United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
R. WOOD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Mathews's motion to dismiss  and Defendant
Wainscott's motion to dismiss  are granted. All of
the claims against those Defendants are dismissed. Defendant
Fapso's motion to dismiss  is granted in part and
denied in part. Specifically, Plaintiffs' state law
claims against Fapso are dismissed; Plaintiffs' §
1983 claim again Fapso will proceed. Plaintiffs' claim
for indemnification based upon Fapso's alleged
constitutional violations may proceed against Fapso's
employer and potential indemnifier, presumably the City of
North Chicago, but Plaintiffs have not formally named the
City of North Chicago as a Defendant. Accordingly, to proceed
with that claim, Plaintiffs must amend the Complaint to add a
proper Defendant. The time for Plaintiffs to determine
whether to file an amended complaint is extended to 5/8/2017.
See the accompanying Statement for details.
case concerns allegations by Plaintiffs Nigel and Dianna
Patrick that Defendants Reginald Mathews, an attorney with
the Lake County State's Attorney's Office; Brian
Wainscott, a Village of Mundelein police officer; and Ben
Fapso, a City of North Chicago police officer (together,
“Defendants”), all caused Nigel Patrick
(“Patrick”) to be wrongfully charged with
participating in criminal gang activity, resulting in his
wrongful detention. Plaintiffs claim that Defendants had no
evidence whatsoever to support the charge against Patrick.
Consequently, Plaintiffs filed their Complaint asserting a
claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged
violations of Patrick's constitutional rights (Count I).
Plaintiffs also bring a host of state law claims against
Defendants: for false imprisonment (Count II), malicious
prosecution (Count III), defamation (Count IV), and loss of
consortium (Count V). Finally, Plaintiffs assert a claim
against Defendants' employers for indemnification under
Illinois law (Count VI). All three Defendants have filed
motions to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), which are now before the Court.
(Dkt. Nos. 17, 20, 23.)
2014, federal and local law enforcement agencies investigated
a street gang called the “Four Corner Hustlers, ”
which they suspected of trafficking drugs in communities
located in Lake County, Illinois. (Compl. ¶¶ 3, 18,
20, 32, Dkt. No. 1; Def. Mathews's Mot. to Dismiss at 2,
Dkt. No. 17). The investigation resulted in Patrick,
along with 26 other defendants, being arrested and charged in
a 28-count state court indictment under the Illinois Street
Gang and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Law,
720 ILCS 5/33G-1 et seq. (Compl. ¶ 13, Dkt. No.
1.) Plaintiffs allege that, although hundreds of hours of
monitored phone calls were collected during the
investigation, Defendants did not listen to phone calls
generated from Patrick's phones and otherwise collected
no evidence implicating him in any criminal activity.
(Id. ¶¶ 18-19.) Nevertheless, Defendants
“caused [Patrick] to be charged as an
‘advisor' and ‘member' of the Four Comer
Hustlers” without any supporting evidence.
(Id. ¶¶ 25, 27.) The State subsequently
dismissed charges against Patrick via a nolle
prosequi on January 27, 2015. (Id. ¶ 17.)
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) a complaint must
contain a “short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to
dismiss, the short and plain statement must meet two
threshold requirements. First, the complaint's factual
allegations must be sufficient to give the defendant fair
notice of the claim and grounds upon which it rests. Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Second,
the complaint “must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). While the complaint need
not contain detailed factual allegations, there “must
be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” 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.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Rather,
“[a] claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
initial matter, each Defendant argues that the statute of
limitations in the Illinois Local Governmental and
Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act bars the state
claims asserted against them in Counts II, III, IV, and V.
See 745 ILCS 10/8-101 (“No civil action . . .
may be commenced in any court against a local entity or any
of its employees for any injury unless it is commenced within
one year from the date that the injury was received or the
cause of action accrued.”). As indicated in his
response brief, Patrick agrees that the statute of
limitations argument is well-founded. (See Pl.'s
Resp. in Opp. to Defs.' Mots. to Dismiss at 7 of 8, Dkt.
No. 27.) Dianna Patrick has not responded to Defendants'
motions to dismiss, but from the face of the Complaint, the
statute of limitations in Section 10/8-101 applies equally to
her state law claim for loss of consortium (Count V). The
claims in Counts II, III, IV, and V are therefore dismissed.
And the only remaining claims are Patrick's § 1983
claim and his indemnification claim.
with respect to the § 1983 claim, Patrick purports to
sue each Defendant in the Defendant's individual and
official capacities. (See Compl. ¶ 8, Dkt.
No. 1.) A § 1983 claim against a defendant in his
official capacity is the same as a suit against the employer
brought pursuant to Monell v. New York City Department of
Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978). See Kentucky
v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 165-67 (1985) (“As long
as the government entity receives notice and an opportunity
to respond, an official-capacity suit is, in all respects
other than name, to be treated as a suit against the entity.
. . . It is not a suit against the official personally, for
the real party in interest is the entity.”); Glatt
v. Chicago Park Dist., 847 F.Supp. 101, 103 (N.D. Ill.
