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Vazquez v. Village of Bensenville

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

May 5, 2014

WILLIAM VÁZQUEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
THE VILLAGE OF BENSENVILLE, OFFICER RICHARD LAPORTE, OFFICER KEVIN DRISCOLL, OFFICER SAUL HERRERA, and DETECTIVE MIKE PTAK, Defendants

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For William Vazquez, Plaintiff: Mitchell H. Frazen, LEAD ATTORNEY, Thomas A. Jacobson, LITCHFIELD CAVO LLP, Chicago, IL.

For Village Of Bensenville, Kevin Driscoll, Officer, Mike Ptak, Detective, Defendants: Mary Elizabeth Dickson, LEAD ATTORNEY, Sean Patrick Conway, Bond, Dickson & Associates, P.C., Wheaton, IL.

For Richard laporte, Officer, Saul Herrera, Officer, Defendants: Mary Elizabeth Dickson, Sean Patrick Conway, Bond, Dickson & Associates, P.C., Wheaton, IL.

OPINION

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MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Ruben Castillo, Chief United States District Judge.

Plaintiff William Vá zquez brings this action against the Village of Bensenville (the " Village" ) as well as Officer Richard LaPorte, Officer Kevin Driscoll, Officer Saul Herrera, and Detective Mike Ptak (collectively, the " Defendant Officers" ), alleging deprivation of his constitutional right to equal protection under the law in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Presently before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss the second amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated below, Defendants' motion to dismiss is granted in part and denied in part.

RELEVANT FACTS

Vá zquez is a resident of the Village. (R. 25, Second Am. Compl. ¶ 4.) He has lived at Mason Manor Condominiums (the " Condominium" ) for over five years and holds a position with the Mason Manor Condominium Association (the " Association" ). ( Id. ¶ 13.) From 2010 to the present, Vá zquez recommended that the Association perform several repairs and improvements to the building, and the Association consequently imposed fees and special assessments upon unit owners to fund the improvements. ( Id. ¶ 16.) Vá zquez alleges that unit owners and residents Pawel Kruk, Agnieszka Kruk, Iowna Plaza, and Ernest Skotnicki (collectively, the " Residents" ) were upset by the fees and special assessments and began a campaign of harassment against him and other Association members in 2010. ( Id. ¶ 17.) Pawel Kruk and Agnieszka Kruk live together in a unit one or both of them own in the Condominium. ( Id. ¶ 14.) Iowna Plaza and Ernest Skotnicki live together in a unit Plaza owns in the Condominium. ( Id. ¶ 15.)

Since 2010, the Residents have made several complaints about Vá zquez to various Village departments, including the Police Department. ( Id. ¶ 20.) Police officers, including the Defendant Officers, often came to the Condominium in response to the Residents' complaints, which Vá zquez alleges were " false and baseless" as a result of the Residents' animosity towards him. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 20, 23-24.) In response to the volume of complaints, Officer Herrera contacted the Association's then-president, Scott Beaderstadt, several times in 2012 to request an election of the Association's members. ( Id. ¶ 21.) Officer LaPorte went to the Condominium in late 2011 and told Vá zquez that if the police received more calls or reports involving the Condominium, they would be " pinned on [Vá zquez.]" ( Id. ¶ ¶ 31-32.) Vá zquez alleges that Officer LaPorte's statement indicated that Vá zquez would not be treated in the same manner as his neighbors. ( Id. ¶ 133.)

Vá zquez alleges that the Defendant Officers filed criminal charges against him without following the appropriate investigative protocol. On January 10, 2012, Pawel Kruk reported to Officer Herrera that Vá zquez was " pounding on Kruk's door and looking through the peep hole." ( Id. ¶ 34.) Vá zquez was subsequently arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. ( Id. ) Vá zquez alleges that Officer Herrera failed to adequately investigate the complaint before filing charges, as neither Vá zquez nor Piort Zaranski, the person he was with that day, were interviewed by Officer Herrera. ( Id. ¶ 36.) Vá zquez alleges that he did not engage in disorderly conduct and that he and Zaranski were instead gathering signatures from the residents

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for a City of Chicago window and door replacement project. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 35-36.) On July 1, 2012, Plaza and Skotnicki reported to a police officer that Vá zquez had pushed and threatened to kill Plaza. ( Id. ¶ 38.) Vá zquez was arrested later that day by the same officer and charged with two counts of battery. ( Id. ) Vá zquez maintains that he did not commit battery or threaten to kill Plaza. ( Id. ¶ 39.) On September 26, 2012, Pawel Kruk and his minor son reported to a police officer that Vá zquez had threatened to kill them at an Association meeting on September 20, 2012. ( Id. ¶ 41.) Vá zquez was subsequently charged, pursuant to a complaint prepared by Detective Ptak, with aggravated assault and assault. ( Id. ¶ 41.) Vá zquez again alleges that the incident was inadequately investigated before charges were filed as " several people present at the meeting . . . would have told [Detective Ptak] that Vá zquez made no threats to Pawel Kruk or his son." ( Id. ¶ 43.) Pursuant to a complaint prepared by Officer Driscoll on May 29, 2013, Vá zquez was charged with disorderly conduct for purportedly making vulgar statements and gestures towards Agnieszka Kruk and pounding on Pawel Kruk's door on March 25, 2013. ( Id. ¶ 45.) Before filing charges, Officer Driscoll did not speak with Vá zquez or the friend he was with that day. ( Id. ¶ 47.) Vá zquez alleges that his friend would have told Officer Driscoll that Vá zquez had no interaction with the Kruks on March 25, 2013. ( Id. )

