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Coleman v. City of Chicago

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

July 25, 2014



JOHN Z. LEE, District Judge.

Plaintiff Terry Coleman has sued Defendants the City of Chicago (the "City") and Chicago Police Officers James M. Boreczky, Brian J. Lindstrom, and Sergeant J. Vuko for false arrest and unlawful search and seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and malicious prosecution and false imprisonment in violation of state law. Plaintiff also brought a claim against the City under Monell v. City of New York, 436 U.S. 659, 98 S.Ct. 2018 (1978), whereby municipalities, government agents, or policymaking individuals may be held liable for constitutional deprivations pursuant to governmental custom. Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiff's false imprisonment claim, arguing that the claim is barred by the statute of limitations, and Plaintiff's Monell claim, arguing that he fails to state a claim. For the reasons set forth herein, the Court denies Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's false imprisonment claim and grants Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Monell claim.


Plaintiff Terry Coleman ("Coleman") is a resident of Chicago, Illinois. Second Am. Compl. ¶ 3. In or around March 2012, Coleman fell victim to a scam. Id. ¶ 8. A woman in a truck enticed Coleman to play a game claiming he could win prizes, but Coleman was defrauded out of $800.00. Id.

About six months later, on September 14, 2012, Coleman recognized the truck and the two people he believed had defrauded him. Id. ¶¶ 9-10. After confirming the identity of the two individuals, Coleman called 911. Id. ¶¶ 11-12. Sergeant Vuko responded to the scene, searched Coleman "[w]ithout consent or warning, " and asked Coleman what gang he belonged to. Id. ¶¶ 14-16.

Even though Coleman had not committed any crime, an officer in a white shirt ordered Officers Boreczky and Lindstrom to cuff Coleman and place him in a police truck. Id. ¶¶ 17, 19. Coleman was then charged with making a false police report and remained in a county jail for one week. Id. ¶¶ 21, 23. On October 26, 2012, Coleman filed a complaint with the Independent Police Review Authority. Id. ¶ 26. Several months later, on March 11, 2013, Coleman was found not guilty of the criminal charges. Id. ¶ 27.

Coleman also alleges that the City followed "practices, policies, and customs" which permitted: (1) the arrest and search of persons without any legal basis; (2) the submission of false and incomplete police reports to cover up police misconduct; (3) a code of silence in which police officers fail to report police misconduct; (4) a code of silence in which officers remain silent or give misleading information during trials and investigations; and (5) the Office of Professional Standards to fail to investigate citizen complaints against police officers. Id. ¶ 43.

Legal Standard

A motion under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the sufficiency of the complaint. Christensen v. Cnty. of Boone, Ill., 483 F.3d 454, 457 (7th Cir. 2007). Under the federal notice pleading standards, "a plaintiff's complaint need only provide a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, sufficient to provide the defendant with fair notice of the claim and its basis." Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008) (internal quotations omitted); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must "accept[] as true all well-pleaded facts alleged, and draw[] all possible inferences in [the plaintiff's] favor." Tamayo, 526 F.3d at 1081.

A complaint, however, must also allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). For a claim to have facial plausibility, a plaintiff must plead "factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. "The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, ' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. Plausibility, however, "does not imply that the district court should decide whose version to believe, or which version is more likely than not." Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 404 (7th Cir. 2010).


I. False Imprisonment Claim - Statute of Limitations

Defendants first argue that Plaintiff's state false imprisonment claim is barred by the statute of limitations. The Illinois Tort Immunity Act provides a one-year statute of limitations for actions "commenced against a local entity or any of its employees[.]" 745 Ill. Comp. Stat. 10/8-101(a) (West 2010); see also Hobbs v. Cappelluti, 899 F.Supp.2d 738, 761-62 (N.D. Ill. 2012). Defendants note that because Plaintiff sued a local entity and its employees, Plaintiff's tort causes of actions are governed by a one-year statute of limitations.

A plaintiff's failure to file suit within the statute of limitations provides the defendant with an affirmative defense. Indep. Trust Corp. v. Stewart Info. Servs. Corp., 665 F.3d 930, 935 (7th Cir. 2012); Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(c)(1). At the pleading stage, a plaintiff is not required to anticipate and defeat affirmative defenses. See Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980). As such, a lawsuit cannot be properly dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6), unless the complaint establishes all of the necessary elements of an affirmative defense. See United States v. Lewis, 411 F.3d 838, 842 (7th Cir. 2005) (internal citation omitted). Therefore, the Court may grant Defendants' Rule 12(b)(6) ...

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