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Bagley v. City of Chicago

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

July 24, 2018




         Chicago police officers allegedly beat up Plaintiff Phillip Bagley as he was leaving someone's property in Chicago on September 26 or 27, 2015 and thereafter arrested him. Two years later, on September 26, 2017, Bagley filed this lawsuit against the City of Chicago (the “City”) and Chicago Police Officers Tito Ortiz, Davis, Jackson, and “J. Doe, ” alleging excessive force, unlawful search and seizure, denial of medical treatment, and failure to intervene pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, in addition to seeking indemnification against the City for any judgment entered against the individual Defendants. On January 16, 2018, Bagley filed an amended complaint, naming Chicago Police Officers Jesus Delgado and Daniel Blackman (collectively, the “Defendant Officers”), in addition to Tito Ortiz and the City, as Defendants.[1] The City and the Defendant Officers now move to dismiss the amended complaint, arguing that the statute of limitations has run on Bagley's claims against the Defendant Officers and that Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 487 S.Ct. 2364, 129 L.Ed.2d 383 (1994), bars Bagley's unreasonable seizure claim.[2] Because the Court cannot on this record determine whether Bagley's naming of the Defendant Officers in the amended complaint relates back to the initial complaint to make it timely, the Court denies the motion to dismiss based on the statute of limitations at this time. However, the Court dismisses Bagley's unreasonable seizure claim because Heck bars that claim.


On September 26 or 27, 2015, the Defendant Officers and Ortiz arrested Bagley. Before and after placing Bagley in handcuffs, the Defendant Officers and Ortiz kicked him and struck him in the face with a gun, causing Bagley injuries, including bruises and permanent damage to his face and body. To the extent the Defendant Officers and Ortiz were not directly involved in the beating, they did not intervene to stop it. Despite Bagley bleeding profusely, the Defendant Officers and Ortiz denied his request for medical treatment. Bagley was thereafter charged with resisting arrest and pleaded guilty to this charge on October 27, 2015.


         A 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. at 678.


         I. Statute of Limitations

         First, the Defendant Officers argue that the two-year statute of limitations bars Bagley's claims against them. The statute of limitations is an affirmative defense that need not be anticipated in the complaint in order to survive a motion to dismiss. United States v. Lewis, 411 F.3d 838, 842 (7th Cir. 2005). But that is not the case where “the allegations of the complaint itself set forth everything necessary to satisfy the affirmative defense, such as when a complaint plainly reveals that an action is untimely under the governing statute of limitations.” Id.; see also Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 579 (7th Cir. 2009) (considering statute of limitations defense on motion to dismiss where relevant dates were set forth in the complaint). Illinois' statute of limitations for personal injury claims, which is two years, governs the statute of limitations for Section 1983 claims. Ashafa v. City of Chicago, 146 F.3d 459, 461 (7th Cir. 1998); 735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-202. Although the statute of limitations is borrowed from state law, federal law determines when the claim accrues. Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 388 (2007). Under federal law, § 1983 claims accrue when a plaintiff knows or has reason to know that his constitutional rights have been violated. Wilson v. Giesen, 956 F.2d 738, 741 (7th Cir. 1992). Bagley's claims for excessive force, illegal search, denial of medical treatment, and failure to intervene accrued immediately, on September 27, 2015, Devbrow v. Kalu, 705 F.3d 765, 768 (7th Cir. 2013); Evans v. Poskon, 603 F.3d 362, 363 (7th Cir. 2010), while any claim for false arrest accrued when Bagley was bound over by a magistrate or arraigned on charges, which according to the certified statement of conviction occurred the following day, on September 28, 2015. Serino v. Hensley, 735 F.3d 588, 591 (7th Cir. 2013). But Bagley named the Defendant Officers only on January 16, 2018, after the statute of limitations had run against them.

         Therefore, Bagley's claims against the Defendant Officers are only timely if his amended complaint relates back to his original complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(c)(1)(C). Rule 15(c)(1)(C) provides that a claim asserted against a newly identified defendant relates back if:

within the period provided by Rule 4(m) for serving the summons and complaint, the party to be brought in by amendment:
(i) received such notice of the action that it will not be prejudiced in defending on the merits; and
(ii) knew or should have known that the action would have been brought against it, but for a mistake concerning the proper party's identity.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c)(1)(C). The Defendant Officers argue that the amended complaint cannot relate back to the filing of Bagley's original complaint, relying on long-standing Seventh Circuit precedent holding that the naming of John Doe defendants does not stop the statute of limitations and that a plaintiff's lack of knowledge does not constitute a mistake for purposes of relation back.[4]See King v. One Unknown Fed. Corr. Officer, 201 F.3d 910, 914 (7th Cir. 2000) (complaint did not relate back where plaintiff lacked knowledge of proper party within limitations period). After the Supreme Court's decision in Krupski v. Costa Cruciere S.p.A., 560 U.S. 538, 130 S.Ct. 2485, 177 L.Ed.2d 48 (2010), however, the focus of the relation back inquiry has shifted away from the plaintiff's to the defendant's knowledge, with the plaintiff's knowledge “relevant only if it bears on the defendant's understanding of whether the plaintiff made a mistake regarding the proper party's identity.” Id. at 548. Thus, the proper inquiry for the Court at this stage is whether the Defendant Officers knew or should have known, during the ...

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