United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
JOHN R. BLOYER, JR., et al., Plaintiffs,
ST. CLAIR COUNTY ILLINOIS, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Barrett
Rochman's Combined Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 76). Defendant
moves to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) or, in the alternative, for a more definite
statement pursuant to Rule 12(e) and to strike pursuant to
Rule 12(f) and Local Rule 7.1(c). Defendants Kenneth Rochman,
Sabre Group, LLC and SI Securities, LLC join in the motion
(Doc. 77). Plaintiffs responded (Doc. 97). For the following
reasons, Defendants' motion is DENIED.
Complaint (Doc. 2) alleges that individuals who owned
property located in St. Clair County and who redeemed that
property at county tax auctions paid a “penalty”
rate in excess of that which would have been required had
they not been forced to participate in a “rigged tax
sale.” Specifically, Defendants are alleged to have
knowingly participated in a conspiracy with co-defendants St.
Clair Co. and Suarez to diminish competitive bidding in order
to ensure that lucrative properties were sold at the
statutory maximum penalty percentage of 18% beginning at
least as early as November 2006.
further allege that Defendant Barrett Rochman, both
individually and in conjunction with co-defendants Kenneth
Rochman, Sabre Group and SI Securities (collectively referred
to as the “Rochman Defendants”), knowingly
participated in the conspiracy as tax purchasers, with Sabre
Group purchasing 180 properties at the 2006 tax sale and 205
properties at the 2007 tax sale, and SI Securities purchasing
115 properties at the 2006 tax sale and 141 properties at the
2007 tax sale - all at the conspiratorial maximum 18%
interest rate. Doc. 2, p. 5-6, ¶¶ 22-26. Plaintiffs
claim civil conspiracy against all Defendants (Count I),
money had and received against all Defendants except Suarez
(Count II), violations of the Sherman Act against all
Defendants (Counts III and IV), violations of the Illinois
Antitrust Act against all Defendants (Counts V-VII) and
breach of fiduciary duty against Suarez (Count VIII).
move to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint in its entirety as
time-barred under the applicable statutes of limitations.
Defendants further move to dismiss Counts III and IV for
failure to state a claim under the Sherman Act; Counts V, VI
and VII for failure to state a claim under the Illinois
Antitrust Act; Count I as barred under Section 9 of the
Illinois Antitrust Act; and Count II for failure to state a
claim for money had and received. As an alternative to
12(b)(6) dismissal, Defendants move for a more definite
statement as to the allegations regarding fraudulent
concealment and also move to strike certain paragraphs as
reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court
accepts as true all allegations in the Complaint.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). The federal system of notice pleading requires only
that a plaintiff provide a “short and plain statement
of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). However, the allegations
must be “more than labels and conclusions.”
Pugh v. Tribune Co., 521 F.3d 686, 699 (7th Cir.
2008). This requirement is satisfied if the Complaint (1)
describes the claim in sufficient detail to give the
defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds
upon which it rests and (2) plausibly suggests that the
plaintiff has a right to relief above a speculative level.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; see Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009); EEOC v.
Concentra Health Servs., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir.
2007). “A claim 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.” Iqbal, 129 S.Ct.
at 1949 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
initial matter, Defendants argue that all counts are barred
by the applicable statute of limitations. They assert that
antitrust and conspiracy actions must commence within four
years of the accrual of the claim and that a claim for money
had and received must commence within five years of accrual.
Defendants further contend that Plaintiffs have failed to
adequately allege a proper basis for tolling these statutes
acknowledge the statutes of limitations but argue that the
discovery rule tolled the statute of limitations, citing
Clark v. City of Braidwood, 318 F.3d 764 (7th Cir.
2003). In Clark, the Seventh Circuit held that where
a plaintiff relies on the discovery rule, a determination of
timeliness is premature at the pleading stage.
Clark, 318 F.3d at 768.
discovery rule “postpones the beginning of the
limitations period… to the date when [a plaintiff]
discovers he has been injured.” In re Copper
Antitrust Litig., 436 F.3d 782, 789 (7th Cir. 2006),
quoting Cada v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., 920 F.2d
446, 450 (7th Cir.1990). Therefore, the appropriate inquiry
in this case is whether the Complaint pleads sufficient facts
that, if proven, would raise a reasonable inference that the
limitations period was tolled until 2014 when Plaintiffs
discovered the injury. Accepting all allegations of the
Complaint as true, the Court finds they are sufficient to
raise such an inference.
Complaint alleges that Defendants and tax purchaser
Co-Defendants directed “contributions” to the
Democrat Party instead of to Suarez, that Suarez seated
Defendants at the front of the auction room to facilitate the
conspiracy and that other bids were allowed on less lucrative
properties in order to cover up the conspiracy. The Complaint
further alleges that Defendants' conspiracy to rig tax
auctions was inherently self-concealing so that Plaintiffs
could not have discovered through reasonable diligence that
they had been injured until 2014. Accordingly,
Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' claims as
time barred is denied.