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.

McCullough v. Hanley

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois

July 20, 2018

Jack D. McCullough, Plaintiff,
Brion Hanley, et al., Defendants.



         The Seattle defendants' Rule 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss [85] is denied. Seattle defendants' Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss [96] is granted in part and denied in part. The Brady claim alleged against the Seattle defendants in Count I is dismissed with prejudice. The prosecutors' motion to dismiss [100] is granted in part and denied in part. Count V is dismissed with prejudice. Count II is dismissed without prejudice to refiling within 30 days.


         Plaintiff, Jack D. McCullough, has sued various police officers and prosecutors alleging civil rights violations in connection with his wrongful conviction in 2012 for the 1957 abduction and murder of seven-year-old Maria Ridulph. Before the court are a Rule 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and two Rule 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss for failure to state claims upon which relief can be granted. For the reasons that follow, the Rule 12(b)(2) motion is denied and the Rule 12(b)(6) motions are granted in part and denied in part.


         Plaintiff seeks damages for, among other things, four years' imprisonment for a crime he asserts that he did not commit. The defendants remaining in this case fall into one of three groups: (1) Illinois State Police Agents Brion Hanley, Todd Damasky, and Larry Kot, as well as Sergeant Daniel P. Smith (“ISP defendants”); (2) the City of Seattle, Washington and Seattle Police Department Detectives Irene Lau, Cloyd Steiger, and Michael Ciesynski (“Seattle defendants”); (3) DeKalb County, Illinois, former DeKalb County State's Attorney Clay Campbell, and former DeKalb County Assistant State's Attorneys William Engerman, Victor Escarcida, and Julie Trevarthen (“prosecutor defendants”).[1]

         The facts alleged in the amended complaint are as follows and are presumed true for purposes of this order. Maria was abducted near her home in Sycamore, Illinois on the evening of December 3, 1957. Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) investigated the case until April 26, 1958, when Maria's body was discovered in a forested area off Highway 20 near Galena, Illinois. At that point, the FBI ended its investigation without identifying the perpetrator because the body had not crossed state lines. However, documents from more than four months of FBI investigation revealed the following. According to Maria's mother, Maria left her house at 5:50 p.m. to play outside. At least seven people observed Maria and her friend Kathy Sigman playing together on a street corner near her house between 5:50 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Among them, Maria's mother reported that she drove her eldest daughter to music class at 6:00 p.m., returning at 6:05 p.m., and observed Maria and Kathy playing at the corner both times. Kathy reported that at about 6:30 p.m., a man who was a stranger to them, approached and began to play with her and Maria. The man gave Maria a piggyback ride and then told Maria that he would give her another if she could find a doll. Maria went home to retrieve a doll. According to her mother, Maria came home to get a doll at 6:40 p.m. Maria's father reported that Maria got her doll while he was watching the television show “Cheyenne, ” which began at 6:30 p.m. Maria's brother also confirmed that Maria came for her doll after 6:30 p.m. Maria returned to the corner with her doll and received another piggyback ride from the stranger. The two girls continued to play with the stranger until Kathy went home to get a pair of mittens. Before she left, Kathy asked the stranger what time it was and he told her it was 7:00 p.m. Kathy's mother reported that Kathy came home to get her mittens at approximately 6:50 to 6:55 p.m. When Kathy returned to the corner with her mittens, Maria and the stranger were gone. Maria was never again seen alive. Based on these accounts, the FBI determined that Maria was abducted between 6:50 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on December 3, 1957.

