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Sprong v. Elliot

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division

May 12, 2017

KELSEY SPRONG, Plaintiff,
v.
CHRIS ELLIOTT, Individually and as Police Officer for White Hall Police Dept., CITY OF ROODHOUSE, and CITY OF WHITE HALL, Defendants.

          OPINION

          SUE E. MYERSCOUGH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         In March 2017, Plaintiff Kelsey Sprong filed an eight-count complaint in state court against Defendants Chris Elliott, City of Roodhouse, and City of White Hall. Plaintiff alleges constitutional violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law tort claims arising from an incident that occurred in September 2016. Defendants removed the action to this Court.

         Defendant City of Roodhouse filed an answer (d/e 10) and a Partial Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss (d/e 11) Counts V and VI. Because Counts V and VI state a claim, the Motion is DENIED.

         I. JURISDICTION

         This Court has subject matter jurisdiction because Plaintiff brings a claim based on 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a federal law. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (''The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States''). The Court has supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367. Venue is proper because a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to Plaintiff's claims occurred in this district. 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(2).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A motion under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the sufficiency of the complaint. Christensen v. Cnty. of Boone, 483 F.3d 454, 458 (7th Cir. 2007). To state a claim for relief, a plaintiff need only provide a short and plain statement of the claim showing he is entitled to relief and giving the defendants fair notice of the claims. Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008).

         When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court construes the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, accepting all well-pleaded allegations as true and construing all reasonable inferences in his favor. Id. However, the complaint must set forth facts that plausibly demonstrate a claim for relief. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 547 (2007). Plausibility means alleging factual content that allows the Court to reasonably infer that the Defendants are liable for the misconduct alleged. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Merely reciting the elements of a cause of action or supporting claims with conclusory statements is insufficient to state a cause of action. Id.

         III. FACTS ALLEGED IN THE COMPLAINT

         The following facts come from Plaintiff's Complaint and are accepted as true at the motion to dismiss stage. Tamayo, 526 F.3d at 1081.

         On September 6, 2016, while on duty for the White Hall Police Department, Defendant Officer Chris Elliott responded to a call for the Roodhouse Police Department regarding an unattended minor who had been found at a park. Officer Elliott took the child to the Roodhouse Police Department.

         Thereafter, Plaintiff arrived and requested return of the minor child. Officer Elliott advised Plaintiff that he was investigating why the child had been alone and told Plaintiff that he had contacted the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Officer Elliott further informed Plaintiff that her child would remain under protective custody and be detained while Officer Elliott investigated Plaintiff and the child's father.

         Officer Elliott demanded, in an aggressive and threatening manner, that Plaintiff provide information to him. Plaintiff invoked her right to silence and refused to answer questions from Officer Elliott. Plaintiff asked Officer Elliott for her cell phone, which was inside the Roodhouse Police Department, so that she could contact an attorney. Officer Elliott refused Plaintiff's request and continued to question Plaintiff.

         Plaintiff asked Officer Elliott if she was under arrest, and he told her she was not. Plaintiff attempted to leave the Roodhouse Police Department. As Plaintiff began walking down the ramp outside the police department, Officer Elliott grabbed Plaintiff and physically pulled her into the Roodhouse Police Department. Officer Elliott placed Plaintiff under arrest for obstructing justice. Plaintiff was ...


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