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Tapley v. Chambers

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

October 19, 2016

Eric Tapley, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Andrew Chambers, Officer, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

          Argued September 21, 2016

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois No. 15-cv-1051 - James E. Shadid, Chief Judge.

          Before Flaum, Kanne, and Williams, Circuit Judges.

          Kanne, Circuit Judge.

         Plaintiff-appellant Eric Tapley, along with William Hosea and Clifford Pugh, request that we review the district court's decisions in two different cases, one from 2012 (numbered 12-cv-1339) and the other from 2015 (numbered 15-cv-1051). Yet they failed to provide the record from the 2012 case on appeal. For that reason, we dismiss the appeal of that case. We address the merits of the 2015 case only-and we affirm.

         I. Background

         The record before us leaves much to the imagination. Although Tapley asks us to review two cases, we have the record for only one of them. To outline the history of these two cases, we rely on the procedural facts provided in the parties' briefs. We assume the truth of these facts for that limited purpose. But that's as far as we'll go.

         Without the required record, we are unable to address the material facts of the 2012 case. We do have the record from the 2015 case, and thus will discuss the facts necessary to decide the merits of that appeal.

         A. Procedural History

         This all began with the 2012 case. There, plaintiffs Tapley, Hosea, and Pugh sued the City of Bloomington and Officers Andrew Chambers, Jeff Engle, Michael Gray, John Heinlein, Sara Mayer, Scott Sikora, James Smith, and Brice Stanfield. The plaintiffs brought Fourth Amendment, equal-protection, and Monell claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In addition, Tapley brought a malicious-prosecution claim under Illinois law. Ta-pley's claims arose from several incidents occurring between 2011 and 2012. Hosea's and Pugh's claims involved a single incident occurring on May 24, 2011. The incidents that gave rise to Tapley's claims are unrelated to the incident that brought about Hosea's and Pugh's claims.

         The defendants moved for summary judgment on all of these claims. The district court granted that motion in part, dismissing every claim except for Tapley's illegal-seizure claims arising from two traffic stops: one occurring in May 2011 and the other on September 15, 2011. Tapley voluntarily dismissed those two claims, causing the district court to terminate the case under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1). The plaintiffs then appealed to this court.

         Because Tapley voluntarily dismissed his surviving claims without prejudice, we questioned whether we had appellate jurisdiction. Indeed, a dismissal without prejudice typically does not result in a final and appealable order because the plaintiff is free to refile his claim. Larkin v. Galloway, 266 F.3d 718, 721 (7th Cir. 2001). We invited the plaintiffs to brief the jurisdictional issue. They instead dismissed their appeal on December 9, 2014.

         Tapley then filed the 2015 case against Officers Chambers, Heinlein, Sikora, Stanfield, and Mayer. There, Tapley reasserted his illegal-seizure claim arising from the September 15, 2011 incident-one of the claims that he voluntarily dismissed in the 2012 case. He did not refile his other voluntarily dismissed claim from the 2012 case.[1]

         Once again, the defendants moved for summary judgment. This time around, the district court granted their motion and dismissed Tapley's claim. Tapley timely appealed that judgment.

         B. Factual Background for the 2015 Case

         The events giving rise to Tapley's claim in the 2015 case occurred on September 15, 2011. The Bloomington Police Department's Street Crimes Unit was surveilling for loud-music violations near the intersection of Clinton and Locust streets. Officer Sikora was parked to the south of that intersection when he observed Tapley driving northbound in a red GMC truck. Sikora radioed his fellow officers to inform them that Tapley was playing loud music and to inquire whether anyone wanted to initiate a stop. Officer Stanfield replied that he would try to make the stop. At that time, Stanfield was parked at the Clinton-Locust intersection, across the street from a Price Rite store.

         Tapley turned into the Price Rite parking lot, and Stanfield followed him. Tapley went into the store for a brief time before returning to his truck. Stanfield testified that he heard Ta-pley's music emanating from the truck as Tapley was preparing to drive away. The parties agree that Tapley's music was loud, ...


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