United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division
CURTIS LOVELACE, LOGAN LOVELACE, LINCOLN LOVELACE, and CHRISTINA LOVELACE, on behalf of her minor son, LARSON LOVELACE, Plaintiffs,
ADAM GIBSON, ROBERT COPLEY, JOHN SUMMERS, DINA DREYER, ANJANETTE BISWELL, UNKNOWN QUINCY POLICE OFFICERS, GARY FARHA, JAMES KELLER, THE CITY OF QUINCY, and THE COUNTY OF ADAMS, Defendants.
MYERSCOUGH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
cause is before the Court on the Partial Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiffs' Complaint (d/e 28) filed by Defendants City
of Quincy, Adam Gibson, Robert Copley, John Summers, Dina
Dreyer, and Anjanette Biswell. Because the challenged counts
of the Complaint state a claim for relief, the Motion is
2017, Plaintiffs Curtis Lovelace, Logan Lovelace, Lincoln
Lovelace, and Christine Lovelace, on behalf of her minor son
Larson Lovelace, filed a Complaint against numerous
defendants arising out of events following the death of
Curtis's first wife, Cory Lovelace. For purposes of
clarity, the Court will refer to each member of the Lovelace
family by his or her first name.
Complaint alleges that the defendants fabricated evidence and
initiated criminal proceedings against Curtis for the alleged
murder of Cory. The Complaint further alleges that the
defendants illegally detained Curtis's sons, Logan,
Lincoln, and Larson, and interrogated them without the
presence of an attorney or a parent.
bring federal and state claims against police officers
employed by the Quincy Police Department, including Detective
Adam Gibson, Police Chief Robert Copley, Sergeant John
Summers, Lieutenant Dina Dreyer, Detective Anjanette Biswell,
and unknown Quincy police officers. Chief Copley is sued in
his official and individual capacity while the other police
officers are sued in his or her individual capacities.
Plaintiffs also bring claims against Coroner James Keller in
his individual and official capacities; Adams County
State's Attorney Gary Farha in his individual capacity;
the City of Quincy; and the County of Adams. In July 2017,
Defendants City of Quincy, Detective Gibson, Chief Copley,
Sergeant Summers, Lieutenant Dreyer, and Detective Biswell
(the Quincy Defendants) filed a Partial Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff's Complaint (d/e 28) pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 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 defendant fair notice of the claims.
Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir.
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 plaintiff's
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). A
plausible claim is one that alleges facts from which the
Court can 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.
FACTS ALLEGED IN THE COMPLAINT
following facts come from Plaintiffs' Complaint. These
facts are accepted as true at the motion to dismiss stage.
Tamayo, 526 F.3d at 1081.
wife, Cory, died on February 14, 2006. The Adams County
Coroner's Office conducted an inquest into the cause of
Cory's death. The Coroner's Inquest did not conclude
that Cory was the victim of a homicide.
2013, Detective Gibson reopened the investigation of
Cory's death. Plaintiffs allege, on information and
belief, that the investigation was undertaken with the
knowledge, approval, and consent of Attorney Farha, Chief
Copley, Sergeant Summers, Lieutenant Dreyer, Coroner Keller,
and unknown Quincy police officers in an effort to frame
Curtis for Cory's murder.
Gibson's investigation revealed “no new information
that would assist an office[r] acting in good faith in
determining that [Cory] was murdered, much less that Curtis
Lovelace was a murderer.” Compl. ¶ 36. During the
course of the investigation, Detective Gibson discovered
numerous pieces of exculpatory information and information
that confirmed that Cory was not murdered. Nonetheless,
Gibson persisted in the investigation. Ultimately, in an
effort to bring charges against Curtis, the individual
defendants-Attorney Farha, Coroner Keller, Chief Copley,
Sergeant Summers, Lieutenant Dreyer, Detective Gibson,
Detective Biswell, and unknown Quincy police
officers-resorted to fabricating evidence, coercing
witnesses, presenting false information to the grand jury to
obtain an indictment, withholding and concealing exculpatory
evidence, and other unlawful acts to frame Curtis for a crime
he did not commit.
August 27, 2014, prosecutors presented charges against Curtis
to a grand jury. Plaintiffs allege, on information and
belief, that Detective Gibson was the only witness. Detective
Gibson provided false, misleading, and incomplete information
to the grand jury. Plaintiffs allege, on information and
belief, that the grand jury returned an indictment.
August 27, 2014, Curtis was arrested and taken to the Quincy
Police Department. Detective Gibson interrogated Curtis.
allege, on information and belief, that, on August 27, 2014,
Curtis's sons, Logan, Lincoln, and Larson were
involuntarily detained at their school by school staff and
school resource officers at the direction of Chief Copley,
Sergeant Summers, Lieutenant Dreyer, Detective Gibson, and
Detective Biswell. The school resource officers were also
employees of the Quincy Police Department. Thereafter, Logan,
Lincoln, and Larsen were taken to the Quincy Police
Department, where their detention continued. The children
were not allowed to contact their parents, other family
members, or attorneys. Their parents were never officially
notified of their detention. Detective Gibson and Detective
Biswell interrogated Logan, Lincoln, and Larsen.
first trial was held in January and February 2016. The trial
concluded on February 5, 2016, with the jury deadlocked and
unable to reach a verdict.
allege, on information and belief, that Attorney Farha,
Coroner Keller, Chief Copley, Sergeant Summers, Lieutenant
Dreyer, Detective Gibson, and Detective Biswell failed to
produce exculpatory evidence to the State and to Curtis's
defense. The exculpatory evidence included emails from Dr.
Scott Denton, evidence that witness statements had been
coerced and fabricated, and evidence that certain police
reports prepared by Chief Copley, Sergeant Summers,
Lieutenant Dreyer, Detective Gibson, and Detective Biswell
were fabricated and incorrect. The first trial proceeded to
conclusion without disclosure of this evidence, which would
have changed the outcome of Curtis's first trial.
the conclusion of the first trial, Curtis retained new
counsel and continued to investigate his own innocence.
Curtis uncovered evidence that had previously been withheld.
Some of the evidence was ultimately produced through the
discovery process in response to discovery requests. Some of
the evidence came from disclosures from prosecutors as soon
as the prosecutors learned of the evidence. Some of the
evidence came through Freedom of Information Act requests to
the Quincy Police Department, the Coroner's Office, and
other entities. The evidence included emails sent by Dr.
Scott Denton, Detective Gibson, and Coroner Keller in which
Dr. Denton revealed his opinion that there was not sufficient
forensic evidence to sustain Curtis's conviction.
Plaintiffs allege that prosecutors disclosed this evidence
prior to the second trial and advised the Court that they did
not previously have the information. The evidence also
included documents and communications showing that Detective
Gibson obtained reports and information from other forensic
experts that were exculpatory to Curtis but had never been
disclosed to Curtis. Plaintiff allege, on information and
belief, that this evidence was not disclosed to prosecutors
prior to the first trial.
was able to use the previously withheld exculpatory evidence
at his second trial. On March 10, 2017, the jury found Curtis