         During their investigation, FBI agents interviewed numerous people, including plaintiff, who said that he spent December 3, 1957 at the Air Force Induction Center in Chicago, Illinois, where he had a fitness-for-duty physical. The Air Force personnel in Chicago directed plaintiff to bring a note to the recruiting office in Rockford, Illinois, stating that plaintiff could enlist if his doctor confirmed his good health. At 5:15 p.m., plaintiff boarded a train in Chicago bound for Rockford, and he arrived in Rockford at 6:45 p.m. Plaintiff walked to the United States Post Office in Rockford which housed the Air Force Recruiting Center, but he found it closed. However, an officer told plaintiff to speak to Staff Sergeant Froom. Plaintiff contacted Staff Sergeant Froom who advised plaintiff to call Recruiting Sergeant Oswald. Plaintiff called Sergeant Oswald and passed along the message from the Chicago Induction Center. At 6:57 p.m, while still at the post office, plaintiff placed a collect call to his parents' house in Sycamore seeking a ride home. Plaintiff also called his girlfriend, Jan Edwards, and arranged to see her at her home later that night. Plaintiff's father drove plaintiff back to Sycamore, a distance of approximately 30 miles, and dropped him off at Edwards' home. Plaintiff's parents confirmed that they received a call from plaintiff at 7:00 p.m. on December 3, 1957, and that plaintiff's father retrieved plaintiff in Rockford. FBI agents confirmed with the local phone company that plaintiff made a collect call from the Rockford Post Office to plaintiff's parents' house at 6:57 p.m. FBI agents also confirmed with Sergeant Oswald that he had spoken to plaintiff shortly after 7:00 p.m. on December 3, 1957, at the Rockford Recruiting Center and that he also met with plaintiff the next day. Given that plaintiff was in Rockford at the time Maria was abducted in Sycamore, and that Rockford is approximately 30 miles away from Sycamore, the FBI cleared plaintiff as a suspect.

         On December 11, 1957, plaintiff left home and served four years' in the Air Force. After his honorable discharge from the Air Force, plaintiff enlisted in the Army where he worked in intelligence, attained the rank of Captain, and served in Vietnam. Plaintiff left the Army after serving for over a decade and moved to Washington State.

         Plaintiff's mother died in 1994. Plaintiff had a contentious relationship with his sister, Janet Tessier, and they were not on speaking terms after the year 2000. In 2008, fourteen years after her mother's death, Janet came forward and claimed that on her death bed her mother said that plaintiff had something to do with the “two little girls, ” one of whom disappeared. Janet claimed that her mother was referencing the Maria Ridulph abduction. Ignoring the obvious problems surrounding the decade-old report of this vague statement, Hanley re-opened the Ridulph case in hopes of making a name for himself.

         In October 2008, Hanley and Kot began working together to build a case purposefully targeting plaintiff. In 2009, Hanley began meeting with members of the DeKalb County State's Attorney's Office, including Engerman, Trevarthen, and Escarcida. Engerman instructed the officers to follow specific leads, and to try to dig up as much dirt as possible on plaintiff. Engerman specifically requested that he be informed after every single lead was investigated and stated that he “wants to be involved as a working participant of” the investigation.

         In 2010, Hanley and Damasky contacted Edwards who informed them that on the night of the abduction she had plans to see plaintiff at her home and that plaintiff was excited to be enlisting in the military. But Hanley and Damasky instead falsely reported that Edwards told them that she did not have plans to meet plaintiff on the night of the abduction and that plaintiff's enlistment was abrupt and a complete surprise to her. Two months after Hanley and Damasky contacted Edwards, she provided them with “a train ticket issued to plaintiff by the military that plaintiff had given her on the night of the abduction.” Edwards had found the ticket tucked inside an old picture frame.

