United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on the Report and
Recommendation (“Report”) (Doc. 37) of Magistrate
Judge Donald G. Wilkerson with regard to the cross motions
for summary judgment in this case (Docs. 33, 35). The
plaintiff has objected to the Report (Doc. 38). For the
following reasons, the Court GRANTS the
defendant's motion for summary judgment (Doc. 33) and
DENIES the plaintiff's motion for
summary judgment (Doc. 35).
case is about whether a police officer had the requisite
reasonable suspicion and probable cause to effectuate a legal
traffic stop and arrest. In 2013, Officer Kale Pirtle stopped
Harold Johnson because one of the registration lights on
Johnson's car was not “clearly legible from a
distance of 50 feet to the rear”, in violation of 625
ILCS 5/12-201(c). (Doc. 33-8, p. 21.) After Pirtle arrested
Johnson, the state later charged Johnson with counts of
impersonating a police officer and driving under the
influence of alcohol. (Doc. 35, pp. 8-9.) Johnson's
attorney filed a motion to quash the arrest and suppress
evidence on the grounds that Pirtle stopped Johnson in
violation of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition on
unreasonable searches and seizures, but after an evidentiary
hearing, the state court entered an order denying the motion
and finding that the stop was legal. (Doc. 33-8, pp. 7-30;
Doc. 33-11, p. 1.) Ultimately, a jury found Johnson guilty of
the DUI charge.
Johnson has filed suit against Pirtle in this Court pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The suit initially alleged a number
of claims, but following threshold review, the Court allowed
Pirtle to proceed on only one: whether “Defendant
Pirtle deliberately stopped and arrested Plaintiff without
reasonable suspicion or probable cause, in violation of the
Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments . . . .” (Doc. 11, pp.
3, 8.) Since then, both Johnson and Pirtle have filed motions
for summary judgment. (Docs. 33, 35.) Pirtle argues that
Johnson's claim is barred under the doctrine of
collateral estoppel because the underlying state court has
already adjudicated the Fourth Amendment issue. (Doc. 33.) In
opposition, Johnson continues to assert that the traffic stop
and arrest violated his Fourth Amendment rights because the
stop was pretextual, among other things. (Doc. 35.) In
Magistrate Judge Wilkerson's Report, he recommends that
this Court grant Pirtle's motion for summary judgment
because the doctrine of collateral estoppel clearly applies
to this case. (Doc. 37.)
Standard of Review
Court may accept, reject, or modify-in whole or in part-the
findings or recommendations of the magistrate judge in a
report and recommendation. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). The Court
must review de novo the portions of the report to
which objections are made. Id. “If no
objection or only partial objection is made, the district
court judge reviews those unobjected portions for clear
error.” Johnson v. Zema Sys. Corp., 170 F.3d
734, 739 (7th Cir. 1999).
judgment must be granted “if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Spath v. Hayes
Wheels Int'l-Ind., Inc., 211 F.3d 392, 396 (7th Cir.
2000). The Court must construe the evidence in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of that party. See Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986);
Chelios v. Heavener, 520 F.3d 678, 685 (7th Cir.
2008); Spath, 211 F.3d at 396.
initial summary judgment burden of production is on the
moving party to show the Court that there is no reason to
have a trial. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323;
Modrowski v. Pigatto, 712 F.3d 1166, 1168 (7th Cir.
2013). If the moving party bears the burden of persuasion on
an issue at trial, it must “lay out the elements of the
claim, cite the facts which it believes satisfies these
elements, and demonstrate why the record is so one-sided as
to rule out the prospect of a finding in favor of the
non-movant on the claim.” Hotel 71 Mezz Lender LLC
v. National Ret. Fund, 778 F.3d 593, 601 (7th Cir.
2015); accord Felix v. Wisconsin Dep't of
Transp., 828 F.3d 560, 570 (7th Cir. 2016). Where the
moving party fails to meet that strict burden, the Court
cannot enter summary judgment for that party even if the
opposing party fails to present relevant evidence in
response. Cooper v. Lane, 969 F.2d 368, 371 (7th
responding to a motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving
party may not simply rest upon the allegations contained in
the pleadings, but rather must present specific facts to show
that a genuine issue of material fact exists.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-26; Anderson, 477
U.S. at 256-57; Modrowski, 712 F.3d at 1168. A
genuine issue of material fact is not demonstrated by the
mere existence of “some alleged factual dispute between
the parties, ” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247, or
by “some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts”. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a
genuine issue of material fact only exists if “a
fair-minded jury could return a verdict for the [nonmoving
party] on the evidence presented.” Anderson,
477 U.S. at 252.
the Court has received and reviewed Johnson's 55 numbered
objections to the Report. None of these objections, however,
strike the heart of Magistrate Judge Wilkerson's
examination. In the Report, Magistrate Judge Wilkerson
analyzed the elements of collateral estoppel under Illinois
law: “(1) the issue decided in the prior adjudication
is identical with the one presented in the suit in question,
(2) there was a final judgment on the merits in the prior
adjudication, and (3) the party against whom estoppel is
asserted was a party or in privity with a party to the prior
adjudication.” Talarico v. Dunlap, 226
Ill.Dec. 222, 685 N.E.2d 325, 328 (Ill. 1997) (citing
Illinois State Chamber of Commerce v. Pollution Control
Bd., 34 Ill.Dec. 334, 398 N.E.2d 9, 11-12 (1979)).
Illinois law is the proper vehicle here: when determining the
collateral effect that a state ...