Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Clay v. Cook County

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

March 6, 2017

SHAWN CLAY, Plaintiff,
v.
COOK COUNTY and COOK COUNTY SHERIFF THOMAS DART, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Robert M. Dow, Jr. United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on the motion of Cook County and Sheriff Thomas Dart (collectively, “Defendants”) to dismiss Plaintiff's second amended complaint for failure to state a claim [55].[1] For the reasons stated below, Defendants' motion is denied. This case is set for status hearing on March 22, 2017 at 9:30 a.m.

         I. Background[2]

         On December 25, 2012, Plaintiff Shawn Clay (“Clay”) was arrested for aggravated robbery. The following day, he was taken into custody by Cook County employees under the direction of Defendant Dart. Plaintiff was not provided a probable cause hearing-commonly referred to as a Gerstein hearing[3]-until January 3, 2013. Plaintiff alleges that this delay violated his right to due process under the Fourth and Fifteen Amendments to the United States Constitution.

         Plaintiff's second amended complaint contains a single count based on Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. of City of New York, 536 U.S. 658, 694 (1978). Plaintiff alleges that it is a “common practice, custom, and/or policy of employees of Cook County to hold individuals beyond the constitutionally required time for a bond hearing where those individuals were being held for other charges.” [52] at 2. More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that several Cook County employees informed him that this was a common practice, custom, and/or policy of the Cook County Jail. Plaintiff also alleges that other individuals arrested and jailed by Cook County deputies have had their constitutional rights violated in the same manner. In addition, Plaintiff cites to another lawsuit from this district, Weaver v. Dart, Case. No. 16-cv-4415, in which the plaintiff alleged that “[t]he Sheriff of Cook County has [a] practice[, ] custom and policy to avoid providing hearing[s] for individuals who are being held for other charges.” [52] at 3. Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages, attorneys' fees, and costs.

         Currently before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss the second amended complaint for failure to state a claim. Defendants attach documentation showing that Plaintiff's arrest for armed robbery triggered an alert that Defendant had two outstanding felony warrants for armed robberies that he allegedly committed in other districts of Cook County. On December 26, 2012, Defendant was taken to the Bridgeview Courthouse for a Gerstein hearing on the two felony warrants-but not on the Christmas Day aggravated robbery charge. See [55-4]. Bond was set at $150, 000, which Plaintiff did not pay. Plaintiff pled guilty to the two armed robbery charges. At sentencing, Plaintiff was given credit for the time that he spent in custody between December 26, 2012 and January 3, 2013.

         II. Legal Standard

         Defendant seeks dismissal of Plaintiff's complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), which challenges the legal sufficiency of the complaint. For purposes of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), “the court accepts all well-pleaded factual allegations as true and construes all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor.” Mutter, 17 F.Supp.3d at 756. To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a plaintiff's complaint must allege facts which, when taken as true, “‘plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a speculative level.'” Cochran v. Illinois State Toll Highway Auth., 828 F.3d 597, 599 (7th Cir. 2016) (quoting EEOC v. Concentra Health Servs., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007)). The Court reads the complaint and assesses its plausibility as a whole. See Atkins v. City of Chicago, 631 F.3d 823, 832 (7th Cir. 2011).

         III. Analysis

         A. Sufficiency of Monell Allegations

         Defendants argue that Plaintiff's Monell claim must be dismissed because it simply repeats the applicable legal standard and does not contain sufficient factual allegations to plausibly suggest that Plaintiff is entitled to relief.

         The Court concludes that Plaintiff's allegations are sufficient to state a § 1983 Monell claim. Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a person may sue anyone who, while acting under color of law, causes him to be deprived of any of his constitutional rights. 42 U.S.C. § 1983; Connick v. Thompson, 563 U.S. 51, 60-62 (2011). A municipality can be held liable under Section 1983 only “when execution of [its] policy or custom, whether made by its lawmakers or by those whose edicts or acts may be fairly said to represent official policy, ” causes the constitutional deprivation. Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. of City of New York, 536 U.S. 658, 694 (1978). One of the ways in which a plaintiff may establish municipal liability under Monell is by showing “a ‘wide-spread practice' that although not authorized by written law and express policy, is so permanent and well-settled as to constitute a ‘custom or usage' with the force of law.” Calhoun v. Ramsey, 408 F.3d 375, 380 (7th Cir. 2005) (quoting McTigue v. City of Chicago, 60 F.3d 381, 382 (7th Cir. 1995)).

         To state a Monell claim, a plaintiff must plead “factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference” that the municipality maintained a policy or custom that caused the alleged constitutional deprivation. McCauley v. City of Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 616 (7th Cir. 2011) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). “The required level of factual specificity rises with the complexity of the claim.” Id. at 616-17; Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 405 (7th Cir. 2010) (“A more complex case * * * will require more detail, both to give the opposing party notice of what the case is all about and to show how, in the plaintiff's mind at least, the dots should be connected.”). Mere “legal conclusions or elements of the cause of action” must be disregarded. McCauley, 671 F.3d at 617. Thus, “boilerplate” allegations that repeat the elements of a Monell claim without any further factual content are dismissed for failure to state a claim. See, e.g., Annan v. Vill. of Romeoville, 2013 WL 673484, at *6 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 25, 2013) (holding that an allegation that defendant “maintains a policy by which officers use excessive force to arrest individuals with no probable cause or reasonable suspicion warranting such” was insufficient to state a Monell claim).

         Plaintiff's allegations are sufficient to state a Monell claim based on Defendants' alleged practice, custom, and/or policy of holding individuals beyond the constitutionally required time for a bond hearing (two days) where those individuals were being held for other charges. See Fonder v. Sheriff of Kankakee Cty., 823 F.3d 1144, 1145 (7th Cir. 2016) (“Police may take as long as two days before presenting an arrested person to a judge for a probable-cause determination.” (citing Riverside County v. McLaughlin, 500 U.S. 44 (1991))). Plaintiff cites to (1) his own personal experience at the Cook County Jail; (2) alleged admissions made to Plaintiff by Cook County Jail personal; (3) alleged knowledge of other instances in which individuals being held for ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.