1994) (“[A] suit against a public official in his or
her official capacity is equivalent to a suit against the
municipality he or she represents.” (citing Brandon
v. Holt, 469 U.S. 464, 471-72 (1985)). Insofar as
Patrick is asserting Monell claims against
Defendants' employers, those claims must fail.
Monell liability will appropriately lie only if the
Plaintiffs identify some policy or custom of the City that
caused him to be deprived of a constitutional right.
Monell, 436 U.S. at 694-95. To satisfy this
requirement, Plaintiffs must allege that the constitutional
violation was “caused by (1) an express municipal
policy; (2) a widespread, though unwritten, custom or
practice; or (3) a decision by a municipal agent with
‘final policymaking authority.'”
Milestone v. City of Monroe, Wis., 665 F.3d 774, 780
(7th Cir. 2011) (quoting Darchak v. City of Chi. Bd. of
Ed., 580 F.3d 622, 629 (7th Cir. 2009)). As the
Complaint states no such allegations, Patrick has failed to
state a claim under Monell. The Court thus considers
the § 1983 claims against Defendants in their individual
1983 does not confer any substantive rights but rather is
“an instrument for vindicating federal rights conferred
elsewhere.” Spiegel v. Rabinovitz, 121 F.3d
251, 254 (7th Cir. 1997). Here, the Complaint alleges that
Patrick was “improperly seized, arrested, detained and
charged without any probable cause in violation of his
[c]onstitutional rights.” (Compl. ¶ 39, Dkt. No.
1.) As the Supreme Court recently held, this is sufficient to
state a constitutional violation under the Fourth Amendment,
which prohibits, inter alia, both unreasonable
arrests and unlawful pretrial detentions. Manuel v. City
of Joliet, Ill., 137 S.Ct. 911, 919 (2017) (holding that
plaintiff stated Fourth Amendment claim to be redressed under
§ 1983 “when he sought relief not merely for his
(pre-legal-process) arrest, but also for his
(post-legal-process) pretrial detention”).
Complaint alleges that Mathews, in his role as the assistant
state's attorney, violated Patrick's constitutional
rights because he “directed the investigation and
coordinated the efforts of law enforcement officers to
charge, arrest[, ] and incarcerate” Patrick. (Compl.
¶ 4, Dkt. No. 1.) Insofar as this allegation aims to
hold Mathews liable for his decision to initiate the
prosecution of Patrick, the claim fails because Mathews is
absolutely immune from liability for such a decision.
Gordon v. Devine, 2008 WL 4594354, at *10 (N.D. Ill.
Oct. 14, 2008) (citing Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S.
409, 418 (1976)). Prosecutors are absolutely immune for
“acts  in preparing for the initiation of judicial
proceedings or for trial.” Id. That said,
prosecutors are not absolutely
immune for “acts that serve an ‘investigative
function normally performed by a detective or police
officer.'” Id. (quoting Buckley v.
Fitzsimmons, 509 U.S. 259, 273 (1993)). The problem here
is that the Complaint does not state with sufficient
specificity what Mathews is alleged to have done to cause
Patrick's allegedly unconstitutional arrest and
detention. Thus, the claim against Mathews is dismissed for
failing to allege facts that plausibly suggest that Mathews
caused any violation of Patrick's constitutional rights.
This dismissal is without prejudice due to the possibility
that Patrick might be able to allege conduct based on
investigatory acts; additional allegations of acts in
preparation or relation to any judicial proceedings against
Patrick will not suffice to resuscitate his claim.
Complaint also fails to state with sufficient specificity how
Defendant Wainscott caused any violation of Patrick's
constitutional rights. The Complaint alleges that Wainscott
“was assigned to a multi-jurisdictional task force that
investigated the Four Corner Hustlers and directed the
investigation into the false arrest and malicious prosecution
of NIGEL PATRICK.” (Compl. ¶ 5, Dkt. No. 1.) But
merely alleging that Wainscott was involved in investigating
Patrick is not sufficient to state a claim against Wainscott.
Nor is it enough to allege that Wainscott investigated the
false arrest of Patrick, as that claim would only support the
conclusion that Wainscott investigated-after the
fact-the violation of Patrick's constitutional
rights, not that he participated in the violation of those
rights. Thus, the claim against Wainscott must be dismissed
without prejudice as well.
allegations against Defendant Fapso, however, do suffice to
state a claim. Patrick has alleged that Fapso “directed
the investigation of NIGEL PATRICK” in relation to the
investigation of the Four Corner Hustlers. (Compl. ¶ 6,
Dkt. No. 1.) The Complaint also states that Defendants did
not obtain any evidence that Patrick was associated with the
Four Corner Hustlers, but nevertheless “caused PATRICK
to be arrested and detained.” (Id.
¶¶ 13, 28, 32.) With respect to Mathews and
Wainscott, the Complaint does not plausibly allege how they
were involved in causing Patrick to be arrested and detained.
But, since Patrick has alleged that Fapso directed the
investigation against Patrick, the Complaint plausibly
suggests that Fapso had a causal role in Patrick's
unconstitutional arrest and detention-such as by ordering
Patrick be arrested and detained or ratifying the decisions
to arrest and to detain him with the knowledge that there was
no evidence against him. See Manuel, 137 S.Ct. at
919 (holding that unlawful pretrial detention ...