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Caudle v. DeKalb County

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

January 8, 2020

Stacy Caudle, Plaintiff,
v.
DeKalb County, Illinois, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          PHILIP G. REINHARD UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.

         For the following reasons, the court grants defendants DeKalb County Sheriff's Office, DeKalb County State's Attorney's Office, and former DeKalb County State's Attorneys Clay Campbell and Richard Schmack's motion to dismiss [45] with prejudice. The court grants defendant Creek County Sheriff's Office motion to dismiss [52] with prejudice. This case is terminated.

         STATEMENT-OPINION

         Plaintiff Stacy Caudle filed a pro se complaint on January 22, 2018, against DeKalb County, DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, former DeKalb County State's Attorneys Clay Campbell and Richard Schmack (“DeKalb County defendants”), John Christenson Trucking, Diamond Leasing, and Creek County (Oklahoma) Sheriff's Department [1]. The suit was brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On December 10, 2018, the DeKalb County defendants filed a motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) [18]. On April 30, 2019, the court entered an order granting DeKalb County defendants' motion to dismiss with leave to file an amended complaint [39]. Plaintiff's pro se amended complaint was filed on May 31, 2019 [41].[1] DeKalb County defendants have filed a motion to dismiss plaintiff's amended complaint [45], as has Creek County Sheriff's Department [52].[2] These motions are fully briefed and ready for the court's review.

         Standard of Review

         When evaluating a Rule 12 (b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court must “accept[] all well-pleaded facts as true and draw[] all reasonable inferences in favor of the . . . non-moving parties.” Bonnstetter v. City of Chicago, 811 F.3d 969, 973 (7th Cir. 2016) (internal citations omitted). “A Rule 12(b)(6) motion challenges the sufficiency of the complaint itself.” Id. “To state a claim, a complaint must first provide ‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.'” Id. (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). “The statement of the claim must sufficiently give ‘fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests' to the defendants.” Id. (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). “To state a claim for relief, a complaint must provide more than ‘abstract recitations of the elements of a cause of action or conclusory legal statements.' Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009). Instead, a plausible claim must include ‘factual content' sufficient to allow the court ‘to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.' Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).” Charleston v. Board of Trustees of University of Illinois at Chicago, 741 F.3d 769, 772 (7th Cir. 2013). When ruling on a Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss, the court may look outside the allegations in the complaint and consider any evidence that has been submitted on the issue of subject-matter jurisdiction. Ezekiel v. Michel, 66 F.3d 894, 897 (7th Cir. 1995). “[I]f a plaintiff cannot establish standing to sue, relief…is not possible, and dismissal under 12(b)(1) is the appropriate disposition.” Am. Fed'n of Gov't Employees v. Cohen, 171 F.3d 460, 465 (7th Cir. 1999). A Rule 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss challenges personal jurisdiction. The plaintiff has the burden of establishing a prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction in a motion to dismiss. Tamburo v. Dworkin, 601 F.3d 693, 700 (7th Cir. 2010). Also, “[i]t is axiomatic that pro se pleadings should be construed liberally.” Donaldson v. City of Chicago, 748 Fed. App'x. 957, 959 (7th Cir. 2019) (citing Terry v. Spencer, 888 F.3d 890, 893 (7th Cir. 2018)).

         Background

         Plaintiff's amended complaint attempts to bring forth, as far as the court can discern, claims of wrongful conviction, malicious prosecution, violation of due process, conspiracy, false arrest, false imprisonment, violation of double jeopardy, discrimination, and RICO Act claims.

         The factual basis included in plaintiff's complaint is very sparse and difficult to understand. Plaintiff states he was “found guilty with no evidence present, only the reading of a time line of defendant[‘]s past, ” presumably referring to his underlying state court criminal case. The plaintiff appears to allege that his state court criminal conviction was overturned by the Second District Appellate Court of Illinois. Once his conviction was overturned, defendants John Christenson Trucking, Diamond Leasing, and Creek County, Oklahoma (sheriff's office, presumably) conspired to arrest him. Plaintiff further alleges his right to protection from double jeopardy was violated when, as far as the court can understand, the prosecution in his state criminal case used a “time line” which included his 1990 conviction for a sex offense even though the crime was failure to register as a sex offender. Plaintiff also mentions the RICO Act, yet plaintiff's complaint fails to flesh out any argument as to this claim. All defendants ask the court to dismiss plaintiff's complaint in its entirety for a variety of reasons.

         In the court's April 30, 2019 opinion dismissing plaintiff's original complaint, the court construed plaintiff's claims as brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for false arrest and malicious prosecution. The court further dismissed any claim brought against DeKalb County and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office as failing to allege an unconstitutional policy or practice under Monell v. New York City Dept. of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978). In his amended complaint, plaintiff has alleged more claims but less facts. The court does not find, as set out below, that plaintiff has cured the defects present in his original complaint, nor does the court find that plaintiff's additional claims have merit.

         Analysis

         DeKalb County defendants' motion to dismiss

         DeKalb County defendants argues, as they did in their first motion to dismiss, that to the extent plaintiff has brought forth a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 related to his arrest, this claim would be barred by the statute of limitations. The court agrees.

         In claims brought under Section 1983, courts look to the law of the state in which the personal injury occurred to determine the statute of limitations. Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 387 (2007); Regains v. City of Chicago, 918 F.3d 529, 533 (7th Cir. 2019). “Under Illinois law, a plaintiff must bring a personal injury action within two years after its accrual.” Id. A personal injury claim “accrues” “when the plaintiff knows or has reason to know of the injury which is the basis of his action.” Serino v. Hensley, 735 F.3d 588, 591 (7th Cir. 2013). A claim for false arrest accrues once the plaintiff is detained as a result of the lawful process. Wallace, 549 U.S. at 390-91. A claim for false imprisonment (wrongful detention) accrues upon release from custody. Manuel v. City of Joliet, 903 F.3d 667, 670 (7th Cir. 2018). In his original complaint, plaintiff asserted he was arrested on March 1, 2011. Court records reveal plaintiff was released on bond March 4, 2011.[3] Plaintiff has failed to provide any information in his amended complaint to support a position that by filing his original complaint on January 22, 2018, he has sufficiently brought claims for false ...


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