United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Honorable Marvin E. Aspen, United States District Court
pro se civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, Valente Nevarez (“Plaintiff”),
currently a Cook County Jail detainee, challenges the
constitutionality of his arrest and detention following a
traffic stop on April 14, 2014, and claims that he was
subjected to excessive force, falsely arrested, and denied
medical attention. Defendants, Chicago Police Officers
Alexander Franco, Robert Perales, Adam Sweeney, and Migdaliz
Vazquez (collectively “Defendants”), moved for
summary judgment based principally on Heck v.
Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). Because the Court agrees
that Plaintiff’s excessive force and false arrest
claims are Heck-barred, and for the other reasons
stated below, Defendants’ motion is granted in its
Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1
Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, Defendants served
him with a “Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion
for Summary Judgment” as required by Northern District
of Illinois Local Rule 56.2. (Dkt. 71.) The notice explained
how to respond to Defendants’ summary judgment motion
and Rule 56.1 Statement and cautioned Plaintiff that the
Court would deem Defendants’ factual contentions
admitted if he failed to follow the procedures delineated in
Local Rule 56.1.
contemplated by the Local Rule, Defendants filed a Local Rule
56.1(a)(3) Statement of Material Facts (“Def.
SOF”) with their summary judgment motion. Plaintiff did
not respond to Defendants’ statement of facts or submit
an additional statement of undisputed facts; he did, however,
submit a response to the motion (Dkt. 100), which consists of
23 pages that list and summarize in bullet-point fashion the
contents of various documents produced in discovery. None of
those documents are exhibited to the response for the
courts construe pro se pleadings liberally, see
Thomas v. Williams, 822 F.3d 378, 385 (7th Cir. 2016), a
plaintiff’s pro se status does not excuse him
from complying with federal and local procedural rules.
See McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113
(1993) (“[W]e have never suggested that procedural
rules in ordinary civil litigation should be interpreted so
as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed without
counsel.”); Collins v. Illinois, 554 F.3d 693,
697 (7th Cir. 2009) (“[E]ven pro se litigants
must follow procedural rules.”). Because Plaintiff has
failed to properly respond to Defendants' Rule 56.1
Statement of Undisputed Material Facts, the Court accepts
Defendants’ “uncontroverted version of the facts
to the extent that it is supported by evidence in the
record.” Keeton v. Morningstar, Inc., 667 F.3d
877, 880 (7th Cir. 2012). Within the boundaries of
Plaintiff’s admissions, however, he Court will,
consistent with Plaintiff’s pro se status,
construe his submission in the light most favorable to him,
to the extent that he has pointed to evidence in the record
or could properly testify himself about the matters asserted.
Sistrunk v. Khan, 931 F.Supp.2d 849, 854 (N.D. Ill.
2013); Fed.R.Evid. 602.
April 14, 2014, Plaintiff encountered Officers Franco and
Sweeney near Cermak and California Avenue. (Def. SOF Fact
¶¶ 2, 5, 48-49.) Plaintiff was arrested and
transported to the 10th District police station.
(Id. at ¶¶ 15 and 55.) At the police
station Plaintiff underwent standard field sobriety testing
and registered a blood alcohol concentration above the legal
limit. (Id. at ¶¶ 16, 31.) Plaintiff was
placed in a holding cell in the bullpen area of the station.
(Id. at ¶¶ 33 and 55.) Defendants entered
the holding cell and a physical altercation with Plaintiff
ensued. (Id. at ¶¶ 33-42 and 56-65.)
Criminal proceedings followed, and Plaintiff was convicted
via a bench trial of aggravated driving under the influence
with a blood alcohol concentration over 0.16, driving on a
revoked or suspended license, aggravated battery to a peace
officer, and resisting arrest. (Id. at ¶¶
79-80.) These convictions were affirmed on appeal and remain
valid. (Id. at ¶¶ 79-80.)
Version of the Arrest and Altercation
April 14, 2014, Officer Franco observed a Toyota Sienna
speeding down California Avenue left of the center lane.
