United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
DONALD G. WILKERSON, Magistrate Judge.
Now pending before the Court are the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendants, Jonathan Hadley and Jacob Koepp, on May 20, 2013 (Doc. 6), the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant, Granite City, Illinois, on May 22, 2013 (Doc. 10), the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant, Granite City Hotels and Suites, LLC., on June 5, 2013 (Doc. 19), and the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant, Vinit Jitendra Tailor, on August 16, 2013 (Doc. 38). For the reasons set forth below, Defendants Hadley's, Koepp's, and Granite City, Illinois' Motions (Docs. 6 and 10) are GRANTED and Defendants Granite City Hotels and Suites, LLC.'s and Tailor's Motions (Docs. 19 and 38) are GRANTED IN PART.
Plaintiff's, Danny Farley's, March 12, 2013 Complaint (Doc. 2) outlines a series of events that took place on March 9, 2011. At that time, Plaintiff was living at the Econo Lodge Inn and Suites, in Granite City, Illinois, and had been since February, 2011. Plaintiff alleges that upon hearing a loud noise in an adjacent room, he called the police to "report the disturbance." The police also were called by Defendant Vinit Jitendra Tailor, an employee of Granite City Hotels and Suites, LLC. (hereinafter "GCHS"), who was working at the Econo Lodge during the relevant time period. Defendants Jacob Koepp and Jonathan Hadley, Granite City, Illinois Police Officers, responded to the emergency calls. However, according to the Complaint, instead of investigating the noise disturbance they inexplicably forcibly evicted Plaintiff from his hotel room:
Defendants then advised Plaintiff that he was being placed under arrest and dragged Plaintiff out of his leased premises with excessive force, and proceeded to physically accost him under the auspices of placing him under arrest, during which time they improperly deployed their TASRs and used other improper restraint tactics and force against Plaintiff that was unnecessary, unreasonable, and excessive (Complaint ¶ 29).
Plaintiff asserts three Counts pursuant to Title 42 U.S.C. §1983 and one state law count. Count 1 asserts a claim against Defendants Koepp and Hadley for "violations of Plaintiff's constitutional rights" (Comp. ¶ 38). Count 2 asserts that Defendant Tailor "engaged in conduct that was otherwise chargeable to the State" related to Plaintiff's forcible eviction ( Id. at 41). Count 3 alleges a state law claim of forcible eviction against Defendants Tailor and "Econo Lodge" (which the Court assumes is meant to be GCHS) ( Id. at 47). Count 4 is an unconstitutional policies and customs claim against the City of Granite City, Illinois ( Id. at 50).
Defendants have filed Motions to Dismiss in which they argue that Plaintiff filed this lawsuit 3 days beyond the 2-year statute of limitations applicable to section 1983 lawsuits in Illinois (Docs. 6, 10, 19, and 38). Defendants GCHS and Tailor also argue that Plaintiff failed to state a claim for forcible entry and detainer under Illinois law. 735 ILL. COMP. STAT. § 5/9-101, et seq.
On March 8, 2013, the Clerk of Court filed a Notice in this matter indicating that "[a]s requested in an email submitted to the clerk's office new case mailbox in East St. Louis, Illinois, a new civil case has been opened" (Doc. 1). The Notice then instructed Plaintiff to file his complaint in the Court Management/Electronic Case Filing (hereinafter "CM/ECF") docketing system and pay the filing fee. Plaintiff did not actually file his Complaint until March 12, 2013, as reflected in the docket sheet.
In responding to the Motions to Dismiss (Docs. 23, 24, 28, and 43), Plaintiff states that while he does not dispute the 2 year limitations period, the Complaint was filed when it was delivered to the Clerk of Court, by e-mail, on March 8, 2013. Plaintiff also asserts that when he received the Notice from the Clerk's Office (Doc. 1),  he attempted to file the Complaint on March 11, 2013 (a Monday), that he experienced difficulties in paying the filing fee electronically, and that when he "obtained clarification of the payment procedures" on March 12, 2013, he "uploaded the complaint to the system as reflected on the docket report." Plaintiff further argues that he can seek damages for the forcible entry into his hotel room and the subsequent eviction. Defendants Koepp, Hadley, and Granite City, Illinois have filed reply briefs (Doc. 26 and 27) because "Plaintiff's response grossly mistakes the law in this matter" and because of new facts outlined in the Response (regarding the submission of the Complaint and difficulties with paying the filing fee). The Court will consider the replies, even though they are generally disfavored.
This case represents the perils of waiting until the last minute to complete a time-sensitive task. Or perhaps, this case represents the perils of leaving work prior to 5:15 p.m. on a Friday. Either way, Plaintiff has missed an important deadline.
On a defendant's motion to dismiss, all facts in the complaint are accepted as true. Doss v. Clearwater Title Co., 551 F.3d 634, 639 (7th Cir. 2008). The complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2). To state a cognizable claim, the complaint must provide enough detail to give defendants fair notice of the nature of the claim and the grounds upon which it rests and to show that relief is plausible. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 554-56 (2007). A statute of limitations claim is an affirmative defense and a complaint need not anticipate or plead facts to defeat such a defense. However, if the complaint "sets out all of the elements of an affirmative defense, dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate." Independent Trust Corp. v. Stewart Information Services Corp., 665 F.3d 930, 935 (7th Cir. 2012).
Title 28 U.S.C. § 1983 lawsuits in Illinois are governed by the two-year limitations period that applies to all personal injury torts. Washington v. Summerville, 127 F.3d 552, 555 (7th Cir. 1997); Kalimara v. Illinois Department of Corrections, 879 F.2d 276, 277 (7th Cir. 1989). The events that gave rise to the Complaint occurred on March 9, 2011; therefore, Plaintiff had until March 9, 2013 to file his Complaint. The Complaint was not filed until March 12, 2013. The question presented in this case is whether a Complaint is "filed" when it is transmitted by e-mail to the Clerk's Office or whether it is "filed" when it is docketed in the CM/ECF system. This Court finds that the Complaint was filed when it was docketed in the CM/ECF system, and a subsequent Notice of Electronic Filing was generated, on March 12, 2013. The Complaint is accordingly filed beyond the applicable statute of limitations.
"A civil action is commenced by filing a complaint with the court." FED.R.CIV.P 3. Rule 5(d)(2)(A) goes on to state that "[a] paper is filed by ...