United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
REBECCA R. PALLMEYER United States District Judge.
2014, Plaintiff Rick Lindsey, a Utah resident, and his family
were on the way home to Utah from a Father's Day
celebration in the Midwest. The trip did not go smoothly.
After a several-hour delay at O'Hare, Lindsey's
brother, Randy Lindsey, had some kind of verbal altercation
with Delta Airlines employees who demanded that he exit the
airplane. Rick Lindsey followed his brother and the Delta
employees onto the jet bridge, where, after some further
conflict, two Chicago police officers arrested both brothers.
Plaintiff was charged with aggravated battery to a police
criminal charge against Plaintiff Lindsey proceeded to trial
a year later, and the court entered a judgment of acquittal.
This lawsuit followed. Lindsey charges the two police
officers with false arrest and failure to intervene under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and seeks to hold the City of Chicago
liable under a Monell theory. He also asserts state
law malicious prosecution claims against the officers and the
city, as well as two Delta employees and the airline itself
under a respondeat superior theory. The Delta
Defendants have moved to dismiss, and the City of Chicago
asks the court to bifurcate Monell issues and stay
discovery on those issues pending a determination of the
individual officers' liability. For the reasons explained
here, both motions are granted.
purposes of this motion, the court recounts the well-pleaded
facts of Lindsey's complaint and presumes they are true.
Katz-Crank v. Haskett, 843 F.3d 641, 646 (7th Cir.
2014, Rick Lindsey, a 54-year-old insurance executive (Compl.
¶ 11), arranged and attended a large family gathering in
Wisconsin for Fathers' Day. (Compl. ¶ 12.) Lindsey
is a resident of Utah (Compl. ¶ 5), and was planning to
fly back home through O'Hare Airport with his brother
Randy Lindsey and other family members on June 15, 2014.
(Compl. ¶ 12.) The Lindseys' flight on Delta
Airlines was delayed for several hours. (Compl. ¶ 13.)
During the delay, Randy spoke with “one or both”
of two Delta employees, Thomas Steinfels and Marcella Pirvu.
(Id.) Plaintiff alleges the Delta employees
“were rude to Randy, ” and Randy “exchanged
words with them.” (Id.) When boarding finally
began, Randy had another exchange with Steinfels and Pirvu.
(Compl. ¶ 14.) Though the family was permitted to board
the plane, Steinfels and Pirvu entered the airplane before
the flight took off to demand that Randy exit. (Compl. ¶
15). Randy “argued with” Steinfeld and Pirvu and
Plaintiff Lindsey “followed to see if he could resolve
the situation and keep his brother on the flight . . .
his brother Randy, Steinfels, and Pirvu were engaged in a
“heated, ” but in “no way physical”
conversation on the jetway (Compl. ¶ 17), when two
officers of the Chicago Police Department, Defendants Michael
Orlando and Jaime Falardeau, arrived. (Compl. ¶ 16.) The
officers “immediately turned to physical force, ”
and “[w]ithout warning or provocation, ” Officer
Orlando tackled Randy to the ground. (Compl. ¶ 18.)
Plaintiff Rick Lindsey did not intervene, but did
“express his displeasure verbally.”
(Id.) After the officers handcuffed Randy, they
ordered Plaintiff to return to the terminal, and
Lindsey's sons and father got off the plane to join him.
(Compl. ¶ 19). Officer Orlando directed Delta staff not
to re-book the Lindseys. (Compl. ¶ 20.) Two other
Chicago police officers who arrived at the gate then arrested
Lindsey at Orlando's direction and escorted him,
handcuffed, through the terminal. (Compl. ¶¶ 21,
was charged by information with aggravated battery to a
police officer, a Class 2 felony, and resisting arrest.
