Lovelace et al v. Gibson et al
OPINION: The Partial Motion to Dismiss 28 filed by Defendants City of Quincy, Adam Gibson, Robert Copley, John Summers, Dina Dreyer, and Anjanette Biswell is DENIED. The Quincy Defendants shall answer the remaining Counts of the Complaint on or before November 27, 2017. SEE WRITTEN OPINION. Entered by Judge Sue E. Myerscough on 11/09/2017. (SKN, ilcd)
Thursday, 09 November, 2017 04:26:49 PM
Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
CURTIS LOVELACE, LOGAN
LOVELACE, LINCOLN LOVELACE,
and CHRISTINA LOVELACE, on
behalf of her minor son, LARSON
ADAM GIBSON, ROBERT COPLEY, )
JOHN SUMMERS, DINA DREYER, )
ANJANETTE BISWELL, UNKNOWN )
QUINCY POLICE OFFICERS,
GARY FARHA, JAMES KELLER,
THE CITY OF QUINCY, and
THE COUNTY OF ADAMS,
SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, U.S. District Judge.
This cause is before the Court on the Partial Motion to
Dismiss Plaintiffs’ Complaint (d/e 28) filed by Defendants City of
Quincy, Adam Gibson, Robert Copley, John Summers, Dina
Dreyer, and Anjanette Biswell. Because the challenged counts of
the Complaint state a claim for relief, the Motion is DENIED.
Page 1 of 25
In May 2017, Plaintiffs Curtis Lovelace, Logan Lovelace,
Lincoln Lovelace, and Christine Lovelace, on behalf of her minor
son Larson Lovelace, filed a Complaint against numerous
defendants arising out of events following the death of Curtis’s first
wife, Cory Lovelace. For purposes of clarity, the Court will refer to
each member of the Lovelace family by his or her first name.
The Complaint alleges that the defendants fabricated
evidence and initiated criminal proceedings against Curtis for the
alleged murder of Cory. The Complaint further alleges that the
defendants illegally detained Curtis’s sons, Logan, Lincoln, and
Larson, and interrogated them without the presence of an attorney
or a parent.
Plaintiffs bring federal and state claims against police officers
employed by the Quincy Police Department, including Detective
Adam Gibson, Police Chief Robert Copley, Sergeant John
Summers, Lieutenant Dina Dreyer, Detective Anjanette Biswell,
and unknown Quincy police officers. Chief Copley is sued in his
official and individual capacity while the other police officers are
sued in his or her individual capacities. Plaintiffs also bring claims
Page 2 of 25
against Coroner James Keller in his individual and official
capacities; Adams County State’s Attorney Gary Farha in his
individual capacity; the City of Quincy; and the County of Adams.
In July 2017, Defendants City of Quincy, Detective Gibson,
Chief Copley, Sergeant Summers, Lieutenant Dreyer, and Detective
Biswell (the Quincy Defendants) filed a Partial Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff’s Complaint (d/e 28) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
II. LEGAL STANDARD
A motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)
challenges the sufficiency of the complaint. Christensen v. Cnty. of
Boone, 483 F.3d 454, 458 (7th Cir. 2007). To state a claim for
relief, a plaintiff need only provide a short and plain statement of
the claim showing he is entitled to relief and giving the defendant
fair notice of the claims. Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074,
1081 (7th Cir. 2008).
When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6),
the Court construes the complaint in the light most favorable to
the plaintiff, accepting all well-pleaded allegations as true and
construing all reasonable inferences in plaintiff’s favor. Id.
Page 3 of 25
However, the complaint must set forth facts that plausibly
demonstrate a claim for relief. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 547 (2007). A plausible claim is one that alleges facts
from which the Court can reasonably infer that the defendants are
liable for the misconduct alleged. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). Merely reciting the elements of a cause of action or
supporting claims with conclusory statements is insufficient to
state a cause of action. Id.
