November 2, 2018
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 15-CV-04576 - Amy
J. St. Eve, Judge.
RIPPLE, KANNE, and ROVNER, Circuit Judges.
Rovner, Circuit Judge.
Martin appeals the district court's grant of partial
summary judgment, Fed.R.Civ.P. 56, on his suit under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of Chicago and several of
its police officers for false arrest and unlawful search.
Martin's suit proceeded to trial, where a jury awarded
him $1.00 in damages after finding that two of the defendants
lacked reasonable suspicion or probable cause to detain him.
The jury found against Martin and in favor of the officers on
the remainder of his claims. Martin appeals, challenging only
the district court's pretrial grant of partial summary
judgment to the defendants, which limited the damages Martin
could seek at trial. We affirm.
suit arises from a traffic stop in May 2013. We recount the
facts surrounding the stop and subsequent events in the light
most favorable to Martin, noting disputed facts where
relevant and viewing the facts on which the jury reached a
verdict in the light most favorable to the verdict. On the
evening of May 24, 2013, Martin was driving in Chicago when
Officers Davis Marinez and Sofia Gonzalez pulled him over.
According to Martin, he had not committed any traffic
violations when the officers stopped him, although the
officers claim they initiated the stop because Martin's
tail and brake lights were not working. When Officer Gonzalez
approached the car and asked Martin for his license and
insurance, Martin explained that he did not have his
driver's license because it had been "taken for a
ticket." At that point both officers asked Martin to
step out of the car as the other defendants, Officers Armando
Chagoya and Elvis Turcinovic, arrived on the scene.
to Martin, the officers forced him from the car, conducted a
pat-down search, handcuffed him, and put him into a police
car. At that point, they searched his car, where they
recovered a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun with a defaced serial
number, and a plastic baggie of crack cocaine.
then took Martin into custody. At the police station, Officer
Marinez learned that Martin had previously been convicted of
first-degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon by a
convicted felon. Ultimately Martin was transferred to Cook
County Jail and charged with four Illinois felonies: (i)
being an armed habitual criminal in violation of 720 ILCS
§ 5/24-1.7; (ii) being a felon in possession of a
firearm in violation of 720 ILCS § 5/24-1.1; (iii)
possessing a firearm with a defaced serial number in
violation of 720 ILCS § 5/24-5(b); and possessing
cocaine in violation of 720 ILCS § 570/402. He also
received traffic citations under Chicago Municipal Code
Section 9-76-050 (taillight operation) and 625 ILCS §
5/6-112 (outlining requirement to carry a driver's
spent sixty-five days-from May 24 through July 29,
2013-incarcerated in connection with the charges resulting
from the traffic stop. On July 29th, a different court
revoked Martin's bond when he was convicted in an
unrelated criminal case. During the course of the criminal
proceedings for the felony charges arising from the traffic
stop, Martin filed a motion to suppress the evidence, which
the trial court granted on November 7, 2013. The state then
dismissed the charges against Martin through a nolle prosequi
filed this suit in federal court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against all of the officers involved in the stop as well as
the City of Chicago (on a respondeat superior theory
of liability), seeking money damages for violations of his
Fourth Amendment rights. Martin sought civil damages totaling
$110, 500: $1, 000 per day of his 65-day incarceration and
$45, 500 in lost business income-calculated at $700 per
day-from his automobile dealership.
trial, the defendants moved for partial summary judgment,
arguing that even if the stop was unlawful, once the officers
saw the handgun and cocaine, they had probable cause for
Martin's arrest, which limited Martin's damages to
the short period between his stop and his arrest. The
district court agreed, granting the defendants' motion
for partial summary judgment and concluding that although
Martin's § 1983 case could proceed as to the initial
stop of his car and seizure of his person-before the
defendants discovered the illegal gun and cocaine-he could
not seek damages for conduct post-dating the discovery of
contraband, including his 65-day incarceration.
case proceeded to a jury trial, limited as described above by
the grant of partial summary judgment. At trial, the facts
largely tracked those described above, with the same basic
areas of conflicting testimony: (1) Martin testified that his
tail and brake lights were both functioning when he was
stopped; (2) he also testified that he handed Officer
Gonzalez his traffic ticket when he was unable to produce his
license; and (3) Martin maintained that the handgun was under
the driver's seat, as opposed to on it and visible when
he stepped out of the car as directed by Officers Gonzalez
district court instructed the jury to decide the following
Fourth Amendment questions: (1) whether the officers
"unlawfully seized" Martin without reasonable
suspicion to support a traffic stop; (2) whether they falsely
arrested him without probable cause; or (3) whether they
unlawfully searched his person or car without probable cause.
The court also instructed the jury that if they found that
Martin proved his claims, they could not award him damages
for any time spent in custody after officers found the
handgun, and should limit their consideration to the period
of detention beginning with his traffic stop and ending when
they found the gun. The jury found in favor of Martin and
against Officers Marinez and Gonzalez on the unlawful seizure
claim and awarded him $1.00 in compensatory damages. On that
same claim, they found in favor of Officers Chagoya and
Turcinovic, and on the remaining claims for false arrest and
unlawful search, they found against Martin and in favor of
all four officers.
now appeals from the district court's grant of partial
summary judgment before trial ...