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Pyles v. Village of Manteno

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Urbana Division

February 7, 2014

SARAH PYLES, Plaintiff,
v.
VILLAGE OF MANTENO, CHADD GAGNON, MANTENO POLICE OFFICER STAR 7584, JASON FORBES, MANTENO POLICE OFFICER STAR 2742, AND CORNELIUS MONROE, ILLINOIS STATE POLICE OFFICER STAR 4561, Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

DAVID G. BERNTHAL, Magistrate Judge.

In May 2013, Plaintiff Sarah Pyles filed a Complaint (#1) against Defendants Village of Manteno, Chadd Gagnon, Jason Forbes, and Cornelius Monroe, alleging federal claims of unreasonable seizure, failure to intervene, and violations of due process and equal protection, and state claims of malicious prosecution and indemnification. Jurisdiction is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 because Plaintiff has raised federal claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court exercises supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

In July 2013, Defendant Cornelius Monroe filed a Motion to Dismiss (#12). His motion was denied by the Court via an Order (#24) entered on December 6, 2013. In August 2013, Defendants Chadd Gagnon and Jason Forbes filed a Motion to Dismiss (#18) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and a supporting Memorandum of Law (#19). In September 2013, Plaintiff filed a Response to Defendants Gagnon and Forbes's Motion to Dismiss (#20). After reviewing the parties' pleadings and memoranda, the Court recommends, pursuant to its authority under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), that Defendants Gagnon and Forbes's Motion to Dismiss (#18) be DENIED.

I. Background

The following background is taken from the complaint. Plaintiff alleges that on August 12, 2011, she became lost while driving home. (#1, ¶¶ 10-11.) Plaintiff pulled into a gas station parking lot to call a friend to come and pick her up. (#1, ¶ 12.) An attendant at the gas station called the Manteno Police Department to report that Plaintiff was sitting in her parked car. (#1, ¶ 14.) Eventually, two Manteno police officers, Defendants Gagnon and Forbes, arrived on the scene and spoke with Plaintiff. (#1, ¶¶ 15-18.) Gagnon then told Plaintiff that he would transport her to the police station to take a Breathalyzer test. (#1, ¶¶ 21, 24.) Gagnon had Plaintiff sit in the front seat of the police car and during the trip to the station Plaintiff performed oral sex on Gagnon. (#1, ¶¶ 25, 31.) After administering the Breathalyzer test at the station, Gagnon allegedly sexually assaulted Plaintiff without her consent while Forbes stood by and failed to intervene or prevent the assault. (#1, ¶¶ 35, 39-40.) Gagnon then drove Plaintiff back to the gas station, gave Plaintiff her car keys, and allowed her to drive away. (#1, ¶¶ 42-43.) Plaintiff subsequently reported the alleged sexual assault and a rape kit was administered at the hospital. (#1, ¶¶ 45-47.) Defendant Monroe, an Illinois State Police officer, and Master Sergeant Poortinga of the Illinois State Police subsequently interviewed Plaintiff and investigated her allegations, including sending various items and DNA samples to a forensic lab for testing. (#1, ¶¶ 48-51.)

On September 13, 2011, Defendant Monroe received a report from the forensic lab indicating that no saliva had been found on Gagnon's underwear. (#1, ¶ 62.) On October 26, 2011, Monroe received a report from the same lab indicating that the DNA found on the rape kit excluded Gagnon and Forbes. (#1, ¶ 63.) In December 2011, Monroe appeared before a grand jury and testified that no saliva had been found on Gagnon's underwear and the DNA found in the rape kit excluded Gagnon and Forbes. (#1, ¶¶ 70-72.) The grand jury then returned an indictment for two felony counts of disorderly conduct against Plaintiff. (#1, ¶ 73.)

In February 2012, Defendant Monroe received a new report from the forensic lab (the February forensic report) indicating that Plaintiff's DNA had been found on Gagnon's underwear. (#1, ¶ 74.) Between February and October 2012, Monroe withheld this information from the prosecuting attorney. (#1, ¶ 75.) In October 2012, Monroe again testified before the grand jury, but he did not disclose the February forensic report implicating Gagnon. (#1, ¶¶ 79-81.) The grand jury then returned a second indictment against Plaintiff. (#1, ¶ 82.)

While preparing for trial, Plaintiff's attorney discovered the February forensic report, which indicated that Plaintiff's DNA had been found on Defendant Gagnon's underwear. (#1, ¶¶ 84-86.) He informed the assistant state's attorney and the State dismissed the charges against Plaintiff. (#1, ¶¶ 87, 89.)

The complaint alleges five counts. Count I, against Defendant Gagnon, alleges unreasonable seizure. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Gagnon seized Plaintiff, did not have a reasonable suspicion that she was involved in any criminal activity at the time, and did not have any other legal justification to seize Plaintiff. (#1, ¶¶ 96-98.) Therefore, Plaintiff argues, Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches was violated.

Count II, against Defendant Forbes, alleges failure to intervene in the unreasonable seizure allegedly committed by Defendant Gagnon. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Forbes "had an opportunity to intervene" while Plaintiff was subjected to the alleged unreasonable seizure, but chose not to, and that he was "deliberately indifferent" to her Fourth Amendment right to be free from such seizure. (#1, ¶¶ 103, 104.)

Count III, against Defendant Gagnon, alleges a violation of Plaintiff's Equal Protection Rights. In Count IV, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Gagnon, Forbes, and Monroe violated her right to due process by "engag[ing] in arbitrary government action that deprived her of her liberty and was so malfeasant as to shock the conscience." (#1, ¶ 112.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Gagnon and Forbes's act of withholding information regarding the sexual assault of Plaintiff constitutes a willful, wanton, and intentional obstruction of justice and a deprivation of Plaintiff's due process rights.

Count V, against Defendant Monroe, alleges a state law claim for malicious prosecution. Count VI, against the Village of Manteno, alleges an indemnification claim pursuant to 75 ILCS 10/9-102.

II. Legal Standard

Defendant Gagnon has moved to dismiss Count I and Defendant Forbes has moved to dismiss Counts II and IV of Plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (#18.) A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim serves to test the sufficiency of the complaint, not to decide the merits of the case. See AnchorBank, FSB v. Hofer, 649 F.3d 610, 614 (7th Cir. 2011); Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990). To survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint need only contain sufficient factual allegations to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). To meet this standard, the allegations in the complaint must, one, be detailed enough to "give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests, '" and, two, "plausibly ...


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