United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
JEANETTE S.R. LIPINSKI, Plaintiff,
YOLANDA CASTANEDA, ALONSO CASTANEDA, LT. BONNER, and OFFICER ANDRIELLE CAP, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ALONSO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff Jeanette S.R. Lipinski (âLipinskiâ) was arrested
for and acquitted of poisoning her neighbors' dog, she
sued a long list of defendants. Plaintiff has two remaining
claims. In Count IV, against defendant Lt. Bonner and Officer
Andrielle Cap (âOfficer Capâ), plaintiff seeks relief under Â§
1983 for false arrest. In Count III, plaintiff asserts a
claim for malicious prosecution against defendants Yolanda
Castaneda, Alonso Castaneda, Lt. Bonner and Officer Cap. For
the reasons set forth below, defendants' motions for
summary judgment are granted.
Rule 56.1 outlines the requirements for the introduction of
facts parties would like considered in connection with a
motion for summary judgment. The Court enforces Local Rule
56.1 strictly. Where one party supports a fact with
admissible evidence and the other party fails to controvert
the fact with citation to admissible evidence, the Court
deems the fact admitted. See Curtis v. Costco Wholesale
Corp., 807 F.3d 215, 218-19 (7th Cir. 2015); Ammons
v. Aramark Uniform Servs., Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817-18
(7th Cir. 2004). This does not, however, absolve the party
putting forth the fact of the duty to support the fact with
admissible evidence. See Keeton v. Morningstar,
Inc., 667 F.3d 877, 880 (7th Cir. 2012). The Court does
not consider any facts that parties failed to include in
their statements of fact, because to do so would rob the
other party of the opportunity to show that the fact is
case, defendants put forth a joint statement of facts.
Plaintiff has filed a response, in which plaintiff agrees
that many of the facts are undisputed. Plaintiff states that
other facts are disputed, but she does not cite any evidence
to support her assertions that such facts are disputed. Thus,
the Court has deemed admitted those facts that defendants
have supported with admissible evidence, because plaintiff
failed to controvert those facts with citation to evidence.
The following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted.
2014, plaintiff and the Castanedas were next-door neighbors.
Their backyards were separated by a fence.
afternoon of July 14, 2014, Yolanda Castaneda was in her
backyard when she noticed an area of dead grass along her
side of the fence that separated her yard from
plaintiff's. She also noticed that the area smelled like
bleach. A few days before, the Castanedas' dog had been
vomiting, and, after Yolanda Castaneda noticed the smell of
bleach, she also noticed her dog's paw pads were white,
rather than black. When her husband, Alonso Castaneda,
arrived home, he inspected the backyard and the dog. He, too,
observed dead patches of grass, smelled the bleach and
noticed the discolored paw pads on the dog. Yolanda Castaneda
telephoned 911. She informed the operator that someone had
poured bleach in her yard.
two officers, Lt. Bonner and Officer Cap, arrived at the
Castanedas' house. The Castanedas told the officers that
bleach had been poured into their yard. The Castanedas also
told the officers that they suspected their neighbor,
plaintiff, had poured the bleach, because the bleach was
along their shared fence line and because plaintiff had
expressed her dislike of the Castanedas' dog. The
Castanedas told the officers that the dog had been ill and
that its paw pads were white. It is undisputed that
everything the Castanedas told the officers was true.
officers proceeded to the Castanedas' backyard to
investigate. Lt. Bonner and Officer Cap noticed the dead
grass along the fence line, and each also noticed the
“overwhelming” smell of bleach.
officers returned to the Police Station, where Officer Cap
began writing an incident report. Lt. Bonner, for his part,
telephoned plaintiff and invited her for an interview at the
station, where she admitted to having poured bleach along the
State of Illinois brought charges against plaintiff for
poisoning a domestic animal. Yolanda Castaneda was subpoenaed
and testified truthfully. She also tendered to the
State's Attorney a bill she had paid for veterinary care,
as well as a letter from a veterinarian, who stated the dog
had exhibited symptoms of exposure to a chemical. Plaintiff
was acquitted and filed this suit.
STANDARD ON A MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
judgment shall be granted “if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). When considering a motion for summary
judgment, the Court must construe the evidence and make all
reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party.
Hutchison v. Fitzgerald Equip. Co., Inc., 910 F.3d
1016, 1021 (7th Cir. 2018). Summary judgment is appropriate
when the non-moving party “fails to make a showing
sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential
to the party's case and on which that party will bear the
burden of proof at trial.” Celotex v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986).
“A genuine issue of material fact arises only if
sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party exists to
permit a jury to return a verdict for that party.”
Brummett v. Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., 414 F.3d
686, 692 (7th Cir. 2005).