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Casimir v. City of Chicago

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

March 7, 2017

JEROME J. CASIMIR a/k/a JEROME J. DUMAS and BETTY J. DUMAS, Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Joan B. Gottschall United States District Judge

         Before the court is defendants' motion to dismiss the pro se plaintiffs' second amended complaint with prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural History

         Having received leave under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) to proceed without paying the filing fee, Jerome J. Casimir (“Casimir”), who represents himself, commenced this civil action by filing his complaint on April 29, 2015. (Dkt. 1, 6.) Casimir moved for leave to amend his complaint and add Betty J. Dumas (“Dumas”) as a plaintiff before defendants responded to the original complaint. (Dkt. 16, 17.) The court granted his request. (Dkt. 22).

         Like the original complaint, plaintiffs' first amended complaint had four counts: Count One, § 1983 claim for “malicious harassment”; Count Two, § 1983 claim for “due process”; Count Three, claim for indemnity against the City of Chicago; and Count Four, “state law claim for respondeat superior.” Defendants moved to dismiss the first amended complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The court granted that motion and dismissed the first amended complaint on February 16, 2016. (Dkt. 32.) The court, however, granted plaintiffs leave to amend Count One. (Id. at 1, 6.) The court dismissed Count One for failure to comply with the pleading standard of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2):

Plaintiffs make a claim for “malicious harassment” based on the false issuance of the ticket; a secret investigation (not described); surrounding plaintiffs' residence with police; forcing one of the plaintiffs to move and ruining his credit and reputation, and “remov[ing] government records like fire reports to cover corruption and assist crime because people be [sic] afraid on the street.” Apart, however, from the detailed allegations about the baseless ticket, none of these allegations are described, and the court is unable to fulfill its function of making sure that the allegations are plausible and that the allegations give the defendants sufficient notice of what plaintiffs are complaining about. Plaintiffs' amended complaint contains little in the way of facts and lots in the way of useless legal boilerplate and legal conclusions. Plaintiffs also fail to provide any facts justifying their claim for $500, 000 in damages.

(Order 4, Feb. 16, 2016, Dkt. 32.)

         After receiving an extension of their deadline to amend, plaintiffs filed their second amended complaint (Dkt. 40), which is now before the court. Count One is now titled “malicious harassment claim and illegal search.” (2d Am. Compl. 2.) And plaintiffs replead their state law indemnity and respondeat superior claims as Counts Two and Three respectively.

         B. Facts

         The following factual summary comes from the second amended complaint. For purposes of deciding the Rule 12(b)(6) motion that is before the court, the court treats all the well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and draws all reasonable inferences in plaintiffs' favor. Manistee Apts., LLC v. City of Chicago, 844 F.3d 630, 633 (7th Cir. 2016); Katz-Crank v. Haskett, 843 F.3d 641, 646 (7th Cir. 2016).

         Most of the allegations in the complaint stem from an interaction with police that occurred on July 22, 2014, but the plaintiffs describe a separate incident in their second amended complaint that occurred approximately one week earlier. (See 2d Am. Compl. ¶ 8.) In that earlier incident, two Chicago police officers stopped the plaintiffs without probable cause, made them stand with their hands on a car, and ran “their hands all over [the plaintiffs].” (Id.) The officers covered their badges. (Id.) They searched Casimir's book bag and Dumas' purse before telling them that they could leave. (Id.)

         About a week later, on July 22, 2014, the plaintiffs stopped at a bus stop to fix a wheel that had broken on one of the suitcases they were pulling. (Id. ¶ 5.) An unmarked police car pulled up next to them and two Chicago police officers got out, covering their badges. (Id.) At least one of the officers yelled, “You drinking [sic], I see a beer on the ground don't you lie to me because I can take both of you down.” (Id.) The officers searched Casimir's pockets. (Id. ¶ 6.) Dumas initially refused to show the officers her identification when they asked for it, but she relented because Casimir told her that they would have to go to the police station if she did not. (Id.)

         The officers forged Casimir and Dumas' signatures[1] on tickets that falsely accused them of drinking a Coors beer. (Id. ¶ 3, 4.) Plaintiffs first learned of the tickets when they received a default administrative order on or around September 18, 2014. (Id. ΒΆ 4.) The Circuit Court of Cook County may have dismissed the ...


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