United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. WOOD, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Brian Henderson claims that after an incident with his
landlord, the landlord's son, who is a Chicago police
officer, conspired with his father and other police officers
to have Henderson arrested and prosecuted on false charges.
Plaintiff Eugene Hoffman, another Chicago police officer,
claims that his employer retaliated against him for failing
to go along with the conspiracy. Together, Plaintiffs have
brought this action against Defendants Charles Six Jr.,
Joseph McCarthy, Richard Scott, and the City of Chicago
(“City”) based on the purported false arrest and
malicious prosecution of Henderson and the unlawful
deprivation of Hoffman's property and liberty interests
in his employment as a police officer. Now before the Court
is Defendants' motion for summary judgment. (Dkt. No.
101.) For the reasons discussed below, the motion is granted.
purposes of the instant summary judgment motion, this Court
draws all reasonable inferences from the evidence in
Plaintiffs' favor. Aregood v. Givaudan Flavors
Corp., 904 F.3d 475, 482 (7th Cir. 2018), reh'g
denied (Oct. 30, 2018).
case stems from a dispute between a landlord and tenant on
December 17, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. Henderson was staying
at an apartment with his girlfriend, Tamika Humes,
her landlord, Charles Six Sr., arrived at the unit.
(Defs.' Joint Statement of Material Facts
(“DSOMF”), Case Suppl. Report, Ex. O, Dkt. No.
102.) The parties disagree about what happened next.
Defendants claim that Six Sr. and Christopher Schreck, a
plumber, came to the apartment to fix a leaky sink. (DSOMF,
Ex. E, McCarthy Aff. ¶ 5.) They contend that when Six
Sr. attempted to enter the unit, Henderson shouted
obscenities and pushed Six Sr., causing injuries to his
shoulder, hands, and lip. (Id.) Plaintiffs'
version of the incident differs significantly. They contend
that Henderson never touched Six Sr. Instead, Six Sr. and
Schreck entered the apartment without permission as Humes was
getting out of the shower, with Six Sr. leaving only
reluctantly when Henderson found him and Schreck and asked
them to leave. (Second Am. Compl. ¶¶ 13-15, Dkt.
version of the incident is correct, it is undisputed that Six
Sr. subsequently called the police to lodge a battery
complaint against Henderson. Chicago Police Officers Hoffman
and Sue Heneghan were dispatched to investigate the claim.
(DSOMF ¶ 8.) Hoffman claims that he and Heneghan first
met with Six Sr., who told them that a tenant had attacked
him and also immediately offered that his son was a Chicago
police officer. (Pls.' Statement of Additional Material
Facts (“PSOAMF”), Ex. 2, Hoffman Aff. ¶ 10,
Dkt No. 113.) When Hoffman and Heneghan questioned him
about the event, Six Sr. repeatedly changed stories about how
his injury occurred-first asserting that he entered the
apartment out of concern for Humes's safety, and then
contending that he and Schreck entered to fix the sink,
before finally stating that he never entered the apartment
and that Henderson had charged out and pushed Six Sr. down
the stairs. (Id. ¶¶ 16-22, 38.) Hoffman
did not see any sign of injury on Six Sr. (Id.
¶ 13.) Hoffman and Heneghan then went to Humes's
apartment to hear Henderson and Humes's version of the
encounter, which was that Six Sr. and someone unknown to them
had entered the apartment uninvited and that Henderson asked
them to leave. (Id. ¶¶ 27-28.) Hoffman and
Heneghan then spoke to Six Sr. again. They told Six Sr. they
did not believe he was attacked and would not be arresting
Henderson because they did not have probable cause to arrest
him for battery. (Id. ¶ 42.) Hoffman contends
Six Sr. never asked him or Heneghan to prepare a police
report. (Id. ¶ 43.)
the police visit, Six Sr. contacted his son, Defendant
Charles Six Jr., a Chicago police officer. (DSOMF ¶ 3.)
It is undisputed that Six Sr. told Six Jr. that Henderson had
attacked him by slamming Six Sr. with a door and attempting
to push him over the railing and down the stairs, causing him
injuries. (DSOMF ¶¶ 4-6.) It is also undisputed
that Six Jr. observed blood on Six Sr.'s lip and bruising
on the back of his hands. (DSOMF ¶ 9.) After Six Sr.
told his son he wanted to file a police report, Six Jr. drove
his father to the nearest police station. (Id.
¶ 10; Ex. A, Six Jr. Dep., 19:10-11.) There, Six Sr.
also filed a complaint against the responding officers for
refusing to prepare a police report or arrest Henderson in
response to Six Sr.'s initial police call. (Id.
¶ 36.) At some point, Otten witnessed Six Sr. sign a
felony criminal complaint against Henderson. (Id.
¶ 22.) After receiving Six Sr.'s complaint,
Officers Kenneth Kamien and Kimberly Otten arrested Henderson
at the apartment and brought him to a police station.
(Id. ¶¶ 10-17.)
