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Bishop v. White

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

October 28, 2019

THOMAS BISHOP, Plaintiff,
v.
JOSEPH WHITE, CARLOS DELATORRE, JAMES GOCHEE, MARK MENDEZ, LINDA SZEFC, NEIL EVANS, PHILLIP RIDER, WADE GOLAB, HENRY MORRISON, and the CITY OF CHICAGO, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          HON. JORGE ALONSO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against numerous Chicago police officers and the City of Chicago, asserting claims of excessive force, false arrest, and failure to provide medical care. Defendants have filed a partial motion to dismiss. For the following reasons, defendants' motion to dismiss is granted in part and denied in part.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed this suit on June 9, 2016, while in pretrial detention on charges stemming from the incident that is the subject of this case. The individual defendants are all Chicago police officers. Plaintiff alleges that, on the evening of October 23, 2014, near 7958 South Justine in Chicago, defendant Joseph White shot plaintiff in the back of the head while he was turned away from him, although plaintiff was unarmed, posed no threat and had committed no crime. According to plaintiff, White subsequently prepared a report in which he falsely claimed that he and officers Delatorre, Brubaker, and Morrison saw plaintiff discharge a firearm. Delatorre allegedly “attested to the facts in the report” and defendant Szefc “approved probable cause for plaintiff's arrest when there clearly was none.” (2d Am. Compl. ¶ 20, ECF No. 73.)

         Plaintiff was arrested following the shooting. Defendants Delatorre and Mendez “were the actual arresting officers, ” and “the remaining individual defendants abetted the false arrest.” (Id. ¶¶ 31-32.) In particular, according to plaintiff, defendants White, Gochee, Delatorre, and Mendez effected plaintiff's arrest by handcuffing his hands behind his back and forcing him to his feet, although he had fallen to the ground, unconscious, and was bleeding profusely from his head. Defendants provided no medical care at the scene of the shooting. Eventually, an ambulance arrived and took plaintiff to Advocate Christ Hospital. While plaintiff was a patient there, he alleges, defendants Evans, Golab, and Rider “knowingly interfered with treatment by interrogating plaintiff repeatedly and conducting tests on him when the hospital staff attempted to treat him.” (Id. ¶¶ 38-39.) Further, Evans, Golab, and Rider “forced the treaters to simply bandage Plaintiff's wounds and release him to the defendants, ” preventing plaintiff from recovering from his injuries without permanent hearing loss and damage to his neck and requiring him to undergo subsequent surgeries. (Id. ¶¶ 40-41.)

         Plaintiff was subsequently charged with first degree murder and two counts of attempted murder in an incident that took place near the location where plaintiff was shot and at about the same time. Plaintiff was held in Cook County Jail awaiting trial for approximately four years, until October 2018. The Court stayed this case during the pendency of plaintiff's state criminal case. On December 4, 2018, plaintiff was acquitted of all charges. Following the verdict, this Court lifted the stay, and defendants subsequently filed the present motion to dismiss.

         ANALYSIS

         “A motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests whether the complaint states a claim on which relief may be granted.” Richards v. Mitcheff, 696 F.3d 635, 637 (7th Cir. 2012). Under Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must include “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The short and plain statement under Rule 8(a)(2) must “‘give the defendant fair notice of what . . . the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.'” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).

         Under federal notice-pleading standards, a plaintiff's “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. Stated differently, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “In reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint under the plausibility standard, [courts must] accept the well-pleaded facts in the complaint as true, but [they] ‘need[ ] not accept as true legal conclusions, or threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements.'” Alam v. Miller Brewing Co., 709 F.3d 662, 665-66 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009)).

         “Section 1983 creates a ‘species of tort liability, '” Manuel v. City of Joliet, Ill., 137 S.Ct. 911, 916 (2017) (quoting Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 417 (1976)), against any person who, under color of state law, “subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution, ” 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In his Second Amended Complaint, plaintiff asserts four claims for deprivation of his constitutional rights pursuant to § 1983: in Count I, excessive force against White; in Count II, false arrest against “all individual defendants”; in Count III, deliberate indifference to serious medical needs against White, Gochee, Delatorre, Morrison, Mendez, Evans, Rider, and Golab; and in Count IV[1], for municipal liability against the City of Chicago under Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978).

         I. TIMELINESS OF CLAIMS AGAINST GOCHEE AND MORRISON

         Section 1983 claims borrow the statute of limitations for personal-injury torts in the state where the cause of action arose. Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 387 (2007). In Illinois, the relevant statute of limitations period is two years. See id.; Dickens v. Illinois, 753 Fed.Appx. 390, 392 (7th Cir. 2018). Defendants argue that, to the extent plaintiff asserts claims in Counts II and III against Gochee and Morrison, the claims are time-barred because plaintiff did not name them in either of the complaints he filed in 2016; he first asserted claims against them in February 2019, more than four years after he was shot and arrested on October 23, 2014.

         In response, plaintiff argues that, under Manuel v. City of Joliet, 903 F.3d 667 (7th Cir. 2018), his false arrest claim did not accrue until he was released from detention. Plaintiff is correct. See id. at 670 (“The wrong of detention without probable cause continues for the duration of the detention. That's the principal reason why the claim accrues when the detention ends.”). Plaintiff was not released from detention until October 2018, so the Second Amended Complaint he filed in February 2019 was well within the two-year limitations period.[2] To whatever extent plaintiff can assert a false arrest claim against Gochee and Morrison (as the Court will explain below, he has not succeeded in doing so in the Second Amended Complaint), the claim is not yet time-barred.

         The timeliness of plaintiff's medical claims against Gochee and Morrison is another matter, but it is better left for a later stage of the case, both because plaintiff has not stated a denial of medical care claim against Morrison, as the Court will explain below, and because the Court lacks sufficient information to evaluate the timeliness of any such claim at this time. Defendants argue that these claims do not relate back to the filing of the original complaint, but whether claims in an amended pleading relate back because of a “mistake concerning the proper party's identity, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(c)(1)(C)(ii), depends on “what the party to be added knew or should have known, not on the amending party's knowledge or its timeliness in seeking to amend the pleading.” Williams v. City of Chi., No. 14 C 6959, 2017 WL 1545772, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 28, 2017) (citing Clair v. Cook Cty., Ill., No. 16 C 1334, 2017 WL 1355879, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 13, 2017)). The Court cannot determine at this early stage “what the defendants knew or should have ...


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