspirators

Here, Plaintiffs make only conclusory allegations regarding any agreement between the Neighbors and the officer-Defendants. Specifically, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants "acted in concert pursuant to an agreement" (SAC ¶ 42) and "knowingly and intentionally schemed and worked together in a common plan" (SAC ¶ 43). In reference to a Section 1983 conspiracy, the Seventh Circuit teaches that:

[i]t is not sufficient to allege that the (private and state) defendants merely acted in concert or with a common goal. There must be allegations that the defendants had directed themselves toward an unconstitutional action by virtue of a mutual understanding. Even were such allegations to be made, they must further be supported by some factual allegations suggesting such a "meeting of the minds." Tarkowski v. Robert Bartlett Realty Co., 644 F.2d 1204, 1206 (7th Cir. 1980) (citing Sparkman v. McFarlin, 601 F.2d 261, 268 (7th Cir. 1979) (en banc) (concurring opinion of Sprecher, J.)). The Seventh Circuit dismissed Tarkowski 's complaint for failure to state a claim because he failed to assert any factual basis suggesting a meeting of the minds necessary to establish a claim even though the defendant neighbors shared a common purpose - discriminatorily enforcing zoning ordinances - with the defendant prosecutors. Id. Notably, in Tarkowski - as here - the plaintiff was pro se. The Seventh Circuit concluded that even pro se complaints must "meet some minimum standard of particularity." Id. at 1207. The Seventh Circuit also noted that "[i]n many cases of conspiracy essential information can only be produced through discovery, and the parties should not be thrown out of court before being given an opportunity through that process to ascertain whether the linkage they think may exist actually does." Id. at 1208.

Here, Plaintiffs' allegations differ from cases where courts have found sufficient allegations to support an agreement between co-conspirator officers and a citizen. In James v. Village of Willowbrook, for example, Chief Judge Holderman found that a complaint sufficiently alleged a conpsiracy between neighbors and officers in part because there was "an explicit allegation of collusion, " namely that the officers and neighbors met one evening to discuss how to deal with the plaintiff's family living in the neighborhood. No. 11-cv-9126, 2012 WL 3017889, at *10 (N.D. Ill. Jul. 19, 2012). In Gardunio v. Town of Cicero, the court refused to dismiss a complaint which alleged that the officer and citizen agreed to unlawfully detain the plaintiff and that the officer specifically acted at the direction of the individual. 674 F.Supp.2d 976, 986 (N.D. Ill. 2009). Here, there are no factual allegations of any explicit meeting or directive between the Neighbors and the officers. Plaintiffs simply have not alleged sufficient facts to show that an agreement was plausible. See Cooney v. Rossiter, 583 F.3d 967, 971 (7th Cir. 2009) (plaintiff alleging civil conspiracy "must meet a high standard of plausibility" before defendants "in such a case become entangled in discovery proceedings"); see also Krisher v. Krisher, No. 3:09-CV-83-TS, 2009 WL 3568664, at *6 (N.D. Ind. Oct. 26, 2009) (finding that plaintiff's allegations of an agreement between an officer and a private citizen were not plausible even thought it was conceivable that they reached an agreement to threaten to arrest plaintiff on the citizen's complaint). Additionally, Plaintiffs failed to link each Neighbor with any of the alleged false statements to the officers - the only facts supporting the Neighbors' role in the alleged conspiracy. The Court, therefore, dismisses Count I against the Neighbors without prejudice.

Because the Court dismisses Count I as to the Neighbors, Plaintiffs' conspiracy claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3) against the other Defendants is superfluous. Because the "function of § 1985(3) is to permit recovery from a private actor who has conspired with state actors" and "all [the remaining] defendants are state actors, [] a § 1985(3) claim does not add anything except needless complexity." Fairley v. Andrews, 578 F.3d 518, 526 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Dennis v. Sparks, 449 U.S. 24, 101 S.Ct. 183, 66 L.Ed.2d 185 (1980); Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 90 S.Ct. 1598, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970)). The Court, therefore, dismisses Plaintiff's Section 1985(3) claim without prejudice.

B. Officers as Co-Conspirators

Although Plaintiffs have not sufficiently alleged the Neighbors conspired with Chief Caruso, Chief Cipkar, Officer Drumm, and the Monee Officers, Plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged that the officers conspired among themselves. The Seventh Circuit's opinion in Geinosky v. City of Chi., 675 F.3d 743, 749 (7th Cir. 2012), is instructive here. In Geinosky, the Seventh Circuit found allegations of conspiracy among officers sufficient even though the complaint made only conclusory allegations of direct conspiracy because the plaintiff alleged a "pattern of harassment by several officers over a period of months." Id. The court stated that "[i]t is a challenge to imagine a scenario in which the harassment would not have been the product of a conspiracy." Id. Similarly, here, Plaintiffs allege numerous acts of harassment and threats by various officers from the Village of Monee Police Department over many years. Plaintiffs even allege that officers have threatened to arrest him on over fifty occasions. (SAC ¶ 55(c).) This pattern of behavior, along with Plaintiffs' allegations of an agreement and a scheme, are sufficient to state a claim at this stage. See Geinosky, 675 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.