United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
L. Ellis Judge
Court denies Defendant City of Chicago's motion to
dismiss Plaintiff's Monell claims from
Plaintiff's third amended complaint . The Court
orders the City to respond to the Monell allegations
by June 27, 2018. See statement.
Officer Robert Fischer and Officer Jose Pelayo
(“Defendant Officers”) stopped Plaintiff Vibron
Lloyd while he was driving in Chicago and searched his car.
Lloyd claims that the Defendant Officers stopped his car
pursuant to a long-standing City of Chicago
(“City”) practice of directing and/or training
its police officers to stop and search vehicles that fit a
general description-in this case, having rims on the
tires-and had more than two African American occupants. In
addition to bringing claims against the Defendant Officers in
his third amended complaint, Lloyd pursues a Monell
claim against the City for the unreasonable stop, search, and
seizure based on the City's practice of stopping certain
vehicles. The City moves to dismiss the
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the
sufficiency of the complaint, not its merits. Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6); Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510,
1520 (7th Cir. 1990). In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion
to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all well-pleaded facts
in the plaintiff's complaint and draws all reasonable
inferences from those facts in the plaintiff's favor.
AnchorBank, FSB v. Hofer, 649 F.3d 610, 614 (7th
Cir. 2011). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint
must not only provide the defendant with fair notice of a
claim's basis but must also be facially plausible.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct.
1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009); see also Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d
929 (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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
City argues that Lloyd has not adequately alleged a policy or
practice claim under Monell v. Department of Social
Services of the City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 98 S.Ct.
2018, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1978). Liability under Monell
may be premised on (1) an express policy that, when enforced,
causes a constitutional violation; (2) a widespread practice
that, although not authorized by written law or express
municipal policy, is so permanent and well-settled as to
constitute a custom or usage with the force of law; or (3) a
constitutional injury caused by a person with final
policymaking authority. McCormick v. City of
Chicago, 230 F.3d 319, 324 (7th Cir. 2000). To
adequately allege a Monell policy or practice claim,
Lloyd must “plead [ ] factual content that allows the
Court to draw the reasonable inference that the City
maintained a policy, custom, or practice” that
contributed to the alleged violation. McCauley v. City of
Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 616 (7th Cir. 2011) (citation
omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted).
City complains that Lloyd uses only boilerplate language and
refers only to a single problem he personally experienced,
claiming that this single incident cannot establish a
widespread practice. But recently, the Seventh Circuit has
reminded courts not to apply a “heightened pleading
standard” to Monell claims. White v. City
of Chicago, 829 F.3d 837, 844 (7th Cir. 2016) (quoting
Leatherman v. Tarrant County Narcotics Intelligence &
Coordination Unit, 507 U.S. 163, 164, 113 S.Ct. 1160,
122 L.Ed.2d 517 (1993)). A plaintiff may rely solely on his
own experience to state a Monell claim, rather than
pleading examples of other individual's experiences.
See Id. at 844 (noting that plaintiff “was not
required to identify every other or even one other individual
who had been arrested pursuant to a warrant obtained through
the complained-of process”); Williams v. City of
Chicago, No. 16-cv-8271, 2017 WL 3169065, at *8-9 (N.D.
Ill. July 26, 2017) (“Post-White courts
analyzing Monell claims . . . have ‘scotched
motions to dismiss' premised on arguments that the
complaint does not contain allegations beyond those relating
to the plaintiff.” (collecting cases)). Therefore,
Lloyd's allegation that the Defendant Officers
unconstitutionally stopped and searched him and his car
pursuant to a policy or practice of stopping and searching
vehicles fitting certain descriptions with over two African
American occupants suffices at this stage to state a
Monell claim against the City. See Barwicks v.
Dart, No. 14-cv-8791, 2016 WL 3418570, at *4 (N.D. Ill.
June 22, 2016) (at summary judgment, single incident cannot
establish Monell claim, but at the motion to dismiss
stage, a plaintiff “need only allege a pattern or
practice, not put forth the full panoply of evidence from
which a reasonable factfinder could conclude such a pattern
exists”). This is particularly true here, where Lloyd
alleges that Officer Fischer confirmed that the Defendant
Officers' commander informed them to stop and search
vehicles fitting this profile, suggesting that this incident
was not isolated but rather a widespread practice. Discovery
will uncover whether Lloyd can establish or prove his
Monell claim, but at the pleading stage, Lloyd need
only state a plausible claim for relief. See Shields v.
City of Chicago, No. 17 C 6689, 2018 WL 1138553, at *4
(N.D. Ill. Mar. 2, 2018) (noting that the “City's
arguments that Plaintiff's allegations do not
‘establish' the existence of a widespread policy
are misplaced because at this stage of the proceedings, the
Court must determine whether Plaintiff has stated a plausible
claim for relief, not that he has ‘established' or
‘proven' his claims”). The Court finds that
Lloyd has done so here and therefore denies the City's
motion to dismiss the Monell claim.
 Lloyd also asserts an indemnification
claim against the City, which the City has not moved to