         In September 2010, Hanley and Damasky approached the then sixty-one year old Kathy and asked her to describe the man who played with her and Maria over fifty years earlier. Kathy described him as “tall, slender face, sandy blonde hair, clean shaven, maybe twenty to thirty years of age.” Following the interview, Hanley, Damasky, and Smith created a suggestive six-photo array which Engerman viewed and approved. The photo array was biased against plaintiff because the photo of plaintiff stood out among the others for the following reasons: (1) three of the photos were of men with dark hair; (2) only two photos were of a man with blond hair and a slender face; (3) all of the photos were from a high school yearbook with the exception of the photo of plaintiff; (4) each of the yearbook photos depicted a young man in suit and tie with a light background looking slightly away from the camera; (5) in his photo plaintiff was not in suit and tie, he was looking directly at the camera, and the photo had a dark background. Despite this suggestiveness, Hanley and Smith presented the photos to Kathy in September 2010. Kathy excluded the three photos of the dark-haired men and, after four minutes of contemplation, chose the photo of plaintiff. Hanley and Smith's decision to show Kathy the suggestive photo array tainted her memory and manufactured a false identification. Engerman, Hanley, Damasky, and Smith knew that based on the FBI documents and the more than fifty years that had passed since the murder, they should not have shown Kathy the photo-array. These defendants knew that Kathy was only eight-years-old at the time of Maria's abduction and described the perpetrator as a stranger, which would have excluded plaintiff because he lived nearby in the same small town. Moreover, Kathy's description of the perpetrator changed at least three different times in the two weeks following Maria's abduction. Kathy also had previously identified three different men as being the perpetrator. Based on all these circumstances, these defendants knew that Kathy's identification could not provide probable cause to believe plaintiff was the murderer and, as a result, they did not seek to arrest him at that time.

         Because it was conclusively established that plaintiff was in Rockford at 6:57 p.m. on December 3, 1957, these defendants knew that the only way they could implicate plaintiff was to fabricate an earlier abduction time. This would have allowed plaintiff enough time to abduct Maria, travel to Rockford to meet with Air Force officials, and place the collect call. Therefore, without any evidentiary support, these defendants falsely maintained that the abduction occurred between 6:00 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. However, this earlier abduction time was impossible because Maria's parents, among others, saw her alive after 6:30 p.m. and the FBI concluded that Maria was abducted between 6:50 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Prior to the plaintiff's arrest, each of the prosecutor defendants had participated in the investigation and agreed to work with the ISP defendants to falsely implicate plaintiff.

         Once Campbell was elected State's Attorney of DeKalb County in November 2010, he became personally involved in the investigation of plaintiff. Campbell took over Engerman's role directing the ISP defendants in the investigation and told them that he wanted to oversee the case. Although there was no probable cause to believe that plaintiff was involved with Maria's abduction and murder, Campbell participated in the criminal investigation alongside Trevarthen and Escarcida and in doing so agreed not to conduct a fair and impartial investigation. Instead, Campbell was focused solely on investigating and implicating plaintiff. Campbell, Trevarthen, and Escarcida continued to work closely with the ISP defendants for several months before the investigation turned to Seattle, Washington. Knowing that there was no probable cause to arrest plaintiff, the ISP and prosecutor defendants (collectively “the Illinois defendants”) sought to gather more false evidence against plaintiff by coordinating with the Seattle defendants.

         After being asked to assist in the Illinois investigation and understanding that they would be seeking to secure the prosecution of plaintiff in Illinois, the Seattle defendants agreed to work with the Illinois defendants to link plaintiff to the homicide. Prior to plaintiff's arrest the Seattle defendants consulted with the ISP defendants and agreed upon how the investigation would proceed, how they would arrest plaintiff, and how they would get plaintiff to provide inculpatory statements. Ciesynski and Steiger actively participated in the investigation by traveling to plaintiff's former employer's office, going to plaintiff's home, contacting plaintiff under false pretenses, and lying to plaintiff about their motives. In furtherance of their agreement, Ciesynski and Steiger met with Hanley and Damasky in Seattle to secure plaintiff's false arrest. The Seattle defendants also wrote and shared police reports with the ISP defendants. Ultimately, Steiger authored and signed the probable cause statement and the affidavit for a search warrant which led to plaintiff's arrest. With the knowledge and approval of Ciesynski, Hanley, and Damasky, Steiger included the following false information in the affidavit: (1) that Kathy immediately identified plaintiff from the photo array; (2) that Maria disappeared at 6:15 p.m. to try to cast doubt on plaintiff's alibi; (3) that Edwards did not remember seeing plaintiff on the night Maria was abducted; (4) that plaintiff legally changed his name shortly after the abduction when that did not occur until decades later; and (5) omitting that Air Force personnel had verified plaintiff's alibi. Plaintiff was ultimately arrested based on Steiger's false affidavit and then questioned. The Seattle defendants participated in the arrest and interrogation of plaintiff alongside the ISP defendants. From Seattle, Ciesynski, Hanley, Damasky, and Lau continued to coordinate the investigation with Campbell, Trevarthen, and Escarcida.

