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Cornille. v. Groove

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 17, 2019

BRADLEY JAMES CORNILLE, SR., Plaintiff,
v.
RICHARD GROOVE, ANDREW TROLOGO, and CITY OF CHRISTOPHER, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL Chief U.S. District Judge

         Plaintiff Bradley James Cornille, Sr., an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (''IDOC") who is currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center ("Menard"), brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges Sgt. Richard Groove and Christopher Assistant Chief of Police Andrew Trologo conducted a search of his home without a warrant. He asserts claims against the defendants under the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages.

         Defendants removed the case from the Circuit Court for Franklin County, Illinois, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441. (Doc. 1). The Court finds that removal is proper. Accordingly, the Complaint is subject to preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

         Under Section 1915A, the Court is required to screen prisoner complaints to filter out non-meritorious claims. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). Any portion of a complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such relief must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff makes the following allegations: On either February 26, 2018, or March 5, 2018, (the Complaint lists both dates), Sergeant Groove and Assistant Chief of Police Trologo, from the City of Christopher, asked if they could search Plaintiffs home without a warrant (Doc. 1-1, p. 2). Plaintiff declined to allow the officers in without a warrant, but the officers conducted a search of Plaintiffs home without a warrant anyway. They used items seized during the search to arrest Plaintiff. (Id.).

         Preliminary Dismissals

         Plaintiff identifies the City of Christopher as a defendant in this case, but he fails to allege any constitutional violation by the City. A municipality may only be sued in a civil rights action if the constitutional deprivations were the result of an official policy, custom, or practice of the municipality. Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978); see also Pourghoraishi v. Flying J, Inc., 449 F.3d 751, 765 (7th Cir. 2006). Plaintiff fails to allege any policy or practice that caused the constitutional deprivations alleged in his Complaint. Thus, the City of Christopher is DISMISSED without prejudice for failure to state a claim.

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to designate a single Count in the Complaint:

Count 1:Defendants Richard Groove and Andrew Trologo conducted an unlawful search of Plaintiffs house without a warrant in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

         The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. Any other claim that is mentioned in the Complaint but not addressed in this Order should be considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled under the Twombly pleading standard. [1]

         Although lacking in detail, when construing the pro se Complaint liberally, the Court finds that Plaintiff has stated a claim against Groove and Trologo for searching his home without a warrant. Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 586 (1980) (''[S]earches and seizures inside a home without a warrant are presumptively unreasonable."); United States v. McGraw, 571 F.3d624, 628 (7th Cir. 2009). Thus, Count 1 shall proceed.

         Although Plaintiff is currently in prison, it is not clear from the Complaint whether his imprisonment stems from charges associated with the search of his home. Even if the arrest was related to the search, the Seventh Circuit has held that Fourth Amendment claims do not necessarily imply the invalidity of a criminal conviction, such that the claim would be barred by Heck v. Humphrey,512 U.S. 477 (1994). See Easterling v. Desmond,334 Fed.Appx. 22, 23 (7th Cir. 2009). From the record currently before this Court, and in the absence of any ...


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