III. FACTS ALLEGED IN THE COMPLAINT
The following facts come from Plaintiffs’ Complaint. These
facts are accepted as true at the motion to dismiss stage. Tamayo,
526 F.3d at 1081.
Curtis’s wife, Cory, died on February 14, 2006. The Adams
County Coroner’s Office conducted an inquest into the cause of
Cory’s death. The Coroner’s Inquest did not conclude that Cory
was the victim of a homicide.
In 2013, Detective Gibson reopened the investigation of
Cory’s death. Plaintiffs allege, on information and belief, that the
investigation was undertaken with the knowledge, approval, and
consent of Attorney Farha, Chief Copley, Sergeant Summers,
Page 4 of 25
Lieutenant Dreyer, Coroner Keller, and unknown Quincy police
officers in an effort to frame Curtis for Cory’s murder.
Detective Gibson’s investigation revealed “no new information
that would assist an office[r] acting in good faith in determining
that [Cory] was murdered, much less that Curtis Lovelace was a
murderer.” Compl. ¶ 36. During the course of the investigation,
Detective Gibson discovered numerous pieces of exculpatory
information and information that confirmed that Cory was not
murdered. Nonetheless, Gibson persisted in the investigation.
Ultimately, in an effort to bring charges against Curtis, the
individual defendants—Attorney Farha, Coroner Keller, Chief
Copley, Sergeant Summers, Lieutenant Dreyer, Detective Gibson,
Detective Biswell, and unknown Quincy police officers—resorted to
fabricating evidence, coercing witnesses, presenting false
information to the grand jury to obtain an indictment, withholding
and concealing exculpatory evidence, and other unlawful acts to
frame Curtis for a crime he did not commit.
On August 27, 2014, prosecutors presented charges against
Curtis to a grand jury. Plaintiffs allege, on information and belief,
that Detective Gibson was the only witness. Detective Gibson
Page 5 of 25
provided false, misleading, and incomplete information to the
grand jury. Plaintiffs allege, on information and belief, that the
grand jury returned an indictment.
On August 27, 2014, Curtis was arrested and taken to the
Quincy Police Department. Detective Gibson interrogated Curtis.
Plaintiffs allege, on information and belief, that, on August
27, 2014, Curtis’s sons, Logan, Lincoln, and Larson were
involuntarily detained at their school by school staff and school
resource officers at the direction of Chief Copley, Sergeant
Summers, Lieutenant Dreyer, Detective Gibson, and Detective
Biswell. The school resource officers were also employees of the
Quincy Police Department. Thereafter, Logan, Lincoln, and Larsen
were taken to the Quincy Police Department, where their detention
continued. The children were not allowed to contact their parents,
other family members, or attorneys. Their parents were never
officially notified of their detention. Detective Gibson and Detective
Biswell interrogated Logan, Lincoln, and Larsen.
Curtis’s first trial was held in January and February 2016.
The trial concluded on February 5, 2016, with the jury deadlocked
and unable to reach a verdict.
Page 6 of 25
Plaintiffs allege, on information and belief, that Attorney
Farha, Coroner Keller, Chief Copley, Sergeant Summers,
Lieutenant Dreyer, Detective Gibson, and Detective Biswell failed
to produce exculpatory evidence to the State and to Curtis’s
defense. The exculpatory evidence included emails from Dr. Scott
Denton, evidence that witness statements had been coerced and
fabricated, and evidence that certain police reports prepared by
Chief Copley, Sergeant Summers, Lieutenant Dreyer, Detective
Gibson, and Detective Biswell were fabricated and incorrect. The
first trial proceeded to conclusion without disclosure of this
evidence, which would have changed the outcome of Curtis’s first
After the conclusion of the first trial, Curtis retained new
counsel and continued to investigate his own innocence. Curtis
uncovered evidence that had previously been withheld. Some of
the evidence was ultimately produced through the discovery
process in response to discovery requests. Some of the evidence
came from disclosures from prosecutors as soon as the
prosecutors learned of the evidence. Some of the evidence came
through Freedom of Information Act requests to the Quincy Police
Page 7 of 25
Department, the Coroner’s Office, and other entities. The evidence
included emails sent by Dr. Scott Denton, Detective Gibson, and
Coroner Keller in which Dr. Denton revealed his opinion that there
was not sufficient forensic evidence to sustain Curtis’s conviction.