Joseph McCarthy, a detective with the Chicago Police
Department assigned to investigate aggravated batteries,
received the assignment to investigate the alleged battery
against Six Sr. (Id. ¶¶ 23-24.) McCarthy
spoke to Kamien and Otten to get their understanding of the
case. (Id. ¶ 27.) He also spoke to Six Sr. and
Schreck, who said Henderson had shoved Six Sr., as well as
Henderson and Humes, who denied such an altercation took
place. (Id. ¶¶ 25, 28-29; Ex. E, McCarthy
Aff., ¶¶ 5, 7-8.) Photographs were taken of the
alleged injuries on Six's Sr.'s shoulder, hands, and
lip. (DSOMF ¶ 26.) Six Jr. spoke to McCarthy but did not
direct that criminal charges be filed against Henderson.
(Id. ¶ 30.) McCarthy relayed the information he
had received to the Assistant State Attorney's Office
(“ASA”), which interviewed all the witnesses and
approved felony charges against Henderson. (Id.
¶¶ 31-32.) For felony charges to be approved, they
generally needed to be called in by a detective. (PSOAMF, Ex.
4, McCarthy Dep., 19:16-18.) A Cook County Circuit Court
Judge found probable cause to detain Henderson on December
19, 2012. (DSOMF ¶ 54.) Henderson was ultimately found
not guilty of aggravated battery during a criminal court
proceeding on March 25, 2014. (Id. ¶ 55.)
point after Henderson's arrest, Hoffman asserts that his
lieutenant commander, Defendant Richard Scott, asked Hoffman
how he could believe Henderson's account over that of a
police officer's father. (PSOAMF ¶ 22.) A few days
after the arrest, Scott split up Hoffman and Heneghan and
took them both off their current patrol beat. (DSOMF, Ex. J,
Scott Dep., 13:12- 20.) On February 8, 2013, Hoffman received
notification of Six Sr.'s complaint that Hoffman and
Heneghan refused to provide Six Sr. a police report or arrest
Henderson. (DSOMF ¶ 38, Ex. K, Def. City of
Chicago's First Requests for Admission, ¶¶
4-5.) Hoffman disputed the allegations and requested a
disciplinary screening investigation. (DSOMF ¶¶
41-43.) That investigation recommended Hoffman receive a
3-day suspension, to which Hoffman objected. (DSOMF
¶¶ 44- 45.) After the Chicago Police Board failed
to overturn that recommendation, Hoffman received the unpaid
suspension. (DSOMF ¶ 46; PSOAMF ¶ 25.) Scott was
not involved in the disciplinary screening proceedings that
resulted in Hoffman's suspension. (DSOMF ¶ 48.) As
of October 12, 2017, Hoffman was still employed as a Chicago
police officer. (DSOMF ¶ 62.)
December 10, 2014, Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit against
Defendants. Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint asserts
false arrest claims against Defendants Six Jr. and McCarthy
for Henderson's arrest (Count I), a due process claim
against Defendant Scott for depriving Hoffman of liberty and
property interests in his employment (Count II), an
indemnification claim against the City (Count III), a
conspiracy claim against all Defendants (Count IV), and a
malicious prosecution claim against the Officer Defendants
(Count V). Now pending before the Court is
Defendants' motion for summary judgment on all counts.
(Dkt. No. 101.)
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, a “court shall
grant summary judgment 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). The court may grant summary judgment on “each
claim or defense-or [on] part of each claim or
defense.” Id. In evaluating a summary judgment
motion, the nonmoving party's evidence “is to be
believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in
his favor.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). But “favor toward the
nonmoving party does not extend to drawing inferences that
are supported by only speculation or conjecture.”
Fitzgerald v. Santoro, 707 F.3d 725, 730 (7th Cir.
2013) (internal citation and quotation marks omitted).
“The moving party is ‘entitled to a judgment as a
matter of law' [where] the nonmoving party has failed to
make a sufficient showing on an essential element of [its]
case with respect to which [it] has the burden of
proof.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 323 (1986).
first contends that Defendants Six Jr. and McCarthy caused
him to be arrested for aggravated battery despite not having
probable cause to arrest him. A false arrest claim contends
that a plaintiff was arrested without probable cause in
violation of the Fourth Amendment. Brooks v. City of
Chicago, 564 Ff.3d 830, 832 (7th Cir. 2009). For an
individual to be liable in a § 1983 action, he must have
caused or participated in the alleged constitutional
deprivation. Jenkins v. Keating, 147 F.3d 577, 583
(7th Cir. 1998). Thus, to be liable for a false arrest, an
individual must either have made the arrest or caused it to
happen. See Acevedo v. Canterbury, 457 F.3d 721, 723
(7th Cir. 2006).
well-established that “[a] finding of probable cause
absolutely bars a claim for false arrest under §
1983.” Reynolds v. Jamison, 488 F.3d 756, 765
(7th Cir. 2007). While probable cause does not require
evidence sufficient to support a conviction, it does demand
more than a bare suspicion of criminal activity. Holmes
v. Vill. of Hoffman Estate, 511 F.3d 673, 679 (7th Cir.
2007). Courts assess probable cause objectively by looking at
the conclusions that the arresting officer “reasonably
might have drawn from the information known to him rather
than his subjective reasons for making the arrest.”
Id. Moreover, probable cause is determined at the
time of the arrest. Gonzalez v. City of Elgin, 578
F.3d 526, 537 (7th Cir. 2009) (“A police officer has
probable cause to arrest a person if, at the time of the
arrest, the facts and circumstances within the officer's
knowledge ... are sufficient to warrant a prudent person, or
one of reasonable caution, in believing, in the circumstances
shown, that the suspect has committed, is committing, or ...