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Haynes v. City of Chicago

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

October 22, 2014

Jeffrey Haynes, Plaintiff,
v.
City of Chicago, Ed H. Smith, and Mort Levy, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

THOMAS M. DURKIN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Jeffrey Haynes ("Haynes"), acting pro se, brings this action by way of an amended complaint against the City of Chicago ("The City"), former 28th Ward Alderman Ed Smith ("Smith"), and Mort Levy ("Levy). R. 69. The Court previously dismissed Haynes's complaint for failure to state a claim, but granted him leave to file an amended complaint. R. 59; R. 65. Haynes's amended complaint alleges the same causes of actions contained in his original complaint. Counts I and II allege violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. 1961, et seq. Count III alleges violations of Haynes's Due Process Rights under the 14th Amendment. Counts IV, V, and VI allege various state law causes of action. And Count VII puts forth a Monell claim against the City. See Monell v. Dept. of Soc. Serv., 436 U.S. 658 (1978). R. 69. The City and Smith have filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint contending that it does not contain new factual allegations that cure the legal deficiencies in Haynes's original complaint and, thus, should be dismissed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). R. 74. For the following reasons, the Defendant City and Smith's motion to dismiss is granted.

BACKGROUND

The Court previously provided a detailed recitation of the pertinent facts in its Opinion and Order dated August 12, 2013, and thus presumes familiarity with the background for purposes of this ruling. R. 59. The only additional relevant factual allegations are that Haynes was asked to, and did, give Smith a $1, 000 campaign contribution on February 22, 2007 to secure Smith's support of Haynes's development of the shopping center and grocery store, R. 69 ¶ 73, that Smith solicited a $5, 000 campaign contribution on September 19, 2008, Id. ¶¶ 34-35, and that during a several month period in 2009, Smith repeatedly asked Haynes to host fundraisers for his benefit. Id. ¶ 73.

LEGAL STANDARD

A Rule 12(b)(6) motion challenges the sufficiency of the amended complaint. See, e.g., Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police of Chi. Lodge No. 7 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009). A plaintiff's amended complaint "must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, " Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007), and "must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 566 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly 550 U.S. at 570). "In evaluating the sufficiency of the amended complaint, [Courts] view it in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, taking as true all well-pleaded factual allegations and making all possible inferences from the allegations in the plaintiff's favor." AnchorBank, FSB v. Hofer, 649 F.3d 610, 614 (7th Cir. 2011). The Court liberally construes pro se amended complaints and holds them to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by lawyers. See, e.g., Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) ( per curiam ); Munson v. Gaetz, 673 F.3d 630, 633 (7th Cir. 2012).

ANALYSIS

I. RICO (Counts I & II)

Count I of Haynes's amended complaint asserts that Smith violated § 1962(a) of the RICO Act. R. 69 ¶¶ 72-76.

Previously the Court dismissed this cause of action for failure to adequately plead the elements of a § 1962(a) violation, namely: the receipt of income which was then used in the operation of a RICO enterprise, and which proximately caused Haynes's injury; and the commission of at least two predicate acts, constituting a "pattern" of racketeering activity. R. 59. Haynes's amended complaint contains additional factual allegations that Smith received income, and that Smith engaged in conduct that could be construed to constitute at least two predicate acts.[1] R. 69 ¶¶ 34-35, 73. However, even if all the new facts alleged by Haynes are true (which the Court assumes for the purposes of a motion to dismiss), Haynes's amended complaint still fails to sufficiently plead the requisite elements of a § 1962(a) violation for the reasons discussed below.

RICO "does not cover all instances of wrongdoing. Rather, it is a unique cause of action that is concerned with eradicating organized, long-term, habitual criminal activity." Gamboa v. Velez, 457 F.3d 703, 705 (7th Cir. 2006); see also Jennings v. Auto Meter Prods., Inc., 495 F.3d 466, 472 (7th Cir. 2007). "RICO has not federalized every state common-law cause of action available to remedy business deals gone sour." Midwest Grinding Co. v. Spitz, 976 F.2d 1016, 1025 (7th Cir. 1992); see also Carr v. Tillery, 591 F.3d 909, 918 (7th Cir. 2010); Dremco, Inc. v. Diver, 2013 WL 1873917, at *3 (N.D. Ill. May 3, 2013).

18 U.S.C § 1962(a) provides, in pertinent part, that:

It shall be unlawful for any person who has received any income derived, directly or indirectly, from a pattern of racketeering activity... to use or invest, directly or indirectly, any part of such income, or the proceeds of such income, in acquisition of any interest in, or the establishment or operation of, any enterprise which is engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce.

Thus, to state a § 1962(a) claim, a plaintiff must adequately allege, among other things, the existence of an enterprise and a pattern of racketeering activity. Vicom Inc. v. Harbridge ...


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