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Stapinski v. Masterson

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

February 7, 2017

Anthony Stapinski, Plaintiff,
Christine Masterson; Village of Romeoville, Defendants.


          Honorable Thomas M. Durkin United States District Judge

         Anthony Stapinksi alleges that Defendants violated his federal civil rights and state law when they arrested and prosecuted him for possession of an illegal substance despite a cooperation agreement. R. 1. Defendants have moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). R. 9. For the following reasons, that motion is granted.

         Legal Standard

         A Rule 12(b)(6) motion challenges the sufficiency of the complaint. See, e.g., Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police of Chi. Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009). A complaint must provide “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), sufficient to provide defendant with “fair notice” of the claim and the basis for it. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). This standard “demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). While “detailed factual allegations” are not required, “labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. The complaint must “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “‘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.'” Mann v. Vogel, 707 F.3d 872, 877 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). In applying this standard, the Court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Mann, 707 F.3d at 877.


         Stapinksi alleges that on April 12, 2011 he was arrested by defendant Detective Christine Masterson, of the Romeoville Police Department, after Stapinksi “obtained a package containing suspect ketamine, an illegal substance.” R. 1 ¶¶ 9-10. When he was taken to the police station, Detective Masterson asked Stapinski if he was interested in cooperating with the police to help them arrest the person to who Stapinksi was supposed to deliver the ketamine. Id. ¶ 13. On April 14, 2011, Detective Masterson met with Stapinksi, his attorney, and his mother and promised that Stapinksi would not be charged in connection with the ketamine if he cooperated. Id. ¶¶ 14-15. The intended recipient of the ketamine was arrested shortly thereafter. Id. ¶ 16. Stapinksi continued to cooperate with Detective Masterson and her colleague Detective Bedja until October 2011 when Masterson told Stapinksi that they were no longer interested in working with him. Id. ¶ 20.

         Several months later on March 20, 2012, Detective Masterson filed a criminal complaint against Stapinksi charging him with possession of ketamine stemming from the April 12, 2011 arrest. Id. ¶ 21. Based on this complaint, Stapinski was indicted. Id. ¶ 22. On February 27, 2013, the circuit court granted Stapinksi's motion to dismiss the indictment, finding that it violated Stapinksi's due process rights and the cooperation agreement he entered into with the police through Detective Masterson. See People v. Stapinksi, 40 N.E.3d 15, 20 (Ill. 2015). The state appealed, and the appellate court reversed. Stapinksi appealed the appellate court's ruling and the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the appellate court and reinstated the circuit court's dismissal of the indictment on October 8, 2015. See id.

         On September 23, 2016, Stapinksi filed this action alleging that Defendants' actions violated his civil rights and state law. Count I claims a violation of Due Process pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Count II claims malicious prosecution in violation of state law. And Count III claims intentional infliction of emotional distress in violation of state law.[1]


         Count I: Section 1983

         In Count I, Stapinski alleges that Defendants' actions violated his due process rights. Defendants argue that this claim is untimely. In Illinois, Section 1983 claims have a statute of limitations of two years, and they accrue when the plaintiff knows or should know that his constitutional rights have been violated. See Savory v. Lyons, 469 F.3d 667, 672 (7th Cir. 2006). Defendants breached Stapinski's cooperation agreement by filing a criminal complaint against him on March 20, 2012. This is the date he knew or should have known about the facts supporting his Section 1983 claim. See Reimann v. Hanley, 2016 WL 5792679, at *9 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 4, 2016) (due process claim accrued when the plaintiff learned the state would not honor a cooperation agreement). The statute of limitations for Stapinski's due process claim expired two years later on March 20, 2014. Stapinski waited until September 23, 2016 to file his claim so it is untimely and must be dismissed.

         Stapinski argues that he was barred from filing his claim any earlier than he did by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994), because the appeal proceedings regarding the dismissal of his indictment were not complete until October 8, 2015. See R. 17-2 at 2. In support of his argument, Stapinski cites Washington v. Summerville, 127 F.3d 552, 556 (7th Cir. 1997), which held that “[i]f success on the [criminal defendant's civil] claims would have necessarily implied the invalidity of a potential conviction on the [criminal] charge, then [defendant's] claims did not accrue until the day on which the [criminal] charge was dismissed.” But as Defendants point out, Washington and the other cases Stapinski cites, were decided prior to the Supreme Court's decision in Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384 (2007). In Wallace, the Supreme Court held that district courts can stay civil actions that might “impugn” a pending criminal conviction. Id. at 393-94. Since Wallace, the Seventh Circuit has consistently held that arguments based on Heck like those raised by Stapanski, and other plaintiffs who were never convicted, are “non-starters” because Heck is only concerned with civil actions that challenge the validity of “outstanding criminal judgments.” Serino v. Hensley, 735 F.3d 588, 591 (7th Cir. 2013); see also Gakuba v. O'Brien, 711 F.3d 751, 753 (7th Cir. 2013) (“Heck does not apply absent a conviction.”); Jamison v. Urban, 411 Fed. App'x 919, 921 (7th Cir. 2011) (“Heck delays accrual only when there exists a conviction or sentence that has not been invalidated; it does not bar suits that would call into question anticipated convictions.”). Thus, Heck did not prevent Stapinski from filing his due process claim as soon as Defendants breached his cooperation agreement, and the ensuing criminal proceedings did not serve to toll the accrual of the statute of limitations.

         Count II: Malicious Prosecution

         A. Statute ...

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