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Rattray v. Caudill

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

October 6, 2016

Sean Rattray, Plaintiff,
v.
Police Officer Jason Caudill, Police Officer Jeremy Senese, Policy Officer Jason Nelson, individually, and the City of Evanston, a municipal corporation, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Manish S. Shah United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Sean Rattray encountered defendant police officers Jason Caudill and Jeremy Senese at ¶ 7-Eleven near Rattray's home in Evanston. A fight broke out involving all three men. Defendant police officer Jason Nelson was dispatched to the scene to assist with Rattray's arrest. Criminal charges against Rattray were dropped three years later. Rattray now brings claims for excessive force against all defendants (Count I), and claims against Caudill and Senese for false arrest (Count II) and malicious prosecution (Count III). [31].[1] Caudill seeks summary judgment on the malicious prosecution claim and to strike the fourteenth-amendment allegations in the remaining claims against him; Nelson seeks summary judgment on Rattray's excessive force claim, and Senese seeks summary judgment on Rattray's malicious prosecution claim.

         For the following reasons, Caudill's motion for partial summary judgment is granted. Nelson and Senese's motion for summary judgment is granted in part as to the malicious prosecution claim and denied as to the excessive force claim.

         I. Legal Standards

         Summary judgment is appropriate if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A genuine dispute as to any material fact exists if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Justifiable inferences are drawn in the nonmovant's favor, id. at 255, and the party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).

         II. Background[2]

         Rattray attended a get-together at the home of a friend, where he played cards and consumed cups of vodka. [73] ¶¶ 1-4; [76] ¶ 1. He left the get-together and walked to a 7-Eleven near his home in order to buy an ice cream bar. [73] ¶¶ 5- 6; [76] ¶¶ 2-3. Officers Caudill and Senese were already inside the store when Rattray entered; the store clerk informed the officers that he did not want Rattray there because Rattray had been involved in a previous incident at the store. [73] ¶¶ 7-8; [76] ¶¶ 4-5. Officer Caudill informed Rattray that he was not supposed to be in the store based on that prior incident. [73] ¶ 11. Rattray left the store and walked to his nearby home, and then he returned to the 7-Eleven specifically to speak with Officer Caudill. [73] ¶¶ 14-18; [76] ¶¶ 5-6. Officer Caudill immediately told Rattray to leave the store, and Rattray left, saying something (unspecified) to Officer Caudill as walked out; Officer Caudill did not respond. [73] ¶¶ 19-20.[3]

         When the officers eventually exited the store, Rattray was outside. [73] ¶ 22.[4]A physical confrontation ensued between Rattray and Officer Caudill-the parties dispute who initiated the confrontation and where it initially occurred. [73] ¶ 23. Officer Senese testified that Rattray struck Officer Caudill and fought with both officers while they were trying to arrest him, and they called for backup because they were unable to restrain Rattray. [73] ¶¶ 24, 34. According to Rattray, he left the store without incident and went to his nearby home to workout in his backyard, but was followed and taunted by the officers. [76] ¶¶ 8-13. He testified that he stumbled and fell after Officer Caudill attempted to grab him, and that he was then beaten until he was unconscious. [73] ¶¶ 32-33; [76] ¶¶ 16, 21. The officers deny that Rattray was ever unconscious. [76] ¶ 21.

         Officer Nelson eventually arrived on the scene and assisted with handcuffing Rattray. [73] ¶ 35. Rattray does not recall Nelson or anything about Nelson's actions that day. [73] ¶¶ 37-39. Nelson, however, recalls Rattray aggressively resisting the officers and that in the attempt to handcuff Rattray, Nelson and Senese ended up on top of Rattray. Nelson punched Rattray in the abdomen with a closed fist, causing Rattray to fall down. [76] ¶¶ 18-20.

         Rattray was charged with criminal trespass to real property in violation of 720 ILCS 5/21-3(a)(1), aggravated battery to a peace officer against Officers Caudill and Senese in violation of 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05(d)(4), and aggravated resisting a peace officer against Officers Caudill and Senese in violation of 720 ILCS 5/31-1(a-7). [73] ¶ 25. The charges against Rattray were terminated after the prosecutor entered a nolle prosequi. [73] ¶ 29. The certified statement of conviction/disposition for the underlying criminal proceedings does not provide a reason for why the nolle prosequi was entered, and the record is silent on the reason for its entry. [73] ¶¶ 30-31.

         III. Analysis

         A. Fourteenth Amendment

         Caudill moves for summary judgment on Rattray's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims for excessive force and false arrest, arguing that Rattray improperly brought these claims under the Fourteenth Amendment. Although styled as a motion for summary judgment, Caudill merely requests striking the portions of Rattray's complaint alleging Fourteenth Amendment violations for these claims; Caudill does not request judgment in his favor on these claims in their entirety. (Rattray's excessive force and false arrest claims cite to both the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. [31] ¶¶ 18, 21.) The due-process standards of the Fourteenth Amendment are inapplicable to Rattray's § 1983 claims. See Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 395 (1989) (excessive force during arrest should be analyzed under Fourth Amendment and its reasonableness standard); Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 273-74 (1994) (Fourth Amendment, not Fourteenth Amendment, guides analysis of probable cause for arrest). Rattray does not argue otherwise or indeed respond to Caudill's arguments on this point, thus waiving any responsive arguments. See Laborers' Int'l Union of N. Am. v. Caruso, 197 F.3d 1195, 1197 (7th Cir. 1999). Rattray was not wrong to cite the Fourteenth Amendment in his complaint, however, because the Fourth Amendment “was incorporated against the states by the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause.” Contreras v. City of Chicago, 119 F.3d 1286, 1290 (7th Cir. 1997). In that sense, Rattray's claims are brought under the Fourteenth Amendment; but just to be clear, fourth-amendment standards govern.

         B. ...


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