United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
S. Shah United States District Judge.
arresting plaintiff John Mederich, defendant Officer Michael
Chrabot broke Mederich's arm. Dash cameras in the police
squad cars and surveillance cameras from nearby businesses
should have recorded the interaction between Mederich and the
police officers, but no video or audio footage exists.
Mederich brings a variety of claims against the City of
Chicago; individual police officers; Coban Technologies, a
company that services the police department's dash
cameras; and Mike Liacopoulos, the owner of a liquor store
that may have had surveillance video of the arrest.
Defendants move to dismiss all claims, except the excessive
force claim (Count I) and the Monell claim (Count
survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a complaint
must contain factual allegations that plausibly suggest a
right to relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
677-78 (2009). In ruling on a motion to dismiss under
12(b)(6), a court must accept all factual allegations as true
and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's
favor, but the court need not accept legal conclusions or
conclusory allegations. Id. at 680-82.
Mederich and two of his friends were standing in an alley
when a marked squad car with Officers Nicholas Chrabot and
Dennis Cochran, in full dress uniform, arrived.  at 3
¶¶ 6-7. Mederich was holding a brown paper bag
that contained an open twenty-five ounce alcoholic beverage.
Id. at 3 ¶ 6. The squad car's dash camera
pointed at Mederich and his friends. Id. at 3 ¶
7. Chrabot exited the squad car and said to Mederich,
“Did you think I wasn't going to see you?”
Id. at 3 ¶¶ 7-8. While writing Mederich a
ticket, Chrabot asked Mederich if he knew why he was being
stopped. Id. at 3 ¶ 8. Mederich answered that
he was stopped because he was drinking in public, in
violation of the law. Id. Chrabot threatened to
write Mederich up for “not cooperating, ” and
told Mederich that he was under arrest and to put his hands
on the squad car. Id. at 3 ¶ 9. Mederich
followed Chrabot's instruction. Id. Chrabot
warned Mederich that the dash camera was recording their
friends told Chrabot that “Black lives matter”
and that Chrabot would not be treating Mederich the way
Chrabot was if Mederich and his friends were “straight
white guys.” Id. at 3-4 ¶¶ 9-10.
Chrabot demanded: “What did you say to me?”
Id. at 3 ¶ 10. Then, without cause or
provocation, Chrabot twisted Mederich around and threw him to
the ground, fracturing Mederich's right arm. Id.
at 7 ¶ 13. Before being transported to the police
station, Mederich's arm was placed in a cast at Norwegian
American Hospital. Id. at 7 ¶ 14.
Joseph Giambrone investigated Mederich's arrest and
concluded that Officer Chrabot used an appropriate amount of
force. Id. at 4 ¶ 11. Despite the fact that at
least five cameras may have captured or did capture
Mederich's arrest, Giambrone did not consider any video
or audio footage in reaching his conclusion. Id. At
the time of the arrest, there were three squad cars with dash
cameras, id. at 16 ¶ 1, and there were
surveillance cameras owned by Rite Liquors and the Chicago
Athletic Club in or near the alley, id. at 4 ¶
11. The police department maintains Watch Incident Logs to
report malfunctioning dash cameras; none of the dash cameras
that were at the scene of Mederich's arrest appeared in
the relevant logs before Mederich's arrest, thereby
suggesting that all of those dash cameras were properly
functioning. Id. at 16 ¶¶ 2-3.
Nevertheless, the City reported that the dash camera in
Chrabot's vehicle had had drained batteries for
twenty-nine days before Mederich's arrest, id.
at 16 ¶ 2, and the individual log for a second police
car indicated that its dash camera “was abruptly shut
down” during Mederich's arrest, id. at 18
¶ 1. The complaint does not make any specific
allegations about the third police car's dash camera or
whether it captured Mederich's arrest.
respect to the surveillance videos, the complaint says that
Rite Liquors had video of the incident for at least seven
days and that the Chicago Athletic Club had video of the
incident for at least ten days. Id. at 11 ¶ 13.