         After plaintiff's arrest in Seattle in June 2011, Lau interrogated plaintiff and then created a report in which she falsely claimed that plaintiff became calm and relaxed when he spoke of Maria and stated that she was “lovely, lovely, lovely.” Following the interrogation, Steiger and Ciesynski assisted Hanley and Damasky in extraditing plaintiff to Illinois. Steiger and Ciesynski accompanied plaintiff on the flight from Seattle to Chicago and dove him to Sycamore and even to the scene of the abduction. Steiger and Ciesynski also traveled to Sycamore between December 16 and 22, 2011 and met with Hanley, Campbell, Trevarthen, and Escarcida. Steiger, Ciesynski, and Lau also traveled to Sycamore to testify at plaintiff's trial in 2012. The video tape of Lau's interview of plaintiff was withheld from plaintiff so that he could not use it to refute Lau's fabricated account.

         Knowing that the case against plaintiff was weak, Hanley decided to manufacture more evidence against plaintiff by offering convicted felons, Kirk Swaggerty and Matthew Reiman, deals in exchange for their false testimony that plaintiff had confessed to them in the DeKalb County Jail. Hanley concealed the promises and impermissible incentives that he offered Swaggerty and Reimann. On September 12, 2012, Hanley, Escarcida, and Trevarthen specifically instructed Reimann to deny that there was any deal or promise relating to his agreement to testify because this would undermine the value of his testimony. At plaintiff's bench trial, Swaggerty and Reimann testified to plaintiff's purported confessions and did not disclose the incentives or promises made in exchange. Both testified that he did not receive anything in exchange for his testimony. At his trial, plaintiff and his attorneys had no knowledge of this valuable impeachment information. On September 14, 2012, plaintiff was wrongfully convicted of the kidnapping and murder of Maria Ridulph.

         After plaintiff's trial, Reimann wrote letters from Stateville Correctional Center (“Stateville”) expressing concern that his identity had been revealed and to determine when he would receive the promised incentives. In response, Hanley went to Stateville on November 30, 2012, and signed the visitor logbook with a fictitious name and address. Within a few months, Reimann's security classification was reduced in accordance with the undisclosed agreement he had made with defendants. On December 10, 2012, plaintiff was sentenced to life imprisonment.

         Plaintiff spent four years incarcerated for a crime he did not commit. In 2016, plaintiff's conviction was vacated and he was released from prison after the new DeKalb County State's Attorney Richard Schmack moved to dismiss all charges against plaintiff due to the existence of clear and convincing evidence showing that plaintiff was convicted of a crime he did not commit. Schmack concluded that there had never been a reasonable hypothesis for the claim that the abduction occurred earlier on December 3, 1957, than was previously determined. In April 2017, plaintiff was granted a Certificate of Innocence by the DeKalb County Circuit Court.

         Plaintiff filed suit in this court on April 14, 2017 and, based on the foregoing alleged facts, brings the following claims in his amended complaint: a § 1983 claim for suppressing exculpatory material against defendant police officers (Count I); a §1983 claim for suggestive identification against Hanley, Smith, Damasky, and Engerman (Count II); a §1983 claim for failure to intervene against all defendants (Count III); a §1983 claim for fabrication of evidence against all defendants (Count IV); a §1983 claim for federal malicious prosecution against all defendants (Count V); a §1983 claim for conspiracy against all defendants (Count VI); a state-law claim for malicious prosecution against all defendants (Count VII); a state-law claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”) against all defendants (Count VIII); a state-law claim for civil conspiracy against all defendants (Count IX); a state-law claim for respondeat superior against the City of Seattle (Count X); and a state-law claim for indemnification against the City of Seattle and DeKalb County (Count XI).