Plaintiffs allege that prosecutors disclosed this evidence prior to
the second trial and advised the Court that they did not previously
have the information. The evidence also included documents and
communications showing that Detective Gibson obtained reports
and information from other forensic experts that were exculpatory
to Curtis but had never been disclosed to Curtis. Plaintiff allege,
on information and belief, that this evidence was not disclosed to
prosecutors prior to the first trial.
Curtis was able to use the previously withheld exculpatory
evidence at his second trial. On March 10, 2017, the jury found
Curtis not guilty of the purported murder of Cory.
Curtis spent one year and nine months in the county jail.
Curtis spent another nine months on house arrest.
In May 2017, Plaintiffs filed an eleven-count Complaint
containing the following claims:
Page 8 of 25
Count I: Due process claim brought by Curtis against all
of the Defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983;
Count II: Malicious prosecution claim brought by Curtis
against all of the Defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983;
Count III: Unlawful detention claim brought by Logan,
Lincoln, and Larson against Chief Copley, Sergeant Summers,
Lieutenant Dreyer, Detective Gibson, Detective Biswell, unknown
Quincy police officers, and the City of Quincy pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983;
Count IV: Conspiracy to deprive of constitutional rights
claim brought by all of the Plaintiffs against Attorney Farha,
Coroner Keller, Chief Copley, Sergeant Summers, Lieutenant
Dreyer, Detective Gibson, Detective Biswell, and unknown Quincy
Count V: State law false imprisonment claim brought
by Logan, Lincoln, and Larson against Chief Copley, Sergeant
Summers, Lieutenant Dreyer, Detective Gibson, Detective Biswell,
and unknown Quincy police officers;
Page 9 of 25
Count VI: Failure to intervene claim brought by all of
the Plaintiffs against all of the Defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
Count VII: State law intentional infliction of emotional
distress claim brought by all of the Plaintiffs against all of the
Count VIII: State law malicious prosecution claim
brought by Curtis against all of the Defendants;
Count IX: State law civil conspiracy claim brought by all
of the Plaintiffs against Attorney Farha, Coroner Keller, Chief
Copley, Sergeant Summers, Lieutenant Dreyer, Detective Gibson,
Detective Biswell, and unknown Quincy police officers;
(10) Count X: State law respondeat superior claim brought
by all of the Plaintiffs against all of the Defendants; and
(11) Count XI: State law indemnification claim brought by
all of the Plaintiffs against all of the Defendants.
In July 2017, the Quincy Defendants filed a motion to
dismiss Counts I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, and XI for failure to
state a claim. The Quincy Defendants have answered Counts III
Page 10 of 25
Plaintiffs’ Complaint Does Not Improperly Resort to
The Quincy Defendants first assert that the § 1983 Counts—
Counts I, II, IV, VI—and the state law Counts—Counts VII, VIII, IX,
X, and XI—should be dismissed because Plaintiffs group all of the
defendants together and plead that everyone collectively acted to
Individual liability under § 1983 is appropriate only where the
individual caused or participated in the constitutional deprivation.
Hildebrandt v. Ill. Dep’t of Natural Res., 347 F.3d 1014, 1039 (7th
Cir. 2013). A supervisor is liable under § 1983 if the conduct
occurred at the supervisor’s direction or with the supervisor’s
knowledge and consent. Id. (citing Gentry v. Duckworth, 65 F.3d
555, 561 (7th Cir. 1995)).
Here, Plaintiffs allege that each of the individual Quincy
Defendants caused or participated in the constitutional
deprivation. Plaintiffs allege that Detective Gibson began
reinvestigating Cory’s death in an effort to frame Curtis for the
murder. Compl. ¶ 35. Chief Copley, Sergeant Summers, and
Page 11 of 25
Lieutenant Dreyer supervised Detectives Gibson and Biswell. Id.
