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Dean v. Disalvo

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

April 2, 2015

RICHARD L. DEAN, Plaintiff,
v.
VINCENZO DISALVO; MATTHEW McKEE; JOEL MANTIA; and WILL COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOHN W. DARRAH, District Judge.

Plaintiff Richard L. Dean filed a Complaint against Defendants Vincenzo Disalvo, Matthew McKee, and Joel Mantia (collectively, the "Defendants"), alleging violations of his Fourth Amendment rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and conspiracy and equal protection claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3). Defendants moved to dismiss the Complaint under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).

BACKGROUND

The following is taken from the Complaint, which is assumed to be true for the purposes of a motion to dismiss. See Reger Dev., LLC v. Nat'l City Bank, 592 F.3d 759, 763 (7th Cir. 2010). Plaintiff was stopped by an unmarked squad car on October 25, 2011, while driving to work at the Dollar Tree Warehouse. (Compl. at ¶¶ 14-17.) Plaintiff and his vehicle were searched several times by Defendants Disalvo and McKee. ( Id. at ¶¶ 26-28, 33, 37.) Plaintiff was also questioned during the stop, including questioning about whether he possessed any cannabis. ( Id. at ¶¶ 23, 30-31, 34-36, 39-44.) Eventually, Defendant Disalvo found two small plastic baggies containing cannabis in Plaintiff's vehicle. ( Id. at ¶ 37.) After having been stopped for approximately 45 minutes, Defendant Mantia arrived in a marked squad car. ( Id. at ¶ 48.) Plaintiff was subsequently transported to the Will County Adult Detention Facility and charged with possession of over ten grams, but not more than thirty grams, of cannabis with the intent to deliver. ( Id. at ¶ 49.)

On January 13, 2012, Plaintiff pled guilty to unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to deliver in Will County Circuit Court Case Number 11 CF 2101. (Dkt. 45, Exh. A.)[1] On February 1, 2012, Plaintiff filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea. (Dkt. 45, Exh. C at p. 3.) The motion was denied, and Plaintiff filed an appeal. ( Id. at p. 4.) In an unpublished opinion, the Appellate Court of Illinois, Third District, affirmed the judgment of the Will County Circuit Court. ( Id. at p. 8.) Plaintiff then filed a Petition for Leave to Appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, which was denied on November 26, 2014. (Dkt. 45-1, Exh. D).

LEGAL STANDARD

Rule 12(b)(6) permits a defendant to move to dismiss a complaint for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A complaint must allege enough facts to support a claim that is "plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 547 (2007). Facial plausibility exists when the court can "draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). All well-pleaded allegations are presumed to be true, and all inferences are read in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Lavalais v. Village of Melrose Park, 734 F.3d 629, 632 (7th Cir. 2013). This presumption is not extended to legal conclusions, or threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements.' Alam v. Miller Brewing Co., 709 F.3d 662, 666 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009)). The complaint must provide a defendant "with fair notice' of the claim and its basis." Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) and Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). A pro se complaint is liberally construed and held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by attorneys. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).

ANALYSIS

§ 1983 Claims

Plaintiff alleges violations of his Fourth Amendment rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in Counts I and II. Plaintiff also alleges a § 1983 Monell claim in Count V. Defendants argue that these claims are barred by the holding in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). (Dkt. 45 at ¶ 3.) A plaintiff "has no cause of action under § 1983 unless and until the conviction or sentence is reversed, expunged, invalidated, or impugned by the grant of a writ of habeas corpus. " Heck, 512 U.S. at 489. Plaintiff appealed his guilty plea to the Illinois Appellate Court and the Illinois Supreme Court; and his conviction was not reversed, expunged, invalidated, or impugned. Therefore, his § 1983 claims remain barred. Further, as there are no underlying constitutional violations, the Will County Sheriff's Office cannot be liable under Monell. See Sallenger v. City of Springfield, Ill., 630 F.3d 499, 504 (7th Cir. 2010) (holding that a municipality was not liable under Monell when there was no underlying constitutional violation by a municipal employee).

Plaintiff argues that the Court should not consider affirmative defenses, such as the Heck doctrine, at the motion to dismiss stage. However, Heck is a bar to civil suits that plead allegations inconsistent with a valid conviction and is properly applied at the motion to dismiss stage. Okoro v. Callaghan, 324 F.3d 488, 490 (7th Cir. 2003).

Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Counts I, II, and V is granted with prejudice.

§ 1985 Claim

In Count III, Plaintiff alleges a violation of §1985(3) and claims that this violation was racially motivated in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Disalvo, McKee, and Mantia conspired to violate his Fourth Amendment rights. ...


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