Johnson v. Jarosz
MEMORANDUM Opinion and Order written by the Honorable Gary Feinerman on 10/6/2017.Mailed notice.(jlj, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
JERRY V. JOHNSON,
CITY OF CHICAGO,
15 C 128
Judge Gary Feinerman
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Jerry Johnson brought this pro se suit against Chicago police officer Steve Jarosz and the
City of Chicago, alleging that his August 2013 arrest violated the Fourth Amendment and Illinois
law. Doc. 59. The court granted summary judgment on all claims against Jarosz and the state
law claims against the City, but not on the Monell claim against the City. Docs. 150-151
(reported at 2016 WL 5341810 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 23, 2016)). After months of Monell discovery,
the City moved for summary judgment. Doc. 227. The motion is granted.
The City filed its summary judgment motion on August 18, 2017. The court set a
standard 28-day response date of September 15. Doc. 237. Johnson did not respond to the
City’s motion or seek an extension. Given the court’s ability and obligation to enforce deadlines,
the motion is ready for decision. See Flint v. City of Belvidere, 791 F.3d 764, 768 (7th Cir.
2015) (“[C]ase management depends on enforceable deadlines … . In managing their caseloads,
district courts are entitled to—indeed they must—enforce deadlines.”) (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted); Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 605 (7th Cir. 2006)
(“Rule 6(b) … clearly gives courts both the authority to establish deadlines and the discretion to
enforce them.”); Shine v. Owens-Ill., Inc., 979 F.2d 93, 96 (7th Cir. 1992) (“[J]udges must be
able to enforce deadlines.”) (citation omitted).
Consistent with Local Rule 56.1, the City filed a Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) statement of
undisputed facts along with its summary judgment motion. Doc. 229. Each factual assertion in
the Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) statement cites evidentiary material in the record and is supported by
the cited material. See N.D. Ill. L.R. 56.1(a) (“The statement referred to in (3) shall consist of
short numbered paragraphs, including within each paragraph specific references to the affidavits,
parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon to support the facts set forth in that
paragraph.”). The City also filed and served on Johnson a Local Rule 56.2 Notice, which
explains in detail for pro se litigants the requirements of Local Rule 56.1. Doc. 230.
Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B) required Johnson to file a “concise response to [the City’s Local
Rule 56.1(a)(3)] statement … contain[ing] a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving
party’s statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits,
parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon.” N.D. Ill. L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(B).
But Johnson filed nothing—no brief, no Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B) response to the City’s Local
Rule 56.1(a)(3) statement, and no Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) statement of additional facts. See
N.D. Ill. L.R. 56.1(b) (“Each party opposing a motion filed pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 shall
serve and file—(1) any opposing affidavits and other materials referred to in Fed. R. Civ. P.
56(e); (2) a supporting memorandum of law; and (3) a concise response to the movant’s [Local
Rule 56.1(a)(3)] statement”) (emphasis added). The Seventh Circuit “has consistently upheld
district judges’ discretion to require strict compliance with Local Rule 56.1.” Flint, 791 F.3d at
767 (citing cases); see also Stevo v. Frasor, 662 F.3d 880, 886-87 (7th Cir. 2011) (“Because of
the high volume of summary judgment motions and the benefits of clear presentation of relevant
evidence and law, we have repeatedly held that district judges are entitled to insist on strict
compliance with local rules designed to promote the clarity of summary judgment filings.”);
Patterson v. Ind. Newspapers, Inc., 589 F.3d 357, 360 (7th Cir. 2009) (same); Ammons v.
Aramark Unif. Servs., Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817 (7th Cir. 2004) (same). Johnson’s pro se status
does not excuse him from complying with Local Rule 56.1. See McNeil v. United States, 508
U.S. 106, 113 (1993) (“[W]e have never suggested that procedural rules in ordinary civil
litigation should be interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed without
counsel.”); Coleman v. Goodwill Indus. of Se. Wis., Inc., 423 F. App’x 642, 643 (7th Cir. 2011)
(“Though courts are solicitous of pro se litigants, they may nonetheless require strict compliance
with local rules.”); Wilson v. Kautex, Inc., 371 F. App’x 663, 664 (7th Cir. 2010) (“[S]trictly
enforcing Local Rule 56.1 was well within the district court’s discretion, even though Wilson is a
pro se litigant.”) (citation omitted); Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1061 (7th Cir. 2006)
(“[E]ven pro se litigants must follow rules of civil procedure.”).