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Seattle Defendants' Rule 12(b)(2) Motion to Dismiss

         The Seattle defendants contend that all the claims alleged against them should be dismissed because this court lacks specific personal jurisdiction over them. Plaintiff opposes the motion arguing that he has alleged the following facts which far exceed his burden of making a prima facie showing of this court's specific personal jurisdiction: the Seattle defendants (1) knew that the effects of their conduct would be felt in Illinois, not Washington, because they were investigating an Illinois crime that would be prosecuted in Illinois; (2) conspired with the ISP defendants to frame plaintiff for an Illinois crime knowing their was no probable cause; (3) wrote and signed an affidavit approved by Ciesynski which included false information that induced a judge to authorize plaintiff's arrest for an Illinois murder; (4) extradited plaintiff to Illinois; (5) interrogated plaintiff; (6) traveled to Illinois three times during the investigation; and (7) testified against plaintiff in Illinois.[2] The court agrees with plaintiff.

         A federal court has personal jurisdiction to the extent permitted by the law of the state in which it sits. Mobile Anesthesiologists Chicago, LLC v. Anesthesia Assocs. of Houston Metroplex, P.A., 623 F.3d 440, 443 (7th Cir. 2010). Illinois law, in turn, allows personal jurisdiction over a defendant to the same extent permitted by the United States Constitution. See 735 ILCS 5/2-209(c). That means plaintiff must at least show that the Seattle defendants have “purposefully established ‘minimum contacts' in the forum State” such that it is “not unreasonable to require [them] to submit to the burdens of litigation in that forum.” Burger King Corp. v. Rudzewicz, 471 U.S. 462, 474-76 (1985). The proper focus of the “minimum contacts” inquiry in intentional-tort cases is “the relationship among the defendant, the forum, and the litigation.” Walden v. Fiore, 571 U.S. 277, ___, 134 S.Ct. 1115, 1126 (2014).

         The Seattle defendants contend that plaintiff has failed to allege any contacts with Illinois, let alone contacts sufficient to satisfy the required minimum contacts for properly conferring specific personal jurisdiction. The Seattle defendants argue that plaintiff's allegation that they knew their conduct would result in an Illinois prosecution is merely one of “generalized foreseeability” that their actions would cause harm to plaintiff in Illinois and is insufficient. See Cent. States, Se. & Sw. Areas Pension Fund v. Reimer Express World Corp., 230 F.3d 934, 943 (7th Cir. 2000) (“The generalized foreseeability of the defendant's action causing harm in the forum is not sufficient for the exercise of jurisdiction.”). But plaintiff has alleged much more than the mere fact that he felt the consequences of the Seattle defendants' actions in Illinois. Plaintiff has alleged that the Seattle defendants joined in the ongoing Illinois effort to frame him and advanced that cause by knowingly including the false information they received from an Illinois source, that is the Illinois defendants, in documents submitted to a judge in Washington to secure plaintiff's arrest for an Illinois crime. Plaintiff has also alleged that the Seattle defendants committed acts in Illinois to implement the plan to frame plaintiff. In particular, they brought plaintiff back to Illinois and continued to question him as they traveled from the airport in Chicago to Sycamore and even drove him past the location of Maria's abduction. It is further alleged that the Seattle defendants traveled to Illinois between December 16 and 22, 2011, to discuss the case with the Illinois defendants, and then traveled to Illinois on a third occasion in 2012 to testify against plaintiff at his trial. “[P]hysical entry into the State-either by the defendant in person or through an agent, goods, mail, or some other means-is certainly a relevant contact.” Walden, 134 S.Ct. at 1122.

