United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
ERIC J. SCHEIDLER, Plaintiff,
METROPOLITAN PIER AND EXPOSITION AUTHORITY, an Illinois municipal corporation; NAVY PIER, INC., an Illinois corporation; JOHN GRAEBER, and EDWARD MONTGOMERY, in their individual capacities, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. Dow, Jr. United States District Judge.
the Court is Defendant Metropolitan Pier and Exposition
Authority's motion to dismiss . For the reasons set
forth below, Defendant's motion to dismiss  is
granted. Plaintiff is given until April 17, 2017, to file an
amended complaint if he believes that he can cure the
deficiencies set out above.
April 15, 2015, Planned Parenthood rented an event space at
Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois. Security guards employed by
Navy Pier, Inc. (“NPI”) were allegedly given
photographs of Plaintiff Eric Scheidler and “other
pro-life persons” so that they could identify them and
“take action against them” if they attempted to
enter Navy Pier. [1, ¶ 186.] When Plaintiff tried to
enter Navy Pier, he was initially stopped by an unnamed NPI
security guard, who told Plaintiff that “protesters
were not allowed on Navy Pier.” Id. ¶ 47.
The guard then radioed a supervisor who authorized Plaintiff
to enter Navy Pier. Id. ¶¶ 53-58.
then walked to the room where the Planned Parenthood event
was being held. An unnamed woman outside the event asked
Plaintiff if he was there to attend the event and he
answered, “No.” [1, ¶¶ 60-64.]
Plaintiff then exited the building, but was followed by the
unnamed woman. This person allegedly spoke with two NPI
security guards to express her disapproval at Plaintiff
passing through the area. Id. ¶¶ 69-70.
thereafter, Plaintiff noticed that he was being followed by a
NPI security van. He was then stopped by another NPI security
guard and Chicago police officer Edward Montgomery, both of
whom asked to see Plaintiff's identification. According
to Plaintiff, Montgomery threatened to arrest and jail
Plaintiff for trespassing “if he refused to surrender
his I.D.” Id. ¶ 81. Plaintiff then
“tried to get his I.D. out of his wallet, ” but
Montgomery accused Plaintiff of “resisting
arrest.” Id. ¶ 84. Montgomery then
handcuffed Plaintiff while a security guard took
Plaintiff's cell phone. Montgomery escorted Plaintiff to
a holding room at Navy Pier and took Plaintiff's GoPro
camera, which had been recording these events. Plaintiff
contends that Montgomery stated, “If Navy Pier wants
[this footage] erased, it will be erased.” Id.
later, NPI personnel provided Plaintiff with a “Navy
Pier Trespass Notice, ” [1-1, 23], which Plaintiff
claims “falsely stated” that he had been
protesting on Navy Pier in a restricted or private area [1,
¶ 105]. Plaintiff was then “forced to sign the
false Trespass Notice while he was still their
captive.” Id. ¶ 108. Plaintiff was
ultimately transported to the police station by different
Chicago police officers and charged with trespassing.
Id. ¶¶ 109-117, 138. When he was released,
Plaintiff found that his GoPro's memory card had been
removed, which was done to “cover up”
Defendant's' “illegal actions.”
Id. ¶¶ 120-25. Plaintiff went to trial on
his trespassing charges in August 2015, and was found not
guilty. Id. ¶¶ 148-49.
April 13, 2016, Plaintiff filed his complaint  against
NPI, Montgomery, NPI's Security Director John Gaber, and
the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority
(“MPEA”)asserting 28 claims based on these events.
Specifically, Plaintiff asserts claims under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 for violations of the First Amendment, Fourth Amendment,
Fourteenth Amendment and conspiracy, as well as state law
claims for false arrest, false imprisonment, conversion,
negligent spoliation of evidence, conspiracy, exemplary
damages, declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and
attorney's fees. Defendant MPEA filed a motion to dismiss
the specific claims against it. [42.]
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted, the complaint
first must comply with Rule 8(a) by providing “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), such that
the defendant is given “fair notice of what the * * *
claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957))
(alteration in original). Second, the factual allegations in
the complaint must be sufficient to raise the possibility of
relief above the “speculative level.”
E.E.O.C. v. Concentra Health Servs., Inc., 496 F.3d
773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 555). “A pleading that offers ‘labels and
conclusions' or a ‘formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Dismissal for failure to
state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) is proper “when the
allegations in a complaint, however true, could not raise a
claim of entitlement to relief.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 558. In reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to
Rule 12(b)(6), the Court accepts as true all of
Plaintiff's well-pleaded factual allegations and draws
all reasonable inferences in Plaintiff's favor.
Killingsworth v. HSBC Bank Nevada, N.A., 507 F.3d
614, 618 (7th Cir. 2007). The “documents attached to a
motion to dismiss are considered part of the pleadings if
they are referred to in the plaintiff's complaint and are
central to his claim” and “may be considered by
the district court in ruling on the motion to dismiss * * *
without converting [it] to a motion for summary
judgment.” Wright v. Associated Ins. Cos.
Inc., 29 F.3d 1244, 1248 (7th Cir. 1994).
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).
The Seventh Circuit recognizes three paths to municipal
liability: “(1) through an express policy that, when
enforced, causes a constitutional deprivation; (2) through 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; or (3) through an allegation that the
constitutional injury was caused by a person with
‘final decision policymaking authority.'”
Calhoun v. Ramsey, 408 F.3d 375, 380 (7th Cir. 2005)
(quoting McTigue v. City of Chi., 60 F.3d 381, 382
(7th Cir. 1995)).
MPEA moves to dismiss Plaintiff's Section 1983 claims
against it for violations of the Fourth Amendment (Claim
Four), violations of procedural due process under the
Fourteenth Amendment (Claim Seven), deprivation of liberty
under the Fourteenth Amendment (Claim Ten), confiscation of
Plaintiff's GoPro's “micro S.D. memory
card” in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment (Claim
Thirteen), violations of the First Amendment (Claim Sixteen),
as well as declaratory (Claim Twenty-Six) and injunctive
relief (Claim Twenty-Seven). In support of dismissing all of
these claims, Defendant argues that it cannot be held
vicariously liable for NPI's acts based on the terms of
its lease with NPI.
attached the lease agreement between MPEA and NPI to his
complaint. [1-1, at 1-16.] The lease provides that NPI
“shall have exclusive authority to operate and manage,
and shall be responsible for managing and operating”
Navy Pier and some of the surrounding area (the
“Premises”). Id. at 6 (§ 6.1).
NPI's duties include responsibility for “all
operating expenses and capital expenditures” and
“hir[ing] and employ[ing] such personnel as shall, in
[NPI's] judgment, be required to operate, manage and
maintain the Premises in accordance with the provisions of
this Agreement and the Framework Plan, and, in connection
therewith, shall have sole authority and responsibility to
determine the personnel policies and practices of the
Premises.” Id. at 7 (§ 6.1.1). The lease
provides that MPEA has “no responsibility to provide
any security at the Premises” after December 31, 2011.
Id. at 8 (§ 6.7.2). Based on these terms, MPEA
argues that it lacks any agency relationship with NPI. And