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Foreman v. King

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

June 16, 2014

Anthony Stewart Foreman, Plaintiff,
v.
Edward King, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

FREDERICK J. KAPALA, District Judge.

Defendants' motion to dismiss [52] is granted. Counts 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 42, 43, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 55, 56, 57, 58, and 59 of the second amended complaint are dismissed. As a result, defendants Sisomphou Singmouangthong, Timothy Campbell, Brian Strawser, Daniel Watton, Cruz Padron, Brian Squires, Michael Booker, Marc Welsh, Carla Redd, Mark Sorensen, Stephen Pirages, Mark Marinaro, Timothy S. Hanson, Mayor Larry Morrissey, Patrick W. Hayes, Mark Rose, Rockford Police Department, Rockford Fire Department, City of Rockford Public Works, City of Rockford Department of Law, and the City of Rockford, Illinois, are terminated from this action.

STATEMENT

In a sprawling 59-count second amended complaint, plaintiff, Anthony Stewart Foreman, alleges numerous violations of his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a variety of state law claims, and multiple civil conspiracies, all based on his encounters with various local governmental employees from 2006 through 2012. Currently before the court is a motion to dismiss several of these counts brought on behalf of the City of Rockford defendants. For the reasons stated below, the motion is granted.

I. Statute of Limitations

In his complaint, plaintiff raises a number of claims based on: (1) an alleged raid on his business, JT's Bourbon Street Grille, that occurred on July 2, 2006, by Rockford Police Department ("RPD") officers Mark Sorensen and Stephen Pirages, and by Rockford Fire Department inspector Mark Marinaro; (2) the posting of "Do Not Back Into Stalls" signs in a parking lot used by plaintiff's customers in April 2007 under the direction of Timothy S. Hanson, the Director of the City of Rockford Public Works Department, and RPD Deputy Chief Michael Booker; and (3) an alleged raid on his business that occurred on June 17, 2007, by RPD officers Brian Squires, Sisomphou Singmouangthong, Timothy Campbell, Brian Strawser, Daniel Watton, and Cruz Padron.

In their motion to dismiss, defendants argue that the counts in the second amended complaint that are based solely on these incidents are time barred under either the two-year statute of limitations period applicable to § 1983 claims, see Jenkins v. Vill. of Maywood , 506 F.3d 622, 623 (7th Cir. 2007), or the one-year limitations period applicable to state law tort claims brought against governmental entities and their employees, see Williams v. Lampe , 399 F.3d 867, 870 (7th Cir. 2005) (citing 745 ILCS 10/8-101). In his response, plaintiff does not directly challenge this timeliness argument, but rather merely contends that these are "specific instances of acts committed outside the limitations period that evince the existence of a conspiracy to deprive the plaintiff of his rights." While it is true that the statute of limitations would not bar consideration of the alleged conduct that occurred outside the limitations period for the limited purpose of determining whether a conspiratorial agreement existed, see Scherer v. Balkema , 840 F.2d 437, 442 (7th Cir. 1988), a stand-alone claim based on that same conduct would be barred.

Accordingly, defendants' motion to dismiss is granted with respect to Counts 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 43, 46, and 47, as those counts are all time-barred on the face of the complaint.[1]

II. Capacity to be Sued

In their motion to dismiss, defendants also argue that the City of Rockford's Fire Department, Police Department, Public Works Department, and Department of Law are not independent legal entities, and as such, they are not proper defendants in this action. The court agrees. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 17(b), this court looks to state law to determine if a defendant has the capacity to be sued. To be sued in Illinois, a defendant must have a legal existence, either natural or artificial. Jackson v. Vill. of Rosemont , 180 Ill.App.3d 932, 937 (1988). Courts have routinely held that a police department is not a suable entity in Illinois.[2] See, e.g., Hall v. Vill. of Flossmoor Police Dep't, No. 11-CV-5283, 2012 WL 379902, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 1, 2012) ("Police departments are departments of the municipalities they serve; they do not have distinct legal existences under Illinois law."); Isaacs v. St. Clair Cnty. Jail, No. 08-0417-DRH, 2009 WL 211158, at *3 (S.D. Ill. Jan. 29, 2009) ("Illinois Courts have not recognized a sheriff's office or a police department as a legal entity."); Magnuson v. Cassarella , 812 F.Supp. 824, 827 (N.D. Ill. 1992) (concluding that the "[Cook County Sheriff's Police Department] does not enjoy a separate legal existence apart from the Sheriff of Cook County, and therefore is not a suable entity"). Likewise, the other municipal departments are not legal entities separate from the municipality, and therefore, are also subject to dismissal. See generally Manney v. Monroe , 151 F.Supp.2d 976, 988 (N.D. Ill. 2001) ("Departments of a governing body which have no legal existence separate from the governing body cannot be sued under Section 1983."); see also Stevanovic v. City of Chi. , 385 Ill.App.3d 630, 631 (2008) (noting that "[t]he Chicago fire department was... dismissed as a defendant from this case because it is not a legal entity separate from the City"); Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Movement Inc. v. City of Chi. , 435 F.Supp. 1289, 1294 (N.D. Ill. 1977) (dismissing the city's Department of Streets and Sanitation because it is "not a suable entity" and "does not enjoy independent legal existence"); Tate v. Milwaukee Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, No. 08-C-1095, 2008 WL 5423984, at *3 (E.D. Wis. Dec. 29, 2008) (holding that a county's "Corporation Counsel Office is not a suable entity").

Based on the foregoing, the court grants defendants' motion to dismiss based on this argument. Accordingly, Counts 42, 43, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, and 59 are dismissed.

III. Failure to State a Claim

In the remaining counts that are currently challenged by the City of Rockford defendants, plaintiff raises claims for civil conspiracy, violation of equal protection, and violation of due process. Defendants argue that these counts should be dismissed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. After ...


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