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Chambers v. Fredericksen

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

November 4, 2016

JOSEPH CHAMBERS, Plaintiff,
v.
FREDERICKSEN, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Hon. Marvin E. Aspen United States District Judge

         Presently before us are several motions, including Defendant Officer Fredericksen's motion to dismiss Plaintiff Joseph Chambers' third amended complaint for failure to state a claim and for insufficient service of process, (Dkt. No. 41), Defendant Cook County's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, (Dkt. No. 36), and Defendant Village of Lynwood's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, (Dkt. No. 34). Also before us is Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a fourth amended complaint, (Dkt. No. 50), Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a response to Officer Fredericksen's motion to dismiss, (Dkt. No. 45), and Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a response to Lynwood's motion to dismiss, (Dkt. No. 48). For the reasons set forth below, we grant Plaintiff's motions for leave to file responses to the defendants' motions to dismiss, and grant Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a fourth amended complaint in part and deny it in part. We also grant Lynwood's and Cook County's motions to dismiss, with prejudice, and deny Officer Fredericksen's motion to dismiss as moot.

         BACKGROUND

         On December 22, 2014, Plaintiff filed a complaint against Lynwood Police Department Officer Brandin Fredericksen alleging excessive force in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and, under Illinois law of indemnification, alleging that the Cook County Sheriff, as Officer Fredericksen's employer, was liable for any future money judgment against Officer Fredericksen. (Dkt. No. 1 ¶¶ 1, 8-15, 16-17.) Plaintiff's excessive force claim is based on an incident in which Officer Fredericksen allegedly attacked and “tazed” him while he sat in his car. (Dkt. No. 24 ¶ 10.)

         We granted Plaintiff leave to amend his complaint on June 6, 2015. (Dkt. No. 11.) Plaintiff's first amended complaint replaced the Cook County Sheriff with the Lynwood Police Department as defendant, again alleging the Lynwood Police Department, as Officer Fredericksen's true employer, was liable for any future money judgment in Plaintiff's favor under an indemnification theory. (Dkt. Nos. 8, 15.) On January 25, 2016, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file a second amended complaint, which we granted on January 27, 2016. (Dkt. No. 19.) The second amended complaint again added the Cook County Sheriff as a defendant. (Dkt. No. 17, Ex. 1.) On June 10, 2016, we dismissed all defendants without prejudice because Plaintiff failed to timely serve them, and granted Plaintiff leave to file a third amended complaint. (Dkt. Nos. 20, 23.)

         Plaintiff filed his third amended complaint on July 5, 2016, naming Officer Fredericksen, the Village of Lynwood, and Cook County-as opposed to the Cook County Sheriff-as defendants. (Dkt. No. 24.) On August 1, 2016, both Lynwood and Cook County moved to dismiss Plaintiff's third amended complaint, arguing that it was barred by the applicable statute of limitations. (Dkt. Nos. 34, 36.) On August 11, 2016, Officer Fredericksen moved to dismiss Plaintiff's third amended complaint for insufficient service and because it is barred by the applicable statute of limitations. (Dkt. No. 41.)

         Thereafter, Plaintiff filed the instant motion for leave to file a fourth amended complaint on September 6, 2016. (Dkt. No. 50.) Plaintiff states that, upon reviewing the defendants' motions to dismiss, [1] he discovered his third amended complaint erroneously lists January 3, 2012 as the date of the incident giving rise to his claims, when in fact, that incident occurred a year later, on January 3, 2013. (Dkt. Nos. 50 ¶ 1, 50-3 ¶ 7; see Dkt. No. 48-4 (arrest report indicating the correct date).) Plaintiff's fourth amended complaint thus seeks leave to correct that error. (Dkt. No. 50-3 ¶ 7.) Plaintiff also seeks to add two new claims pursuant to Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. of N.Y., 436 U.S. 658, 98 S.Ct. 2018 (1978)-§ 1983 claims against the Village of Lynwood and against Cook County. (Dkt. No. 50-3 ¶¶ 27-30, 31-34.) All three defendants oppose the amendment.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a fourth amended complaint is governed by Rule 15, which permits a party to amend a pleading more than 21 days after service “only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave.” Fed. R. Civ. P (15)(a)(2). We have discretion to grant amendments “when justice so requires.” Id. However, we also have “broad discretion to deny leave to amend where there is undue delay, bad faith, dilatory motive, repeated failure to cure deficiencies, undue prejudice to the defendants, or where the amendment would be futile.” Hukik v. Auror Loan Servs., 588 F.3d 420, 432 (7th Cir. 2009) (quoting Arreola v. Godinez, 546 F.3d 788, 796 (7th Cir. 2008)) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         Defendants' motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim are governed by Rule 12(b)(6), and Officer Fredericksen's motion to dismiss for insufficient service is governed by Rule 12(b)(5). “The purpose of the motion to dismiss is to test the sufficiency of the complaint, not decide the merits.” Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990) (quoting Triad Assocs., Inc. v. Chicago Hous. Auth., 892 F.2d 583, 586 (7th Cir. 1989)) (internal quotation marks omitted). When evaluating a motion to dismiss, we accept all well-pleaded factual allegations as true, and draw all inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Cole v. Milwaukee Area Tech. Coll. Dist., 634 F.3d 901, 903 (7th Cir. 2011).

         To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint need only contain enough facts to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 556 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007)) (internal quotation marks omitted). Accordingly, a complaint “has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id.

         To survive a Rule 12(b)(5) motion to dismiss, the “plaintiff bears the burden to demonstrate that the district court has jurisdiction over each defendant through effective service.” Cardenas v. City of Chicago, 646 F.3d 1001, 1005 (7th Cir. 2011). If the plaintiff does not meet that burden, we “must either dismiss the suit or specify a time within which the plaintiff must serve the defendant.” Id. “[T]he decision whether to dismiss or extend the period for service is inherently discretionary.” Id. (citing United States v. Ligas, 549 F.3d 497, 501 (7th Cir. 2008).

         ANALYSIS

         I. Proposed Amendment as to Claims Against ...


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