But, the owner of Rite Liquors, Mike Liacopoulos, allegedly
conspired with the Chicago Police Department to
“destroy or allow to be destroyed” the video
surveillance evidence. Id. at 11 ¶ 13.
Similarly, the management from the Chicago Athletic Club
“either destroyed or failed to save video footage of
the incident.” Id. The complaint does not name
the Chicago Athletic Club or its agents as defendants.
Officers Chrabot's and Cochran's claim that Mederich
grabbed Chrabot's left wrist during the altercation,
which Mederich denies, neither officer nor Detective Van
Beveren contacted the Cook County State's Attorney's
felony review unit to seek felony charges for aggravated
battery against Mederich. Id. at 11-12 ¶
14. Mederich believes they only charged him with
misdemeanors,  because they knew that a felony review
request would result in the Assistant State's Attorney
insisting on viewing video evidence from the dash and
surveillance cameras as well as interviewing the parties
involved; all of which would have corroborated Mederich's
version of the events and not the officers'. Id.
at 12 ¶ 14, 13 ¶ 16.
complaint also says that Giambrone did not document any
medical treatment of Chrabot's claimed injury,
id. at 13 ¶ 15, nor did he interview
Mederich's friends or any other potential witnesses,
id. at 4 ¶ 11. Although he approved the
resisting arrest charge, Giambrone did not document any
verbal commands Chrabot gave that Mederich failed to follow,
nor did he review any evidence that Mederich
“fled” or “pulled away.” Id.
at 13 ¶ 15. Mederich accuses Giambrone of
“maliciously and willfully” framing him, when
Giambrone “knew or should have known” that the
video evidence contradicted the officers' story about him
grabbing Chrabot's wrist. Id. at 12 ¶ 15.
Mederich believes Giambrone failed to fully investigate the
incident as required under Chicago Police Department Rules
and instead adhered to the Chicago Police Department's
“code of silence.” Id. at 12 ¶ 15.
alleges that the individual defendants acted together in a
conspiracy to deter Mederich from bringing an action, and
that they did so by bringing false criminal charges of
battery and resisting arrest against him, and by destroying
the video and audio evidence of his arrest. Id. at
10 ¶ 12.
Coban Technologies' Motion to Dismiss
brings a claim for negligent repair of the dash cameras
against Coban Technologies and the City of Chicago, but the
complaint places liability on one or the other, not on both:
“The City negligently failed to issue a purchase order
to repair the dash cams [. . .] until after the Plaintiff was
injured. Alternatively, the City did issue a purchase order
to repair the dash cameras [. . .] but Coban Technologies,
Inc. failed in its duty to fix the dash cams in 14
days.”  at 16-17 ¶ 5. Mederich says that Coban
and the City had a duty to provide timely repair services to
the dash cameras and that they breached this duty by failing
to replace the batteries in two dash cameras involved in his
arrest and injury. Id. 17 ¶ 7. As a result of
the negligent failure to replace the dash cameras'
batteries, Mederich says that he was “forced to defend
himself from baseless criminal charges, ” and that his
ability to recover damages from Chrabot's intentional and
malicious use of excessive force was harmed. Id. 17
¶ 9. Coban moves to dismiss this count arguing that
Mederich has not pled facts to demonstrate that Coban owes
him a duty or that Coban's alleged breach was the
proximate cause of Mederich's alleged injuries.
See  at 4.
state a cause of action for negligence, Mederich must show
that Coban owed a duty to him, that Coban breached that duty,
and that Mederich incurred injuries proximately caused by the
breach. First Springfield Bank & Trust v.
Galman, 188 Ill.2d 252, 256 (1999). Breach and proximate
cause are questions of fact for the jury, but the existence
of a duty is a question of law for the court. Adamsv. N. Illinois Gas Co., 211 Ill.2d 32, 43-44 (2004).
To determine if a duty exists, courts consider whether the
relationship between the plaintiff and defendant is one where
the law imposes an obligation of reasonable conduct on the
defendant, for the benefit of the plaintiff. Marshall v.
Burger King Corp., 222 Ill.2d 422, 436 (2006). This
inquiry involves four factors: (1) the reasonable
foreseeability of the injury; (2) the ...