United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Rock Island Division
DARROW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 31, filed
by Defendants City of East Moline and City of East Moline
Police Officers Kyle Schultz and Matthew Shattuck
(“Officers”). Plaintiff Joshua Bentley filed claims
for false arrest, malicious prosecution, and unreasonable
search and seizure against the defendant Officers under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, and indemnification claims against the
City of East Moline under 745 ILCS 10/9-102. For the
following reasons, the motion is GRANTED regarding the
malicious prosecution claims in Counts III and IV, and the
Fourth Amendment violations alleged in Counts V, VI, and
DENIED regarding the false arrest claims, Counts I and II.
events at issue center on the arrest of Joshua Bentley by
Officers Matthew Shattuck and Kyle Schultz on July 4, 2013.
Joshua Bentley is a resident of East Moline, Illinois. He
lives in a two-story building, where he occupies the unit on
the second floor. The unit is accessible by staircases in
both front and back. The back staircase is on Bentley's
property, and leads to a gravel parking area that is also
Bentley's property. The lot abuts a public alley. The
East Moline Police Department (“the Department”)
is located across the street, with an entrance on the alley.
3, 2013, Bentley's friend Jason Stirk called his mother,
Karen Smith. Smith called the Department on the morning of
July 4, 2013, and stated to the officer on the phone that
Stirk and his friend were going to “create a
disturbance” at the Fourth of July parade. UMF 17.
Smith relayed to the officer that Stirk had told her he would
probably be arrested for the disturbance he planned to cause.
Smith incorrectly identified Bentley during the call as
Stirk's friend “Josh Bennett.” Department
Lieutenant Jon Showalter relayed the information to Officers
Shattuck and Schultz, who believed based on this information
that Stirk and “Josh Bennett” were going to
create a disturbance.
officers used a database to identify Stirk's driver's
license photo and set out to investigate the tip. Both were
in plainclothes, and it is contested as to whether their
badges, guns, and radios were visible on their person.
Pl.'s DMF 24. After patrolling the parade route to locate
Stirk, the officers returned to the Department and learned
that a Joshua Bentley resided on the 900 block of 15th Avenue
in East Moline. Officer Schultz walked outside of the
Department entrance across from Bentley's apartment and
recognized Stirk sitting on the back stairs. Both Officers
walked over and engaged Stirk in conversation as he remained
seated on the staircase. Officer Shattuck ascended several
steps up the staircase to do so. Bentley, hearing voices
outside his window, looked outside and saw Officer Shultz on
his property. He yelled at Schultz multiple times to get off
his property. From the window, Bentley could see Officer
Schultz indicating to his waist, which Officer Schultz stated
occurred when he “displayed [his] badge.” Schultz
Dep. 30:7 - 14; Bentley Dep. 62:22-63:9. Bentley exited down
the front stairs of his house and walked around to the gravel
lot in the back alley, stopping about ten feet from Shultz.
Bentley repeated several times that the officers were
trespassing and needed to leave.
disputed as to whether or when the Officers identified
themselves as police. Bentley stated that “[t]he word
police officer was never spoken out loud never once.”
Bentley Dep. 49:24. Officer Schultz told Bentley that they
were trying to conduct an investigation. Schultz 33:5-13.
Bentley continued to state that the Officers needed to leave
the property, saying “I don't really need to talk
to you about anything . . . you are trespassing.”
Bentley Dep. 48:23-25. Though Bentley was speaking loudly and
the Officers stated that he was “visually upset,
” Schultz Dep. 52:16, he never made physical contact
with the officers or physically prevented the officers from
doing their jobs. Stirk and Bentley both describe
Bentley's behavior during the interaction as
“matter of fact, ” Bentley Dep. 64:10-13; Stirk
Dep. 36:8, while Officer Shattuck said Bentley was
“continuing to yell. He would not listen. He would not
let Detective Schultz explain or myself explain anything to
him and continuing to try to interrupt my conversation with
Mr. Stirk.” Shattuck Dep. 54:13 - 55:6.
Shattuck stated to Bentley that he needed to provide
identification or he was going to be arrested. Bentley
responded by slapping his left pocket to indicate that he did
not have identification on him, and said “I don't
have any.” Officer Shattuck descended the stairs and
said, “either you show me some ID or I'm going to
arrest you.” Shattuck made the decision to arrest
Bentley after two to three minutes of the encounter. Schultz
Dep. 38:8-9. Bentley was arrested for Resisting - Obstructing
a Police Officer in violation of 720 ILCS 5/31-1. Both
Officers handcuffed him and walked him over to the
Department, where he was bailed out on the same day. The
Officers did not return to speak with Stirk after the arrest.
