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Williams v. City of Chicago

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

July 30, 2014

MABLE WILLIAMS, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

SIDNEY I. SCHENKIER, Magistrate Judge.

Defendants City of Chicago, Police Officer John Frano and Police Officer Wayne Frano move for partial summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (doc. # 123). The Defendant Police Officers contend that they are entitled to summary judgment as to Plaintiff Randall Williams's Count IV Section 1983 false imprisonment claim, Count V Section 1983 false arrest conspiracy claim, and Count VII Illinois state law malicious prosecution claim on the ground that these claims are time-barred (and additionally that the false imprisonment claim fails to present a triable issue on the merits). Defendant City of Chicago asserts that it is entitled to summary judgment on the claim for indemnity in Count VI - the only claim asserted against the City - also on the ground that it is time-barred.

Three days before filing their summary judgment motion, Defendants filed a Motion for Leave to File an Amended Answer to Plaintiffs' Sixth Amended Complaint (doc. # 119). In that pleading, Defendants seek to add the statute of limitations affirmative defense to Counts IV and V, counts for which the Defendants had previously failed to assert the defense.

Plaintiffs oppose both motions. They argue that Defendants failed to timely assert their statute of limitations affirmative defenses, and should not be allowed to do so now after the close of discovery and on the eve of summary judgment. They further argue that, in any event, the claims challenged in Defendants' summary judgment motion all relate back to the filing of the original complaint and thus are not time-barred (doc. # 128).

After careful review of the parties' submissions, we deny Defendants' motion for leave to amend, and we grant in part and deny in part Defendants' partial motion for summary judgment.

I.

We begin with a brief history of the case. The parties agree that on April 7, 2010, Officer John Frano obtained a search warrant for 170 N. LaPorte, 2nd Floor, Cook County, Illinois (the "Premises"), and that the Defendant Police Officers executed the warrant at 9:00 p.m. that night (Plaintiffs' Sixth Amended Complaint ("PSAC") (doc. # 112) at ¶¶ 6-7). According to Plaintiffs, Defendants failed to knock or announce their presence before entering the Premises, causing injury to Plaintiff Anthony Bennett, a minor ( Id. at ¶ 8). Plaintiffs further allege that during the search of the Premises, the Defendant Police Officers applied excessive and unnecessary force against Plaintiffs Jeffrey Brown and Randall Williams; caused damage to the Premises; and unlawfully seized personal property belonging to certain Plaintiffs ( Id. at ¶¶9-12). Plaintiffs also maintain that Defendant Police Officers searched the apartment of Plaintiff James Mustafa without a warrant, unlawfully seized his property and unlawfully prevented him from entering his own apartment ( Id. at ¶¶ 13-15).

Subsequent to the search of the Premises, the Defendant Police Officers arrested Plaintiff Randall Williams and transported him to a hospital (Defendants' Rule 56.1 (a)(3) Statement of Uncontested Facts ("SOF") (doc. # 124) at ¶¶ 26-27). Upon his release from the hospital that same night, Mr. Williams was taken to a police station and charged with the misdemeanor offenses of resisting arrest and battery ( Id. at ¶ 28). Mr. Williams claims that Defendants had no probable cause to charge or arrest him, and that they did so with malice (PSAC at ¶ 16). Mr. Williams was released from custody on I-bond at 3:30 a.m. on April 8, 2010 (SOF at ¶ 31). Defendant John Frano filed criminal complaints against Mr. Williams for battery and resisting a police officer ( Id. at ¶ 32). On July 1, 2010, Mr. Williams's criminal case was stricken with leave to reinstate, but criminal charges were never reinstated ( Id. at ¶¶ 33-34).

Plaintiffs filed a two-count suit on February 16, 2011, alleging one count of constitutional violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and one count of battery under state law against Officer Vincent Fico and two unnamed officers (doc. #1). Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint on March 28, 2011, setting forth the same two counts against Officers Fico, Frano (John), Hertko, Cervantes, Gutierrez, and Orlowski (doc. # 9). Plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint on June 16, 2011, alleging two counts of constitutional violations pursuant to Section 1983 and one count of battery (doc. # 19). Plaintiffs filed a Third Amended Complaint on September 2, 2011, that was substantially similar to the Second Amended Complaint (doc. # 34). Plaintiffs filed a Fourth Amended Complaint on October 21, 2011, that asserted the same counts as previous complaints and added as a defendant Officer William Frano instead of Officer Orlowski (doc. # 47). Plaintiffs filed a Corrected Fourth Amended Complaint on December 6, 2011 (doc. # 56) that corrected the name of Officer Frano to reflect his actual name (Wayne).

On May 16, 2012, Plaintiffs' counsel filed a motion to withdraw (doc. # 72) and received permission to do so from the Court on June 13, 2012 (doc. # 74). Plaintiffs appeared pro se on numerous occasions before they retained new counsel in January 2013. Under the guidance of this new counsel, Plaintiffs filed a Fifth Amended Complaint on February 28, 2013 that added the City of Chicago as a defendant and revised the pleading to include five separate Section 1983 counts (excessive force, illegal search and seizure, conspiracy to deprive of constitutional rights, false imprisonment, and false arrest), one count of state law indemnity, and one count of state law malicious prosecution (doc. # 92). Plaintiffs filed a Sixth Amended Complaint on December 3, 2013 that simply added the name of Officer Hertko, who had been named as a defendant in the Corrected Fourth Amended Complaint but whose name had inadvertently been omitted from the case caption and body of the Fifth Amended Complaint (doc. # 112).

II.

"Summary judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Andrews v. CBOCS West, Inc., 743 F.3d 230, 234 (7th Cir. 2014); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) dictates that "the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact. " Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986) (emphasis in original) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). A genuine issue of material fact exists only if there is evidence "to permit a jury to return a verdict for" the non-moving party. Egonmwan v. Cook County Sheriff's Dept., 602 F.3d 845, 849 (7th Cir. 2010). The moving party has the burden of establishing the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If the party moving for summary judgment demonstrates the absence of a disputed issue of material fact, then "the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to provide evidence of specific facts creating a genuine dispute." Carroll v. Lynch, 698 F.3d 561, 564 (7th Cir. 2012). In doing so, the non-movant may not merely rely on the pleadings but must - with evidence - "set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Hannemann v. Southern Door County School Dist., 673 F.3d 746, 751 (7th Cir. 2012) (internal quotations and citations omitted). Summary judgment is proper against "a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322.

III.

Defendants move for summary judgment on the following grounds: (1) that in Counts IV and V, Plaintiff Randall Williams's Section 1983 false imprisonment and false arrest conspiracy claims are time-barred, and that, even if timely filed, the false imprisonment claim fails to present a triable jury issue insofar as it purports to be based on the Eighth Amendment; and (2) that Mr. Williams's state law indemnification and malicious prosecution claims in Counts VI and VII also are barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Defendants also seek to amend their Answer to Plaintiffs' Sixth Amended Complaint to add the statute of limitations defense as to Counts IV and V. In response, Plaintiffs maintain that each of these claims relates back in time to earlier, timely pleadings and thus are protected from summary dismissal. Plaintiffs further argue that Defendants failed to timely assert the necessary statute of ...


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