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LaPorta v. City of Chicago

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

April 24, 2015

MICHAEL A. LaPORTA, as Guardian of the Estate and Person of Michael D. LaPorta, Plaintiff,
CITY OF CHICAGO, et al., Defendants

For Michael A. LaPorta, as Guardian and the estate and person of Michael D. LaPorta, a disabled person, Plaintiff: Angela Pauline Kurtz, Antonio Maurizio Romanucci, Bruno R Marasso, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Romanucci & Blandin LLC, Chicago, IL; Carl S Salvato, Jason Edward Hammond, Paul George O'Toole, Salvato & O'Toole, Chicago, IL.

For City Of Chicago, a municipal corporation, Defendant: Jonathan Clark Green, LEAD ATTORNEY, Chicago Corporation Counsel, Chicago, IL; Joseph M. Polick, LEAD ATTORNEY, Chicago, IL; Marion Claire Moore, City of Chicago Department of Law, Federal Civil Rights Litigation Division, Chicago, IL.

For Gordon Lounge, Inc., doing business as Brewbakers, Defendant: Robert M. Burke, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, Heineke & Burke LLC, Chicago, IL.

For Ruth G., Inc., doing business as McNally's, Defendant: Daniel P. Costello, Daniel P. Costello & Associates, LLC, Chicago, IL.


Harry D. Leinenweber, Judge, United States District Court.

This case arose in the early morning hours of January 12, 2010, when, after a night of heavy drinking, an off-duty police officer's firearm discharged a bullet into the back of Plaintiff Michael D. LaPorta's (" LaPorta" ) head. LaPorta's seven-count Complaint alleges that Defendant City of Chicago (the " City" ) engaged in willful and wanton conduct, violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and committed civil conspiracy, and that two Defendant bar owners violated Illinois' Dram Shop Act. Before the Court is the City's Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss Counts I, IV, V, VI, and VII [ECF No. 24]. For the reasons stated herein, the City's Motion is granted in part and denied in part.


The factual allegations contained in LaPorta's Complaint are briefly summarized below.

Late in the evening, on January 11, 2010, LaPorta and Patrick Kelly, a Chicago Police Department (" CPD" ) officer, visited a bar called McNally's on the South Side of Chicago. There, they joined several other CPD officers, who were Officer Kelly's friends and coworkers. Drinking ensued, and Officer Kelly became intoxicated. Officer Kelly, LaPorta, and several others then traveled to another bar, Brewbakers, where more alcohol was consumed.

By early morning, LaPorta and Officer Kelly found themselves alone at Officer Kelly's residence. What happened next is as blurry as the alcohol-fueled evening the Complaint describes. LaPorta alleges that " Kelly's service weapon discharged and a bullet from said weapon struck Michael D. LaPorta, in the back of the head." (Compl., ECF No. 1, ¶ 38). How the gun went off is unclear.

At 4:30 a.m., a CPD officer arrived at Officer Kelly's residence in response to a 9-1-1 call. A belligerent Officer Kelly began to take swings at the responding officer. Other officers soon arrived on the scene, and Officer Kelly was subsequently charged with assault, although that charge was later dismissed with prejudice. According to LaPorta, Officer Kelly has a long history of complaints for excessive force and other misconduct on and off the job. From 2005 to 2009, 15 Complaint Registers (" CR" ) were filed against him.

On October 18, 2010, Michael A. LaPorta, as guardian of Michael D. LaPorta, filed suit in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Since filing suit, LaPorta alleges that the City has taken numerous steps to hide information from him and prevent him from discovering his claims. This apparently caused LaPorta to file multiple motions to compel and motions for sanctions in the state court action. Shortly after filing suit, LaPorta requested documents from the Independent Police Review Authority (" IPRA" ), a division of the City of Chicago that investigates allegations of police misconduct. He did not receive any documents until more than two years later, and alleges that he is still awaiting a response to his request to the City for additional information regarding Officer Kelly's IPRA file. The City originally misreported that Officer Kelly had only received ten CRs prior to the LaPorta incident, when, in fact, he had received 15.

On March 10, 2014, the Illinois Appellate Court issued a decision in Kalven v. City of Chicago, 2014 IL App. (1st) 121846, 379 Ill.Dec. 903, 7 N.E.3d 741 (Ill.App.Ct. 2014), holding that CRs and Repeater Lists (" RL" ), which identify CPD officers who have amassed the most complaints, are not exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. LaPorta claims that this decision, along with the City's efforts to frustrate his attempts to obtain information, revealed several additional theories of liability against the City. On November 5, 2014, Plaintiff filed his Fifth Amended Complaint (the " Complaint" ), which included new Monell, right of access, and conspiracy claims. On December 3, 2014, the action was timely removed to the Northern District of Illinois.


A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the legal sufficiency of a complaint. Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Chi. Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009). A complaint must contain " enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a court must accept the plaintiff's allegations as true, and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Meriwether v. Faulkner, 821 F.2d 408, 410 (7th Cir. 1987). A court need not accept as true " legal conclusions, or threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements." Brook ...

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