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Majeske v. Stern Process and Investigation, LLC

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

December 16, 2013

MALCOLM MAJESKE, Plaintiff,
v.
STERN PROCESS AND INVESTIGATION, LLC, TODD M. MARTINSON, CHICAGO POLICE OFFICER C. LOPEZ (Badge #18527), and THE CITY OF CHICAGO, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

SHARON JOHNSON COLEMAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff, Malcolm Majeske ("Majeske"), filed a complaint against Chicago Police Officer C. Lopez pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 alleging false arrest, and against process server Todd Martinson ("Martinson"), and Stern Process and Investigation, LLC ("Stern Process"), for false imprisonment. Defendants Lopez [69] and Martinson and Stern Process [65] move separately for summary judgment because the undisputed facts show that Officer Lopez had probable cause to arrest Majeske. For the reasons stated below, this Court grants defendants' motions for summary judgment. Additionally, Majeske's claim against the City of Chicago under the Illinois Civil Rights Act of 2003 also fails where there is no evidence that the City subjected Majeske to racial discrimination.

Local Rule 56.1

Majeske failed to comply with Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(A) and (B), which require the party opposing a motion for summary judgment to serve and file a concise "response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon." L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(A), (B). Majeske also failed to comply with Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) by omitting citations to the record for many of his proffered "additional facts".

By rule, an opposing party's failure to properly respond to each statement of material fact proffered by the movant in the manner dictated by the Rule results in those facts being deemed admitted for purposes of the motion for summary judgment. LR 56.1(b)(3)(C); Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003) ("Local Rule 56.1's enforcement provision provides that when a responding party's statement fails to controvert facts as set forth in the moving party's statement in the manner dictated by the rule, those facts shall be deemed admitted for purposes of the motion); Stallings v. Cook County, 2013 WL 3669623, at *1-2 (N.D.Ill. 2013). This Court will therefore deem admitted the facts as set forth in defendants' LR 56.1(a)(1)(3) statements of undisputed material fact.

Background

On May 10, 2009, Malcolm Majeske returned to his home at 1734 W. Albion Street in Chicago, Illinois to find Todd Martinson, a process server with Stern Process, ringing his doorbell to serve process on Majeske in a lawsuit unrelated to the one at bar. Majeske was aware that he had been named in a lawsuit and that Martinson was a process server. Majeske asked him to leave his property. Martinson checked the name on the mailbox, told Majeske that he was served, and left the summons on the stoop outside Majeske's front door.

Martinson returned to his car, which was parked in front of Majeske's apartment building, after leaving the summons on the stoop. At this point, Majeske admitted in his deposition that he was "pissed." Majeske took the summons and then followed Martinson to his car to take a picture of him. Martinson was already in his car when Majeske reached the street. Majeske kicked Martinson's car as Martinson began to drive away. Martinson stopped the car and Majeske cursed at Martinson, in a manner indicating that he was upset by the service of summons or the manner in which it was served.

Martinson was in fear for his safety when he drove away and immediately called 311 for assistance. In the phone call, Martinson informed the operator that he was a private process server who had felt threatened by the person he had executed service on. The operator asked for a description of the person, to which Martinson responded with Majeske's apparent race, height, age, and clothing. The information and call was then transferred to a dispatcher for the Chicago Police Department. The dispatcher assigned defendant Officer Lopez's beat to follow up on the complaint.

Martinson had stayed near the vicinity of Majeske's residence and was available to speak to Officer Lopez upon his arrival to follow up on the dispatch. Martinson told Lopez that Majeske had come at him in a threatening way, causing him to be in fear of being harmed, and that Majeske kicked his car twice, causing damage. Officer Lopez observed the damage to the car. After speaking with Martinson, Lopez called for an additional vehicle because the information he received indicated that the offender might be aggressive towards him and his partner.

Officer Lopez went to Majeske's address and inquired about his behavior towards Martinson. After Majeske admitted to kicking the car, Officer Lopez placed him under arrest and in handcuffs. While still on scene, Martinson signed criminal complaint forms containing the information and charges for simple assault and criminal damage to property. Thereafter, Majeske filed a complaint for false arrest in violation of his civil rights pursuant to section 1983 and common law false imprisonment by Martinson and Stern Process.

Legal Standard

A party is entitled to summary judgment if all of "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). When deciding a motion for summary judgment the Court construes all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Abdullahi v. City of Madison, 423 F.3d 763, 773 (7th Cir. 2005). The party who bears the burden of proof on an issue may not rest on the pleadings or presumptions, but ...


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