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Hill v. City of Chicago

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

May 14, 2014

DEMETRIS HILL and KAMEO HILL, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF CHICAGO, and CHICAGO POLICE OFFICERS ZACHARY RUBALD (Star 14540), ROBERT JOHNSON (Star 17034), and GUY HABIAK, JR. (Star 9921), Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

SARA L. ELLIS, District Judge.

Plaintiffs Demetris and Kameo Hill were stopped by Chicago Police Officers Zachary Rubald, Robert Johnson, and Guy Habiak, Jr. (collectively, the "Defendant Officers") while driving through Chicago, Illinois on July 2, 2011. Mr. Hill was arrested and charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, a charge for which he was ultimately found not guilty. Mr. and Mrs. Hill subsequently filed suit against the Defendant Officers and the City of Chicago (the "City"), alleging unlawful seizure (Count I); civil conspiracy to violate Mr. Hill's constitutional rights (Count II); violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Practices Act ("RICO"), 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq. (Count III); violation of due process (Count IV); an equal protection class of one violation (Count V); a Monell claim against the City (Count VI); malicious prosecution (Count VII); conspiracy to commit malicious prosecution (Count VIII); intentional infliction of emotional distress ("IIED") (Count IX); indemnity (Count X); and respondeat superior (Count XI). Before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), which is granted in part and denied in part.[1] The unlawful seizure claim and any claims based on unlawful seizure are time-barred. The RICO claim is dismissed for failure to sufficiently allege racketeering activity. Mr. Hill's due process claim is not cognizable because the allegedly withheld evidence was not suppressed. The Monell claim fails for lack of an underlying constitutional violation. The IIED claim is dismissed except as it is based on the issuance of a warrant for Mr. Hill's arrest on the day he was found not guilty of all charges. Mr. Hill's equal protection, malicious prosecution, conspiracy to commit malicious prosecution, indemnity, and respondeat superior claims survive.

BACKGROUND[2]

Mr. and Mrs. Hill were moving from Minnesota to Georgia when they passed through Chicago on July 2, 2011. On that date, they were stopped without cause or justification by the Defendant Officers while driving near 8400 S. Morgan. The Defendant Officers ordered Mr. and Mrs. Hill out of the car and then searched the car without their consent or any other legal justification. The Defendant Officers found a gun in a container in the trunk of the car, which was not accessible to Mr. and Mrs. Hill while they were driving. The gun was properly registered to Mr. Hill, but the Defendant Officers nonetheless arrested Mr. Hill, took him to the police station, and charged him with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. The Defendant Officers also interrogated Mrs. Hill about her relationship with Mr. Hill and accused her of being a prostitute even though she was at all times married to Mr. Hill. The Hills' car was towed. Mrs. Hill, who was unfamiliar with the area in which they were stopped, was left on the side of the road without a way to leave.

Mr. Hill was brought before a judge on July 2, 2011.[3] The judge found probable cause to detain Mr. Hill at that time. Mr. Hill spent eight days in Cook County Jail and then was released on bond. Mrs. Hill returned to Illinois to pick Mr. Hill up when he was released.

Beginning soon after his arrest, the Defendant Officers tried to intimidate Mr. Hill into pleading guilty and not proceeding with an internal complaint against them. This included damaging the Hills' car and stealing items from it while it was in police custody. The Defendant Officers also testified falsely, swore out false police reports, did not inform prosecutors about the true circumstances of Mr. Hill's arrest, and continued pursuing criminal proceedings against Mr. Hill. Mr. Hill nonetheless proceeded to trial. On June 6, 2013, Mr. Hill was found not guilty on all charges. Despite this finding, the Defendant Officers caused a warrant to be issued for Mr. Hill's arrest on that same day.

LEGAL STANDARD

A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the sufficiency of the complaint, not its merits. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6); Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990). In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all well-pleaded facts in the plaintiff's complaint and draws all reasonable inferences from those facts in the plaintiff's favor. AnchorBank, FSB v. Hofer, 649 F.3d 610, 614 (7th Cir. 2011). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint must not only provide the defendant with fair notice of a claim's basis but must also be facially plausible. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009); see also Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678

ANALYSIS

I. Statute of Limitations

Defendants argue that the majority of Mr. and Mrs. Hill's claims are barred by the statute of limitations because they filed their complaint more than two years after the day they were stopped and Mr. Hill was arrested by the Defendant Officers. The statute of limitations is an affirmative defense that need not be anticipated in the complaint in order to survive a motion to dismiss. United States v. Lewis, 411 F.3d 838, 842 (7th Cir. 2005). But that is not the case where "the allegations of the complaint itself set forth everything necessary to satisfy the affirmative defense, such as when a complaint reveals that an action is untimely under the governing statute of limitations." Id .; see also Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 579 (7th Cir. 2009) (considering statute of limitations defense on motion to dismiss where relevant dates were set forth in the complaint).

A. Federal Claims

Section 1983 claims are governed by the forum state's statute of limitations for personal injury claims, in this case, two years. Henderson v. Bolanda, 253 F.3d 928, 931 (7th Cir. 2001); 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-202. Although the statute of limitations is borrowed from state law, federal law determines when a § 1983 claim accrues. Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 388, 127 S.Ct. 1091, 166 L.Ed.2d 973 (2007). Under federal law, § 1983 claims begin to accrue when a plaintiff knows or has reason to know that his constitutional rights have been violated. Wilson v. Giesen, 956 F.2d 738, 741 (7th Cir. 1992).

A false arrest claim accrues at the time the arrestee is detained pursuant to legal process, i.e. when he "is bound over by a magistrate or arraigned on charges." Serino v. Hensley, 735 F.3d 588, 591 (7th Cir. 2013) (citing Wallace, 549 U.S. at 397). Mr. Hill was arrested and bound over by a judge on July 2, 2011. He filed his complaint on July 3, 2013, which he admits makes his false arrest claim untimely. Mr. Hill, argues, however, that any seizure that occurred after the false warrant was created on June 6, 2013 is not time-barred. But the Second Amended Complaint includes no allegation of a seizure after June 6, 2013. Mr. and Mrs. Hill also acknowledge that their unlawful search claim is untimely, as it accrued on July 2, 2011. See Gonzalez v. ...


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