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Briscoe v. Village of Vernon Hills

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

March 30, 2018

JOHN BRISCOE, Plaintiff,
v.
VILLAGE OF VERNON HILLS, et. al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          HON. JORGE ALONSO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's first amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, defendants' motion [45] is granted. Plaintiff is given a final opportunity to amend his complaint by April 30, 2018 to state a claim or this matter will be dismissed with prejudice.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         In November 2015, plaintiff filed a seven-count complaint against his former employer and several individuals alleging a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and First Amendment as well as conspiracy and Monell claims. In May 2016, the Court granted defendants' motion to dismiss and entered judgment. In November 2016, the case was reassigned to this Court. In March 2017, the Court vacated the May 2016 judgment, granted plaintiff's motion for leave to file an amended complaint, and denied defendants' motion for Rule 11 sanctions.

         Plaintiff has now filed a four-count amended complaint, alleging that defendants violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by retaliating against him for exercising his First Amendment rights (Count I), conspiring to violate his First Amendment rights (Count II), and conspiring under state civil law (Count IV). Plaintiff also brings a Monell claim against the Village (Count III). Defendants move to dismiss plaintiff's first amended complaint under the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff John Briscoe is a former police officer, who was promoted to Commander, for defendant Village of Vernon Hills (the “Village”). (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 5, 12, ECF No. 42.) Briscoe worked for the Village for nearly twenty-five years before he retired on disability. (Id. ¶¶ 11-12.) Defendants Roger Byrne, John Kalmar, Larry Nakrin, and Mark Fleischhauer are officials elected or appointed to the Village. (Id. ¶¶ 6-10.)

         On November 27, 2012, Briscoe injured his knee and back while responding to an emergency home invasion call. (Id. ¶ 13.) He later underwent surgery for his injuries. (Id. ¶ 19.) Following post-surgical care and treatment, defendants determined that Briscoe was unable to perform his job duties. (Id. ¶ 21.)

         On May 2, 2014, the Village determined that Briscoe could perform his job duties and thus stopped paying workers compensation benefits. (Id. ¶ 22.) Briscoe had to use sick days, vacation time, and compensatory time because he no longer had workers compensation benefits. (Id. ¶ 23.)

         On May 12, 2014, Briscoe applied for a line-of-duty disability pension with the Village Police Pension Board (“Pension Board”). (Id. ¶ 24.) On June 20, 2014, defendant Chief Fleischhauer sent Briscoe a memorandum requiring him to return to work, but Briscoe did not comply. (Id. ¶ 26.) That same day, the Village filed a petition to intervene in Briscoe's hearing with the Pension Board. (Id. ¶ 39.) On July 21, 2014, Chief Fleischhauer ordered Briscoe to report to two physicians selected by defendants for medical evaluation. (Id. ¶ 35.) Briscoe did not comply with this order. (Id. ¶¶ 37-39.)

         On September 11, 2014, Briscoe applied for benefits with the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission, seeking benefits for his knee and back injuries. (Id. ¶ 41.) On September 15, 2014, Chief Fleischhauer asked Briscoe to provide an explanation for his absence from work and ordered him to return to work. (Id. ¶¶ 42, 45.) Briscoe provided an explanation but did not return to work. (Id. ¶¶ 43, 45.)

         On October 9, 2014, the Pension Board denied the Village's petition to intervene in Briscoe's hearing. (Id. ¶ 49.) On October 21, 2014, defendants enacted an ordinance that would require Briscoe to file a claim for health insurance benefits pursuant to the Public Safety Employee Benefits Acts (“PSEBA”) with the Village within thirty days. (Id. ¶ 53.)

         On November 8, 2014, the Village notified Briscoe that he was subject to discipline for violating the sick leave and secondary employment policies. (Id. ¶¶ 58, 61.) Defendants threatened to demote Briscoe and lower his annual salary. (Id. ¶ 66.) In December 2014, the Village demoted Briscoe and decreased his salary. (Id. ¶¶ 75-83.)

         On January 26, 2015, Briscoe filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) for disability discrimination and retaliation. (Id. ¶ 85.) On January 30, 2015, defendants denied Briscoe PSEBA benefits (Id. ¶ 88.) On February 5 and 12, 2015, the Pension Board granted Briscoe a line-of-duty disability pension. (Id. ΒΆ 89.) On February 18, ...


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