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Barrow v. Blouin

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

May 7, 2014

MICHAEL BARROW and KAYLIE BARROW, Plaintiffs,
v.
MICHAEL BLOUIN, ET AL., Defendants

Page 917

For Michael Barrow, Kaylie Barrow, Plaintiffs: Scott T. Kamin, LEAD ATTORNEY, Law Offices of Scott T. Kamin, Chicago, IL.

For Will County, Will County Sheriffs Office, Michael Blouin, Kathy Hoffmeyer, Defendants: Martin W. McManaman, LEAD ATTORNEY, Patrick R Moran, Lowis & Gellen, Chicago, IL.

Page 918

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Robert M. Dow, Jr., United States District Judge.

Following Michael Barrow's arrest for allegedly looting and trespassing on his mother-in-law's property in the wake of a tornado, Plaintiffs Michael and Kaylie Barrow brought this action against Defendants Michael Blouin, Kathy Hoffmeyer, the Will County Sheriff's Office, and Will County for false arrest, unreasonable seizure, malicious prosecution, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and reimbursement. Defendants have moved to dismiss [9] Plaintiffs' complaint.

Page 919

For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants in part and denies in part Defendants' motion to dismiss [9] and dismisses Defendant Hoffmeyer from this lawsuit.

I. Background

On Sunday, November 17, 2013, tornadoes touched down in Will County, Illinois, and destroyed the home of Kaylie Barrow's mother, Jamie Mack. After the tornados and severe weather had passed through the area, Kaylie Barrow and her husband, Michael Barrow, went to Jamie's property to look for Jamie and search for keepsakes. In order to get to Jamie's house, the family members had to drive along Frontage Road. A mobile triage center had been set up at one of the entrances to Frontage Road.

Defendant Blouin of the Will County Sheriff's Office, a few other Will County deputies, and a multi-disciplinary emergency task force were stationed at the center. While the Barrows searched Jamie's property for belongings, Defendant Blouin arrested and handcuffed Michael for trespassing and looting. According to the complaint, Kaylie explained to Blouin that she and Michael were " cleaning up their own property," but Defendant Blouin threatened to put Kaylie in handcuffs " if she did not shut up." Compl. at ¶ 24. The complaint further alleges that other family members confirmed that Kaylie and Michael were part of the family and were there to help with clean-up efforts.

In connection with an attempt to justify the arrest, Plaintiffs allege that Deputy Blouin prepared an arrest report which falsely indicated that he arrested Michael at a commercial establishment located several acres away on the other side of the relative's property. He also spoke with Michael's employer, the Coal City Fire Chief, and told him that Michael was a " criminal" and that he " would be going to prison." Id. at ¶ 29. After speaking with Michael's employer, Deputy Blouin then communicated the details of his arrest report to Defendant Kathy Hoffmeyer, who was the police spokesperson for the Will County Sheriff's Office. Hoffmeyer subsequently informed various news outlets that Michael had been arrested for looting. Michael was released on Monday, November 18, 2013. Although Michael had been arrested and detained, Defendants contend that criminal charges were never filed against Michael. However, Michael contends, without specifying how he was charged, that he was presented to a judicial tribunal and the case was dismissed.

On November 22, 2013, Plaintiffs filed a six-count complaint against Defendants, alleging false arrest against Defendant Blouin (Count I), unreasonable seizure against Defendant Blouin (Count II), malicious prosecution against Defendant Blouin (Count III), intentional infliction of emotional distress against Defendants Blouin and Hoffman (Count IV), a " reimbursement claim" against Defendants Will County and Will County Sheriff's Office (Count V), and defamation ...


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