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Marshall v. Fries

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

August 28, 2019

RANDY FRIES et al., Defendants.



         Richard Marshall ("Plaintiff) brings this action against Officer Randy Fries ("Fries"), the City of Elgin ("Elgin"), Dominick Lojko ("Lojko"), and the Cook County Adult Probation Department ("CCAPD") (collectively, "Defendants"), alleging false arrest under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law, "willful and wanton conduct," "respondeat superior," malicious prosecution, and indemnification. (R. 18, Am. Compl. ¶¶ 23-71.) Before the Court is Lojko's and CCAPD's motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (R. 27, Defs.' Mot.) For the following reasons, the motion is granted.


         Plaintiff is a resident of Elgin, Illinois. (R. 18, Am. Compl. ¶ 3.) Fries is an officer with the Elgin Police Department, and Lojko is a probation officer with the Cook County Adult Probation Department. (Id. ¶¶ 4, 5.) On or about November 6, 2018, Lojko notified the Elgin Police Department that Plaintiff was required to register pursuant to the Illinois Murderer and Violent Offender Against Youth Registration Act, 730 III. Comp. Stat. § 154/1 (the "Act"). (Id. ¶ 8.) The Act requires registration for people who have been convicted of specifically defined criminal offenses. (Id. ¶ 9 (citing 730 III. Comp. Stat. § 154/10).) Although Plaintiff had been convicted of misdemeanor domestic battery, he complains that he has never been charged with or convicted of any offense that would require registration under the Act. (Id. ¶¶ 10-11.) Nevertheless, Lojko repeatedly told members of the Elgin Police Department that Plaintiff was required to register, and that he had failed to do so. (Id. ¶¶ 14, 22.) On or about November 27, 2018, Lojko contacted Fries to tell him that Plaintiff would be attending a case worker meeting with him two days later at the Rolling Meadows Courthouse, and that Fries should send Elgin police there to arrest Plaintiff for failure to register. (Id. ¶ 15.) On November 29, 2018, Plaintiff was arrested at the case worker meeting and taken to the Elgin Police Department where he was charged with felony counts of failure to register and failure to register a change of address. (Id. ¶¶ 17-19.) Plaintiff was detained until he posted cash bond the next day. (Id. ¶ 20.) At some point thereafter, the Kane County State's Attorney's Office voluntarily dismissed the charges against Plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 21.) This action followed.


         This action began on January 3, 2019, when Plaintiff filed apro se complaint. (R. 1, Compl.) Counsel was subsequently recruited for Plaintiff (R. 11, Order), and on March 12, 2019, an amended complaint was filed, (R. 18, Am. Compl.) The amended complaint brings twelve claims against Defendants: 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims against Fries (Count 1), Elgin (Count 2), and Lojko (Count 3); a claim of false arrest and imprisonment against Fries (Count 4); a claim of willful and wanton conduct against Fries (Count 5); a claim of false arrest and false imprisonment against Lojko (Count 6); a claim of willful and wanton conduct against Lojko (Count 7); a claim of malicious prosecution against Fries (Count 8); a claim against Elgin alleging liability under the legal doctrine of respondeat superior (Count 9); a claim for indemnification against Elgin (Count 10); a claim against CCAPD alleging liability under respondeat superior (Count 11); and a claim against CCAPD for indemnification (Count 12). (R. 18, Am. Compl. ¶¶23-71.)

         On May 13, 2019, Fries and Elgin filed an answer to the amended complaint. (R. 26, Answer.) That same day, Lojko and CCAPD moved to dismiss the claims against them, arguing first, that Plaintiff failed to state a false arrest claim against Lojko; second, that Lojko is entitled to qualified immunity; third, that the state law claims against Lojko are barred by state law sovereign immunity; and fourth, that CCAPD is not a suable entity under Illinois law. (R. 27, Defs.' Mot., R. 28, Defs.' Mem.) Plaintiff responded to the motion, conceding to the dismissal of CCAPD but objecting as to Lojko. (R. 32, Pl's Resp.) Plaintiff contends that the Section 1983 claim against Lojko is proper because Lojko had the authority to arrest Plaintiff and effectuated the arrest. (Id. at 2-4.) Additionally, Plaintiff argues that Lojko is not entitled to qualified immunity because the terms of the Act are not subject to more than one interpretation, and thus Lojko should have known it did not apply to Plaintiff. (Id., at 4-5.) Finally, Plaintiff contends that the state law claims against Lojko are proper because Lojko has not demonstrated that a probation officer is a state employee, and that state sovereign immunity does not apply where a defendant is alleged to have acted outside of his authority. (Id. at 5-7.) On June 21, 2019, Defendants Lojko and CCAPD filed their reply (R. 33, Reply), and the motion is now ripe for review.


         A complaint must set forth a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief[.]" Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). "[T]he statement need only give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 404 (7th Cir. 2010) (quotation and alteration omitted). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the complaint must "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). In construing the complaint, the Court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true and draw all reasonable interferences in the plaintiffs favor. Roberts v. City of Chicago, 817 F.3d 561, 564 (7th Cir. 2016). Detailed facts are not required to survive a motion to dismiss, but "[l]egal conclusions and conclusory allegations merely reciting the elements of [a] claim are not entitled to this presumption of truth." McCauley v. City of Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 616 (7th Cir. 2011).

         One basis of Defendants' motion is the affirmative defense of qualified immunity. See R. 28, Defs.' Mem. at 6-8.) Generally, "complaints do not have to anticipate affirmative defenses to survive a motion to dismiss." U.S. v. Lewis, 411 F.3d 838, 842 (7th Cir. 2005); accord Chicago Bldg. Design, P.C. v. Mongolian House, 770 F.3d 610, 613-14 (7th Cir. 2014). The general rule notwithstanding, "The exception occurs where ... the allegations of the complaint itself set forth everything necessary to satisfy the affirmative defense[.]" Id. When a qualified immunity defense is presented in a motion to dismiss, courts "apply the standard of review under Rule 12(b)(6), accept[ing] as true the well-pleaded allegations of the complaint and the inferences that may be reasonably drawn from those allegations," Stevens v. Umsted, 131 F.3d 697, 706 (7th Cir. 1997) (quoting Wilson v. Formigoni, 42 F.3d 1060, 1064 (7th Cir. 1994)) (internal quotation marks omitted). Qualified immunity can be grounds for a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal when the allegations of the complaint, taken as true, fail to allege the violation of a clearly established right. Doe v. Purdue Univ., 928 F.3d 652, 665 (7th Cir. 2019); Landstrom v. Ill. Dep't of Children & Family Servs., 892 F.2d 670, 675 (7th Cir. 1990).


         I. Claims against CCAPD (Counts 11 and 12)

         Defendants move to dismiss the claims against CCAPD on the basis that because it is not a legally separate agency from the Office of the Chief Judge, it is not a suable entity. (R. 28, Defs,' Mot, ) In response, Lojko agrees. (R. 32, Pl's Resp.) Accordingly, Defendants' motion to dismiss Counts 11 and 12 against CCAPD is granted.

         II. ...

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