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Battle v. Alderden

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

March 30, 2015

RUBEN BATTLE, Plaintiff,
v.
SERGEANT JACOB ALDERDEN, CITY OF CHICAGO, WALGREENS CO., and JAMAR WRIGHT, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOHN Z. LEE, District Judge.

Ruben Battle has sued Chicago Police Sergeant Jacob Alderden, the City of Chicago, Walgreen Co., and Walgreen store manager Jamar Wright for due process and equal protection violations pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as for tortious interference with prospective economic advantage and intentional infliction of emotional distress under Illinois law. Defendants have moved to dismiss the Complaint. For the following reasons, the Court grants Defendants' motions to dismiss.

Facts[1]

At all times relevant to his Complaint, Battle, an African-American male, was working as a security officer for a private security company at a Walgreen retail store located at 5013 S. Cottage Grove Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. Compl. ¶ 3. Battle's primary job, however, is as a Cook County Sheriff's Deputy working at the Cook County Jail. Id. ¶ 5. As a Cook County Sheriff's Deputy, he is employed by Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart. Id.

On March 16, 2012, Sergeant Alderden responded to a call regarding a crime in progress outside of the Walgreen store where Battle was working as a security officer. Id. ¶ 8. After arriving on the scene, Alderden told Battle that he needed Battle to testify that he would be able to identify the suspects involved in the crime and that Alderden would tell him how to testify. Id. ¶ 8. When Battle told Alderden that he did not have a clear enough view of the alleged offenders to provide a positive identification and that he would not testify otherwise, Alderden reportedly told Battle that he knew people that could get Battle fired. Id. ¶¶ 8, 11, 12.

Alderden subsequently filed a complaint with the Cook County Sheriff's Department Office of Professional Review ("OPR") stating that Battle had refused to cooperate with Alderden's investigation. Id. ¶¶ 6, 9. Based on the complaint, Dart initiated an investigation. Id. ¶ 10.

During the OPR investigation, Battle told the investigators and subsequently testified during a hearing that: (a) a different Walgreen employee, Jerry McGhee, was able to positively identify the suspects; (b) Alderden nevertheless tried to coerce Battle into providing false testimony because Alderden felt that Battle would be perceived as more credible than McGhee, due to Battle's position as a corrections officer; and (c) Defendant Wright, the Walgreen Store Manager on duty that night, falsely claimed that Battle could identify the alleged perpetrators and "attempted to convince" Alderden that Battle could provide a positive identification. Id. ¶¶ 12-15. Battle prevailed at the hearing. Id. ¶ 15.

Beyond these allegations, the sequence of events alleged in the complaint is muddled at best. Sometime between the OPR hearing and December 17, 2012, Dart de-deputized Battle without a hearing. Id. ¶ 16. Then, on December 17, 2012, Battle testified at an arbitration hearing appealing Dart's decision, but he did not prevail and his de-deputization was upheld. Id. ¶ 16.

According to the complaint, Battle was de-deputized at the same time that certain charges were pending against him before the Cook County Sheriff's Merit Board (the "Merit Board"). Id. ¶ 17. Battle eventually was suspended for twenty-nine days for failing to report to the Sheriff's Office that he had another job as a security officer, even though (according to Battle) his supervisors were well aware of this fact. Id. ¶ 20. The complaint also alleges that, on August 28, 2013, Alderden and Wright testified before the Merit Board in a manner that was largely consistent with their prior allegations against Battle. Id. ¶¶ 26, 27.

Legal Standard

To survive a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the complaint must "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The factual allegations in the complaint must at least "raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atl. Corp., 550 U.S. at 555. The Court must accept as true all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint and draw all possible inferences in the plaintiff's favor. See Tamayo, 526 F.3d at 1081. Mere legal conclusions, however, "are not entitled to the assumption of truth." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.

Analysis

Battle alleges that Defendants violated his procedural and substantive due process rights (Count I) and equal protection rights (Count II) in violation of § 1983. Battle also contends that Defendants engaged in tortious interference with his prospective economic advantage (Count III) and ...


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