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Martin v. City of Chicago

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

February 28, 2017

NOBLE RICHARD MARTIN, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN W. DARRAH United States District Court Judge

         Plaintiff, Noble Richard Martin, brought suit, pro se, in this court against several individuals, alleging various claims stemming from his arrest and subsequent trial. Defendants filed Motions to Dismiss, and Plaintiff filed no responses. Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint was dismissed on September 30, 2014. Plaintiff then filed an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis and a Motion for Appointment of Counsel, which were granted on December 2, 2014. Plaintiff, through his attorney, filed a Third Amended Complaint. Defendants' Motions to Dismiss the Third Amended Complaint were granted with prejudice, except as to two counts which were dismissed without prejudice. After that ruling, Plaintiff's appointed attorney moved to withdraw, which was granted. Plaintiff filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the dismissal of his Third Amended Complaint. Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration was denied. Plaintiff then filed a Fourth Amended Complaint pro se. Another attorney was appointed but did not file an amended complaint. Defendants filed the present Motions to Dismiss [130, 139]. After the present motions were filed, Plaintiff's appointed attorney moved to withdraw and requested that all pending motions be stayed or continued. The motion to withdraw was granted, but the request to stay the Motions to Dismiss was denied. For the reasons discussed below, Defendants' Motions to Dismiss [130, 139] are granted.

         BACKGROUND

         Martin is a resident of Illinois. (FAC ¶ 2.) Defendants Officer Jason Torres and Officer Megan Leonard were police officers with the City of Chicago Police Department. (Id. ¶ 3.) Defendant City of Chicago is a municipal corporation and the employer and principal of Defendants Torres and Leonard. (Id. ¶ 4.)[1] Defendant Assistant State's Attorney Jane Zak was an Assistant State's Attorney for the County of Cook. (Id. ¶ 5.) Defendant County of Cook is alleged to be the employer and principal of Defendant Zak. (Id. ¶ 6.)[2]

         On November 22, 2010, Defendants Torres and Leonard (“Defendant Officers”) arrived at 8100 S. Hermitage, Chicago, Illinois, to respond to an alleged domestic battery. (Id. ¶ 7.) Plaintiff and his ex-wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, were outside the residence when the officers arrived. (Id. ¶ 8.) Torres and Leonard immediately handcuffed the Plaintiff and put him in the back of their car. (Id. ¶ 9.) She handed a gun to the officers and told them that her daughter found the weapon in a dresser drawer. (Id. ¶ 11.) Plaintiff did not own or possess the gun that was given to the officers. (Id. ¶ 12.) Plaintiff told the officers that the gun was not his. (Id. ¶ 13.)

         The officers transported Plaintiff to the police station and charged him with failure to possess a Fire Owner's Identification card. (Id. ¶ 14.) While Plaintiff was at the police station, Leonard left the station to get Jacqueline Kennedy to sign a complaint for domestic battery. (Id. ¶ 15.) Leonard returned with a signed complaint approximately an hour later. (Id. ¶ 16.) The Defendant Officers did not see Plaintiff with a gun or see Plaintiff striking Kennedy. (Id. ¶ 17.)

         Plaintiff alleges that the officers did not have probable cause to believe that any criminal activity had taken place and asserts that he had not broken any laws. (Id. ¶¶ 18-19.) Plaintiff further alleges that Torres and Leonard wrote false police reports and falsely testified. (Id. ¶¶ 20, 22-24.) Plaintiff alleges that Zak put white out through lines of important transcripts before giving them to him. (Id. ¶ 28.) Plaintiff also states that the judge in his criminal trial told Zak to redact discovery before giving it to him. (Id. ¶ 27.)

         On November 29, 2010, the domestic-battery charge was dismissed without a preliminary hearing because Kennedy did not come to court. (Id. ¶ 29.) After a bench trial on August 29, 2013, Plaintiff was found not guilty of Felony Possession of a Weapon and Armed Habitual Criminal. (Id. ¶ 30.)

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Rule 12(b)(6) permits a defendant to move to dismiss a complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). All well-pleaded allegations are presumed to be true, and all inferences are read in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Lavalais v. Village of Melrose Park, 734 F.3d 629, 632 (7th Cir. 2013). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). However, plaintiffs are not required to “plead the elements of a cause of action along with facts supporting each element.” Runnion ex rel. Runnion v. Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago & Nw. Indiana, 786 F.3d 510, 517 (7th Cir. 2015). Rather, the complaint must provide a defendant “with ‘fair notice' of the claim and its basis.” Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) and Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         ANALYSIS

         County Defendants

         Plaintiff brings one claim for violations of his Fourteenth Amendment rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendant Jane Zak, Count I, and a claim of indemnity against Cook County, Count IV.

         In Count II, Plaintiff alleges that Zak tampered with transcripts. This claim is barred by the absolute immunity provided to all prosecutorial actions that are “intimately associated with the judicial phase of the criminal process.” Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 431 (1976). This immunity is not just a defense to liability but immunity from suit. See Mitchell v. Forsyth, 472 U.S. 511, 526 (1985). This Court previous held that ...


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