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Dawson v. Dart

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

May 16, 2018

Kevin Dawson, Plaintiff,
v.
Thomas Dart, in his official capacity as the Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          Honorable Thomas M. Durkin United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Kevin Dawson filed this wrongful detention lawsuit against defendant Thomas Dart in his official capacity as the Sheriff of Cook County and four Chicago Police Officer defendants in their personal capacities. The Chicago Police Officer defendants have since settled with Dawson, leaving only Dart as a defendant. Currently before the Court are: (1) Dart's motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) (R. 113); and (2) Dawson's pro se motion opposing Dart's motion to dismiss (R. 117). For the following reasons, the Court grants Dart's motion and denies Dawson's motion.

         Standard

         A Rule 12(b)(6) motion challenges the sufficiency of the complaint. E.g., Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police of Chi. Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009). A complaint must provide “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The statement must give defendant “fair notice” of the claim and the basis for it. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). This standard “demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). While “detailed factual allegations” are not required, “labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. The complaint must “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “‘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.'” Mann v. Vogel, 707 F.3d 872, 877 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). In applying this standard, the Court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Mann, 707 F.3d at 877.

         Background

         Dawson was charged with residential burglary on March 21, 2010. R. 38 ¶ 9. The Circuit Court of Cook County, Criminal Division, in Skokie released Dawson on bond with electronic monitoring. Id. On May 6, 2010, the court modified Dawson's terms of release to allow him to leave his house for work. Id. ¶ 10.

         On August 25, 2010, two men robbed Dawson while he was on his way to work, and one of them shot Dawson in the back. Id. ¶ 11. Paramedics took Dawson to the hospital, where he was treated for severe spinal injuries. Id. Chicago Police Officers B.A. Crisler and J.G. Burks allegedly falsely reported that paramedics on the scene found a handgun in Dawson's possession. Id. ¶ 13.

         Two Cook County Sheriffs visited Dawson's hospital room on September 4, 2010, and told him that he was under arrest and would be charged with unlawful use of a weapon based on Crisler and Burks's allegedly false report. Id. ¶ 14. Dawson then was taken to Cook County Jail. Id. Three days later, on September 7, 2010, Dawson was transferred from Cook County Jail to Stroger Hospital due to his injuries. Id. ¶ 15. He was kept shackled while at Stroger. Id.

         On September 12, 2010, Chicago Police Officers Ambrose Resa and James Braun visited Dawson at Stroger. Id. ¶ 16. They allegedly told Dawson that they were attempting to find out who shot him, when in fact they were investigating the February 28, 2010 murder of a man named Willie Anderson. Id.

         On September 14, 2010 at a hearing before the Skokie court, an Assistant States Attorney advised the court that Dawson would be charged with unlawful use of a weapon based on the gun falsely claimed to have been found in Dawson's possession when Dawson was shot. Id. ¶¶ 16-17. At that hearing, the Skokie court denied Dawson's counsel's motion to modify the conditions of his bond so that he would not need to be handcuffed during his recovery from his gunshot wound. See R. 113-1 at 10, 14 (People of the State of Illinois v. Kevin Dawson, No. 10 C2 20321 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cnty., Sept. 14, 2010)).[1]

         Dawson has never been charged with unlawful use of a weapon. R. 38 ¶ 20. Dawson was, however, charged on October 1, 2010 with the February 28 murder of Willie Anderson. Id. ¶ 22. Dawson alleges that he did not have the opportunity to post bond on the murder charge because he had already been taken into custody by Dart. Id. ¶ 23. Dawson has continued to be held in custody since September 4, 2010. Id. ¶ 26.

         Dawson's operative, fifth amended complaint (R. 38) was filed on December 26, 2012 by Dawson's former attorneys. Count I of the complaint is a damages claim against the former Chicago Police Officer defendants for violating Dawson's constitutional rights through unreasonable seizure and false statements. See Id. ¶¶ 1-30; see also Id. pp. 5-6 (“Wherefore” clause seeking “actual damages” against the former Chicago Police Officer defendants only). Count II is titled “Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus.” Id. at p. 5. It alleges that “Dart, in his official capacity as the Sheriff of Cook County, is holding and detaining Dawson in the Cook County Jail” in violation of Dawson's due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment and the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable seizures. Id. ¶ 33.

         The only request for relief against Dart in the “Wherefore” clause of Dawson's complaint is “an injunction requiring the release of Dawson upon posting bond for his murder charge, and . . . costs, attorneys' fees, and such further relief as the Court deems appropriate.” Id. at pp. 5-6. Dawson similarly states in his allegations in support of Count II that “the Court has the authority to require that Dart cease holding Dawson in violation of his Constitutional ...


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