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Heinemeier v. City of Alton

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

June 19, 2019

ANDRIA HEINEMEIER, as the Special Administrator of the ESTATE of KATIE L. BUNT, Deceased, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF ALTON, POLICE CHIEF JAKE SIMMONS, and OFFICER WILLIAM J. REED Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Andria Heinemeier, Special Administrator of the Estate of Katie L. Bunt, brings this action against the City of Alton, Police Chief Jake Simmons, and Officer William J. Reed alleging violations of 42 U.S.C § 1983 and state law claims. Now before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amendment (Doc. 33). Plaintiff filed a Response (Doc. 40). For the following reasons, the Motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

         Background

         Plaintiff makes the following relevant allegations in the Complaint: Plaintiff's decedent, Katie Bunt, was a friend of Kelsey Barnes. Barnes had an active order of protection against Caleb Lenhardt that was in full force and effect on July 21, 2018 and July 22, 2018 (Doc. 14, ¶ 5).

         Lenhardt had previously been accused of attempting to run other individuals over with his car (Doc. 14, ¶ 11). In particular, Lenhardt had injured Zacharia Yinger with his car on July 8, 2018 (Doc. 14, ¶ 11). The Alton Police Department and Officer Reed were aware of the accusations and incident and knew that Lenhardt had a history of violent behavior (Doc. 14, ¶ 10).

         On July 21, 2018 or July 22, 2018, Officer Reed observed Lenhardt to be intoxicated and in violation of an active order of protection (Doc. 14, ¶ 14). He also knew that Katie Bunt was friends with and was in physical proximity to a Kelsey Barnes (Doc. 14, ¶ 18).

         In the early morning hours of July 22, 2018, Kelsey Barnes contacted the Alton Police Department to report that she felt threatened by Lenhardt (Doc. 14, ¶¶ 8-9). Officer Reed instructed Barnes to “stay in or near her car.” In effect, Barnes stayed in relative proximity to Lenhardt (Doc. 14, ¶ 21). Katie Bunt was standing with Barnes when Lenhardt intentionally drove his vehicle towards them. Lenhardt's automobile struck and ran over Katie Bunt, crushing her skull and ultimately killing her (Doc. 14, ¶¶ 23-25).

         Plaintiff further alleges that the City of Alton adopted policies by which it failed to train police officers to arrest individuals who have violated valid orders of protection (Doc. 14, ¶ 29) and failed to supervise officers (Doc. 14, ¶ 30). Alton Police Chief Jake Simmons was a policy-making official and was aware that employees would confront particular situations where the failure to arrest dangerous persons would result in serious injuries to victims (Doc. 14, ¶ 31). Additionally, the Alton Police Department has a history of mishandling situations such as Officer Reed's failure to arrest Lenhardt for violating the order of protection (Doc. 14, ¶ 32).

         Plaintiff asserts three causes of action in the Complaint:

Count I: a claim under Illinois Common Law for willful and wanton conduct against Alton Police Officer Reed.
Count II: a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Due Process Violation - State Created Danger - against City of Alton, Alton Police Chief Jake Simmons, and Officer William J. Reed for violation of the Fourteenth Amendment due process clause;
Count III: a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Due Process Violation - Inadequate Training and Failure to Supervise - against City of Alton, Alton Police Chief Jake Simmons, and Officer William J. Reed for violation of the Fourteenth Amendment due process clause;

         Defendants move this Court to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for ...


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