(Id. at ¶¶ 5-6.) He saw the vehicle
attempt but fail to stop for a red light at the intersection
with Cermak Avenue and ultimately stop in the middle of the
intersection instead. (Id.) The vehicle then turned
onto Cermak Avenue where Officer Franco, along with his
partner, Officer Sweeney, curbed the vehicle. (Id.
at ¶¶ 7-8.) Officer Franco approached the vehicle
and found that Plaintiff was the driver; there were no
passengers in the vehicle. (Id. at ¶ 9.)
Officer Franco smelled alcohol and saw open beer bottles in
the car. (Id.) Officers Perales and Officer Vasquez
were called to assist Officers Franco and Sweeney.
(Id. at ¶ 12.) They detained Plaintiff and
brought him to the 10th District police station on suspicion
of driving under the influence. (Id. at ¶ 15.)
At the station Plaintiff was given a horizontal gaze
nystagmus test (“HGN”), a one leg stand test, a
walk and turn test, and a breath analysis test. (Id.
at ¶ 16.) Plaintiff failed the first three tests, and
the last revealed a blood alcohol concentration of 0.181.
(Id. at ¶¶ 18, 22, 24, and 31.)
was placed in a holding cell within the bullpen area. SF at
¶33. Plaintiff then began causing a disturbance,
including kicking and hitting the cell door, as well as
hitting his head on the door. (Id. at ¶ 33.)
Officers Franco and Perales opened the door to speak with
Plaintiff. (Id. at ¶ 34.) Plaintiff attacked
Officer Franco, lunging and trying to punch Officer Franco.
(Id. at ¶ 35.) Officers Franco, Perales, and
Sweeney attempted to restrain Plaintiff. (Id. at
¶¶ 36-37.) Plaintiff continued to try and punch the
officers and also spit in Officer Franco’s face and
mouth. (Id. at ¶¶ 38, and 40-41.)
Plaintiff caused lacerations to Officer Franco and Officer
Sweeney, who were both taken to a hospital for treatment
after the incident. (Id. at ¶¶ 40, 43.)
Version of the Arrest and Altercation
version of what occurred on April 14, 2014, differs greatly
from Defendants. According to Plaintiff, he was merely
walking near his car with an open beer bottle when he saw
police officers. (Id. at ¶¶ 48-50.) The
officers stopped Plaintiff before he could enter his vehicle
to leave the area and obtain cocaine. (Id. at
¶¶ 52-53.) The officers placed Plaintiff in
handcuffs and transported him to the police station.
(Id. at ¶¶ 55.) When Plaintiff asked what
he was being charged with, Officer Franco replied,
“shut the fuck up.” (Id. at ¶¶
55-56.) Plaintiff in turn told Officer Franco to “shut
the fuck up”, which caused Officer Franco to come into
Plaintiff’s holding cell. (Id. at ¶ 56.)
Officer Vasquez grabbed Plaintiff’s arm or hand.
(Id. at ¶¶ 57-58.) Officer Franco began to
choke Plaintiff, causing Plaintiff to grab Officer
Franco's hands to try and remove them. (Id.)
Officer Franco then kneed Plaintiff in the groin, causing
Plaintiff to “splur” on Officer Franco.
(Id. at ¶ 59.) Officer Franco then started
hitting Plaintiff in the head with handcuffs. (Id.
at ¶ 60.) Plaintiff never hit or punched the Defendants.
(Id. at ¶ 61.)
Events After the Altercation
parties agree about what happened following the altercation.
Defendants ultimately handcuffed Plaintiff in the holding
cell. (Id. at ¶¶ 42 and 65.) Plaintiff
testified at his deposition that his injuries at that point
consisted of bruises on his head and soreness on his butt
cheeks and back. (Id. at ¶¶ 66-67.) He
testified that he was not bleeding and that he had no other
injuries from the altercation. (Id.) Plaintiff
testified that he then never saw Defendants again on April
14, 2014; the Defendants attested to the same. (Id.
at ¶ 70.) Plaintiff asked an unknown, non-party
lieutenant and an unknown, non-party lock up keeper, for
medical attention. (Id. at ¶ 68.) Plaintiff
expressly testified that he never asked any one of the
Defendants for any type of medical attention; the Defendants
again attested to the same. (Id. at ¶ 69.
Plaintiff was in pain for two days, followed by “a few
more” days of “soreness”, but functioned ...