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Jamison v. City of Chicago

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

June 2, 2015

CITY OF CHICAGO, a municipal, corporation, and UNKNOWN CHICAGO POLICE OFFICERS, Defendants.


JOHN Z. LEE, District Judge.

Plaintiff Ismaaeel Jamison was involved in a physical confrontation with certain unknown Chicago police officers during which he allegedly was beaten, tasered, and shot. As a result, he has sued these unknown Chicago police officers under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for use of excessive force and failure to intervene in the use of such force, as well as state law claims for battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress. In addition, Jamison has filed claims against the City of Chicago under theories of respondeat superior and indemnification. Defendants now move to dismiss, arguing principally that, due to a federal case that was filed by Jamison and subsequently dismissed for want of prosecution, the doctrine of res judicata precludes him from pursuing this case. Defendants also argue that various statute of limitations apply to bar Jamison's state law claims. Jamison responds that his previously-filed federal case should not have been dismissed for want of prosecution and that an Illinois savings clause provision operates to preserve his claims.

For the reasons stated herein, the Court concludes that res judicata bars Jamison's present claims and grants Defendants' motion.

I. Factual & Procedural Background

A. Factual Background[1]

On November 22, 2012, Jamison was riding a City of Chicago Transit Authority bus when he began to suffer from a malady of unknown origin and began an argument with Hector Henandez, a fellow passenger, and Thomas Hojnacki, the bus driver. See Compl. ¶¶ 8-10. During the course of this argument, Jamison disrobed, exited the bus, and stood on the sidewalk half-dressed and mumbling incoherently. See id. ¶¶ 11-12. Jamison was holding nothing in his hands and had no weapons in his possession. See id. ¶ 13.

When certain unknown Chicago police officers arrived at the scene, they saw Jamison in physical and mental distress. See id. ¶ 14. Jamison allegedly rushed the responding police officers, and the police officers shot Jamison multiple times. See id. ¶ 15. While Jamison was lying wounded on the sidewalk, various police officers tasered Jamison when he tried to sit up, stood on him, and kicked him forcefully. See id. ¶¶ 16-18. According to Jamison, a camera at the scene recorded these events, as well as a group of around twenty police officers who saw these events, but did nothing. See id. ¶ 19. As a result of these events, Jamison spent three weeks in the hospital, incurred expensive medical bills, and suffered physical and mental injuries. See id. ¶¶ 20-21.

B. Procedural Background[2]

1. Jamison I (Case No. 14-cv-9269)

Jamison first brought suit based on the above incident in federal court on November 19, 2014, docketed as Case No. 14-cv-9269 (hereinafter, " Jamison I "). See Defs.' Mot. Dismiss, Ex. B. The complaint in Jamison I included claims of civil rights violations brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See id., Ex. B, ¶¶ 22-27.

On January 20, 12015, Judge Der-Yeghiayan held an initial status hearing in Jamison I, but Jamison and his counsel both failed to appear. See Defs.' Mot. Dismiss, Ex. C (1/20/15 Min. Entry) (noting that "[n]o one appeared on behalf of the Plaintiff on the Court's noticed hearing " and that "failure to appear on a Court's noticed hearing may result in the dismissal of the action for want of prosecution pursuant to Local Rule 41.1"). The status hearing in Jamison I was reset for January 22, 2015. See id. On January 22, 2105, Jamison and his counsel again failed to appear, and Judge Der-Yeghiayan dismissed Jamison I for want of prosecution. See id., Ex. C (1/22/14 Min. Entry). This judgment was never appealed.

2. Jamison II (Case No. 15-cv-0262)

Five days after Jamison I was filed, on November 24, 2014, Jamison filed a second complaint, this time in state court. See id., Ex. A. 2. Jamison's state court complaint alleged substantially similar civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law tort claims. See id. Defendants filed a notice of removal in the state court case, and the case was assigned to this Court as Case No. 15-cv-0262 (hereinafter, " Jamison II "). See 1/22/15 Not. Removal. Because service apparently had not been executed in Jamison II, see generally Defs.' Mot. Dismiss, Ex. C (no return or executed waiver of service), Defendants were unaware that Jamison I was ...

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