United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
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,
CITY OF JOLIET, WILLIAM OTIS, and VON STEIN, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. ALONSO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Christ Sam Messino, III (“Messino”) was arrested
and, ten month later, died from a heart attack, plaintiff
Constance Waterhouse (“Waterhouse”) 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  to dismiss the entire
complaint. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants
in part and denies in part the motion to dismiss.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
STANDARD ON A MOTION TO DISMISS
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.
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 ...