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Willis v. Otten

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

December 19, 2013



JOHN W. DARRAH, District Judge.

On June 6, 2013, Regina Willis filed suit against Defendants City of Chicago, Chicago Police Officer K.A. Otten, and Chicago Police Officer M.J. Kasput. In the Complaint, Willis alleges the following claims: (I) excessive force under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, (II) failure to intervene under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, (III) a state-law claim for assault, (IV) a state-law claim for battery, (V) an indemnity claim, (VI) a claim of respondeat superior liability against the City, and (VII) negligent training and supervision of the police officers. The City of Chicago moves to dismiss Count VII of the Complaint, the claim of negligent training and supervision. This Motion has been fully briefed. For the reasons provided below, the City's Motion is granted.


The following facts are drawn from the Complaint and are accepted as true for purposes of the Motion to Dismiss. See Reger Dev., LLC v. Nat'l City Bank, 592 F.3d 759, 763 (7th Cir. 2010).

Willis is a United States citizen who resides in the Northern District of Illinois. (Compl. ¶ 4.) Defendant Officers Otten and Kasput are present or former employees of the City of Chicago Police Department. ( Id. ¶ 5.) The City is a municipal corporation incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois and employs Defendant Officers. ( Id. ¶ 6.)

On July 15, 2012, Willis and her family were at Rainbow Beach Park in Chicago, Illinois. ( Id. ¶ 7.) Willis was listening to music from her car radio when Defendant Officers approached her and demanded she lower the volume of her music. ( Id. ¶ 8.) Defendant Officers requested Willis's identification, and she declined to provide it. ( Id. ¶ 9.) Defendant Officers informed Willis they would impound her car due to the noise violation. ( Id. ¶ 10.)

Willis sat down in her car, and Defendant Officers forcefully pulled her from the car and handcuffed her. ( Id. ¶¶ 11-12.) After handcuffing Willis, Officer Kasput struck her to the ground. ( Id. ¶ 13.) Then, Defendant Officers threw Willis in their squad car, causing her to bump her head. ( Id. ¶ 14.) As a result of Defendant Officers' actions, Willis suffered a contusion to her left brow, swelling and bruising to her left eye, and swelling and bruising to both of her arms. ( Id. ¶ 15.)

In Count VII of the Complaint, Willis alleges that on and before the date of the incident, the City breached its duty of reasonable care with respect to the training and supervision of the Police Department and its officers. ( Id. ¶ 44.) Specifically, Willis asserts the City failed to properly train and supervise Defendant Officers in the manners of: proper use of force, proper de-escalation techniques when dealing with ordinary citizens, proper community care-taking functions and techniques, control techniques during disagreements with citizens, and anger management. ( Id. ¶ 45.) Willis further alleges the City acted willfully and wantonly by "covering up their assaults and batteries" and by condoning "a code of silence among police officers that leads to the cover up of assaults and batteries." ( Id. ¶¶ 47-48.) The City asserts that Count VII should be dismissed because Willis failed to state a claim pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and because the claim is barred by the Illinois Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act. (Mot. at 1.)


To properly assert a claim in a complaint, the plaintiff must present "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief and a demand for the relief sought." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8. Rule 8 "does not require detailed factual allegations, ' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). While a court is to accept all allegations contained in a complaint as true, this principle does not extend to legal conclusions. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949.

A defendant may file a motion to dismiss a claim under Federal Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. To defeat a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a plaintiff must plead sufficient factual matter to state a claim for relief that is "plausible on its face." Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). A claim is facially plausible "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, 129 S.Ct. at 1949.

However, "[w]here the well-settled pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but it has not show[n]' - that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). For a claim to be plausible, the plaintiff must put forth enough "facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence" supporting the plaintiff's allegations. Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).


Failure to State a Claim

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