         The Seattle defendants maintain that this case is like Walden, where plaintiffs brought an action in Nevada alleging that a DEA agent in an Atlanta, Georgia airport violated their Fourth Amendment rights when he seized a substantial amount of their cash and said it would be returned if they later proved they had obtained the cash from a legitimate source. Id. at 1119. The agent drafted a probable cause affidavit in connection with the forfeiture that plaintiffs asserted was false and misleading, and forwarded the affidavit to the United States Attorney's office in Georgia. Id. at 1119-20. The plaintiffs in Walden further alleged that the affidavit omitted exculpatory information related to the encounter at the Atlanta airport, namely, that there was no drug evidence and the funds were from a legitimate source (gambling winnings). Id. at 1120. Ultimately, no forfeiture complaint was filed and the money was returned to plaintiffs who then asserted a Bivens claim against the agent in Nevada. Id. The agent, in turn, argued that the Nevada court had no personal jurisdiction over him. Id. The Supreme Court held that “[the agent's] actions in Georgia did not create sufficient contacts with Nevada simply because he allegedly directed his conduct at plaintiffs whom he knew had Nevada connections.” Id. at 1125. The court stressed that “no part of [the agent's] course of conduct occurred in Nevada.” Id. at 1124. “[The agent] never traveled to, conducted activities within, contacted anyone in, or sent anything or anyone to Nevada.” Id. In sharp contrast, in this case the Seattle defendants received the false information that they included in an affidavit used to secure plaintiff's arrest from an Illinois source, namely the Illinois defendants. Moreover, the Seattle defendants traveled to Illinois on three separate occasions in connection with their alleged agreement to knowingly frame plaintiff for an Illinois crime. Therefore, this case is readily distinguishable from Walden because the Seattle defendants are alleged to have been involved in far more activities directed at and within the forum state.

         The Seattle defendants also argue that the allegations that they extradited plaintiff to Illinois and testified at his trial in Illinois do not establish the minimum contacts necessary to confer personal jurisdiction. See Steelman v. Carper, 124 F.Supp.2d 219, 224 (D. Del. 2000) (“[H]ailing [out-of-state] defendants into court in Delaware based solely upon this one act [of extraditing plaintiff to Delaware] could not be said to comport with ‘traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice.'”); Webber v. Michela, 633 F.2d 518, 519 (8th Cir. 1980) (“The only contact that defendants had with the forum state occurred when the police officers testified in Minnesota at Webber's criminal trial. The record, therefore, does not show sufficient contacts to establish personal jurisdiction over the defendants in federal district court for the District of Minnesota.”). However, unlike the circumstances in Steelman and Webber, in this case plaintiff's allegations go beyond the Seattle defendants' participation in his extradition to Illinois or merely testifying against plaintiff in Illinois. It is alleged that the Seattle defendants agreed to help frame plaintiff for murder knowing there was no probable cause to believe he committed the crime and came to Illinois on three occasions to help accomplish that goal.

         The Seattle defendants argue further that allegations sounding in conspiracy do not support a finding of minimum contacts with Illinois sufficient for this court to exercise specific personal jurisdiction over them. While it is true that the use of the conspiracy theory of personal jurisdiction has been questioned if not rejected, see Smith v. Jefferson Cty. Bd. of Educ., 378 Fed.Appx. 582, 585 (7th Cir. 2010), plaintiff in this case is not relying merely on his allegation that the Seattle defendants conspired with the Illinois defendants. Plaintiff's allegation is that the Seattle defendants agreed to help the Illinois defendants frame plaintiff for the abduction and murder of Maria Ridulph in violation of plaintiff's due process rights because there was no probable cause to believe that he committed the crime. At the point when the Seattle defendants knowingly agreed to do so, the Illinois defendants had already committed the overt acts of fabricating an earlier abduction time without an evidentiary basis, misrepresenting the information provided by Edwards, claiming plaintiff changed his name to escape detection, and showing Kathy a suggestive line-up. The Seattle defendants knowingly advanced the conspiracy through their own overt acts which were connected to or carried out in Illinois. These included providing false information obtained from an Illinois source in the documents used to secure plaintiff's arrest for the Illinois murder; withholding exculpatory evidence that they had a duty to turn over to prosecutors, plaintiff's counsel, or both in Illinois; transporting plaintiff to Illinois after he was extradited; meeting with the Illinois defendants in Illinois; and testifying at plaintiff's trial in Illinois. Whether the Seattle defendants knowingly committed all of these acts remains to be determined, but the allegations are sufficient to meet plaintiff's burden of making a prima facie showing of minimum contacts with Illinois for purposes of establishing specific personal jurisdiction over the Seattle defendants.