¶ 22. The reopened investigation was undertaken with the
knowledge and approval of Chief Copley, Sergeant Summers, and
Lieutenant Dreyer, among others, in an effort to frame Curtis for
the murder of Cory. Id. ¶ 35. Detective Gibson persisted in the
investigation, even after locating numerous pieces of information
that confirmed that Cory was not the victim of a murder. Id. ¶ 36.
In addition, Chief Copley, Sergeant Summers, Lieutenant Dreyer,
Detective Gibson, and Detective Biswell resorted to fabricating
evidence, coercing witnesses, presenting false information to the
grand jury, withholding and concealing exculpatory evidence, and
other unlawful acts to frame Curtis for a crime that he did not
commit. Id. ¶ 36. Those same defendants failed to produce
exculpatory evidence to the State and to Curtis’s defense. Id.
¶ 45. In addition, Detective Gibson presented false, misleading,
and incomplete information to the grand jury. Compl. ¶ 37.
The Court finds these allegations sufficient to plead that each
individual Quincy Defendants—Detective Gibson, Detective
Biswell, Chief Copley, Sergeant Summers, and Lieutenant Dreyer—
caused or participated in the alleged constitutional deprivations.
Page 12 of 25
Similarly, the state law claims, including the intentional infliction
of emotional distress and malicious prosecution claims—give the
Quincy Defendants adequate notice of the nature of the claims
against them and contain sufficient allegations against each
individual defendant. The Quincy Defendants’ motion to dismiss
on the “group pleading” ground is denied.
Count I States a Due Process Claim
In Count I, Curtis alleges that his right to due process was
violated in two ways: (1) the individual defendants committed
Brady1 violations by withholding exculpatory impeachment
evidence from Curtis and the prosecutors (2) the individual
defendants fabricated and solicited false evidence implicating
Curtis in the crime. Curtis alleges he suffered a loss of liberty,
great mental anguish, humiliation, degradation, emotional pain
and suffering, and other grievous and continuing injuries and
Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 87-77 (1963) (a state violates due process
by failing to disclose material exculpatory evidence to the defense in time for
the defendant to make use of the evidence).
Page 13 of 25
The Quincy Defendants move to dismiss Count I on the
ground that Curtis has not alleged a due process violation
resulting from the investigation of Cory’s death or resulting from
the prosecution. The Quincy Defendants first argue that Curtis
cannot prevail because he was acquitted.
The Seventh Circuit has held that a police officer or
prosecutor’s fabrication of evidence against a criminal defendant
violates due process if the evidence is later used to deprive the
defendant of his liberty in some way. See Bianchi v. McQueen,
818 F.3d 309, 319 (7th Cir. 2016); Fields v. Wharrie, 740 F.3d
1107, 1114 (7th Cir. 2014); Whitlock v. Brueggemann, 682 F.3d
567, 580 (7th Cir. 2012). In addition, while the Seventh Circuit
has expressed doubt that an acquitted defendant can establish the
requisite prejudice for a Brady claim, the Seventh Circuit has also
noted that the key to a civil Brady claim is a deprivation of liberty
and that a failure to disclose exculpatory evidence may cause a
deprivation of liberty where the accused is held in pretrial custody
before acquittal or dismissal. Cairel v. Alderden, 821 F.3d 823,
833 (7th Cir. 2016); see also Alexander v. McKinney, 692 F.3d 553,
556 (7th Cir. 2012) (noting that “possibility that prejudice could be
Page 14 of 25
established if an acquitted defendant showed that disclosure of the
suppressed evidence would have altered the decision to go to
In this case, Curtis alleges that, absent the misconduct,
Curtis’s prosecution would not have been pursued and the first
trial would have ended in acquittal. Compl. ¶ 78. Curtis also
alleges that the constitutional violations caused him to remain in
pretrial custody for one year and nine months in jail and another
nine months on house arrest. Id. ¶¶ 82, 69. Because Curtis has
adequately alleged that the constitutional violations caused the
decision to take the case to trial and caused Curtis’s prolonged
pretrial detention, his acquittal does not foreclose his claim. See,
e.g., Armstrong v. Daily, 786 F.3d 529, 553 (7th Cir. 2015) (finding
the plaintiff stated a viable claim where he alleged that exculpatory
evidence was deliberately destroyed, which caused him to remain
in prison before the charges were ultimately dismissed before trial).
