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Brooks v. City of Chicago

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

March 29, 2017

JUSTIN BROOKS, SR., Plaintiff,
CITY OF CHICAGO, et al., Defendants.


          Young B. Kim United States Magistrate Judge.

         Justin Brooks, Sr. brings this action against the City of Chicago, Officers Daniel Solis and Peter Spain, and Sergeant Albert Perez (collectively, “Defendants”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Brooks alleges that he was arrested during a traffic stop without probable cause and detained in police custody for an excessively long period and in unreasonable conditions of confinement. Before the court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment. For the following reasons, the motion is granted in part and denied in part:

         Procedural History

         Brooks filed his complaint in April 2015 naming the City of Chicago, Officers Daniel Solis, Jeffrey Coleman, and Peter Spain, and Sergeant Albert Perez as defendants. (R. 1, Compl.) After the parties consented to this court's jurisdiction, (R. 24); see 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the court dismissed Officer Coleman from this action because there were no claims made against him, (R. 39). The parties then proceeded with discovery on the claims against Defendants.

         Defendants filed the current motion for summary judgment on December 23, 2016. (R. 66.) The court ordered Brooks to file a response by January 30, 2017. (R. 65.) On January 30, 2017, Brooks filed a motion requesting an extension of time to respond, which the court granted with a new deadline of February 20, 2017.[1](R. 69; R. 71.) The court cautioned Brooks that if he ignored the deadline, the court would “rule on the pending motion for summary judgment without the benefit of Plaintiff's opposition.” (R. 71.) Brooks did not file a response opposing the motion.

         Local Rule 56.1

         Local Rule (“L.R.”) 56.1(a)(3) requires the party moving for summary judgment to provide “a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue and that entitle the moving party to a judgment as a matter of law.” The statement should consist of short, numbered paragraphs that are supported by citations to admissible evidence. L.R. 56.1(a)(3); see also Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 682 (7th Cir. 2003). The opposing party must then “file ‘a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon.'” Cracco v. Vitran Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009) (quoting L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(B)). “All material facts set forth in the statement required of the moving party will be deemed to be admitted unless controverted by the statement of the opposing party.” L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(C). Here, Defendants' L.R. 56.1 undisputed material facts are deemed admitted because Brooks did not oppose the current motion.


         The undisputed facts show that this lawsuit stems from an April 18, 2013 incident in Chicago, Illinois, when Brooks was pulled over for multiple driving infractions. (Defs.' Statement of Facts (“DSOF”) at ¶¶ 3, 6.) On that date at approximately 5:44 p.m., Officers Solis and Spain were patrolling in a marked patrol car when they observed Brooks driving with an inoperable taillight while talking on a mobile phone. (Id. at ¶¶ 7-9.) The officers then stopped Brooks's car near the intersection of Perry Street and 69th Street. (Id. at ¶ 12.) As they approached Brooks's car, the officers observed Brooks's son in the back seat. (Id. at ¶ 14.) The officers asked Brooks to roll down his window. (Id. at ¶ 15.) Brooks did not comply and refused to exit his vehicle until a sergeant arrived on the scene. (Id. at ¶¶ 16-17.) When Sergeant Perez arrived on the scene about 10 minutes later, he identified himself as a sergeant and asked Brooks to exit his car. (Id. at ¶¶ 20, 22.) Brooks complied with the sergeant's request. (Id. at ¶¶ 24-25.) Upon exiting, Brooks was immediately handcuffed and then transported to the Seventh District police station. (Id. at ¶ 26.) At the police station, one of the officers started on the requisite paperwork and Brooks was taken to a small room where he spent eight hours[2] handcuffed to a bench. (Id. at ¶¶ 28-30.) He never complained to the officers about the handcuffs and never sought medical treatment for any injury. (Id. at ¶¶ 33, 35.) Eventually, Brooks was taken to lockup to be processed. (Id. at ¶ 36.) The next morning, Brooks appeared before a judge and later that day was released on a recognizance bond. (Id. at ¶¶ 37-38.)

         Brooks was charged with driving while using a mobile phone, driving a vehicle with an inoperable taillight, failing to properly restrain a child, endangering the life of a child, driving under the influence of drugs, and obstructing an officer. (Id. at 42, 44.) He contested his criminal charges and a bench trial was held on those charges. At the close of the state's case, the trial judge granted Brooks's motion for a directed finding, dismissing all charges except for the two that caused Officers Solis and Spain to make the traffic stop-driving while using a mobile phone and driving a car with an inoperable taillight. (Id. at ¶¶ 43-44; see also id., Ex. D at 49-50.) Brooks was convicted of those two charges. (Id. at ¶ 43.)


         Summary judgment is appropriate when the moving party shows “that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In considering a motion for summary judgment, this court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, drawing all reasonable inferences in his favor. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). A genuine issue of material fact exists where “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. at 248. Summary judgment should be entered “against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). In general, a Section 1983 plaintiff must show that a person “acting under color of state law deprived [him] of a right, privilege, or immunity secured by either the Constitution or federal law.” Shelton v. Wright, No. 09 CV 6413, 2013 WL 212910, at *6 (N.D.Ill. Jan. 18, 2013) (citing Lugar v. Edmondsun Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922, 929 (1982)).

         A. False Arrest Claims Against Officers Solis and Spain

         Brooks alleges that Officers Spain and Solis falsely arrested him because, according to him, they lacked probable cause. (See R. 1, Compl. at ¶ 18.) To prevail on a false arrest claim, a Section 1983 plaintiff must show that an officer made an “unreasonable seizure prohibited by the Fourth Amendment.” Ienco v. Angarone, 429 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2005). Probable cause to arrest is an absolute bar to a Section 1983 claim for false arrest. Neita v. City of Chicago, 830 F.3d 494, 497 (7th Cir. 2016); Williams v. City of Chicago, 733 F.3d 749, 756 (7th Cir. 2013); Mustafa v. City of Chicago, 442 F.3d 544, 547 (7th Cir. 2006). Also, “[w]here ‘the arresting officer witnessed the crime and the conviction [was] based on his testimony, proof of the crime is ipso facto proof of probable cause.'” Puch v. Vill. of Glenwood, No. 05 CV 1114, 2012 WL 2502688, at *4 (N.D.Ill. June 27, 2012) (quoting Patterson v. Leyden, 947 F.Supp. 1211, 1217 (N.D.Ill. 1996)); see also King v. Goldsmith, 897 F.2d 885, 886-87 (7th ...

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