(Compl. ¶ 23, 27.) These charges were fabricated,
Plaintiff alleges, and were based on Defendant Orlando's
false statement that Plaintiff had “pulled on
[Orlando's] right shoulder” to obstruct the arrest
of Plaintiff's brother Randy. (Compl. ¶¶ 22,
23, 25.) The Delta employees also allegedly acted improperly;
Plaintiff claims that “[t]he Delta Defendants provided
a false account of what occurred in the jetway, and Defendant
Orlando relayed this false account in his testimony against
Plaintiff at the preliminary hearing, which contributed to
the information filed against Plaintiff.” (Compl.
¶ 28.) Plaintiff learned that the Delta employees
submitted false reports to the airline as well, stating that
there was a physical altercation involving Randy and that
Lindsey had been verbally abusive. (Compl. ¶ 29.)
criminal case proceeded to trial about a year later in 2015.
Without providing details concerning their testimony,
Plaintiff alleges that both police officers and both Delta
employees “testified against” him. (Compl. ¶
30.) The judge entered a verdict of not guilty.
brought suit in February 2016 against the police officers,
Orlando and Falardeau, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Counts I
and II), and against the Delta employees, Steinfels and
Pirvu, on a state law malicious prosecution claim (Count
III). (See generally Compl.) Lindsey seeks to impose
respondeat superior liability on Delta Airlines as
Steinfels's and Pirvu's employer. (Compl. ¶ 10.)
He has named the City of Chicago as a Defendant as well, on a
respondeat superior theory as to the malicious
prosecution claim (Compl. ¶ 6), and under the
Monell doctrine with respect to his civil rights
claims. The Delta Defendants have moved to dismiss the
complaint against them. The City asks the court to bifurcate
proceedings under the Monell doctrine. As explained
below, the court grants the motion to dismiss without
prejudice, and grants the motion to bifurcate.
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
ruling on a 12(b)(6) motion, the court accepts “the
allegations in the complaint as true unless they are
‘threadbare recitals of a cause of action's
elements, supported by mere conclusory
statements.'” Katz-Crank v. Haskett, 843
F.3d 641, 646 (7th Cir. 2016) (quoting Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). The court must also
draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff.
See Bell v. City of Country Club Hills, 841 F.3d
713, 716 (7th Cir. 2016). To survive a motion to dismiss, the
complaint must “state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face, ” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007), presenting
“factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
elements of a claim for malicious prosecution, under Illinois
law, are “(1) the commencement or continuance of an
original criminal or civil judicial proceeding by the
defendant; (2) the termination of the proceeding in favor of
the plaintiff; (3) the absence of probable cause; (4) malice;
and (5) damages.” Szczesniak v. CJC Auto Parts,
Inc., 2014 IL App (2d) 130636, ¶ 10, 21 N.E.3d 486,
490 (citing Gauger v. Hendle, 2011 IL App (2d)
100316, ¶ 99, 954 N.E.2d 307, 326). A proceeding is not
“commenced” by a private citizen when the person
simply reports false information to the authorities, but when
a police officer bases a complaint on the false information,
“the officer's action may be attributed to the
citizen.” Randall v. Lemke, 311 Ill.App.3d
848, 850, 726 N.E.2d 183, 185 (2d Dist. 2000). Put another
way, a proceeding is considered “commenced” by a
private citizen when the “prosecution is ‘based
upon' the false information.” Id. at 851;
726 N.E.2d at 186 (quoting Restatement (Second) of Torts
§ 653 cmt. g (Am. Law Inst. 1977)). The law does not
attribute the commencement of a prosecution to a private
person, even where the individual made an initial false
report to authorities, where the authorities base the ensuing
prosecution “upon separate or independently developed
information.” Szczesniak, 2014 IL App (2d)
130636, ¶ 11, 21 N.E.3d at 491 (citing Randall,
311 Ill.App.3d at 851, 726 N.E.2d at 185-86). Thus, in
Szczesniak, the owner of an auto parts store
reported a customer to the police for bouncing checks and
failing to pay; the customer ...