United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. Tharp, Jr., United States District Judge
plaintiffs in this case bring federal civil rights claims and
state law tort claims against several Chicago police officers
and the City itself. The City has moved to dismiss the
federal Monell claim and a state law claim of
unlawful imprisonment. The motion as to the former has merit;
the latter does not.
October 19, 2016, several City of Chicago police officers,
including defendants Baneond Chinchilla, James Echols, and
Lemornet Miller, entered the apartment of plaintiffs David
Boone and Sergio Rodriguez Ceron and conducted a search.
First Amended Complaint (FAC) at 2. The officers had previously
obtained a search warrant for the apartment, but Officer
Chinchilla (and possibly other officers) knew that the
information presented to the judge to obtain the warrant was
false. Id. at 2-3. Nonetheless, the officers
conducted a search, for which they lacked probable cause, for
approximately two hours. During the search, the officers
placed Boone and Ceron in unreasonably tight handcuffs,
causing them pain. Boone and Ceron complained repeatedly
about the handcuffs, which were loosened after an hour.
Id. at 3. The officers ultimately seized or damaged
artwork and furniture, and damaged the apartment's walls.
November 30, 2016, Chicago police officers including
Chinchilla, Echols, and Miller again entered and searched
Boone and Ceron's apartment. This time, too, the
complaint alleges, officer Chinchilla (and possibly other
officers) knew that the information presented to the judge to
obtain the warrant was false, and again, the officers seized
or damaged plaintiffs' personal property and damaged the
apartment's floors and walls. Id. at 3-4. And as
during the first search, the officers placed Boone and Ceron
in unreasonably tight handcuffs, which were once more only
loosened after an hour of Boone and Ceron's complaints.
and Ceron filed suit against officers Chinchilla, Echols, and
Miller, as well as the City of Chicago, under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. The First Amended Complaint includes federal
constitutional unlawful search and seizure and excessive
force claims against the individual officers and a
Monell claim against the City of Chicago. The
complaint also includes Illinois law claims against the City
for unlawful imprisonment and battery. The City now
moves to dismiss Boone and Ceron's Monell and
unlawful imprisonment claims.
City moves to dismiss plaintiffs' Monell claim,
arguing that the complaint contains insufficient facts to
support an inference that a City practice or policy caused
the plaintiffs' injury. To hold a municipality liable for
the conduct of one of its employees under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, plaintiff must “plead factual content that allows
the court to draw the reasonable inference that the City
maintained a policy, custom, or practice” that resulted
in the violation of their constitutional rights. McCauley
v. City of Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 616 (7th Cir. 2011).
This may be accomplished by pleading that “the
unconstitutional act about which the plaintiff complains was
caused by (1) an official policy adopted and promulgated by
[municipal] officers; (2) a governmental practice or custom
that, although not officially authorized, is widespread and
well settled; or (3) an official with final policy-making
authority.” Carmona v. City of Chicago, No.
15-CV-462, 2018 WL 306664, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 5, 2018).
“To survive a motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must
give enough details about the subject-matter of the case to
present a story that holds together.”
McCauley, 671 F.3d at 617 (internal quotation marks
omitted). “Legal conclusions and conclusory allegations
merely reciting the elements of the claim are not entitled to
th[e] presumption of truth.” Id. at 616.
point to a single paragraph in the complaint that they say is
sufficient to state the existence of a widespread City of
Chicago practice or custom of violating individuals'
Upon information and belief, certain of the Individual
Defendant Officers, including but not limited to Defendants
Chinchilla, Echols, and Miller, have been the subjects of
dozens of complaints for misconduct, including numerous
civil-rights lawsuits, but have never been disciplined by the
Defendant City of Chicago, pursuant to a de facto policy
and/or express policy and/or custom of turning a blind eye,
and otherwise condoning police misconduct . . . encouraging
and thereby proximately causing constitutional
7. The only factual matter pled in the foregoing paragraph is
the allegation that the individual officer defendants have
been the subjects of dozens of complaints and/or civil rights
lawsuits, but have never been disciplined.
allegations do not state a Monell claim. The
allegations do not describe the subject matter of the alleged
complaints and lawsuits or indicate when they took place.
Plaintiffs do not even indicate whether the complaints and
lawsuits were meritorious; the First Amended Complaint merely
notes that complaints and lawsuits were filed, and the
officers were not punished. These are bare factual
allegations insufficient to create an inference that
plaintiffs' harm resulted from a widespread City policy
or practice of failing to discipline officers. See, e.g.,
Thomas v. City of Markham, No. 16 CV 08107, 2017 WL
4340182, at *4 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 29, 2017)
(“[A]llegations of general past misconduct or
allegations of dissimilar incidents are not sufficient to
allege a pervasive practice and a defendant's deliberate
indifference to its consequences.”); Brown v.
Evans, No. 15 C 2844, 2016 WL 69629, at *3-4 (N.D. Ill.
Jan. 6, 2016) (holding that allegations that a police
department “tolerated, ignored, and even
encouraged” an officer's conduct “despite
numerous serious citizen complaints” were “too
vague and lacking in sufficient details to give proper
notice”). Without more information about the prior
complaints and lawsuits-for example, information concerning
the content of the complaints that would allow the court and
the defendants to determine whether they involve incidents
similar to those at issue here-the plaintiffs have not given
proper notice of their Monell claim, which is
dismissed without prejudice