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Thompson v. Village of Monee

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

August 22, 2014

KENNETH N. THOMPSON, SR., Plaintiff,
v.
VILLAGE OF MONEE, RUSSEL CARUSO, JOHN CIPKAR, ANTHONY LAZZARONI, CHAD BLAKE, MICHAEL DRUMM, STEPHEN CRESCENTI, BRENT CASH, JOHN FOWLER, and JAMES JONES, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

AMY J. ST. EVE, District Judge.

In this civil rights action, Plaintiff Kenneth N. Thompson asserts Section 1983 claims against the Village of Monee and several of its current and former police officers for harassment, racial discrimination, and various other alleged misconduct. Defendants have move for summary judgment on all claims, arguing that Plaintiff failed to disclose his claims as assets in two bankruptcy proceedings and, as a result, he is judicially estopped from pursuing those claims in this proceeding. ( See R. 134, Defs. Mot.) For the following reasons, the Court denies Defendants' motion in large part. The Court, however, grants Defendants' motion to the extent Plaintiff's claims rest on events that occurred before May 12, 2010 when Plaintiff filed his Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding.

BACKGROUND

I. Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1

Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1"is designed, in part, to aid the district court, which does not have the advantage of the parties' familiarity with the record and often cannot afford to spend the time combing the record to locate the relevant information, ' in determining whether a trial is necessary." Delapaz v. Richardson, 634 F.3d 895, 899 (7th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted). Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires the moving party to provide "a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue." Cracco v. Vitran Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009). The nonmoving party must file "a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon." Id. (citing L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(B)). The nonmoving party also may submit a separate statement of additional facts that require the denial of summary judgment, including references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon to support those facts. See L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(C); see also Ciomber v. Cooperative Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d 635, 643-44 (7th Cir. 2008). The parties have complied with their obligations under Local Rule 56.1, and the relevant facts, with one exception, [1] are not in dispute.

II. Relevant Facts

A. Background on Plaintiff's Civil Rights Claims

Plaintiff alleges that police officers for the Village of Monee (the "Village") began harassing him in 2007. ( See R. 120, Fourth Am. Compl. ¶ 10.)[2] As part of the ongoing pattern of harassment, Village police officers issued Plaintiff tickets and citations for excessive noise, parking illegally, and other nuisance violations that Plaintiff contends never occurred. ( Id. ¶¶ 10-11.) In 2008, Village police officers began writing fewer tickets, but they began making frequent visits to Plaintiff's home investigating false complaints made by Plaintiff's neighbor. ( Id. ¶¶ 12-13.) In 2009 and 2010, police officers drove by or sat in a parked squad car near Plaintiff's home almost daily. ( Id. ¶¶ 16-17, 22.) Plaintiff also alleges that police officers threatened to arrest him without cause on several occasions in 2009. ( Id. ¶ 19.)

In addition to this pattern of general harassment, which Plaintiff alleges continued until June 2013, Plaintiff complains of several specific instances of harassment during 2010 and 2011. First, Plaintiff asserts that Village police officers arrested him using excessive force and conducted an unreasonable search and seizure of his property on June 26, 2010. ( See id. ¶¶ 23-31, 65-69, 72-77.) Second, Plaintiff alleges that Village police officers showed up at his home during a business event Plaintiff was hosting, threatened to arrest him, and attempted to enter his home without a warrant on July 10, 2010. ( See id. ¶ 34.) Third, Plaintiff alleges that officers threatened to arrest him on July 25, 2010, August 15, 2010, and July 9, 2011 because of unwarranted noise complaints made by Plaintiff's neighbor. ( See id. ¶¶ 35, 38, 40-41.) Plaintiff contends that after he retreated into his house to avoid arrest during the July 9, 2011 incident, an officer stood by Plaintiff's front door with his gun out of the holster and in his hand, attempting to peer into Plaintiff's home through the glass door. ( Id. ¶ 41.) Finally, Plaintiff alleges that, on August 28, 2011, Village police officers falsely arrested him after taking a guest staying at Plaintiff's home into custody and coercing her into making false charges of domestic battery against Plaintiff. ( See id. ¶¶ 42-47.)

Plaintiff complained about police officers harassing him to Police Chief Caruso on at least two occasions. On July 2, 2010, Plaintiff met with Chief Caruso at the Village police station to discuss the officers' harassment of him, including the arrest and allegedly unlawful search and seizure on June 26, 2010 ( see id. ¶¶ 32-33), and in August 2010, Plaintiff mailed a complaint letter to Chief Caruso complaining about various events, including the June 26, 2010 and July 10, 2010 incidents. ( See id. ¶ 36 & Ex. 3.) Additionally, some time prior to August 2010, Plaintiff filed a complaint about the harassment with the FBI and the Department of Justice, Civil & Criminal Rights Division. ( See R. 137, Defs. L.R. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 9.)[3] Plaintiff also had conferred with an attorney about the June 26, 2010 arrest "to review the history and give [Plaintiff] some feedback on what to do." ( See R. 137-1, Pl. Dep. at 242-43.) Plaintiff, however, denies that he retained an attorney to pursue his civil rights claims against the Village or was contemplating filing this suit prior to August 2010.[4] ( See R. 142, Pl. Resp. to Defs. L.R. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 9; see also Pl. Dep. at 241-43.)

Plaintiff eventually filed this civil rights action against the Village and several police officers on June 25, 2013. ( See R. 1.) Plaintiff asserts Section 1983 claims against the Village and the Individual Defendants for ongoing harassment and racial discrimination, excessive force and unreasonable search and seizure during the June 26, 2010 arrest, unreasonable seizure by threat of false arrest with respect to the July 10, 2010 and July 9, 2011 incidents, and violation of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights with respect to the false arrest for domestic battery on August 28, 2011.

B. Plaintiff's Bankruptcy Proceedings

1. Chapter 7 Proceeding in 2010

On May 12, 2010, Plaintiff filed a petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Case No. 10-21662. ( See Pl. L.R. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 12.) Schedule B of the petition required Plaintiff to "list all personal property of the debtor of whatever kind." ( See R. 137-2, 5/12/10 Petition at Sch. B, p. 1.) In the section requiring the debtor to disclose "[o]ther contingent and unliquidated claims of every nature, " Plaintiff marked "None." ( Id. at Sch. B, p. 2.) ...


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