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Flint v. City of Belvidere

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

June 30, 2015

CANDIS M. FLINT, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
CITY OF BELVIDERE, et al., Defendants-Appellees

Argued, April 21, 2015

Page 765

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Western Division. No. 11 C 50255 -- Frederick J. Kapala, Judge.

For CANDIS M. FLINT, individually and as special representative of the ESTATE OF MARTY FLINT, deceased, Plaintiff - Appellant: James Joseph Macchitelli, Attorney, Schaumburg, IL.

For CITY OF BELVIDERE, a municipal corporation, JAN W. NOBLE, Chief of Belvidere Police, MARK POLLACK, Sergeant, Leon Berry, David Dammon, Defendants - Appellees: Garrett L. Boehm Jr., Attorney, Brian P. Gainer, Attorney, Johnson & Bell, Ltd., Chicago, IL.

Before EASTERBROOK and RIPPLE, Circuit Judges, and REAGAN, Chief District Court Judge.[*]

OPINION

Page 766

Reagan, Chief District Judge.

In 2009, unknown assailants (or perhaps just one) shot and killed Marty Flint, who had sporadically provided intelligence to narcotics officers in the City of Belvidere, Illinois, since 2006. Marty's mother, Candis Flint (" Flint" for the purposes of this appeal--we will refer to Marty by first name where necessary), sued the City, the police chief, a sergeant, and Belvidere officers David Dammon and Leon Berry (collectively, " Defendants" ). Flint originally brought both state tort claims and § 1983 claims alleging Defendants violated Marty's substantive due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. The constitutional claims boil down to allegations that Marty was targeted and killed in retribution for his actions as a police informant, and that Defendants are liable for failing to protect him.

The state claims fell to a statute of limitations argument, and Defendants moved for summary judgment on the § 1983 claims against Defendants Dammon and Berry (two officers who were Marty's primary contacts in the police department). It is undisputed that, absent a constitutional violation by Dammon and/or Berry, the other Defendants--municipal bodies and supervisors--are not subject to § 1983 liability. See Windle v. City of Marion, 321 F.3d 658, 663 (7th Cir. 2003) ( individual officers must be liable on underlying substantive claim for municipal liability to attach under either failure to train or failure to implement theory); Pittman ex rel. Hamilton v. Cnty. of Madison, Ill., 746 F.3d 766, 779 n. 14 (7th Cir. 2014) (no respondeat superior liability under § 1983).

The day Defendants moved for summary judgment--and about a month after discovery closed--Flint moved both to reopen discovery and for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate allegations that Dammon and Berry lied throughout discovery. The magistrate judge denied both motions. Flint failed to appeal the magistrate's decision to the district judge, but did manage to respond to Defendants' summary judgment motion.

Unfortunately for Flint, her response did not comport with Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1, which guides how parties must marshal evidence at the summary judgment stage. Applying that rule, the district court deemed admitted most of Defendants' factual assertions, ignored additional facts raised in Flint's response briefing, and granted summary judgment against her.

Flint now appeals both the magistrate's discovery rulings and the district court's grant of summary judgment. We affirm. The magistrate acted within his discretion to deny Flint's tardy motions (issues Flint has forfeited anyhow), and Flint's procedural gaffe in not following Local Rule 56.1 left an evidentiary record insufficient to survive summary judgment.

I. Background

Flint's failure to follow the local rules circumscribes our review of the facts. In the Northern District of Illinois, Local Rule 56.1 ...


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