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Blewitt v. Mallin

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

December 1, 2014



ROBERT W. GETTLEMAN, District Judge.

On August 5, 2014, Plaintiff Timothy Blewitt filed a seven-count complaint asserting claims under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 and Illinois law. Plaintiff alleges that defendant Brian Mallin and other unknown defendant police officers violated his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable seizure (Count I), false arrest (Count II), excessive force (Count III), and unreasonable search (Count IV), as well as failed to intervene to stop these constitutional violations (Count V). Plaintiff also alleges that Ryan Scholz, a physician at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System ("UIHHSS"), and Gladys Wildon, a nurse at UIHHSS, committed medical battery (Count VI), and that UIHHSS is liable for their tortious acts pursuant to the doctrine of respondeat superior (Count VII). Defendants have filed the instant motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). For the following reasons, defendants' motion to dismiss is denied in part and granted in part.


Plaintiff alleges that while walking with friends on Halsted Street near Roosevelt Road in Chicago on September 19, 2013, defendant police officers stopped plaintiff and requested his name and where he was headed. Plaintiff asserts that he chose not to answer the officers and continued walking with his friends. Thereafter, defendant police officers arrested plaintiff, handcuffed him, and put him into a police car. Plaintiff contends that there was no probable cause for his arrest. Plaintiff's friends were not arrested. Plaintiff alleges that the officers continued to "interrogate" him while in the police car, and subsequently removed him from the car and "slammed his face on the trunk of the police car." Defendant officers then took plaintiff to the emergency department at UIHHSS where, without plaintiff's consent, he was admitted and treated.

Plaintiff alleges he attempted to leave the hospital, but was seized by defendant officers, handcuffed, and returned to the emergency department. Plaintiff allegedly informed UIHHSS emergency department personnel, including defendants Scholz and Wildon, that he did not consent to his blood being drawn or urine being collected. Nonetheless, at Scholz's direction, Wildon drew plaintiff's blood, forced plaintiff to provide a urine sample, and ran toxicological tests. Plaintiff asserts that there was no medical emergency requiring the medical procedures to be performed without his consent. Following these tests, defendant officers and UIHHSS personnel contacted plaintiff's father. Plaintiff was released from defendant officers' custody when his father arrived at the hospital.

Plaintiff also alleges that during these events, defendant officers and/or UIHHSS medical personnel threatened plaintiff that he would be expelled from the University of Illinois at Chicago ("UIC"). Plaintiff alleges that defendant officers alerted UIC officials of the incident, falsely reported the incident in a police report, and provided UIC officials with the false report. UIHHSS allegedly charged plaintiff $1, 900.00 for his time in the emergency department. Plaintiff alleges that he suffered physical and emotional damages as a result of the acts described above.


I. Legal Standards

Under Rule 12(b)(1), a court must dismiss any action for which it lacks subject matter jurisdiction. As with a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the court accepts all well-pleaded factual allegations as true and construes all reasonable inferences in plaintiff's favor. Scanlan v. Eisenberg, 669 F.3d 838, 841 (7th Cir. 2012); see also Mutter v. Madigan, No. 13-CV-8580, 2014 WL 562017, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 13, 2014). However, plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that the elements necessary for jurisdiction, including standing, have been met. Scanlan, 669 F.3d at 841-42. "In ruling on a 12(b)(1) motion, the court may look outside of the complaint's allegations and consider whatever evidence has been submitted on the issue of jurisdiction." Mutter, 2014 WL 562017, at *2; see also Ezekiel v. Michel, 66 F.3d 894, 897 (7th Cir. 1995).

II. Analysis

Defendants argue that plaintiff's complaint must be dismissed in its entirety pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), because his claims are barred by the Eleventh Amendment and the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The Eleventh Amendment states, "The judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State." U.S. Const. amend. XI. The Eleventh Amendment "bars actions in federal court against a state, state agencies, or state officials acting in their official capacities." Council 31 of the Am. Fed'n of State, Cnty. & Mun. Employees v. Quinn, 680 F.3d 875, 881 (7th Cir. 2012) (internal quotations omitted). Notwithstanding the Eleventh Amendment bar, a state may be sued where: (1) the state consents to the suit; (2) Congress, acting under its constitutional authority, abrogates immunity when drafting a federal law; or (3) a private party sues an individual state official for prospective relief to enjoin ongoing violations of federal law, as established in Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908). Id. at 882.

A. Constitutional Claims

With respect to plaintiff's constitutional claims, defendants argue that Mallin and the other unnamed police officer defendants are employed by the University of Illinois and therefore state employees. Defendants contend that even though plaintiff sued defendant police officers in their individual capacities, plaintiff's allegations that defendants were "acting in the course and scope of [their] employment, " and the fact that Illinois state law provides for the indemnification of state employees, transforms plaintiff's action into one against the State of Illinois. As such, defendants argue that plaintiff's constitutional claims are barred by Illinois state law and the Eleventh Amendment.

In response, plaintiff argues that "a claim against an individual state employee sued in his individual capacity is not a claim against the State of Illinois, " even if the state chooses to indemnify the employee. Moreover, plaintiff contends that the Illinois Court of Claims Act, 705 ILCS 505/8(d), which gives the Illinois Court of Claims exclusive jurisdiction over damages claims against the state in cases sounding in tort, does not apply to his constitutional claims ...

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