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Regains v. City of Chicago

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

June 26, 2015

PAUL REGAINS, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JAMES B. ZAGEL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Paul Regains brings this action against Defendant City of Chicago under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendant violated his constitutional rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. The matter is presently before the Court on Defendant's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, I am granting Defendant's motion to dismiss in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

The Illinois Sex Offender Registration Act ("SORA") imposes on convicted sex offenders both a duty to register with the appropriate law enforcement agency where they live as well as ongoing reporting requirements. 730 ILCS 150/3(a) & 6. Under SORA, sex offenders must register in person and provide, among other things, a current photograph, current address, current place of employment, telephone numbers, and all email addresses. 730 ILCS 150/3(a). At the time of registration, sex offenders must provide "positive identification and documentation that substantiates proof of residence at the registering address." 730 ILCS 150/3(c)(5).

SORA distinguishes between sex offenders who have a fixed residence and those who do not. Regardless of prior registration, a sex offender must register within three days of establishing a residence, place of employment, or temporary domicile. 730 ILCS 150/3(b). If a sex offender lacks a fixed address or temporary domicile, however, he must notify the CPD Headquarters within three days after ceasing to have a fixed residence. 730 ILCS 150/3(a). Here, "fixed residence" means "any and all places that a sex offender resides for an aggregate period of time of 5 or more days in a calendar year, " 730 ILCS 150/2(I), whereas "place of residence" or "temporary domicile" means "any and all places where the sex offender resides for an aggregate period of time of 3 or more days during a calendar year." 730 ILCS 150/3(a). SORA then requires that the homeless sex offender register weekly with "all locations where the person has stayed during the past 7 days." 730 ILCS 150/3(a). A sex offender who fails to register as required commits a felony and is subject to mandatory incarceration of at least seven days and a mandatory minimum fine of $500. 730 ILCS 150/10(a).

Plaintiff alleges that Chicago police officers devised a scheme to ease their workload since the weekly registration requirements had become too burdensome. When a homeless sex offender would attempt to register as such, Plaintiff alleges that Chicago police officers would direct him or her to a shelter which accepted sex offenders to register it as his or her permanent residence, eliminating the need for the weekly registration requirement. Plaintiff also alleges that the police officers and supervisors knew that the number of homeless persons registered to the shelter far exceeded its capacity. Despite knowing about this practice, Plaintiff alleges that some police officers would periodically visit the shelter to verify that the homeless persons who had registered the shelter as their permanent address indeed resided at the shelter. When such persons could not be found, the police officers would prepare an "investigative alert" informing police officers that there was probable cause to arrest the violators for violating SORA.

Plaintiff alleges that this is exactly what happened to him after he attempted to register as a homeless sex offender with the CPD Headquarters in April 2012. Plaintiff alleges that the police officers directed him to a specific shelter whose address he used to register with as his permanent residence. After registering him, the police instructed Plaintiff to return three months later in July 2012. One month later, two Chicago police officers sought to verify that Plaintiff and other persons registered at the shelter's address could be found there. When they could not find him, the officers issued an "investigative alert, " indicating probable cause for arrest.

On July 18, 2012, Plaintiff sought to re-register as a homeless sex offender but was instead arrested when the police officers became aware of the "investigative alert." Plaintiff was subsequently charged with a felony violation of SORA and remained in custody until his trial on December 3, 2013, when he was found not guilty.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On December 3, 2014, Plaintiff filed his initial complaint against the City under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming Fourteenth Amendment violations of due process and equal protection of law. Compl. 3, ECF No. 1. Defendant filed a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss arguing that the claim was time-barred and insufficiently pled. Plaintiff responded to the motion and simultaneously sought leave to file an amended complaint which was granted by this Court. Pl.'s Mem. in Opp'n to Mot. to Dismiss 1 n.1, ECF No. 15.

Plaintiff filed the Amended Complaint on March 26, 2015, where he removed the language specifying both the due process and equal protection of law deprivations and merely claimed that he was "deprived of rights secured by the Fourteenth Amendment[] to the Constitution of the United States and incurred damages." Am. Compl. 3, ECF No. 17. Defendant again filed a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss arguing that the claim was still time-barred and insufficiently pled. Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss 1-2, ECF No. 18.

LEGAL STANDARD

A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) does not test the merits of a claim; rather, it tests the sufficiency of the complaint. Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990). In deciding a 12(b)(6) motion, the court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true, and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Id. at 1521. To survive a 12(b)(6) motion, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the ...


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