The case cited by the Quincy Defendants, Saunders-El v. Rohde,
778 F.3d 556, 561 (7th Cir. 2015), is distinguishable because the
plaintiff in that case was released on bond following his arrest and
not held in pretrial custody.
Page 15 of 25
The Quincy Defendants also argue that Curtis’s due process
claims fail because he has not alleged what exculpatory evidence
was withheld and how the evidence was material. To state a civil
Brady claim, a plaintiff must allege: (1) the evidence at issue was
favorable to the accused, meaning it is either exculpatory or
impeaching; (2) the evidence was willfully or inadvertently
suppressed by the government; and (3) the evidence was material,
meaning there is a reasonable probability that the result of the
proceeding would have been different. Carvajal v. Dominguez, 542
F.3d 561, 566-67 (7th Cir. 2008). Even assuming a plaintiff has to
identify the exculpatory evidence withheld and how the evidence
was material, the Court finds that Curtis has sufficiently done so
Curtis alleges that the exculpatory evidence included emails
from Dr. Denton in which Dr. Denton revealed his opinion that
there was not sufficient forensic evidence to sustain Curtis’s
conviction. Compl. ¶¶ 45, 48. Curtis also allege that Detective
Gibson obtained reports and information from other forensic
experts that were exculpatory. Id. ¶ 49. Finally, Curtis alleges
that he was able to use this evidence at his second trial, at which
Page 16 of 25
he was acquitted. Id. ¶¶ 51, 52. Curtis has alleged what evidence
was withheld and that the evidence was material.
Finally, the Quincy Defendants argue that Curtis has not
alleged any basis for the City’s liability under § 1983. However,
the Complaint specifically alleges that the misconduct alleged in
Count I was undertaken pursuant to the polices and practices of
the Quincy Police Department. Id. ¶ 83; see also Policies and
Practices Allegations, Compl. ¶¶ 54 -68. Therefore, the Quincy
Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Count I is denied.
C. Count II States a Federal Malicious Prosecution Claim
In Count II, Curtis alleges that the individual defendants
caused him to be unreasonably seized and improperly subjected to
judicial proceedings for which there was no probable cause.
Compl. ¶ 87. Curtis alleges that he was intentionally framed
through the Quincy police officers’ fabrication, suppression, and
withholding of evidence. Id. ¶ 88. Curtis alleges that the judicial
proceedings were instituted and continued maliciously, resulting in
injury, and that such proceedings were ultimately terminated in
Curtis’s favor in a manner indicative of his innocence. Id. ¶ 87.
Page 17 of 25
The Quincy Defendants move to dismiss Count II, arguing
that it is well-settled in the Seventh Circuit that, where a state law
claim for malicious prosecution exists, a federal malicious
prosecution claim is not cognizable under Section 1983.
Until recently, the Seventh Circuit held that a federal suit for
malicious prosecution by state officials cannot be brought if the
state in which the plaintiff has been prosecuted provides an
adequate remedy. See Newsome v. McCabe, 256 F.3d 747, 750-51
(7th Cir. 2001); Liovet v. City of Chi., 761 F.3d 759, 760 (7th Cir.
2014). In Manuel v. City of Joliet, 590 F. App’x 641 (7th Cir.
2015), the Seventh Circuit, relying on Newsome v. McCabe, held
that the plaintiff could not bring a § 1983 malicious prosecution
claim against the City of Joliet and several of its police officers
alleging that they falsified the results of drug tests and arrested
him. The Seventh Circuit adhered to the holding in Newsome that
federal claims of malicious prosecution are founded on the right to
due process, not the Fourth Amendment, and no malicious
prosecution claim exists under federal law if the state law provides
a similar cause of action. Id. at 642-43.
