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Hill v. City of Chicago

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

September 30, 2014

DEMETRIS HILL, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF CHICAGO, and CHICAGO POLICE OFFICERS ZACHARY RUBALD, ROBERT JOHNSON, AND GUY HABIAK, JR. Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

SARA L. ELLIS, District Judge.

Plaintiff Demetris Hill and his wife 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, but he was ultimately acquitted. On July 3, 2013, Mr. and Mrs. Hill brought this case against the Defendant Officers and the City of Chicago (the "City") alleging various constitutional violations and state law claims. Defendants previously moved to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint, citing primarily the statute of limitations. On May 14, 2014, the Court granted the motion to dismiss in part and denied it in part (the "May 14 Opinion"). See Doc. 39.

Mr. Hill then filed a Third Amended Complaint [42], omitting all claims by Mrs. Hill as well as the RICO and unlawful seizure counts that the Court dismissed in the May 14 Opinion. The Third Amended Complaint alleges a civil conspiracy to interfere with Mr. Hill's due process and equal protection rights (Count I), a violation of due process (Count II), an equal protection class of one claim (Count III), a Monell claim against the City (Count IV), malicious prosecution (Count V), conspiracy to commit malicious prosecution (Count VI), intentional infliction of emotional distress ("IIED") (Count VII), indemnity (Count VIII), and respondeat superior (Count IX). Defendants now move to dismiss the Third Amended Complaint in its entirety [46]. This motion is granted in part and denied in part. Because Hill was aware of the Defendant Officers' alleged misconduct, his Brady claim is dismissed. Without a Brady claim to support it, and because Hill does not sufficiently allege that the City failed to adequately train its officers, his Monell claim is also dismissed. The remaining claims survive to the extent that they are timely, as discussed in the May 14 Opinion.

BACKGROUND[1]

Mr. and Mrs. Hill were driving from Minnesota to Georgia when they passed through Chicago, Illinois on July 2, 2011. As the Hills were driving near 8400 S. Morgan Street, the Defendant Officers stopped their car and ordered them to exit. The Defendant Officers searched the Hills' car without first obtaining their consent. In their search, the Defendant Officers found a gun in a container in the trunk of the car. The gun was properly registered to Mr. Hill and was not accessible to the Hills as they were driving. The Defendant Officers nonetheless arrested Mr. Hill and charged him with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. The Hills' car was towed and Mrs. Hill was left alone by the side of the road where the car was stopped.

That same day, Mr. Hill appeared before a judge, who found probable cause to detain Mr. Hill. Mr. Hill spent eight days in Cook County Jail before being released on bond. Mrs. Hill returned to Illinois to pick up Mr. Hill upon his release.

Soon after Mr. Hill's arrest, the Defendant Officers attempted to intimidate him into pleading guilty and not proceeding with an internal complaint against them. The Defendant Officers trashed the Hills' car and stole items from it while it was in police custody. The Defendant Officers also swore out false police reports and did not inform prosecutors of the true circumstances of Mr. Hill's arrest. Mr. Hill proceeded to trial, where the Defendant Officers testified falsely. On June 6, 2013, Mr. Hill was found not guilty on all charges. Despite his acquittal, the Defendant Officers caused a warrant to be issued for Mr. Hill's arrest on June 6, 2013. Mr. Hill filed this case on July 3, 2013, two years and one day after he was arrested.

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

As the Court set out in its May 14 Opinion, any claims premised on Mr. Hill's arrest or imprisonment are time barred. See Doc. 39 at 5 (citing Serino v. Hensley, 735 F.3d 588, 591 (7th Cir. 2013) (noting that a false arrest claim accrues when the arrestee "is bound over by a magistrate or arraigned on charges")). But the Court found that Mr. Hill's conspiracy, equal protection, and Monell claims are timely to the extent that they are based on alleged due process violations that did not accrue until his acquittal on June 6, 2013. Doc. 39 at 6 (citing Hill v. City of Chicago, No. 06 C 6772, 2007 WL 1424211, at *4 (N.D. Ill. May 10, 2007)). While the Third Amended Complaint states that the Defendant Officers engaged in a conspiracy "beginning on July 2, 2011, " more than two years before the date of filing, the Third Amended Complaint also alleges facts that occurred within two years of filing, such as swearing out false reports, attempting to intimidate Mr. Hill, and causing a warrant to be issued on the day of his acquittal. Similarly, as noted in the May 14 Opinion, Mr. Hill's IIED claim may proceed only to the extent that any acts of intimidation occurred within one year of his filing this case on July 2, 2013, and so long as those acts were done with "a freshly formed intention to cause emotional distress." Doc. 39 at 7 (quoting Bridewell v. Eberle, 730 F.3d 672, 678 (7th Cir. 2013)). Therefore, as the Court ruled in the May 14 Opinion, Mr. Hill may proceed with allegations that are not time barred, so long as those claims are sufficiently stated.

II. Sufficiency of Claims

A. Due Process Claim ...


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