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Bagley v. City of Chicago

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

October 18, 2019

PHILLIP BAGLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, D. BLACKMAN, J. DELGADO, T. ORTIZ, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          SARA L. ELLIS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Chicago police officers allegedly beat up Plaintiff Phillip Bagley on September 27, 2015, and thereafter arrested him. Two years later, on September 26, 2017, Bagley filed this lawsuit against the City of Chicago (the “City”) and Chicago Police Officers Tito Ortiz, Davis, Jackson, and “J. Doe, ” alleging unreasonable seizure, excessive force, illegal search, denial of medical treatment, and failure to intervene pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, in addition to seeking indemnification against the City for any judgment entered against the individual Defendants. On January 16, 2018, Bagley filed an amended complaint, naming Chicago Police Officers Jesus Delgado and Daniel Blackman (collectively, the “Defendant Officers”), in addition to Tito Ortiz and the City, as Defendants.[1] The City and the Defendant Officers then moved to dismiss the amended complaint. The Court dismissed Bagley's unreasonable seizure claim but found that, at the pleading stage, it could not determine whether the amended complaint related back to the initial complaint to make his claims against the Defendant Officers timely. Doc. 56. After completing discovery, the City and Defendant Officers have filed a motion for summary judgment, reprising their statute of limitations argument and raising other substantive arguments as well. Bagley concedes that Blackman had no personal involvement in the underlying actions, and so the Court enters judgment for Blackman and only addresses the Defendant Officers' arguments as they relate to Delgado. The Court concludes that the principles of relation back apply to make Bagley's claims against Delgado timely. Because Bagley does not offer any argument to support the viability of his unlawful search and denial of medical care claims, the Court enters judgment for Delgado on these claims. The Court also provides Bagley's counsel with notice of its intent to impose monetary sanctions for his repeated failures to comply with the Court's rules and procedures.

         BACKGROUND[2]

         On September 27, 2015, the Defendant Officers reported to a call of a large disturbance on the 6400 block of South Lowe Avenue. Delgado observed Bagley drinking and a bulge in his waistband. According to Delgado, as he approached Bagley, Bagley ran. Bagley denies running but acknowledges that Delgado took him into custody. Bagley testified that Delgado beat him and a black male officer kicked him. Delgado admits to punching Bagley in the face. Although Bagley believed the black officer was Blackman, Blackman is Caucasian and was not present when Delgado took Bagley into custody.

         After Delgado took Bagley into custody, he took Bagley to a transport wagon. The Defendant Officers did not transport Bagley. Bagley requested medical attention during the transport to the Seventh District police station. He also asked officers at the station, as well as the lock-up keepers, for medical attention. Officers then transported Bagley to St. Bernard Hospital, where Bagley refused treatment because he first wanted his injuries photographed. As a result, Bagley returned to the station, where officers photographed him and then took him back to St. Bernard for treatment. Thereafter, the State charged Bagley with resisting arrest and he pleaded guilty to this charge on October 27, 2015.

         On September 26, 2017, Bagley filed this case against the City and Ortiz, Davis, Jackson, and “J. Doe.” Counsel for the City filed their appearances on November 8, 2017, with the City executing a waiver of service on November 16, 2017. After some back and forth between the parties, the City produced the police reports from the incident to Bagley's counsel in mid-December 2017. Bagley then sought leave to file an amended complaint on December 19, 2017, attaching a proposed amended complaint naming the Defendant Officers as well as Ortiz and the City as Defendants. The Court granted Bagley's motion on January 9, 2018, and Bagley filed the amended complaint on January 16, 2018. The Chicago Police Department received service of the amended complaint on February 6, 2018, issuing a memo to the Defendant Officers regarding the complaint on that day. The Defendant Officers received the amended complaint on February 12, 2018. The same counsel representing the City filed an appearance for the Defendant Officers on March 9, 2018.

         Bagley testified that he learned Delgado's name on the date of his arrest, but he also claimed only to have learned it from his lawyer after filing this case. He also thought that he heard an officer on the scene call Delgado “Tito, ” but neither Blackman nor Delgado have gone by “Tito, ” “Ortiz, ” or “Tito Ortiz.” Bagley acknowledged that no officer attempted to conceal his identity on the day of the arrest, testifying that no officer covered his nametag or took off his badge.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Summary judgment obviates the need for a trial where there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. To determine whether a genuine issue of fact exists, the Court must pierce the pleadings and assess the proof as presented in depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions, and affidavits that are part of the record. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 & advisory committee's notes. The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of proving that no genuine issue of material fact exists. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). In response, the non-moving party cannot rest on mere pleadings alone but must use the evidentiary tools listed above to identify specific material facts that demonstrate a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324; Insolia v. Philip Morris Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 598 (7th Cir. 2000). Although a bare contention that an issue of fact exists is insufficient to create a factual dispute, Bellaver v. Quanex Corp., 200 F.3d 485, 492 (7th Cir. 2000), the Court must construe all facts in a light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).

         ANALYSIS

         I. Statute of Limitations

         Reprising an argument from the motion to dismiss, Delgado argues that the two-year statute of limitations bars Bagley's claims against him and that Bagley cannot rely on relation back to make them timely. As the Court previously found, Bagley's claims for excessive force, illegal search, denial of medical treatment, and failure to intervene accrued immediately, on September 27, 2015. Doc. 56 at 4 (citing Devbrow v. Kalu, 705 F.3d 765, 768 (7th Cir. 2013); Evans v. Poskon, 603 F.3d 362, 363 (7th Cir. 2010)). Because Bagley filed his amended complaint naming Delgado on January 16, 2018, after the statute of limitations had run, he may proceed on his claims only if the amended complaint relates back to his original complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(c). Rule 15(c)(1)(C) provides that a claim asserted against a newly identified defendant relates back if:

within the period provided by Rule 4(m) for serving the summons and complaint, the party to be brought in by amendment:
(i) received such notice of the action that it will not be prejudiced in defending ...

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