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Collins v. Roti

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

February 24, 2014

SCOTT COLLINS, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER ROTI, OFFICER NIEWOLD, and VILLAGE OF DOWNERS GROVE, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JAMES B. ZAGEL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Scott Collins filed a four-count complaint against Defendants Officer Roti, Officer Niewold, and the Village of Downers Grove alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 28 U.S.C. § 1367, the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. Currently before the court is Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for failure to state a cause of action pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, Defendants' motion to dismiss is granted in its entirety.

I. BACKGROUND

On July 6, 2012, while driving through Downers Grove, Collins was stopped by Officers Roti and Niewold. During the stop, Community Service Officer Lilly arrived on the scene, approached the curbed vehicle, and stood next to the passenger door of Collins' car. At all material times, Officers Roti, Niewold, and Lilly were employed as police officers by the Village of Downers Grove.

Officers Roti and Niewold placed Collins under arrest. Collins was helped out of his car and taken to the police station. At the police station, Officer Roti questioned Collins and informed Collins that he was charged with drinking under the influence of alcohol, speeding, operating an uninsured vehicle, and aggravated battery.

Collins asked Officer Roti why he was being charged with aggravated battery, and Officer Roti responded that it was because Collins had punched her in the face. Officer Niewold told the prosecutor that Collins had punched Officer Roti. The prosecutor dismissed the charges of drinking under the influence of alcohol, speeding, and driving without insurance, but sought an indictment against Collins for felony aggravated battery. Officer Roti, we are required to assume at dismissal stage, testified falsely before a grand jury that Collins punched her on the left side of her face, causing swelling. Based solely on Officer Roti's testimony, the grand jury indicted Collins for felony aggravated battery.

Collins spent the night in the county jail and the next day had a hearing at which the judge set a $75, 000 bond. Collins attempted to post bail, but due to paperwork allegedly misplaced by Defendants or unknown Defendants, Collins was forced to spend another night at the county jail-this time in a unit reserved for those accused of violent felonies. Because of the felony charge against Collins, Collins faced a potential sentence of seven years in a maximum security prison, as well as decreased employment opportunities upon release. To fight this charge, Collins hired a criminal defense attorney. Shortly before trial, the prosecution dismissed the indicted charge of aggravated battery against a police officer. As a result of Officers Roti and Niewold's behavior, Collins suffered anxiety, fear, anger, depression, and humiliation.

Plaintiff Collins' Complaint, under Count I and Count II, respectively, asserts a due process claim against Defendants Roti and Niewold under 42 U.S.C. 1983. Plaintiff also claims intentional infliction of emotional distress under Illinois state law against Defendants Roti and Niewold. Plaintiff brings Count IV against Defendants Roti, Niewold, and the Village of Downers Grove for payment and judgment under 745 ILCS 10/9-102.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires that a complaint contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Notice pleading remains the standard under Rule 8, and heightened fact pleading is not required to state a claim. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Notice pleading requires that a complaint contain more than bare legal conclusions. The allegations of a complaint must "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. 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." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).

III. ANALYSIS

Plaintiff claims that his due process rights were violated under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution when Officer Roti and Niewold falsely claimed that Plaintiff had punched Officer Roti on the left side of her face, first through Officer Niewold's statement to the prosecutor and then Officer Roti's grand jury testimony. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants' false statements led to Plaintiff being detained, indicted by a grand jury for aggravated battery, and prosecuted for a felony charge, in violation of his constitutional right to due process and caused intentional infliction of emotional distress. Defendants contend that Plaintiff's allegations are insufficient to maintain any cause of action in federal court and must be dismissed.

A. Due process under 42 ...


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