The Officers both presented the case to the State's
Attorney on or around July 8, 2013, and the attorney
“chose not to file charges at that time, ”
Shattuck Dep. 60:16-18, leaving open the possibility of
filing charges within eighteen months.
filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that his
Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and
seizure were violated when the Officers entered his property
without warrant and arrested him without probable cause, and
that he was subject to malicious prosecution. The claims
against City of East Moline (II, IV, and VI) arise under an
Illinois statute, 745 ILCS 10/9-102, that provides
indemnification by a “local public entity” for
tort judgments incurred by employees acting within the scope
of their employment. Defendants have moved for summary
judgment on all counts.
Legal Standard on a Motion for Summary Judgment
judgment is proper if “the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine
issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Magin
v. Monsanto, 420 F.3d 679, 686 (7th Cir. 2005) (citing
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). At the summary judgment stage, the
judge's function is not to weigh the evidence and assess
the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a
genuine issue for trial-that is, whether there is sufficient
evidence favoring the non-moving party for a jury to return a
verdict in its favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986); Patel v. Allstate
Ins. Co., 105 F.3d 365, 370 (7th Cir. 1997). There can
be no genuine issue as to any material fact when a party
“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., 477 U.S. at 322.
the parties' versions of events differ substantially,
courts are required to view the facts and draw reasonable
inferences in the light most favorable to the party opposing
the motion. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378
(2007) (quoting United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369
U.S. 654, 655 (1962)). In qualified immunity cases, this
usually means adopting the plaintiff's version of the
facts. Scott, 550 U.S. at 378. The court is not
required to accept unwarranted factual inferences.
Stachowski v. Town of Cicero, 425 F.3d 1075, 1078
(7th Cir. 2005).
42 U.S.C. 1983 and Qualified Immunity
order to state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must
sufficiently allege that (1) a person acting under color of
state law (2) deprived him of a right, privilege, or immunity
secured by the Constitution or laws of the United
States.” London v. RBS Citizens, N.A., 600
F.3d 742, 745-46 (7th Cir. 2010).
immunity is an entitlement to avoid trial.” Jones
v. Clark, 630 F.3d 677, 679 (7th Cir. 2011). It shields
officials, including police officers, from harassment,
distraction, and liability when they perform their duties
reasonably, while ensuring that public officials are held
accountable when they exercise power irresponsibly.
Pearson v. Callahan, 555 U.S. 223, 231 (2009). An
“official's right to immunity turns on two
questions: first, whether the facts presented, taken in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff, describe a violation
of a constitutional right, and second, whether the federal
right at issue was clearly established at the time that the
alleged violation occurred.” Jones, 630 F.3d
at 680 (citing Pearson, 555 U.S. at 129). If the
plaintiff cannot establish that the facts, “taken in
the light most favorable to [him], show that the defendant
violated a constitutional right, ” summary judgment for
the defendant is appropriate. See Jewett v. Anders,
521 F.3d 818, 822-223 (7th Cir. 2008). In light of the
Supreme Court's holding in Pearson, lower courts
may look first to the second prong of the qualified immunity
test-whether the constitutional right was clearly
established-in consideration of the circumstances of the
case. Pearson, 555 U.S. at 236.
plaintiff can meet his burden of showing that a right is
“clearly established by showing that there is a clearly
analogous case establishing a right to be free from the
specific conduct at issue or that the conduct is so egregious
that no reasonable person could have believed that it would
not violate clearly established rights.” Chelios v.
Heavener, 520 F.3d 678, 691 (7th Cir. 2008) (quotation
marks omitted). “Although it is not necessary that a
prior case address the precise factual situation confronting
the officer, the unlawfulness of the officer's action
should be clear in light of pre-existing law.”
Jones by Jones v. Webb, 45 F.3d 178, 183 (7th Cir.
1995) (quotation marks omitted).
inquiry into whether a defendant violated clearly established
law often relates to the sufficiency of the evidence
supporting the underlying constitutional violation. See
Jones, 630 F.3d at 679. For that reason, the Court will
analyze the applicability of qualified immunity in
conjunction with its analysis of whether ...