United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
SHEILA P. ZINN and BIANCA S. GILMORE, Plaintiffs,
THE VILLAGE OF SAUK VILLAGE and Sauk Village Police Officer RICHARD AGUAYO, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Robert Blakey United States District Judge
case involves a dispute between Plaintiffs Sheila Zinn
(“Zinn”) and Bianca Gilmore
(“Gilmore”) and Defendants the Village of Sauk
Village (“Sauk Village”) and one of its police
officers, Richard Aguayo (“Aguayo”), regarding
the impoundment of Zinn's automobile on March 24, 2014.
Plaintiffs bring five causes of action in their Amended
Complaint . Plaintiffs allege that Aguayo illegally
seized Gilmore (Count I); illegally searched and seized
Zinn's automobile (Count II); and unlawfully retaliated
against Plaintiffs' exercise of their First Amendment
rights (Count III) in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiffs further assert a § 1983 Monell claim
against Sauk Village for its alleged widespread practice of
unconstitutionally seizing private property in order to raise
revenue (Count IV). Finally, Plaintiffs bring a state law
indemnification claim against Sauk Village under 745 ILCS
10/9-102 for Aguayo's misconduct (Count V). On November
17, 2016, Defendants jointly moved under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) to dismiss Plaintiffs' Amended
Complaint for failure to state a claim. Defs.' Mot.
Dismiss . For the reasons explained below,
Defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part.
Amended Complaint  sets forth the following relevant
facts, which the Court accepts as true for the purposes of
Defendants' motion. On the morning of March 24, 2014,
Plaintiff Bianca Gilmore was involved in a traffic accident
while driving a vehicle owned by her mother, Plaintiff Sheila
Zinn. Am. Compl.  ¶ 7. Shortly thereafter, Defendant
Richard Aguayo, a Village of Sauk Village Police Officer,
arrived on the scene and issued accident reports to Gilmore
and the other driver. Id. ¶ 8. Plaintiffs
allege that Aguayo then ordered Gilmore, without probable
cause, to follow him to the Sauk Village police station.
Id. ¶¶ 8, 10. After requiring Gilmore to
wait at the police station for an hour and a half, Aguayo
advised her to contact someone who could come to the station
and pay a $350 bond. Id. Gilmore contends that, at
this point, she had not been issued a ticket nor informed
that charges were being brought against her. Id.
contacted her mother via telephone. Id. ¶ 14.
Plaintiffs allege that, during the call, Aguayo notified Zinn
that Gilmore had been arrested, but refused to provide
further information. Id. ¶ 15. Instead, Aguayo
told Zinn that her daughter would be “going into a
cage” if Zinn did not pay the $350 bond, and hung up on
Aguayo hung up the phone, Zinn called the Sauk Village Police
Department to obtain more information. Id. ¶
16. A different Sauk Village police officer assured her that,
contrary to Aguayo's claims, Gilmore had not been taken
into custody. Id. ¶ 18. Nevertheless, Gilmore
remained at the Sauk Village Police Station.
that day, Aguayo once again told Gilmore to contact her
mother, this time to determine why Zinn “was taking so
long” to pay Gilmore's bond. Id. Aguayo
again threatened to put Gilmore “in a cell” if
Zinn did not show up with $350 in cash. Id. ¶
19. After Gilmore made contact with her mother, Zinn
questioned the legality of Aguayo's actions. Id.
¶ 21. In response, Aguayo “got angry” and
stated that Zinn's questioning had “made things bad
for her.” Id. According to Plaintiffs, Aguayo
then “caused false charges to be made” against
Gilmore, processed her, and placed her in a
cell. Id. ¶ 22. Plaintiffs also
allege that at this point, Aguayo reached into Gilmore's
pocket and seized the car keys to Zinn's automobile.
Id. ¶ 23.
Zinn travelled to the Sauk Village Police Station in person.
Upon arrival, she asked to speak with the Chief of Police in
order to file a complaint. Id. ¶¶ 24-25.
In response, Aguayo falsely told Zinn that he was the Chief
of Police and that Zinn should speak with him in his office
about paying Gilmore's bond. Id. ¶ 25.
finally released Gilmore later that day,  but retained
possession of Zinn's automobile. Id.
¶¶ 23-26. Upon her release, Aguayo provided Gilmore
with a “Notification of Vehicle Impoundment” that
identified “aiding and abetting the commission of a
crime” as justification for the vehicle's seizure.
Id. ¶ 28. Plaintiffs allege, however, that the
notice did not specify the crime Gilmore had allegedly aided
and abetted, a date for an administrative hearing, or
Gilmore's right to such a hearing. Id.
also allege that, while Zinn's vehicle was impounded, the
Sauk Village Police Department rejected or obstructed
multiple attempts to file official complaints regarding
Aguayo's conduct. Id. ¶ 48. Specifically,
Zinn tried to file a notarized complaint against Aguayo three
times on March 31, 2014, but was told that no one was present
to accept her grievance. Id. ¶ 49. Plaintiffs
maintain that when a complaint was finally submitted, it was
never investigated by Sauk Village and Aguayo was never
punished for his actions. Id. ¶ 53.
April 1, 2014, Plaintiffs requested a preliminary hearing
regarding the impoundment of Zinn's vehicle. Id.
¶¶ 30-31. Plaintiffs allege that, under the Sauk
Village Municipal Code, the owner of an impounded vehicle may
request a preliminary hearing within fifteen days of
impoundment, and, once such a request is made, a preliminary
hearing must be held within forty-eight hours. Id.
¶ 31. Nevertheless, Plaintiffs were not given a timely
preliminary hearing. Id. ¶ 32. Instead, a final
administrative hearing was held without notice on April 17,
2014, at which time default judgment was entered against
Plaintiffs. Id. ¶¶ 33-34.
the default judgment, Plaintiffs were granted a preliminary
hearing in August 2014. Id. ¶ 58. Plaintiffs
allege that when Gilmore appeared at the hearing, however, a
neutral arbiter was not present. Id. Instead, an
attorney for Sauk Village informed Gilmore that Zinn's
car would be released to her custody if she signed a
settlement agreement and a release of all potential claims
against the Village. Id. ¶ 59. Gilmore refused.
Id. ¶ 60.
October 1, 2015, Sauk Village's Public Safety
Administrator reviewed the evidence that Plaintiffs initially
provided in their April 1, 2014 request for a preliminary
hearing. Id. After reviewing the evidence, the
Public Safety Administrator waived all fines and ordered that
Zinn's vehicle be released. Id. In the end,
Zinn's vehicle was impounded for nineteen months, during
which time Plaintiffs incurred various expenses for rental
cars, taxi services, and public transportation. Id.
¶¶ 55, 57.
claim that Zinn's vehicle was initially seized pursuant
to Sauk Village's Vehicle Impoundment Ordinance
(“the Ordinance”). Id. ¶¶
35-36. Plaintiffs allege that, since 2011, Sauk Village
police officers have routinely seized and impounded vehicles
under the auspice of the Ordinance “without a warrant
and when no valid exception to the warrant requirement
applies” in order to raise revenue for the Village.
Id. ¶¶ 35-37, 41, 46. Plaintiffs assert
that, as a ...