United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division
PHILLIP G. WEISS and MANLEY MONUMENTS, INC., Plaintiffs,
LOGAN COUNTY CEMETERY MAINTENANCE DISTRICT, an Illinois local body politic, Defendant.
MYERSCOUGH, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss Amended
Complaint (d/e 14) filed by Defendant Logan County Cemetery
Maintenance District. Because the Amended Complaint states an
equal protection and a tortious interference with prospective
economic advantage claim, the Motion is DENIED.
Court has federal question jurisdiction over Count I because
that Count alleges a claim arising under the Fourteenth
Amendment to the United States Constitution and brought
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331. The Court has supplemental jurisdiction over
Count II, which alleges a state law claim arising from the
same general set of facts. See 28 U.S.C. §
1367(a). Venue is proper because Defendant resides within the
District and a substantial part of the events or omissions
giving rise to the claim occurred within the District. 28
U.S.C. § 1391(b)(1), (b)2).
motion under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the sufficiency of the
complaint. Christensen v. Cty. of Boone, Ill., 483
F.3d 454, 458 (7th Cir. 2007). To state a claim for relief, a
plaintiff need only provide a short and plain statement of
the claim showing he is entitled to relief and giving the
defendant fair notice of the claims. Tamayo v.
Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008).
considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the
Court construes the complaint in the light most favorable to
the plaintiff, accepting all well-pleaded allegations as true
and construing all reasonable inferences in plaintiff's
favor. Id. However, the complaint must set forth
facts that plausibly demonstrate a claim for relief. Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 547 (2007). A
plausible claim is one that alleges factual content from
which the Court can reasonably infer that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Merely reciting the
elements of a cause of action or supporting claims with
conclusory statements is insufficient to state a cause of
FACTS ALLEGED IN THE COMPLAINT
following facts come from the Amended Complaint and are
accepted as true at the motion to dismiss stage.
Tamayo, 526 F.3d at 1081.
Philip G. Weiss is one of the owners of Weiss Monument Works,
a family-owned business that has fabricated, sold, and
installed cemetery monuments and grave markers in Illinois
for over 85 years. Mr. Weiss has developed a substantial
clientele and a profitable business and has a reputation as a
competent, dependable, honest businessperson.
2004, the Weiss family purchased Manley Monuments, Inc.
(Manley) in Lincoln, Illinois, in an effort to expand their
business. Manley operates a cemetery monument fabrication and
sales business in Logan County.
operation and maintenance of public cemeteries in Logan
County is carried out by Defendant Logan County Cemetery
Maintenance District (District) and its governing body, the
Board of Trustees, in accordance with the provisions of the
Illinois Cemetery Maintenance District Act, 70 ILCS 105/1.1
et seq. Before Manley can place a monument on a
grave site for one of its customers in Logan County, Manley
must first construct a foundation at the grave site upon
which the monument can sit. Permission to construct such a
foundation must be obtained from the District before Manley
or any of its similarly situated competitors in Logan County
can construct such foundation in a Logan County public
District's Board of Trustees has adopted and promulgated
rules and regulations providing that the District will only
approve foundation orders and mark out the designated
location of the foundation at periodic intervals, no more
than three or four times a year. Plaintiffs allege that the
District has a custom and policy of enforcing the
District's rules and regulations governing the processing
and approval of foundation orders only against Manley and
only approving Manley's foundation orders and marking out
the approved foundation locations for Manley's monument
and markers no more than two or three times a year. The same
officers and employees of the District have waived this
requirement for all of Manley's similarly situated
competitors in Logan County by always approving the
competitors' foundation orders and marking out the
foundation locations on an “as submitted” basis
at any time throughout the year. Plaintiffs allege that
officers and/or employees with final policymaking authority,
including Tim Skelton, Superintendent of Cemeteries for the
District, adopted, maintained, and carried out this custom,
policy, and/or practice solely for the improper and
illegitimate purpose of driving Manley out of business and
not for any legitimate object or purpose of the District.
result of the District's custom or policy, Manley has
been unable to obtain foundation order approvals and have the
foundation locations marked out on the same “as
submitted” basis as Manley's similarly situated
competitors, thereby impairing ...