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Willoughby v. Village of Fox Lake

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

June 6, 2018

RAYMOND WILLOUGHBY, DAMIEN WARD, and DAN COOPER, Plaintiffs,
v.
VILLAGE OF FOX LAKE, COMMANDER GEORGE FILENKO, JOHN DOE POLICE OFFICERS, JOHN DOE DEPUTY SHERIFFS, JOHN DOE STATE POLICE AGENTS, and JOHN DOE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION AGENTS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Ronald A. Guzmán, United States District Judge.

         For the reasons stated below, George Filenko's motion to dismiss Count I of the Third Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is granted, and plaintiffs' motion for class certification is denied.

         BACKGROUND

         In this action, plaintiffs allege that their Fourth Amendment rights were violated when they were arrested and detained in conjunction with the investigation that occurred after the death of Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, who was a police lieutenant for the Village of Fox Lake, Illinois (the “Village”). It was later revealed that Gliniewicz had staged his suicide to look like a homicide. It is alleged that prior to taking his own life, Gliniewicz sent a radio transmission to the Village police department falsely stating that he was in pursuit of three individuals, two “male whites” and one “male black.” (ECF No. 93, 3d Am. Compl. ¶ 14.)

         On December 21, 2017, the Court issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order denying the Village's motion to dismiss Count II of the Second Amended Complaint and granting defendant George Filenko's motion to dismiss Count I of the Second Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 92.) The Court assumes familiarity with that opinion and order and the facts and procedural history of this case.

         With leave of court, plaintiffs filed a Third Amended Complaint. It contains the same claims plaintiffs previously asserted: a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for unlawful search and seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment (Count I) and a Monell claim against the Village (Count II). The only difference between the Second and Third Amended Complaints is the addition of several paragraphs pertaining to defendant Filenko, an attempt to cure the deficiencies the Court previously discussed in its memorandum opinion. Filenko moves to dismiss the claim asserted against him. Plaintiffs move for class certification.

         DISCUSSION

         A. Filenko's Motion to Dismiss Count I for Failure to State a Claim

         A complaint “must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 444, 570 (2007)). “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.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

         According to the Third Amended Complaint, Filenko was the Commander of the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force (the “Task Force”), which assisted the Village with the investigation of Gliniewicz's death. The Court previously dismissed plaintiffs' claim against Filenko because plaintiffs did not allege facts from which it could be inferred that Filenko was personally involved in their arrests.

         The doctrine of respondeat superior cannot be used to hold a supervisor liable for conduct of a subordinate that violates a plaintiff's constitutional rights. Chavez v. Ill. State Police, 251 F.3d 612, 651 (7th Cir. 2001). In order for a supervisor to be liable, he must be “personally responsible for the deprivation of the constitutional right.” Matthews v. City of E. St. Louis, 675 F.3d 703, 708 (7th Cir. 2012). To have personal involvement, the supervisor must “know about the conduct and facilitate it, approve it, condone it, or turn a blind eye for fear of what [he] might see.” Id.

         The Court held that plaintiffs' previous allegations against Filenko were threadbare and thus insufficient. In addition to those allegations, plaintiffs now allege the following:

• Filenko's personal involvement in the conduct complained of herein was more extensive than simply supervising the various involved officers, and rather must be considered in light of the nature and scope of the Major Crimes Taskforce agreement, separate and apart from Fox Lake's de facto policy which led to the unlawful detentions as has been, and will be, described herein.
• Once contacted by Fox Lake to assist in the investigation, Filenko (as commander of the task force) and the various officers comprising the task force acting under Filenko's direction began investigating leads in the manhunt for the fictitious “murderer, ” which ...

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