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Jordan v. Krausz

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 8, 2018

ARIANA R. JORDAN, Plaintiff,



         This matter comes before the Court on defendant Justin D. Krausz's motion for summary judgment (Doc. 30). Plaintiff Ariana R. Jordan has responded to the motion (Docs. 34 & 36), and Krausz has replied to that response (Doc. 37).

         I. Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary judgment must be granted “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Spath v. Hayes Wheels Int'l-Ind., Inc., 211 F.3d 392, 396 (7th Cir. 2000). The reviewing court must construe the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of that party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986); Chelios v. Heavener, 520 F.3d 678, 685 (7th Cir. 2008); Spath, 211 F.3d at 396.

         The initial summary judgment burden of production is on the moving party to show the Court that there is no reason to have a trial. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323; Modrowski v. Pigatto, 712 F.3d 1166, 1168 (7th Cir. 2013). Where the non-moving party carries the burden of proof at trial, the moving party may satisfy its burden of production in one of two ways. It may present evidence that affirmatively negates an essential element of the non-moving party's case, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(A), or it may point to an absence of evidence to support an essential element of the non-moving party's case without actually submitting any evidence, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(B). Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-25; Modrowski, 712 F.3d at 1169. Where the moving party fails to meet its strict burden, a court cannot enter summary judgment for the moving party even if the opposing party fails to present relevant evidence in response to the motion. Cooper v. Lane, 969 F.2d 368, 371 (7th Cir. 1992).

         In responding to a summary judgment motion, the nonmoving party may not simply rest upon the allegations contained in the pleadings but must present specific facts to show that a genuine issue of material fact exists. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-26; Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256-57; Modrowski, 712 F.3d at 1168. A genuine issue of material fact is not demonstrated by the mere existence of “some alleged factual dispute between the parties, ” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247, or by “some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, ” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue of material fact exists only if “a fair-minded jury could return a verdict for the [nonmoving party] on the evidence presented.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.

         II. Facts

         Viewing all the evidence and drawing all reasonable inferences in Jordan's favor, the evidence establishes the following relevant facts for the purposes of this motion. The Court focuses primarily on Krausz's conduct because a defendant in a § 1983 suit can only be liable for constitutional deprivations with which he was personally involved, Consolino v. Towne, 872 F.3d 825, 832 (7th Cir. 2017), but touches on additional facts to give Krausz's conduct and Jordan's allegations context.

         Jordan and Chad Little had a son but in 2015 they did not live together. Visitation rights for the minor son were governed by an order from a Missouri court. Prior to May 11, 2015, Jordan lived in Missouri, Little lived in Illinois, and the two exchanged custody of their son at a specific location in St. Louis, Missouri. On May 11, 2015, Jordan informed Little she had moved with their son to San Diego, California, and would not be returning to the area. Little approached the Missouri court that had issued the custody order and obtained a new order declaring him the sole custodian of their son (“May 14 Missouri custody order”). He filed the May 14 Missouri order in the Circuit Court of Madison County, Illinois, and obtained an order of protection from that court acknowledging that Little was the sole custodian of their son (“May 19 Illinois order of protection”).

         On May 19, 2015, Little reported to the Maryville Police Department that Jordan had wrongfully absconded with their child. He made an oral report to Krausz, a patrolman on duty at the police station at the time, and gave him copies of the May 14 Missouri custody order and the May 19 Illinois order of protection. At no point did Little state that Jordan had ever been in Illinois. Krausz was not sure if Jordan could be charged with a crime but believed criminal charges could be justified because Little “had sole custody of the child and the child was not in Illinois in his custody.” Krausz dep. 7:14-18. Krausz spoke with Maryville Detective Howe who told Krausz to prepare a report and that he would investigate further. Krausz completed an “informational report” summarizing the information Little had reported to him and gave the report to his superiors along with the May 14 Missouri custody order and the May 19 Illinois order of protection. Jordan does not dispute that Krausz's informational report is truthful, that is, that Little actually reported to Krausz the facts reflected in Krausz's report.

         Krausz took no further action with respect to Little's complaint. Krausz did not request that anyone further investigate the events in his informational report or that any criminal charges be filed against Jordan, and he never raised any question about whether there was jurisdiction to charge Jordan with an Illinois crime. In fact, Krausz did not know what was done with his report after he filed it and had no further connection with the matter. However, it would not have been surprising for Krausz's report to result in charges against Jordan. For felony charges, a patrolman usually began by filing an informational report, a supervisor would decide whether to assign a detective to investigate further, the assigned detective would review the informational report and decided whether to ask the State's Attorney to prosecute, and the State's Attorney would decide whether to pursue charges. Indeed, all of Krausz's prior informational reports had followed that course and resulted in charges.

         In fact, a Maryville police sergeant assigned Detective Howe to investigate the matter further. Detecting a potential jurisdictional problem and uncertain whether Jordan had committed a crime subject to Illinois' criminal jurisdiction, [1] Howe submitted Krausz's report, the May 14 Missouri custody order and the May 19 Illinois order of protection to the Madison County State's Attorney's Office for attorney review, but he did not formally request prosecution. The State's Attorney's Office decided to pursue a charge against Jordan for child abduction in violation of Illinois law.[2] A Madison County judge issued a warrant for Jordan's arrest, and she was arrested. She sought dismissal of the charge on the grounds that an Illinois court did not have jurisdiction over her because she had not committed any act in Illinois. After full briefing by both sides, the court agreed with her and dismissed the charge.

         The only remaining claim in this case is Count I against Krausz for false arrest in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The claim is based on the assertion that Krausz should have known Jordan was not subject to Illinois' criminal jurisdiction since no information suggested she had ever been in Illinois. Krausz asks the Court for summary judgment on this count on the grounds that (1) Krausz's conduct is not actionable, (2) Krausz is entitled to qualified immunity and (3) probable cause existed for Jordan's arrest. Jordan disagrees, arguing that Krausz was responsible for Jordan's arrest because his report was a necessary step in the foreseeable process leading to the arrest. She also argues that Krausz is not entitled to qualified immunity because a reasonable officer would have known, based on a reading of the Illinois criminal jurisdiction statute, that Illinois had no criminal jurisdiction over Jordan and would not have started the process that led to Jordan's arrest. Finally, she denies that probable cause existed to arrest her.

         III. ...

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