Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Sebolt v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

February 15, 2018

PHILIP M. SEBOLT, Plaintiff,


          Samuel Der-Yeghiayan United States District Court Judge

         This matter is before the court on Defendant United States of America's motion to dismiss. For the reasons stated below, the motion to dismiss is granted.


         Plaintiff Philip M. Sebolt (Sebolt), currently an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution Terre Haute (FCI), brings this pro se civil action claiming that he was falsely arrested and falsely imprisoned when he was detained in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago (MCC) between June and August 2013. Sebolt alleges that upon transfer to the MCC on June 17, 2013, placement in the SHU lacked regulatory authority, lacked statutory authority, violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), and lacked due process. Sebolt alleges that he has exhausted his administrative remedies and that his present claims are ripe for judicial action. Sebolt includes in his complaint a single claim that he “was restrained and unlawfully detained in a tiny barron prison cell against his will and stripped of all his liberties by the United States for an indeterminate period of time without any due process protection and in violation of Illinois law on the tort of false arrest and false imprisonment” (Count I). (Compl. Par. 69-71). The United States now moves to dismiss the claim under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6).


         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) (Rule 12(b)(1)) requires a court to dismiss an action when it lacks subject matter jurisdiction. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1); see also Ezekiel v. Michel, 66 F.3d 894, 897 (7th Cir. 1995)(stating that when reviewing a motion to dismiss brought under Rule 12(b)(1), the court “must accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations, and draw reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff”). When subject matter jurisdiction is not apparent on the face of the complaint and is contested, “the district court may properly look beyond the jurisdictional allegations of the complaint . . . to determine whether in fact subject matter jurisdiction exists.” Sapperstein v. Hager, 188 F.3d 852, 855-56 (7th Cir. 1999)(internal quotations omitted)(quoting United Transportation Union v. Gateway Western Railway Co., 78 F.3d 1208, 1210 (7th Cir. 1996)). The burden of proof in regards to a Rule 12(b)(1) motion is on the party asserting that the court has subject matter jurisdiction. Id.

         In ruling on a motion to dismiss brought pursuant Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (Rule 12(b)(6)), the court must draw all reasonable inferences that favor the plaintiff, construe the allegations of the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and accept as true all well-pleaded facts and allegations in the complaint. Appert v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Inc., 673 F.3d 609, 622 (7th Cir. 2012); Thompson v. Ill. Dep't of Prof'l Regulation, 300 F.3d 750, 753 (7th Cir. 2002). A plaintiff is required to include allegations in the complaint that “plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a ‘speculative level'” and “if they do not, the plaintiff pleads itself out of court.” E.E.O.C. v. Concentra Health Services, Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007)(quoting in part Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1965 (2007)); see also Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Inc., 673 F.3d at 622 (stating that “[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, ” and that “[a] claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged”)(quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009))(internal quotations omitted).


         This court has liberally construed Sebolt's pro se filings. See Parker v. Four Seasons Hotels, Ltd., 845 F.3d 807, 811 (7th Cir. 2017)(stating that a “trial court is obligated to liberally construe a pro se plaintiff's pleadings”)(citing Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Kelley v. Zoeller, 800 F.3d 318, 325 (7th Cir. 2015); Nichols v. Mich. City Plant Planning Dep't, 755 F.3d 594, 600 (7th Cir. 2014)); Greer v. Board of Educ. of City of Chicago, Ill., 267 F.3d 723, 727 (7th Cir. 2001)(indicating that a court should “liberally construe the pleadings of individuals who proceed pro se”). Therefore, although Sebolt only lists one count in his complaint, the Court has interpreted Sebolt's complaint to contain the following claims: (1) that the United States violated the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) by falsely arresting and imprisoning Sebolt, (2) that the United States violated the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), and (3) that Sebolt was denied Due Process.

         I. FTCA

         The United States argues that the FTCA does not authorize suit as there is no state analog for Sebolt's claim, that the discretionary function exception bars suit under the FTCA, and that Sebolt's allegations fail to state a claim for false arrest or false imprisonment in Illinois.

         A. No. State Analog

         The United States argues that this court lacks jurisdiction over Sebolt's FTCA claim because no state analog for Sebolt's claim exists. The United States acknowledges that false imprisonment and false arrest are generally cognizable in Illinois, but asserts that there is no analogous false arrest or false imprisonment cause of action in Illinois for a private entity where the claim depends, not on allegations challenging the fact of confinement, but on disagreement by a plaintiff with a specific place of confinement within a prison. (United States Dis. 5). Sebolt argues that the standard for finding a parallel to Sebolt's claim under Illinois law is not overly stringent and should be applied broadly (Sebolt Ans. 2-3). Sebolt also argues that restraint is established simply by a person being compelled to go where he or she does not wish to go or remaining where he or she does not wish to remain. (Sebolt Ans. 3). Combining these interpretations of case law and comparing his circumstances to that of an employee held against her will in her employer's office, Sebolt concludes that his detention in the SHU constitutes false imprisonment. (Sebolt Ans. 4-5). Sebolt also argues that he is not alleging he was unlawfully held in the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) custody (or a specific place of confinement within a prison) as the result of an unlawful arrest, criminal conviction, or sentence, but rather that he was unlawfully restrained and further deprived of his liberties as a result of a memo issued by the Administrator of the Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU) directing the Warden and the Captain to detain Sebolt in the SHU at the MCC (the Memo), which was far removed from any judicial legal process. (Sebolt Ans. 7).

         Under the FTCA, an individual is permitted “to bring suit in federal court against the United States for injury or loss of property, or personal injury or death caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the Government while acting within the scope of his office or employment, under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission occurred. 28 U.S.C. §1346(b)(1).” Palay v. U.S., 349 F.3d 418, 425 (7th Cir. 2003). Looking to Illinois law, “‘[t]o state a cause of action for false imprisonment, the plaintiff must allege that his personal liberty was unreasonably or unlawfully restrained against his will and that defendant(s) caused or procured the restraint.'” Arthur v. Lutheran Gen. Hosp., Inc., 692 N.E.2d 1238, 1243 (Ill.App.Ct. 1998)(citing Vincent v. ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.