United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MATTHEW F. KENNELLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Gonzales unsuccessfully challenged Michael J. Madigan,
representative of Illinois's 22nd district and the
Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, in the 2016
Democratic primary election. Gonzales has sued Madigan and a
number of other individuals and organizations, alleging that
they conspired to place two "sham" candidates with
Hispanic surnames on the ballot in an effort to dilute
Gonzales's electoral support. The defendants have moved
for summary judgment.
following facts are undisputed except where otherwise noted.
Since 1971, Michael J. Madigan has represented Illinois's
22nd district on Chicago's southwest side. He is the
chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party and the Speaker of
the Illinois House of Representatives. Madigan has served as
the House speaker for thirty-three of the past thirty-five
legislative district Madigan represents geographically
overlaps with parts of Chicago's 13th Aldermanic Ward,
which is represented by Madigan's political ally Marty
Quinn. Alderman Quinn served as Madigan's campaign
manager in 2016. In addition, Madigan serves as a 13th Ward
committeeman-and, as such, manages political- and
election-related activities in the ward-and as the chairman
of the 13th Ward Democratic Organization, a private political
2016 Democratic primary election
challenged Madigan in the 2016 Democratic primary. In
addition to Gonzales and Madigan, two other candidates'
names appeared on the primary ballot: Joe Barboza and
Graciela Rodriguez. Gonzales contends that Madigan, acting
through associated individuals and entities, caused Barboza
and Rodriguez to enter the race as "sham"
candidates whose purpose was to dilute Gonzales's support
among Hispanic voters. Madigan denies any involvement in
efforts to recruit Barboza or Rodriguez to run in the
support of his contention that Barboza and Rodriguez were
sham candidates, Gonzales points to evidence that individuals
associated with Madigan encouraged them to run-even though
Madigan was in the race. For example, Kevin Quinn, the
brother of Alderman Marty Quinn, testified that Alderman
Quinn authorized him to instruct a third Democratic official
to contact Barboza about entering the race. Similarly,
Rodriguez testified that she discussed the possibility of
running with Jennifer Solski, Alderman Quinn's assistant.
Gonzales also contends that Barboza and Rodriguez never
actively campaigned. For example, Barboza and Rodriguez spent
little or no money on the election and held no rallies.
also cites Barboza's and Rodriguez's nominating
petitions as evidence that their candidacies were a sham.
Under Illinois law, prospective candidates hoping to appear
on the primary ballot must obtain signatures on nominating
petitions. Volunteers or employees of the 13th Ward
Democratic Organization-including so-called "precinct
captains"-circulated Madigan's petitions. They also
circulated petitions for Rodriguez and Barboza-to run against
Madigan, the chairman of the Organization. Although Rodriguez
and Barboza both testified that they did not know many of the
people who circulated petitions on their behalf, it is
undisputed some of their circulators, including Michael Kuba,
Joseph Nasella, and Eugene Pagois, were also involved with
the 13th Ward Democratic Organization. And it is undisputed
that former Madigan staffer Shaw Decremer delivered Barboza
and Rodriguez's nominating petitions from Chicago to
Springfield, Illinois, where they were filed with the
Illinois State Board of Elections.
the campaign, Gonzales told multiple news outlets (including
the Chicago Sun-Times, WTTW, NBC Chicago, and the Wall Street
Journal) that he believed Barboza and Rodriguez were sham
candidates who were on the ballot at Madigan's behest.
Madigan, for his part, testified that he believed that the
then-governor of Illinois, Republican Bruce Rauner, was
financially supporting Gonzales's campaign.
primary election was held on March 15, 2016. Out of a total
of 26, 320 votes, Madigan earned 17, 155, or about 65.2%.
Gonzales received 7, 124 votes (about 27%), Rodriguez 1, 523
(5.8%), and Barboza 518 (2%).
August 2016, Gonzales filed the present lawsuit against a
number of individuals and organizations, including Madigan,
Barboza, and Rodriguez, alleging that they violated his
constitutional rights under the First, Fourteenth, and
Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, as well as
various provisions of Illinois law. The defendants
successfully moved to dismiss the federal claims, but the
Court granted Gonzales leave to amend the complaint with
respect to all but one of the defendants. See Gonzales v.
Madigan (First Motion to Dismiss Ruling), No.
16 C 7915, 2017 WL 977007, at *5 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 14, 2017).
amended his complaint. The Court initially dismissed the
amended complaint with prejudice, reasoning that
"Gonzales cannot make allegations plausibly supporting a
contention that one or more of the defendants acted under
color of state law." Gonzales v. Madigan
(Second Motion to Dismiss Ruling), No. 16 C 7915,
2017 WL 2653079, at *7 (N.D. Ill. June 20, 2017). On
Gonzales's motion, however, the Court vacated that
judgment because it determined that it had applied the
"color of state law" requirement too narrowly. The
Court then dismissed some but not all of Gonzales's
federal claims on different grounds and again granted leave
to amend the complaint. See Gonzales v. Madigan
(Ruling Vacating Judgment), No. 16 C 7915, 2017 WL
3978703, at *5, *11 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 11, 2017).
filed a second amended complaint. The defendants moved to
dismiss Gonzales's state law claims. The Court granted
the motion with respect to Gonzales's common-law tort
claims in which he alleged defamation and false light but
denied it with respect to his state statutory claims. See
Gonzales v. Madigan (Third Motion to Dismiss
Ruling), No. 16 C 7915, 2018 WL 1377910, at *3 (N.D.
Ill. Mar. 17, 2018). As a result of that ruling, the
remaining defendants are Madigan, Friends of Michael J.
Madigan (a Madigan-controlled political action committee),
the 13th Ward Democratic Organization, Decremer, Barboza, and
Rodriguez. In his remaining claims, Gonzales alleges
that each of the defendants violated the Equal Protection
Clause and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (counts 3, 9, 15, 23, 27,
33, and 35); engaged in a conspiracy under section 1983
(count 37); conspired to prevent voting under 10 Ill. Comp.
Stat. 5/29-18 (count 38); violated Illinois's statutory
analogue to section 1983, 10 Ill. ...