Michael O. Campos, Plaintiff-Appellant,
Cook County, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
May 29, 2019
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 18-cv-2305 -
Charles R. Norgle, Judge.
Kanne, Sykes, and Brennan, Circuit Judges.
Michael Campos's August 2011 arrest for driving under the
influence, his employer-the Cook County Sheriff's
Office-began termination proceedings. The Merit Board has
voted to terminate Campos's employment on two occasions.
But both times the Cook County Circuit Court vacated the
decision. And, to this day, the termination proceedings are
ongoing. Instead of waiting for their completion, Campos
filed this federal law suit alleging, among other things,
that the protracted proceedings have violated his substantive
due process rights. Because Campos has not met the high
standard for stating a substantive due process claim, we
affirm the district court's dismissal of his claims.
1997, Michael Campos began working for the Cook County
Sheriff's Office as a correctional officer. In August
2011, he was arrested for driving under the influence,
striking a vehicle, and leaving the scene of an accident.
Campos self-reported the incident, and the sheriff suspended
him without pay on November 29, 2011, and referred him for
termination. By law, the Cook County Sheriff's Merit
Board has exclusive authority to terminate Sheriff's
Office employees. 55 Ill.Comp.Stat. 5/3-7012.
the Merit Board proceedings were ongoing, the Cook County
Circuit Court granted Campos's motion to suppress and
quashed his arrest. On October 15, 2015, the Merit Board
voted to terminate Campos for violating state law. He
petitioned the circuit court for review approximately one
year later. On January 18, 2017, the circuit court granted
Campos's petition, vacated the Merit Board's decision
as too vague to allow for judicial review, and remanded for a
April 2017, the Merit Board once again voted to terminate
Campos. He sought judicial review. And on March 9, 2018, the
circuit court vacated and remanded a second time. But this
time, the court vacated the Merit Board's decision not
because of some defect in the reasoning but because of a
defect in the Merit Board's composition.
circuit court relied upon a developing line of cases
involving interim appointments to the Merit Board. In
Taylor v. Dart, the Illinois Appellate Court found
that the Merit Board Act does not permit the sheriff to
appoint Merit Board members to terms of fewer than six years.
64 N.E.3d 123, 130 (II. App. Ct. 2016) (citing 55
Ill.Comp.Stat. 5/3-7002). Because one member of the Merit
Board was serving an interim term when the Board voted to
terminate the plaintiff, the Taylor court held that
the decision was void. Id. at 132. The circuit court
found that the reasoning in Taylor applied with
equal force to Campos. When the Merit Board voted to
terminate him, one member was serving an interim
point, it had been almost seven years since the sheriff
suspended Campos without pay. Rather than wait for a third
Merit Board decision, he filed suit in federal court.
Cam-pos's initial complaint-filed on March 29, 2018-named
eighteen defendants and advanced five claims. Besides suing
Cook County, the Cook County State's Attorney's
Office, the sheriff, the Merit Board, and the Board's
members, he also sued the law firm Steptoe and Johnson, LLP,
and three of its attorneys (who represented the county in the
circuit court proceedings). On May 2, 2018, the Steptoe
defendants filed a motion to dismiss the claims against them.
The district court scheduled a hearing on the motion for May
10, Campos filed an amended complaint in which he renewed his
claims against all defendants (except the Cook County
State's Attorney's Office) and added a sixth claim
(for First Amendment retaliation). The district court held
the already-scheduled hearing the next day. When
plaintiff's counsel advised the court that he had filed
an amended complaint the day before, the court noted that it
had not granted leave to file an amended complaint. The court
referred to the Local Rules for the Northern District of
Illinois and concluded that the original complaint remained
the operative document. See N.D. 111. L.R. 5.3(b)
("Every motion or objection shall be accompanied by a
notice of presentment specifying the date and time on which,
and judge before whom, the motion or objection is to be
presented."). After that finding, the court dismissed
the Steptoe defendants with prejudice.
months later, the remaining defendants filed a motion to
dismiss the amended complaint. On November 5, 2018, the court
granted that motion and dismissed the ...