         In addition, the Seattle defendants argue that even if this court finds that minimum contacts existed, additional factors show that this court's exercise of personal jurisdiction over them would offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice and therefore violate due process. The following factors are relevant in determining whether the exercise of personal jurisdiction would offend traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice: “the burden on the defendant, the forum State's interest in adjudicating the dispute, the plaintiff's interest in obtaining convenient and effective relief, the interstate judicial system's interest in obtaining the most efficient resolution of controversies, and the shared interest of the several States in furthering fundamental substantive social policies.” Tamburo v. Dworkin, 601 F.3d 693, 709 (7th Cir. 2010).

         The Seattle defendants maintain that they will face significant costs and burdens in litigating this case 2000 miles from home including the need to employ local counsel. But parties always endure the cost of counsel and the Seattle defendants have not shown that the additional cost of local counsel will be an undue burden. In fact, the Seattle defendants have not provided any evidence in the form of affidavits or other documentation establishing the additional burden of litigating in Illinois. The Seattle defendants mention that an investigation into their conduct by a special prosecutor is ongoing and precludes their providing affidavits. However, they fail to explain how the provision of affidavits concerning their burden of litigating in Illinois would compromise the Seattle defendants in that investigation.

         Illinois has a strong interest in adjudicating claims that its own State police officers and state's attorney's have violated the civil rights of an individual convicted of an Illinois crime, sentenced to prison, released, and then given a certificate of innocence. While this court would agree with the Seattle defendants that the State of Washington also has an interest in adjudicating accusations of wrongdoing against its law enforcement officers, under the circumstances of this case Washington's interest does not outweigh that of Illinois. This is true even though plaintiff himself now lives in Washington State.

         As for convenient and effective relief, it would be less efficient and convenient to present this case first to an Illinois jury and then to a Washington jury. “A single suit in Illinois also promotes the most efficient resolution of these claims.” Id. at 710. In the same respect, the interstate judicial system's interest in obtaining the most efficient resolution of controversies is served.

         With regard to the shared interest of the several States in furthering fundamental substantive social policies, the Seattle defendants argue that this court's exercise of personal jurisdiction over them would chill the practice of cooperation among law enforcement agencies in different states. They fear it would discourage the assistance of out-of-state law enforcement with extradition and the provision of testimony at out-of-state trials. This fear, however, is unfounded because, as this court has explained in this order, plaintiff has alleged more tortious conduct on the part of the Seattle defendants than simply aiding in plaintiff's extradition and testifying against him. If the Seattle defendants knowingly helped frame plaintiff for murder in Illinois as plaintiff alleges, it is reasonable to conclude that they should have anticipated being sued in Illinois for their actions. Thus, the court finds that the exercise of personal jurisdiction over the Seattle defendants comports with traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice and their Rule 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss is denied.

         B. Seattle Defendants' Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss

         In their Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Seattle defendants contend (1) plaintiff's “group pleading” fails to put them on notice; (2) plaintiff has failed to state a due process claim; (3) probable cause and the statute of limitations bars plaintiff's unlawful detention claim in Count VI; (4) plaintiff's failure to intervene claim lacks the requisite specificity; (5) plaintiff's civil conspiracy claims are not pleaded with requisite plausibility; (6) probable cause, absence of favorable termination, and lack of malice bar plaintiff's malicious prosecution claims; and (7) the allegations of plaintiff's IIED claim are conclusory and it is time barred. In addition, the Seattle defendants argue that (8) plaintiff failed to comply with Washington's notice-of-claim statute, RCW 4.96.020.

         When deciding a defendant's motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the court accepts all of the well-pleaded factual allegations of the complaint as true, and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). To state a claim under the Federal Rules, a complaint need only contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “[D]etailed factual allegations” are not required, but the plaintiff must ...

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.