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Cheatham v. City of Chicago

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

May 7, 2018

LAUREN CHEATHAM, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, a municipal corporation, and YESENIA MEDINA, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          HON, VIRGINIA M. KENDALL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Lauren Cheatham filed suit against the City of Chicago and Unknown Police Officers in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois in February 2016. (See Dkt. No. 1). On March 10, 2016, the City of Chicago removed the case and it was assigned to Judge Darrah. (Id.). On February 29, 2016, Cheatham filed her Second Amended Complaint against the City of Chicago and Officer Yesenia Medina alleging claims of assault and battery against Medina (Count I), excessive force under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Medina (Count II), excessive force under a Monell theory against the City (Count III), malicious prosecution under Illinois law against Medina and the City (Counts IV and V), intentional infliction of emotional distress under Illinois law against Medina (Count VI), and negligent infliction of emotional distress under Illinois law against Medina (Count VII). (Dkt. No. 17). On October 25, 2016, Judge Darrah dismissed Cheatham's claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress against Medina (Count VII) and her Monell claim based on an express policy against the City (Count III); the Court did not dismiss Cheatham's Monell claim against the City based on deliberate indifference and policy and custom (Count III). (Dkt. No. 38).

         In March 2017, the case was reassigned to this Court. (Dkt. No. 57). This Court thereafter bifurcated and stayed discovery on Cheatham's remaining Monell claim. (Dkt. No. 70). On January 26, 2017, Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on the claims for malicious prosecution (Counts IV and V) and intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count VII). (Dkt. No. 93). For the following reasons, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [93] is granted.

         STATEMENT OF FACTS

         The Court takes the relevant facts from the parties' Local Rule (“LR”) 56.1 statements of undisputed material facts and supporting exhibits: Defendants' Local Rule 56.1 Statement of Undisputed Material Facts (Dkt. No. 95), Plaintiff's Statement of Additional and Disputed Facts: a Response to Defendant's Statement of Material Facts (Dkt. No. 102), Defendants' Reply to Plaintiff's Response to Defendants' Statement of Undisputed Material Facts (Dkt. No. 111), and Defendants' Response to Plaintiff's Additional Facts. (Dkt. No. 112). The following facts are supported by the record and, except where otherwise noted, are undisputed.

         On February 22, 2015, Officer Medina and Officer Razo received a tip that a black male named Damien, who also went by “Fresh, ” planned to deliver drugs to a Burger King located at 10550 S. Avenue B., Chicago, IL 60617. (Dkt. No. 111 at ¶ 9). The Officers then set up a surveillance at the Burger King. (Id. at ¶ 10).

         That afternoon, Plaintiff Lauren Cheatham and her cousin's fiancée, Damien Bailey, drove to the same Burger King. (Id. at ¶ 11). Cheatham drove her tan Ford Taurus and Bailey rode in the passenger seat. (Id. at ¶¶ 12, 15-16). Officer Medina observed Cheatham turn into the Burger King parking lot without activating the car's turn signal. (Id. at ¶¶ 13-16). She also observed that the passenger of the car matched the physical description of the person she and Officer Razo were looking for. (Id.).

         After Cheatham parked, the Officers approached and directed Cheatham and Bailey to get out of the car. (Id. at ¶ 17). The Officers ran a name check of Cheatham and discovered that she was driving on a suspended license. (Id. at ¶ 18). Cheatham also failed to produce proof of insurance when the Officers asked her to do so. (Id. at ¶ 19). Cheatham claims now that she was insured at the time and had proof of insurance inside the vehicle. (Id. at ¶ 19, Dkt. No. 112 at ¶ 10). The Officers arrested Cheatham for driving on a suspended license and for operating a vehicle without insurance. (Dkt. No. 111 at ¶ 20).

         The Officers transported Cheatham to the 4th District Police station and placed her in a holding cell sitting on a bench by herself with her hands cuffed behind her back. (Id. at ¶¶ 20-21). Cheatham testified that the Officers entered the cell and asked her for information about drugs and “Fresh” and that Medina insisted that Cheatham was dating Bailey, accused her of being a “drug mule” for him, called Cheatham a “bitch, ” and “just kept drilling” Cheatham and saying she was lying. (Id. at ¶ 22; Dkt. No. 112 at ¶ 11). Cheatham testified that she found the questioning “offensive” and that she eventually responded, “You know what, fuck the police. I don't have to say nothing.” (Dkt. No. 111 at ¶¶ 22, 27).

         Cheatham testified that, at that point, Officer Medina motioned her partner out of the holding cell, shut the door, and slapped Cheatham one time on the left side of her face causing a tooth to come loose and fall out. (Id. at ¶¶ 23-25). Cheatham testified that she was “very scared” Medina would hit her again and tried to get away from Medina by moving to the opposite corner of the room and then pleaded for help. (Id. at ¶ 28, Dkt. No. 112 at ¶ 12). Medina denies slapping Cheatham and claims she merely pushed Cheatham back after Cheatham charged at her. (Dkt. No. 111 at ¶ 26; Dkt. No. 112 at ¶ 12).

         Later that day, Medina issued three traffic tickets to Cheatham for driving on a suspended license, operating a vehicle without insurance, and failing to use a turn signal. (Dkt. No. 111 at ¶ 34). Medina also signed two criminal complaints against Cheatham for aggravated assault in violation of 720 ILCS 5.0/12-2-B-4 and resisting or obstructing a police officer in violation of 720 ILCS 5.0/31-1-A. (Dkt. No. 111 at ¶ 27). The complaint for aggravated assault alleged that Cheatham “knowingly and without lawful authority charged at P/O Medina #18375 and then swung her legs placing P/O Medina #18375 in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.” (Dkt. No. 95, Ex. B; Dkt. No. 112 at ¶ 14). The complaint for resisting or obstructing a police officer alleged that Cheatham “knowingly resisted the performance of an authorized act within the officer's official capacity . . . in that defendant did pulled [sic] her body in an attempt to defeat a custodial search.” (Dkt. No. 95, Ex. B; Dkt. No. 112 at ¶ 17).

         On January 4, 2016, Cheatham pleaded guilty to the resisting charge at a hearing in the Circuit Court of Cook County. (See Dkt. No. 95, Ex. L). At the hearing, the State dismissed the aggravated assault charge pursuant to nolle prosequi and struck with leave to reinstate the three traffic charges. (See DkKt. No. 95, Ex. L). Specifically, the following exchange took place between the judge, the Assistant State's Attorney, and the Assistant Public Defender:

DEFENSE COUNSEL: Andrew Hodgetts, Assistant Public Defender, Your Honor. I do believe we have a proposed resolution in this case.
THE COURT: Okay.
ASA: Judge, as to Count I, motion state nolle pros.
THE COURT: Okay.
ASA: As to Count II resisting, 12 months conditional discharge and a hundred hours independent community service.
THE COURT: Okay.
ASA: Counts III, IV and V, motion state SOL.

(Id. at 2:12-24). Cheatham also testified during the hearing that she entered the ...


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