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Barrow v. City of Chicago

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

April 21, 2014

JOHN BARROW, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

AMY J. ST. EVE, District Judge.

The Court grants Defendant Officers' motion to dismiss Counts I and II with prejudice and denies Defendant Officers' motion to dismiss Count IV [10]. The Court grants Defendant City of Chicago's motion to dismiss Count III without prejudice [12]. The Court grants Plaintiff leave to amend Count III in an Amended Complaint in accordance with this Order by no later than May 19, 2014.

STATEMENT

On December 9, 2013, Plaintiff John Barrow filed the present five-count Complaint against Defendants City of Chicago and certain individual Chicago police officers alleging that Defendants violated his constitutional rights. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Before the Court are Defendants' motions to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, the Court grants Defendant Officers' motion to dismiss Counts I and II with prejudice and denies Defendant Officers' motion to dismiss Count IV. Further, the Court grants Defendant City of Chicago's motion to dismiss Count III without prejudice. The Court grants Plaintiff leave to file an Amended Complaint in accordance with this Order by no later than May 19, 2014.

LEGAL STANDARD[1]

"A motion under Rule 12(b)(6) tests whether the complaint states a claim on which relief may be granted." Richards v. Mitcheff, 696 F.3d 635, 637 (7th Cir. 2012). Under Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must include "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The short and plain statement under Rule 8(a)(2) must "give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (citation omitted). Under the federal notice pleading standards, a plaintiff's "factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Put differently, a "complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "In reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint under the plausibility standard, [courts] accept the well-pleaded facts in the complaint as true." Alam v. Miller Brewing Co., 709 F.3d 662, 665-66 (7th Cir. 2013). Also, a "motion under Rule 12(b)(6) can be based only on the complaint itself, documents attached to the complaint, documents that are critical to the complaint and referred to in it, and information that is subject to proper judicial notice." Geinosky v. City of Chicago, 675 F.3d 743, 745 n.1 (7th Cir. 2012). "[A] plaintiff is not required to plead facts in the complaint to anticipate and defeat affirmative defenses, " but "when a plaintiff's complaint nonetheless sets out all of the elements of an affirmative defense, dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate." Independent Trust Corp. v. Stewart Info. Serv. Corp., 665 F.3d 930, 935 (7th Cir. 2012).

BACKGROUND

On November 23, 2011, around 8 p.m., Plaintiff, who was an employee of Reliance Security Services ("Reliance"), had just completed his shift working as a security officer at a Foot Locker store on the south side of Chicago. (R. 1, Compl. ¶ 7.) Sometime after 10:00 p.m. on that same date, Reliance dispatched Plaintiff to a facility named "Cold Storage" located in McCook, Illinois to perform armed security services. ( Id. ¶ 8.) Reliance advised Plaintiff that he was to cover the 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. night shift. ( Id. ) While en route to Cold Storage, Defendant Officers stopped Plaintiff although he had not committed any traffic violations. ( Id. ¶ 9.) At that time, Defendant Officers demanded that Plaintiff produce his driver's license, proof of insurance, and registration. ( Id. ¶ 10.) Plaintiff alleges that he complied with Defendant Officers' commands and did not exhibit suspicious or threatening behavior. ( Id. )

Further, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Officers then ordered him out of the car at which time they unlawfully searched him and his car without justification or probable cause. ( Id. ¶ 11.) Upon exiting his vehicle, Plaintiff informed Defendant Officers that he was a security guard, that he was on his way to work, and that he lawfully had a firearm in his possession. ( Id. ¶ 13.) According to Plaintiff, Defendant Officers ignored his explanation and stated that they "locked up" security guards solely for the inconvenience it causes them and that they know the case will "be tossed out." ( Id. ¶ 14.) Defendant Officers then arrested Plaintiff on the criminal charge of Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon ("AUUW"). ( Id. ¶ 15.) Plaintiff, however, maintains that as a professional security guard he has completed the requisite training courses and at all relevant times he was licensed and authorized to carry his firearm in Illinois. ( Id. ¶ 12.) Moreover, at the time of his arrest, Plaintiff alleges that he was in possession of documentation attesting to the same, including but not limited to, his Firearm Owners Identification card, his Permanent Employee Registration card, his Fire Arm Control card, and his Reliance Security Services Employee card. ( Id. ) Plaintiff asserts that he produced these documents to Defendant Officers prior to his arrest. ( Id. )

After arresting Plaintiff, Defendant Officers transported him to jail. ( Id. ¶ 16.) Plaintiff further alleges that he had to pay bail to be released while awaiting trial and was forced to hire an attorney to defend against false charges. ( Id. ) Plaintiff's car was towed and stored at Plaintiff's expense. ( Id. ) Also, Reliance fired Plaintiff from his job due to his inability to work. ( Id. ) Over the next several months, Plaintiff was forced to return to Cook County Circuit Court on numerous occasions. ( Id. ¶ 17.) Each time Plaintiff appeared for the criminal case, he was informed that the court had to continue his case because the prosecution was not ready to proceed. ( Id. ) After several months, Plaintiff communicated to the Circuit Court that he was legally entitled to carry a firearm on the day of his arrest and that he had in the paperwork to prove it at that time. ( Id. ¶ 18.) According to Plaintiff, the Circuit Court dismissed the weapons charges in a manner indicative of Plaintiff's innocence. ( Id. )

In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges the following claims: (1) a Fourth Amendment false arrest claim against Defendant Officers (Count I); (2) a Fourth Amendment unreasonable seizure claim against Defendant Officers (Count II); (3) a claim pursuant to Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978), against the City of Chicago (Count III); (4) a Fourteenth Amendment due process claim based on his liberty interest in his profession against all Defendants (Count IV); and (5) and an indemnification claim against the City of Chicago pursuant to 745 ILCS 10/9-102 (Count V).

ANALYSIS

I. Fourth Amendment Claims - Counts I and II

In Count I, Plaintiff brings a Fourth Amendment false arrest claim, and in Count II, he alleges a Fourth Amendment unreasonable seizure claim, which is, in essence, a claim for false arrest. See Gonzalez v. Village of West Milwaukee, 671 F.3d 649, 655 (7th Cir. 2012) ("False arrest' is shorthand for an unreasonable seizure prohibited by the Fourth Amendment."). Section 1983 claims brought in Illinois have a two-year limitations period. See Turley v. Rednour, 729 F.3d 645, 651 (7th Cir. 2013). "[A] § 1983 claim seeking damages for a false arrest in violation of the Fourth Amendment, where the arrest is followed by criminal proceedings, begins to run at the time the claimant becomes detained pursuant to legal process." Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 397, 127 S.Ct. ...


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