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Starks v. City of Waukegan

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois

August 16, 2013

BENNIE STARKS, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF WAUKEGAN, LIEUTENANT URBANCIC, W. BIANG, P. STEVENSON, M. JUAREZ, D. DEPREZ, DR. CARL HAGSTROM, DR. RUSSELL SCHNEIDER, and SHARON THOMAS-BOYD, Defendants

For Bennie Starks, Plaintiff: John Ladell Stainthorp, LEAD ATTORNEY, People's Law Offices, Chicago, IL; Joey L. Mogul, People's Law Office, Chicago, IL.

For City Of Waukegan, D. Deprez, M. Juarez, P. Stevenson, W. Biang, Urbancic, Lieutenant, Defendants: Ellen Kornichuk Emery, LEAD ATTORNEY, Lucy B. Bednarek, Ancel, Glink, Diamond, Bush, DiCianni & Krafthefer, P.C., Chicago, IL.

For Carl Hagstrom, Dr., Russell Schneider, Dr., Defendants: Michael David Krause, LEAD ATTORNEY, Krista Rosalie Stine, Robert Steven Tengesdal, Jeffrey Escher, Bollinger, Connolly Krause LLC, Chicago, IL; Laura A. Sbertoli, Bollinger Connolly Krause Ltd, Chicago, IL.

For Sharon Thomas-Boyd, Present and Former Waukegan Police Department Officials, Defendant: Robert Scott Bell, Jr., Law Offices of Cary J. Collins, P.C., Hoffman Estates, IL.

OPINION

Page 800

Memorandum Opinion and Order

Gary Feinerman, United States District Judge.

In May, the court granted in part and denied in part Defendants' motions to dismiss Plaintiff Bennie Starks's amended complaint. 946 F.Supp.2d 780, 2013 WL 2243089 (N.D. Ill. May 21, 2013). Familiarity with the memorandum opinion and order is assumed. Starks has moved for reconsideration of the portion of the order dismissing with prejudice his state law intentional infliction of emotional distress (" IIED" ) claim. Doc. 120.

Because final judgment has not been entered, the dismissal of the IIED claim is interlocutory, which means that Starks's motion to reconsider is governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) rather than Rule 59(e). See Galvan v. Norberg, 678 F.3d 581, 587 n.3 (7th Cir. 2012) (explaining that " a traditional Rule 59(e) motion to reconsider ... can only follow a 'judgment'" and that " Rule 54(b)

Page 801

governs non-final orders and permits revision at any time prior to the entry of judgment" ). Rule 54(b) provides that " any order or other decision, however designated, that adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all the parties does not end the action as to any of the claims or parties and may be revised at any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all the claims and all the parties' rights and liabilities," unless a partial judgment is entered as to such an order. Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b). Motions to reconsider an interlocutory ruling under Rule 54(b) are governed by the law of the case doctrine. See Pickett v. Prince, 207 F.3d 402, 407 (7th Cir. 2000) (" Unlike the case in which a judgment is sought to be vacated ... a motion to reconsider a ruling is constrained only by the doctrine of the law of the case." ); Galvan, 678 F.3d at 587-88 (same); Santamarina v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 466 F.3d 570, 571-72 (7th Cir. 2006) (same). The law of the case doctrine is " highly flexible, especially when a judge is being asked to reconsider his own ruling." Pickett, 207 F.3d at 407. Because the court believes that the IIED claim should not have been dismissed, and because reinstating that claim at this early stage of the litigation--although this is an old case, a stay was in place for years and lifted only in January 2013--will not materially upset settled expectations or reliance interests (if any) in the challenged ruling, the court grants Starks's motion and reinstates the IIED claim.

The court dismissed the IIED claim on the ground that it is time-barred under the one-year statute of limitations imposed by Illinois law. 2013 WL 2243089, at *16-17. Starks maintains that the claim did not accrue until January 7, 2013, when the last remaining criminal charge against him was dismissed. Doc. 120 at ¶ 8. Starks's principal authority is Parish v. City of Elkhart, 614 F.3d 677 (7th Cir. 2010), which holds, in reliance on Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 114 S.Ct. 2364, 129 L.Ed.2d 383 (1994), that where an IIED claim under Indiana law arises in part from a criminal conviction, the claim does not accrue " until [plaintiff's] conviction was disposed of in a manner favorable to him." 614 F.3d at 684. Central to the holding in Parish was the fact that the Indiana judiciary, in Scruggs v. Allen County/City of Fort Wayne, 829 N.E.2d 1049 (Ind.App. 2005), had adopted the Heck accrual rule for purposes of claims arising under Indiana law. 614 F.3d at 681-83. In dismissing Starks's IIED claim, this court distinguished Parish on the ground that the IIED claim there arose under Indiana law, not Illinois law. 2013 WL 2243089 at *17. For reasons that are unnecessary to explain but that cannot be blamed entirely on Starks, the parties' briefs on Defendants' motions to dismiss did not directly address whether the Illinois judiciary had adopted the Heck accrual rule for claims arising under Illinois law. The parties' reconsideration briefs do address that issue--as discussed below, Illinois has adopted the Heck rule--and so another look at Parish is warranted.

Like Starks, the plaintiff in Parish was convicted of very serious crimes and served several years in prison before the convictions were vacated on post-conviction review and the charges were dropped. 614 F.3d at 678. Parish then sued the police officers involved in the case, alleging that they intentionally framed him for the crime and then covered up their misconduct after his conviction. Id. at 683. The district court held that Parish's IIED ...


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