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Young v. City of Chicago

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

December 18, 2014

LaSHAWNDA YOUNG, as Special Administrator, of the Estate of Divonte Young Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOAN B. GOTTSCHALL, District Judge.

Plaintiff LaShawnda Young brings this action against defendants City of Chicago and its employees, Officers Orlando Calvo, Jerome Hoffman, Joseph Mirus, and Otis Watts (collectively, "Defendants") for the shooting death of her son, Divonte Young. Ms. Young sues Defendants individually and as the Special Administrator of her deceased son's estate. Before the court is Defendants' motion to dismiss certain allegations of Ms. Young's claims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.

I. BACKGROUND

The fatal incident occurred on the morning of August 9, 2012.[1] Officers Watts, Hoffman, Mirus, and Calvo were conducting surveillance on a home located at the 6200 block of South Honore Street in Chicago, Illinois. Watts sat alone in an unmarked police vehicle outside of 6301 South Honore Street, while the other three officers were "within the same vicinity." 3d Am. Compl. ¶ 13, ECF No 55.

Meanwhile, Divonte Young, an unarmed, twenty-year old male, was on his way to a convenience store located on 63rd Street near Honore Street. Young was approaching the intersection of 63rd Street and Honore Street when the sound of apparent gun fire rang out. He and other individuals in the area reacted by running for cover. Young headed southbound away from the shots through an empty lot across the street from the intersection.

Officer Watts's vehicle was parked on the east side of Honore Street near the corner of 63rd Street. As Young fled, Officer Watts stepped out of his car, stood on its running board, and discharged approximately fifteen bullets toward Young. One of the bullets struck Young in the back.

After firing his gun, Officer Watts did not attempt to follow Young, determine whether Young was shot, or attend to Young's emergency medical needs. Instead, Officer Watts returned to his vehicle and put on a bullet-proof vest. He then left the vehicle and displayed his Chicago Police Department ("CPD") badge to persons who had gathered on the street.

"[W]ithin minutes of [Officer] Watts unloading his gun, " several other CPD officers arrived at the scene, including Officers Hoffman, Mirus, and Calvo. 3d Am. Compl. ¶ 26. None of the officers "attempted to attend to [Young's] emergency needs... as he lay dying on the ground." Id. Instead, a family friend ran to Young's aid. Young conveyed to the family friend that he could not breathe. Eventually, Young died on the street. He did not receive any medical attention before dying.

Based on these allegations, Ms. Young brings a two-count complaint. Count I is for "Claims Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, " Count II for "Claims Under State Law."

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Rule 12(b)(6) permits a defendant to assert by motion that the plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). To withstand a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint must provide the defendant with "fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests...." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The plaintiff need not plead particularized facts, but the factual allegations in the complaint must be sufficient "to raise a right to relief above the speculative level...." Id . See also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (A plaintiff must allege "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.") (quotation marks omitted).

III.DISCUSSION

A. Ms. Young's Individual Claim Under § 1983 for Loss of Companionship

Ms. Young alleges that Defendants violated § 1983 by depriving her and Divonte Young's heirs of their constitutional right to companionship and society with Divonte Young. See 3d Am. Compl. ¶ 54. The crux of Defendants' motion to dismiss is that the purported constitutional right Ms. Young seeks to invoke on her own behalf does not exist. It is undisputed that Ms. Young's purported constitutional right emanates from the Seventh Circuit decision, Bell v. City of Chicago, 746 F.2d 1205 (7th Cir. 1984). In Bell, the court held that ...


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