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Mustafa v. City of Chicago

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

December 4, 2013

Majid Mustafa, Plaintiff,
v.
City of Chicago, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

RONALD A. GUZMN, District Judge.

For the reasons stated below, Defendants' motion to dismiss [16] is granted. Plaintiff has 21 days from the date of entry of this order to file an amended complaint in accordance with Rule 11.

STATEMENT

Majid Mustafa sues the City of Chicago ("City"), Garry McCarthy, Superintendent of Police, and Tracey Ladner, Director of Human Resources for Chicago Police Department, for breach of implied contract and equitable estoppel, violating his civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, respondeat superior, and indemnification. Defendants move to dismiss the amended complaint. For the reasons stated herein, the motion is granted.

Facts

In his amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he was a probationary employee of the City, training to become a Chicago Police Officer. (Am. Compl., Dkt. # 3-1, ¶ 3.) While engaged in a training exercise on February 15, 2013, Plaintiff's thumb became dislocated. ( Id. ¶ 11.) On February 25, 2013, a doctor certified Plaintiff to "return to work" without restriction. ( Id. ¶ 13.) On March 7, 2013 and March 13, 2013, Plaintiff attempted but failed to successfully complete the State of Illinois firearms test, which required a two-handed firing technique. ( Id. ¶ 14.) On March 20, 2013, Plaintiff was ordered to participate in the "bear crawl" training exercise, which further injured his thumb. ( Id. ¶ 15.) On March 26, 2013, Plaintiff was ordered to make his third and final attempt at completing the firearms test despite his request for a postponement to allow his thumb to heal. ( Id. ¶ 18.) On March 27, 2013, Ladner terminated Plaintiff as a probationary Chicago Police Officer because he failed to meet the standards set by the State of Illinois. ( Id. ¶¶ 20, 21.)

Standard

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 (2009) (citation omitted). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court accepts the well-pleaded factual allegations as true and draws all reasonable inferences from them in plaintiff's favor. Hecker v. Deere & Co., 556 F.3d 575, 580 (7th Cir. 2009).

Analysis

Breach of Implied Contract

The Court notes that any claim for breach of an implied contract against defendants McCarthy and Ladner cannot stand as Plaintiff does not allege that these defendants entered into a contract with Plaintiff. Therefore, McCarthy and Ladner are dismissed as defendants with respect to this claim.

As to the City, a contract implied in fact is "one in which a contractual duty is imposed by a promissory expression[, ] which may be inferred from the facts and circumstances and the expressions on the part of the promisor which show an intention to be bound." Kohlenbrenner v. N. Suburban Clinic, Ltd., 826 N.E.2d 563, 567 (Ill. 2005). A contract implied in fact requires all of the elements of an express contract, as well as mutual intent to enter into a contract. Nissan N. Am., Inc. v. Jim M'Lady Oldsmobile, Inc., 486 F.3d 989, 996 (7th Cir. 2007).

To the extent that Plaintiff alleges that he had an implied contract with the City for ongoing employment, he pleads himself out of court. Plaintiff alleges that he was a probationary police officer. However, "[a]bsent a clear statement to the contrary, probationary police officers have no right to continued employment under the Illinois Municipal Code." Krecek v. Bd. of Police Com'rs of La Grange Park, 646 N.E.2d 1314, 1319 (Ill.App.Ct. 1995); Faustrum v. Bd. of Fire and Police Com'rs of Vill. of Wauconda, 608 N.E.2d 640, 643 (Ill.App.Ct. 1993) ("[M]unicipalities... [must] make a clear statement before they will be held to have altered the at-will status of probationary police officers"). While Plaintiff alleges that "upon entering this probationary training program operated by the City, the Plaintiff and the City entered into an implied contract that was to last during the probationary period" (Pl.'s Resp., Dkt. # 20, ¶ 7), he points to no facts in support of a claim that he was promised ongoing employment or that the City altered the at-will status of his employment. Plaintiff also appears to allege that he had an implied contract with the City not to harm him. (Am. Compl., Dkt. # 3-1, ¶ 10) ("The implied contract creates an implied obligation to exercise general care ...


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