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Sidney v. Alejo

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

August 1, 2018

BRIAN SIDNEY, Plaintiff,
v.
LUIS ALEJO, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          MATTHEW F. KENNELLY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Brian Sidney has sued Chicago police officers Kevin Osborn and Alfonso Herrera, the City of Chicago, Robert Morris University Illinois (RMU), and Luis Alejo, a Chicago police officer who also works as a private security guard for RMU. Following previous dismissals, Sidney has the following claims remaining: a claim against Osborn, Herrera, and Alejo under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for false arrest; a state law malicious prosecution claim against Alejo and RMU; and a state law claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress against Alejo and against RM U.Sidney also asserts a claim against the City of Chicago under 745 Ill. Comp. Stat. 10/9-102 for indemnification of Osborn and Herrera. The defendants have moved for summary judgment on the remaining claims.

         Background

         RMU is a not-for-profit educational institution. Sidney graduated from RMU in 1987, and he used the library frequently as an alumnus. On June 25, 2014, Sidney arrived at the RMU library between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. and lawfully accessed the library using his alumni identification card.

         The RMU library and restrooms close at 10:00 p.m. Sidney left the library at 9:35 p.m. and stopped to use the men's restroom on his way out. While Sidney was in the restroom, someone knocked on the door and told him he needed to leave. Sidney answered that he would be out in a few minutes. About two minutes later, someone returned, knocked on the door, and again told Sidney he needed to leave.

         When Sidney left the restroom, he approached a man in the hallway and asked if he had knocked on the restroom door. The man-RMU security guard Matthew Nomellini-told Sidney that he had not but that he would call the person who had. Nomellini then called Alejo, who was working that night as an RMU security guard. Alejo says he observed Sidney acting aggressively toward Nomellini. Sidney denies this. Sidney asked Alejo if he had been knocking on the restroom door, saying, "The reason I'm asking you is because I am just inquiring is there something I need to know? Is something going on?" RMU's Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. B at 99:5-12. Sidney and Alejo exchanged words about bathroom closing procedures and disagreed about when closing procedures begin.

         At some point during this discussion, Sidney told Alejo he was an RMU alumnus, and Alejo asked Sidney for his identification card. Sidney removed a stack of cards from his wallet and began going through them. When Alejo saw Sidney's alumni identification card, he reached out and took it. Alejo then told Sidney that he was revoking his alumni privileges and told him how to retrieve his alumni identification card at a later date. The parties agree that Alejo told Sidney, several times, that he had to leave the premises, and that if he did not, he would be arrested. See Pl.'s Resp. to RMU's LR 56.1 Stat. ¶¶ 31-32. The parties dispute whether Alejo, in his capacity as an RMU security guard, had the authority to revoke Sidney's alumni privileges.[1] They also dispute whether Sidney knew that Alejo was an RMU security guard. Sidney says he initially assumed this but that he began to doubt it when Alejo grabbed his identification card.

         Sidney asked Alejo why he took his identification card, and Alejo replied, "I can do that. . . . I'm the police." Id. ¶ 30. Sidney says he asked for proof but that Alejo would not show him any form of identification.

         Alejo then radioed the lobby security guards and asked them to call the Chicago police. Sidney agrees this happened but says that he asked Alejo to call the police so that he could verify Alejo's identity. There was also a verbal exchange between Alejo and Sidney. According to Sidney, Alejo told Sidney he was acting like a fifteen-year-old. Sidney admits that he called Alejo a clown and Nomellini an idiot.

         Sidney, Alejo, Nomellini, and Nicole Mayoski, another security guard, went to the lobby to wait for the police. Eventually officers Osborn and Herrera arrived. Sidney says that he told Osborn, "I had to stay on the premises" because Alejo had "snatched my I.D. out of my hand, stating he was a police officer. I asked him for identification to verify that. He refused to give it to me, so I asked him to call the police." RMU's Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. B at 179:16-180:5. In the officers' presence, Alejo repeated his last name but did not provide additional identification information. Osborn then said to Sidney, "You have his name. Now get your things and just take it over with the administration tomorrow." Pl.'s Stat. of Add'l Facts ¶ 27. Sidney and Osborn then walked toward the lobby exit, they exchanged pleasantries, and Sidney walked outside toward the bus stop.

         As Sidney was leaving, he "looked back and saw Alejo standing next to Officer Osborn, and Alejo was moving his finger back and forth while pointing at Osborn's chest as if Alejo was berating Osborn." Id. ¶ 29. About fifteen seconds after Sidney left the building, Osborn and Herrera came outside, motioned for Sidney to come toward them, and arrested him.

         Osborn says that Alejo told him that he wanted to sign a complaint charging Sidney with trespassing. Alejo testified that he was "adamant" that he wanted to sign the complaint, RMU's Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. A at 78:24-79:2, and Sidney does not dispute this fact. Arthur Gould, a security guard in the lobby, testified that after Sidney left the building, he observed Alejo having an "animated" conversation with one of the officers. Pl.'s Mem. in Opp. to RMU's Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. 5 at 22:21-23:13. Gould testified that the officer told Alejo that "he couldn't arrest Mr. Sidney because he was an alumni, you know, he had ID." Id. at 23:14-24:4. Gould also testified that he heard Osborn ask Alejo, "Are you sure you want me to arrest him for trespassing?" Id. at 24:24-25:8. Similarly, lobby security guard Ernest Parks testified that after Sidney left the building, he heard Alejo tell one of the officers that he "wanted [Sidney] arrested for trespassing" and that Alejo repeated this after the officer asked Alejo if he was sure. Pl.'s Mem. in Opp. to RMU's Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. 6 at 20:13-21:7, 55:8-17.

         After Osborn and Herrera arrested Sidney, they transported him to a police station, where he was held for approximately five hours. At some point, Alejo signed, as an "Agent for RMU," a misdemeanor complaint for criminal trespass to real property. Pl.'s Mem. in Opp. to RMU's Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. 7. Sidney contends that Alejo did not sign the complaint until after the officers had arrested him. The signed complaint contains pre-printed language stating that Sidney "[d]id knowingly enter/remain upon the land/building of Robert Morris University . . . after receiving, prior to such entry, notice from RMU Security that such entry was forbidden." Id. The complaint cites 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/21-3(a)(1). Section 21-3(a) states: "A person commits criminal trespass to real property when he or she: (1) knowingly and without lawful authority enters or remains within or on a building; (2) enters upon the land of another, after receiving, prior to the entry, notice from the owner or occupant that the entry is forbidden; (3) remains upon the land of another, after receiving notice from the owner or occupant to depart." Sidney went to trial on the trespassing charge. Alejo testified as the prosecution's only witness. On February 7, 2015, a judge found Sidney not guilty after a bench trial.

         Sidney argues that as a result of these events, he has experienced mental suffering, including feelings of humiliation, anxiety, depression, and fear. For example, he feels anxious around the police and fears for the safety of his African-American son. According to Sidney, he lost approximately ten pounds between his arrest and his criminal trial, and he has experienced sleep loss and lethargy. He concedes that he has not sought medical treatment.

         Discussion

         Summary judgment is appropriate if the moving party "shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and [that] the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A genuine dispute of material fact exists when "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). On a motion for summary judgment, the Court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draws all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007). The Court does not ...


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