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Perkinson v. Illinois State Police

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 11, 2017

DEBORAH PERKINSON Plaintiff,
v.
ILLINOIS STATE POLICE, JOHN SCHUSTER, in his Individual and Official Capacity, and U.S. BANK, an Out-of-State Corporation doing Business in the State of Illinois, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE United States District Judge.

         Pending before the Court are Plaintiff Deborah Perkinson's Amended Motion for Leave to File a Fourth Amended Complaint (Doc. 91), Defendant John Schuster's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 84), and Defendant U.S. Bank's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 81). For the following reasons, Plaintiff's motion is DENIED and Defendants' motions are GRANTED.

         Background and Procedural History

         In March 2013, law enforcement officers investigated possible prostitution activity at a business during which officers executed a search warrant for the premises and seized documents. In April 2013, Officer Joseph Beliveau submitted a complaint for a warrant to search Plaintiff's home and for a warrant to seize her bank accounts. A state court judge issued the requested warrants. On May 13, 2013, Plaintiff learned that her bank accounts had been frozen pursuant to the seizure warrant. When her property had not been returned or unfrozen by December 9, 2013, Plaintiff filed a claim for replevin against the Illinois State Police and Beliveau in state court. The action was dismissed without prejudice on May 13, 2014.

         In the meantime, on May 9, 2014, Plaintiff was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to keep a place of prostitution. On January 14, 2015, while those charges were pending, Officer John Schuster presented a local U.S. Bank branch bank with a seizure warrant and requested that U.S. Bank freeze Plaintiff's accounts and produce Plaintiff's banking records. U.S. Bank disclosed Plaintiff's bank account information to Officer Schuster and froze the accounts. On January 21, 2015, the State of Illinois dismissed the charges against Plaintiff. The following day, Plaintiff learned from U.S. Bank that her bank accounts had been frozen for a second time, using the May 13, 2013 seizure warrant. The accounts remained frozen for seven days before the bank independently came to the conclusion that the warrant was not legally justifiable and released Plaintiff's accounts.

         Plaintiff filed this action on May 11, 2015 against Defendants Illinois State Police (“ISP”), Officer John Schuster and Officer Joseph Beliveau asserting claims for civil rights violations, assault and battery, false imprisonment, unlawful restraint, fraud and conversion (Doc. 4). Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for failure to state a claim (Doc. 16). After receiving two extensions to respond to the motion (Docs. 23, 27), Plaintiff moved to amend her Complaint instead (Doc. 30).

         On October 26, 2015, Plaintiff filed her First Amended Complaint (Doc. 33). Defendants again moved to dismiss the First Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim (Doc. 38). After receiving two extensions of time to respond, Plaintiff filed her response to the motion on February 1, 2016 - five days late (Doc. 45). This Court granted Defendants' motion to dismiss on April 5, 2016 (Doc. 50). However, Plaintiff was granted 30 days to amend her complaint.

         After requesting and receiving an extension, Plaintiff filed her Second Amended Complaint on May 12, 2016 (Doc. 52). In the Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff asserted claims against Defendants ISP and Schuster for violations of her rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments (Doc. 52). Plaintiff also added Defendant U.S. Bank as a party asserting that the Bank was negligent in freezing her accounts and disclosing financial information to Defendants ISP and Schuster (Id.). Defendants ISP and Schuster once again moved to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim (Doc. 54). Plaintiff failed to respond to the motion and on July 11, 2016, the motion was granted (Doc. 64).

         On July 22, 2016, Defendant U.S. Bank moved to dismiss Plaintiff's negligence claim (Doc. 66). On August 11, 2016, Plaintiff moved for leave to file a third amended complaint (Doc. 69). Defendants opposed the motion (Docs. 71, 72). Plaintiff withdrew the motion, but then filed a second motion for leave to file a third amended complaint on August 25, 2016 (Doc. 75). On October 5, 2016, Magistrate Judge Daly granted Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a third amended complaint, noting that Plaintiff's motion “pushed the limits of undue delay” (Doc. 78).

         Plaintiff filed her Third Amended Complaint on October 13, 2016 (Doc. 80). In the Third Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Schuster violated her rights under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. She maintains the negligence count against U.S. Bank, while adding claims for breach of contract and violations of the Illinois Consumer Financial Records Act. U.S. Bank moved to dismiss Plaintiff's claims (Doc. 82) and Defendant Schuster moved to dismiss Plaintiff's Fifth Amendment claim (Doc. 85). Plaintiff sought and was granted an extension until December 15, 2016, in which to file responses to Defendants' motions (see Docs. 86, 87).

         Plaintiff has not responded to Defendants' most recent motions to dismiss. Instead, on December 15, 2016, Plaintiff moved for leave to file a fourth amended complaint (Doc. 89) and filed an amended motion for leave to file a fourth amended complaint the following day (Doc. 91). Defendant Schuster filed a response to the motion for leave (Doc. 92).

         Motion for Leave to Amend

         Under Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a plaintiff may amend her complaint as a matter of course in response to a motion to dismiss, but any subsequent amendments can only be made with consent of the opposing party or the court's leave. Where, as in this case, a plaintiff has had multiple opportunities to plead her claims, the Seventh Circuit has repeatedly affirmed dismissals with prejudice and denials of leave to amend. See, e.g., Agnew v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 683 F.3d 328, 347-48 (7th Cir. 2012) (affirming dismissal with prejudice where plaintiffs had two opportunities to replead, including an opportunity after a motion to dismiss had been fully briefed, and where plaintiffs had in fact taken advantage of that opportunity to replead); Airborne Beepers & Video, Inc. v. AT&T Mobility LLC, 499 F.3d 663, 666-668 (7th Cir. 2007)) (affirming denial of leave to file Fourth Amended Complaint where plaintiff repeatedly failed to remedy the same deficiency and where the numerous complaints had caused substantial delay and prejudice to defendants); Emery v. Am. Gen. Fin., Inc., 134 F.3d 1321, 1322-23 (7th Cir. 1998) (“[W]hile it is possible that the deficiencies of the complaint could be cured by further pleading, the plaintiff has had three chances over the course of three years to state a claim and the district judge was not required to give her another chance.”).

         There is no absolute right to amend. Here, given the procedural posture of this case - spanning four complaints and four rounds of motion to dismiss briefing - the interests of justice do not require that this Court grant Plaintiff's fourth request for leave to amend. To the contrary, fairness and justice dictate that the defendants be spared yet another round of briefs, delay, and additional attorneys' fees and costs ...


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