Page 18 of 25
The United States Supreme Court reversed. Manuel v. City of
Joliet, 137 S. Ct. 911, 918-19 (2017) (abrogating Newsome and
Liovet). The Supreme Court held that pretrial detention can violate
the Fourth Amendment when the detention precedes or follows the
start of legal process in a criminal case. Specifically, the Supreme
Court held that the Fourth Amendment “governs a claim for
unlawful pretrial detention even beyond the start of legal process,”
at least “when legal process itself goes wrong,” such as when “a
judge’s probable-cause determination is predicated solely on a
police officer’s false statements.” Id. at 919-20. The Supreme
Court remanded to the Seventh Circuit to address the elements of
and the rules applicable to such a Fourth Amendment claim for
unlawful pretrial detention. Id.
As the dissenting justice in Manuel noted, the majority did
not definitively decide whether a claim for malicious prosecution
may be brought under the Fourth Amendment. Id. at 923, 926
(Alito, J., dissenting) (noting that the majority ignored the question
the Court agreed to decide: “whether a claim of malicious
prosecution may be brought under the Fourth Amendment” and
concluding that the Fourth Amendment does not give rise to a
Page 19 of 25
malicious prosecution claim); see also Hendricks v. Lauber, 16-C
627, 2017 WL 4899301, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 24, 2017) (noting that
the Manuel case did not “definitively decide whether a claim for
malicious prosecution may be brought under the Fourth
Amendment”). Since Manuel, however, several district courts have
concluded that a plaintiff in the Seventh Circuit can likely bring a
Fourth Amendment malicious prosecution claim if the plaintiff
alleges that the defendant caused a prolonged seizure of the
plaintiff pursuant to legal process unsupported by probable cause
and the criminal proceedings terminated in the plaintiff’s favor.
See Jackson v. City of Peoria, No. 4:16-cv-01054-SLD-JEH, 2017
WL 1224526, at *9 (C.D. Ill. March 31, 2017), appeal filed; Kuri v.
City of Chi., No. 13 C 1653, 2017 WL 4882338, at *7 (N.D. Ill. Oct.
30, 2017). Curtis makes such allegations here. Therefore, in light
of Manuel, the Court will not dismiss Count II.
Count VI States a Claim for Failure to Intervene
The Quincy Defendants next argue that Plaintiffs’ failure-to-
intervene claims fail as a matter of law if Plaintiffs’ Counts I and II
are dismissed. Because the Court has not dismissed Counts I and
II, Count VI remains.
Page 20 of 25
Counts IV and IX State a Federal and a State Claim for
In Count IV, brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Curtis
alleges that Attorney Farha, Coroner Keller, Chief Copley, Sergeant
Summers, Lieutenant Dreyer, Detective Gibson, Detective Biswell
and unknown members of the Quincy Police Department, acting in
concert, reached an agreement to deprive Curtis of his
constitutional rights as described in the Complaint, including his
right to due process. Compl. ¶ 104; see also id. ¶¶ 36, 37, 45, 48,
49. Plaintiffs Logan, Lincoln, and Larson allege that Chief Copley,
Sergeant Summers, Lieutenant Dreyer, Detective Gibson, Detective
Biswell and unknown Quincy police officers, acting in concert,
reached an agreement to deprive them of their constitutional rights
by detaining them. Id. ¶ 105; see also id. ¶¶ 39-43. Plaintiffs
make the same allegations in Count IX, the state law civil
conspiracy claim. Compl. ¶¶ 137, 138.
The Quincy Defendants argue that, if the substantive claims
under Section 1983 or Illinois law are untimely or fail to state a
claim, the conspiracy claims upon which they are based must also
be dismissed. However, because the Court has found that the
Page 21 of 25
substantive counts state a claim—and the Quincy Defendants have
not argued that the claims are untimely in their motion to
dismiss—the Court will not dismiss Counts IV and IX on this
Chief Copley, Sergeant Summers, Lieutenant Dreyer,
Detective Gibson, and Detective Biswell also argue that they are
free from any conspiracy liability under the intracorporate
conspiracy doctrine. They argue that Plaintiffs attempt to allege a
conspiracy between police officers, all of whom are within the same
The intracorporate conspiracy doctrine is commonly invoked
in suits brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1985, the statute addressing
conspiracies to deprive a person of civil rights. The doctrine holds
that “managers of a corporation jointly pursuing its lawful
business do not become ‘conspirators’ when acts within the scope
of their employment are said to be discriminatory or retaliatory.”
