United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
JEANETTE S.R. LIPINSKI, Plaintiff,
YOLANDA CASTANEDA, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JORGE ALONSO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court are defendants' motions to dismiss
plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint ,  pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the
following reasons, the motions are denied, and defendants
Lieutenant Bonner and Officer Cap's Motion to Stay
Written Discovery  is denied as moot.
several rounds of screening, the Court allowed plaintiff
Jeanette S.R. Lipinski to proceed on two claims: her claim of
malicious prosecution (count III) against defendants
Lieutenant Bonner, Officer Cap, Yolanda Castaneda, and Alonso
Castaneda; and her claim of false arrest (count IV) against
Lt. Bonner and Officer Cap. (See ECF No. 55.)
Although plaintiff makes many allegations in her Third
Amended Complaint, the dispute before the Court boils down to
plaintiff's claim that she was falsely arrested on July
14, 2014, for poisoning and killing the Castanedas' dog
and was then maliciously prosecuted under Cook County case
number B-14-04597. Plaintiff claims that she was not trying
to poison the dog but, rather, was pouring a diluted amount
of bleach in an alley to clean up dog feces and urine.
Plaintiff further states that the dog does not go in the area
where the bleach was used. She says that the Castanedas filed
false police reports indicating that the dog had died but did
not produce any evidence at trial to show that the dog was
poisoned and died as a result plaintiff's actions.
Plaintiff says that she was acquitted following trial.
survive a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a
pleading that purports to state a claim for relief must
“state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007)). A claim satisfies this standard when its
factual allegations “raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
555-56; see also Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d
400, 404 (7th Cir. 2010) (“[P]laintiff must give enough
details about the subject-matter of the case to present a
story that holds together.”). For purposes of a motion
to dismiss, the Court accepts “as true all of the
well-pleaded facts in the complaint and draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of the plaintiff.” Platt v.
Brown, 872 F.3d 848, 851 (7th Cir. 2017). When ruling on
a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court considers “the
complaint itself, documents attached to the complaint,
documents that are critical to the complaint and referred to
in it, and information that is subject to proper judicial
notice.” Cohen v. Am. Sec. Ins. Co., 735 F.3d
601, 604 (7th Cir. 2013) (citing Geinosky v. City of
Chicago, 675 F.3d 743, 745-46 n. 1 (7th Cir. 2012)).
“A document filed pro se is to be liberally
construed, … and a pro se complaint, however
inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Beal v.
Beller, 847 F.3d 897, 902 (7th Cir. 2017).
III - Malicious Prosecution
prevail on a malicious prosecution claim, plaintiff must show
(1) the commencement of an original criminal or civil
proceeding by the defendant; (2) the termination of the
proceeding in favor of the plaintiff; (3) a lack of probable
cause; (4) malice; and (5) damages. Jones-Huff v.
Hill, No. 14 C 9577, 2016 WL 5171780 at *7 (N.D. Ill.
Sept. 21, 2016).
Bonner and Officer Cap
Bonner and Officer Cap move to dismiss, arguing that
plaintiff's malicious prosecution claim is conclusory and
without factual support. Plaintiff responds that she told the
officers that the dog was not poisoned and did not die, that
she only cleaned the alley concrete slab where the dog
urinates in the alley through the fence and where other dogs
urinate, and that the dog never went in the alley because he
is confined to the back yard. Plaintiff further says that the
officers “proffered false evidence at trial and prior
to trial that plaintiff had poisoned the Castaneda dog when
in fact she had not.” (ECF No. 71, p. 3). These facts
are sufficient to put defendants Lt. Bonner and Officer Cap
on notice of the allegations against them. Accepting these
allegations as true, the Court finds that plaintiff has
alleged facts that plausibly support a claim of malicious
and Alonso Castaneda
says that the Castanedas gave false information to the
police, which led to her arrest and the criminal case against
her. The Castaneda's move to dismiss, arguing that
“plaintiff could never assert a claim for malicious
prosecution against the Castanedas because she admits that
she did actually pour bleach in the area used by the
Castanedas' dog.” (See Defs'
Castanedas' Mt. to Dismiss, ECF No. 70, p. 3.) The
Castanedas say that, in light of this admission, plaintiff
has pleaded herself out of court.
plaintiff admits using bleach in the alley, she says that she
was cleaning the alley with a diluted solution of bleach,
that she told the officers that she was cleaning the alley
and not trying to poison any dog, that the police officers
had no probable cause or reasonable suspicion to arrest her,
that the Castanedas told the police that their dog had died
as a result of the alleged poisoning, and that the dog did
taking plaintiff's allegations as true, the Court finds
that plaintiff has plausibly alleged a malicious prosecution
claim and that she has not pleaded herself out of court.
Using a diluted amount of bleach for cleaning an area that
the Castaneda dog allegedly cannot access (other than by
urinating through a fence) does not necessarily equate to
poisoning. Plaintiff's admission does not defeat her
claim at this stage.
defendants' motions to dismiss plaintiff's malicious