United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Robert Blakey United States District Judge.
DaJuan Key, a federal inmate currently confined at Livingston
County Jail, brought this pro se civil rights action
under 42 U.S.C. §1983, claiming that his motel room and
vehicle were illegally searched in September 2013. This
matter is now before the Court on Defendants' motion to
dismiss Plaintiff's complaint . For the reasons
explained below, the motion is denied.
have moved to dismiss on four grounds for dismissal: (1)
expiration of the statute of limitations; (2) collateral
estoppel; (3) qualified immunity; and (4) lack of personal
involvement by Defendant Ferdinardo. The motion to dismiss is
denied with respect to the statute of limitations. The
complaint is not untimely on its face. The remainder of the
motion is denied without prejudice. Rather than decide the
remaining issues on the merits at this time, the Court on its
own motion hereby further stays this case pending entry of
final judgment by the district court of the ongoing federal
criminal proceedings in Case No. 13-CR-726 (N.D. Ill.).
Defendants may renew these arguments when the stay is lifted.
Plaintiff is directed to file a status report concerning the
progress of the criminal prosecution by November 30, 2016.
complaint alleges as follows. He was staying at a Super 8
Motel in Romeoville, Illinois on September 10, 2013. On that
date, Defendant Ferdinardo, a commander in the Romeoville
Police Department, received a telephone call from a woman
stating that she was driving to the motel to pick up her 15
year old daughter, who had traveled there from Wisconsin with
two men. The woman allegedly told Ferdinardo that her
daughter was no longer inside the motel room because the men
had “put her out”, and the woman wanted to know
if the neighborhood was safe enough for her daughter to walk
to a police station. Ferdinardo then instructed Defendant
Masterson, a sergeant with the Romeoville police, to try and
make contact with the 15-year-old girl. Masterson, in turn,
sent Romeoville police officers Truhlar and Legner to the
Super 8 Motel.
officers allegedly saw a car with a Wisconsin license plate
in the parking lot of the motel. They then spoke with a motel
clerk, who told them that there was a man with a Wisconsin
driver's license - whom the clerk identified as Plaintiff
- renting a room at the motel. The two officers then entered
his motel room through the cracked-open door without
announcing themselves. When the officers entered the room,
Plaintiff was lying on one bed and a woman, Dache Crayton,
was on a second bed. They asked Plaintiff about the girl; he
said he did not know who they were talking about. The
officers then began searching the room and looking in
drawers. They placed Plaintiff in handcuffs and then found
and searched his cell phone and tablet. They also found the
keys to Plaintiff's car, and asked him about it. He told
them that it had been rented for him. The officers then
received consent from Crayton to search the car. Plaintiff
alleges that Crayton did not have the authority to provide
such consent, and did so without Plaintiff's knowledge.
Plaintiff also alleges that, in his currently pending federal
criminal case in this district (Case No. 13-CR-726), he moved
to suppress the evidence seized in these searches, and the
district judge conducted an evidentiary hearing to address
his motion to suppress the evidence seized in these searches.
review of the docket in Case 13-CR-726, this Court takes
judicial notice that a federal grand jury charged Plaintiff
with transporting a minor in interstate commerce with the
intent that the minor engage in prostitution in violation of
18 U.S.C. § 2423(a), that an evidentiary hearing was
held on October 13, 2015 on Plaintiff's motion to
suppress, and that the court thereafter ruled on the motion
in a written opinion on December 30, 2015. See Henson v.
CSC Credit Services, 292 F.3d 280, 284 (7th Cir. 1994)
(courts may take judicial notice of matters of public record,
including the other court's dockets). The court granted
the motion in part with respect to evidence seized in the
motel room and denied the motion in full with respect to
items seized in the car. See United States v. Key,
No. 13 CR 726 . On February 11, 2016, a jury found
Plaintiff guilty of transporting a minor across state lines
with the intent that the minor engage in prostitution.
Plaintiff has filed post-trial motions for acquittal and a
new trial, including a supplemental motion on August 31,
2016, that challenges the court's suppression rulings in
particular. See Id. , . The district judge
presiding over the criminal case has not yet ruled on those
motions, and the government's response to the
supplemental motion is due on September 15, 2016.
Id. . Plaintiff's sentencing is scheduled
for November 9, 2016. Id. .
complaint is dated September 5, 2015, and was received by
this Court on October 19, 2016. After Plaintiff submitted a
revised application to proceed in forma pauperis in
December 2015, this Court screened Plaintiff's complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). On January 14, 2016,
this Court issued a screening order that found that Plaintiff
could proceed on a claim against Defendants Ferdinardo,
Masterson, Truhlar and Legner (collectively
“Defendants”) for illegal search and seizure of
Plaintiff's motel room and rental car. See .
The Court granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma
pauperis on January 14, 2016 as well. Id.
the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss
Plaintiff's complaint. Plaintiff filed a written response
to the motion.
motion under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the sufficiency of the
complaint. See Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police of
Chi. Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009).
Under Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must include “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The short
and plain statement under Rule 8(a)(2) must “give the
defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds
upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citation omitted).
Under the federal notice pleading standards, a
plaintiff's “[f]actual allegations must be enough
to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Id. Put differently, 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) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint under the
plausibility standard, [courts] accept the well-pleaded facts
in the complaint as true.” Alam v. Miller Brewing
Co.,709 F.3d 662, 665-66 (7th Cir. 2013). Courts also
construe pro se ...