Travis v. Gary Cmty. Mental Health Ctr., Inc., 921 F.2d 108, 110
(7th Cir. 1990) (citing Dombrowski v. Dowling, 459 F.2d 190, 196
(1972)). The doctrine is not limited to managers, however, and
applies to supervisors and subordinates working in the
Page 22 of 25
corporation’s interest. Payton v. Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke’s
Med. Ctr. 184 F.3d 623, 633 (7th Cir. 1999). The Seventh Circuit
has extended the intracorporate conspiracy doctrine to
governmental entities. Wright v. Ill. Dep’t of Children & Family
Servs., 40 F.3d 1492, 1508 (7th Cir. 1994) (involving a §1985
The Seventh Circuit has not, however, explicitly applied the
doctrine to a conspiracy under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Piercy v.
Warkins, No. No. 14 CV 7398, 2017 WL 1477959 at *19 (N.D. Ill.
Apr. 25, 2017); but see Scott v. City of Chi., 619 F. App’x 548 (7th
Cir. 2015) (noting, in a § 1983 case, that “[a] conspiracy between
private parties and state actors authorizes the suit against private
parties in federal court” but that “[a]ll of the defendants in this suit
. . . are public employees (plus their employer), which means that a
conspiracy claim has no role to play”). District courts within the
Seventh Circuit have taken different views on whether to apply the
intracorporate conspiracy doctrine to § 1983 claims. Compare
David v. Vill. Of Oak Lawn, No. 95 C 7368, 1996 WL 210072, at *4
(N.D. Ill. Apr. 29, 1996) (finding that the intracorporate conspiracy
doctrine applied to the plaintiff’s § 1981, § 1983, and § 1985
Page 23 of 25
conspiracy claims against Oak Lawn police officers) with Piercy,
2017 WL 1477959, at *19 (refusing to apply the doctrine to a §
1983 conspiracy, noting recent cases holding that the
intracorporate conspiracy doctrine applies when the members are
pursuing lawful business and the deprivation of civil rights is
unlawful). Moreover, exceptions to the doctrine exist. For
example, if an action is motivated solely by personal bias, the
doctrine may not apply. See Payton, 184 F.3d at 633 n. 9; see also
Petrishe v. Tenison, No. 10 C 7950, 2013 WL 5645689, at * 6 (N.D.
Ill. Oct. 15, 2013) (finding, in § 1983 conspiracy case, that the
intracorporate conspiracy doctrine was inapplicable where the
plaintiff plausibly alleged that the officers were not pursuing any
lawful business in accordance with the interest of the village when
they erased six seconds of video to cover-up their actions).
In light of the disagreement regarding the applicability of the
doctrine to § 1983 cases, and in light of the fact that Curtis alleges
a conspiracy involving Quincy police officers and additional coconspirators who are not members of the Quincy police
department, the Court will deny the Quincy Defendants’ motion to
dismiss the conspiracy claims at this time.
Page 24 of 25
Counts X and XI State a Claim for Respondeat Superior
The Quincy Defendants last argue that, if the Court dismisses
the claims made against the individual defendants, Counts X and
XI should be dismissed because there will be no successful claim
against the City predicated on respondeat superior liability and no
successful indemnification claim. However, because the Court has
not dismissed the claims made against the individual defendants,
Counts X and XI will not be dismissed on this ground.
For the reasons stated, the Partial Motion to Dismiss (d/e 28)
filed by Defendants City of Quincy, Adam Gibson, Robert Copley,
John Summers, Dina Dreyer, and Anjanette Biswell is DENIED.
The Quincy Defendants shall answer the remaining Counts of the
Complaint on or before November 27, 2017.
ENTERED: November 9, 2017
FOR THE COURT:
s/Sue E. Myerscough
SUE E. MYERSCOUGH
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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