Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Henderson v. City of Chicago

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

September 30, 2019

BRIAN HENDERSON and EUGENE HOFFMAN, Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          ANDREA R. WOOD, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff 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.

         BACKGROUND

         For 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).

         This 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, [1]when 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. No. 98.)[2]

         Whichever 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.)[3] 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.)

         After 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.)[4] 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.)

         Defendant 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.)

         At some 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.)

         On 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).[5] Now pending before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment on all counts. (Dkt. No. 101.)

         DISCUSSION

         Under 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).

         I. False Arrest

         Henderson 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).

         It is 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.