Finally, on July 1, 2013, Vá zquez was charged with battery in another complaint prepared by Officer Driscoll relating to a June 25, 2013 incident involving Skotnicki. ( Id. ¶ 49.) Vá zquez denies committing battery upon Skotnicki that day, ( id. ¶ 50), and he contends that Skotnicki has previously made false statements to the police: Vá zquez alleges that on December 21, 2010, Skotnicki came into his apartment and physically assaulted him without provocation, ( Id. ¶ 25). Skotnicki then left and falsely reported to the Police Department that he was assaulted by Vá zquez in the Condominium's stairwell. ( Id. ¶ 26.) A police officer investigated the incident and arrested Skotnicki for assault. ( Id. ¶ 29.) On June 25, 2013, Skotnicki allegedly emerged from his unit and attempted to punch Vá zquez in the hallway. ( Id. ¶ 60.) On June 27, 2013, Vá zquez and Beaderstadt went to the Police Department and reported the incident to Officer Driscoll and a sergeant. ( Id. ¶ 61.) Officer Driscoll told Vá zquez that Skotnicki claimed that Vá zquez had punched him. ( Id. ¶ 62.) Vá zquez denied this and alleged that his hands were full carrying groceries. ( Id. ) Vá zquez also reminded Officer Driscoll about Skotnicki's previous false assault claim on December 21, 2010. ( Id. ) In response, Officer Driscoll stated that the " past is the past" and brought up the frequent complaints Skotnicki and Pawel Kruk made against Vá zquez. ( Id. ¶ 63.) Beaderstadt told Officer Driscoll that Skotnicki should not be believed because he had claimed publicly that he would continue to file false reports about Vá zquez until Vá zquez resigned from the Association. ( Id. ) In response, Officer Driscoll told Vá zquez " that maybe [Vá zquez] should move and that the Village of Bensenville Police Department [was] 'tired' of all the calls about [Vá zquez]." ( Id. ) Further, Officer Driscoll stated that Skotnicki's wife, Plaza, " backed up [Skotnicki's] story, and therefore it was 'two against one.'" ( Id. ) Officer Driscoll subsequently refused to file criminal charges against Skotnicki and instead filed a battery complaint against Vá zquez. ( Id. ¶ 64.)

Vá zquez denies all charges in these five incidents. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 35, 39, 42, 46, 50.) Aside from the July 1, 2012 and June 25, 2013 incidents, he was either found not

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guilty or his criminal charges were dismissed nolle prosequi. (Id. ¶ ¶ 37, 44, 48.) On April 22, 2013, Vá zquez was tried for the July 1, 2012 incident. ( Id. ¶ 40.) He was found not guilty of the count one battery charge of causing bodily harm, but guilty of the count two battery charge of making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature. ( Id. ) Vá zquez has appealed the conviction. ( Id. )

Vá zquez alleges that, in contrast to their reaction to complaints against him, the Defendant Officers failed to investigate or file criminal charges in complaints he filed. In addition to the June 2013 incident with Skotnicki, Vá zquez and other Condominium residents reported that Skotnicki had admitted to breaking a Condominium window in the summer of 2010. ( Id. ¶ 53.) Skotnicki was not charged. ( Id. ¶ 54.) Additionally, in June 2012, Vá zquez heard a car tire pop, the rear common door to the building hallway open, and someone enter the apartment of Plaza and Skotnicki. ( Id. ¶ 57.) The next morning, he discovered that his two front tires were slashed. ( Id. ¶ 58.) Vá zquez reported this to the Police Department, but no one was charged for the damage. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 58-59.)

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Proceeding pro se, Vá zquez filed a three-count complaint on December 7, 2012, (R. 1, Compl.), which the Court dismissed without prejudice on March 27, 2013, (R. 6, Min. Entry). Vá zquez filed his first amended pro se complaint on May 1, 2013, (R. 8, First Am. Compl.), which the Court also dismissed without prejudice on May 29, 2013, (R. 15, Min. Entry). After being appointed counsel, Vá zquez filed a second amended complaint on July 31, 2013. (R. 25, Second Am. Compl.) In Count I, Vá zquez alleges a violation of his constitutional right to equal protection under the law against Officer Driscoll, Officer Herrera, and Detective Ptak, ( Id. ¶ ¶ 66-76); in Count II, Vá zquez alleges a conspiracy to violate his equal protection against Officer Driscoll, Officer Herrera, Detective Ptak, ...


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