United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
PHILIP M. SEBOLT, Plaintiff,
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.
Der-Yeghiayan United States District Court Judge
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
No. State Analog
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).
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. ...