Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Waterworth v. City of Joliet

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

June 11, 2018

CONSTANCE WATERWORTH, as mother and next friend of CHRIST SAM MESSINO, IV, a minor, and as Special Administrator of the ESTATE OF CHRIST SAM MESSINO, III, Plaintiff,



         After Christ Sam Messino, III (“Messino”) was arrested and, ten month later, died from a heart attack, plaintiff Constance Waterhouse (“Waterhouse”)[1] filed against defendant City of Joliet, William Otis (“Otis”) and Von Stein (“Stein”) a seven-count second amended complaint asserting violations of Messino's constitutional rights and a claim for wrongful death. Defendants filed a motion [28] to dismiss the entire complaint. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants in part and denies in part the motion to dismiss.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The events from which this lawsuit arises began on July 5, 2015, when Messino was driving “perfectly” without committing any traffic violations. At the time, defendant Officers Otis and Stein were patrolling in a squad car with a broken audio recorder, but, unbeknownst to those officers, the squad car's video recorder was functioning properly.

         According to the second amended complaint, the squad car's video shows Messino proceeding lawfully through the intersection of Chicago Street and Interstate 80 in Joliet on that day. Despite the video evidence, Officers Otis and Stein, who later claimed Messino had run a red light, followed plaintiff for 1.5 miles until he reached the driveway of the home he shared with plaintiff, Constance Waterworth (Messino's girlfriend) and their son, Christ Sam Messino, IV.

         Officers Otis and Stein turned on their emergency lights. As Messino was opening the door to exit the vehicle, Officer Stein rushed to the driver's-side door and slammed the door (shut, presumably) to prevent Messino from exiting. Plaintiff alleges that Messino was “[c]oerced into believing” the officers had the legal authority to be there. Messino told the officers he did not possess a valid driver's license. (Sec. Am. Complt. ¶ 25).

         Officers Otis and Stein arrested Messino and transported him to the Will County Adult Detention facility, where he was detained based on the Officers' sworn complaints. The Officers alleged in the sworn complaints that Messino had driven on a suspended license, operated an uninsured motor vehicle and disobeyed a traffic control device.

         Messino was held until July 7, 2015 at 10:00 p.m., when he was released on bond. In the meantime, he had missed three days of work and lost his job. Messino was unable to find other work and, ultimately, lost the home he had lived in.

         Before he was released on bond, Messino was charged with driving on a revoked or suspended license. During pre-trial discovery on that charge, the State's Attorney of Will County produced a video, which showed Messino had not run a red light at the intersection of Chicago Street and Interstate 80. Messino's attorney moved to suppress the evidence incident to the arrest, and the judge granted the motion on or about April 14, 2016. The State dismissed the charges about two weeks later, on April 29, 2016.[2]

         About a week later, on May 4, 2016, Messino suffered a heart attack and died, leaving behind Christ Sam Messino IV as his sole heir. Plaintiff alleges that Messino began experiencing hypertension and anxiety after defendants arrested him. They allege that the arrest was the proximate cause of Messino's heart attack.

         Based on these allegations, plaintiff seeks relief under § 1983 for violations of Messino's constitutional rights (Counts I through V). Plaintiff also asserts two state-law claims, one for malicious prosecution (Count VI) and one for wrongful death (Count VII). Defendants move to dismiss all of plaintiff's claims.


         The Court may dismiss a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure if the plaintiff fails “to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Under the notice-pleading requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint must “give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). A complaint need not provide detailed factual allegations, but mere conclusions and a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action” will not suffice. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. To survive a motion to dismiss, a claim must be plausible. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009). Allegations that are as consistent with lawful conduct as they are with unlawful conduct are not sufficient; rather, plaintiffs must include allegations that “nudg[e] their claims across the line from conceivable to plausible.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.

         In considering a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts as true the factual allegations in the complaint and draws permissible inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Boucher v. Finance Syst. of Green Bay, Inc., 880 F.3d 362, 365 (7th Cir. 2018). Conclusory allegations “are not entitled to be assumed true, ” nor are legal conclusions. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 680 & 681 (2009) (noting that a “legal conclusion” was “not entitled to the assumption of truth[;]” and rejecting, as conclusory, allegations that “‘petitioners ‘knew of, condoned, and willfully and maliciously agreed to subject [him]' to harsh conditions of ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.