Here, the problem is not that Johnson failed to strictly comply with Local Rule
56.1(b)(3)(B); rather, it is that he did not comply at all. Accordingly, as the local rules provide,
the court accepts as true the facts set forth in the City’s Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) statement. See
N.D. Ill. L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(C) (“All material facts set forth in the statement required of the moving
party will be deemed to be admitted unless controverted by the statement of the opposing
party.”); Curtis v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 807 F.3d 215, 218 (7th Cir. 2015) (“When a
responding party’s statement fails to dispute the facts set forth in the moving party’s statement in
the manner dictated by the rule, those facts are deemed admitted for purposes of the motion.”)
(citation omitted); Rao v. BP Prods. N. Am., Inc., 589 F.3d 389, 393 (7th Cir. 2009) (“In
accordance with [Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C)], the district court justifiably deemed the factual
assertions in BP’s Rule 56.1(a) Statement in support of its motion for summary judgment
admitted because Rao did not respond to the statement.”). That said, the court is mindful that “a
nonmovant’s failure to respond to a summary judgment motion or failure to comply with Local
Rule 56.1 … does not … automatically result in judgment for the movant. [The movant] must
still demonstrate that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Keeton v. Morningstar, Inc.,
667 F.3d 877, 884 (7th Cir. 2012) (citations omitted). The court therefore will recite the facts in
the City’s Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) statement as favorably to Johnson, the nonmovant, as the record
and Local Rule 56.1 allow, see Canen v. Chapman, 847 F.3d 407, 412 (7th Cir. 2017), and then
will determine whether, on those facts, the City is entitled to summary judgment. In considering
the City’s motion, the court must assume the truth of those facts, but does not vouch for them.
See Arroyo v. Volvo Grp. N. Am., LLC, 805 F.3d 278, 281 (7th Cir. 2015). *
On August 2, 2013, at approximately 11:45 p.m., Jarosz and fellow Chicago police
officer Ryan Harty attempted to effect a traffic stop of a car traveling southbound in an alley
between South Halsted Street and South Emerald Avenue on Chicago’s South Side. Doc. 229 at
¶¶ 11-12. The car stopped just before it reached 78th Street, and several individuals exited the
car onto 78th and fled from the police on foot. Id. at ¶¶ 13-15. After losing sight of those
individuals, one of the officers radioed for help. Id. at ¶¶ 16-17. At the time, Chicago police
officer Armando Garza was returning to the 6th District Police Station, located at the corner of
Johnson himself filed several summary judgment motions, Docs. 26, 60, 64, 103, 113, 144,
147, 199, 201, 211, 221, most denied without prejudice for failure to comply with Local Rule
56.1, Docs. 63, 106, 146, 203, 214, and some denied on the merits, Doc. 28, 65, 150, 225. The
denials for failure to comply with Local Rule 56.1 followed the court’s practice of screening
summary judgment motions, whether filed by counseled or pro se parties, and denying without
prejudice those that facially violate Local Rule 56.1. See, e.g., Coleman v. McLanathan, No. 15
C 3675, Dkt. 48 (Mar. 8, 2016); J & J Sports Productions, Inc. v. Bruscianelli, No. 14 C 3084,
Dkt. 28 (Mar. 16, 2015); Lipton v. Chattem, Inc., No. 11 C 2952, Dkt. 73 (Nov. 15, 2012).
Halsted Street and 78th. Id. at ¶ 8. Garza had his radio with him and was monitoring radio calls.
Id. at ¶ 18. Soon after Garza entered the station, he heard the call made by either Harty or Jarosz.
Ibid. Garza left the station, saw Harty and Jarosz’s patrol car across the street, looked
northbound up Halsted, and saw two men running away, with at least one officer in pursuit. Id.
at ¶¶ 18-19. Garza heard on the radio that the car’s former occupants were running westbound
toward the 6th District station’s parking lot, and that at least one—identified as a man wearing
dark-colored baggy shorts and a braid—had doubled back across the parking lot. Id. at ¶¶ 20, 22.
At that point, Garza saw Johnson, who matched the description of the car occupant with
baggy shorts and a braid, walking swiftly on Halsted away from the parking lot and looking over
his left shoulder in the direction of the corner of Halsted and 78th. Id. at ¶¶ 25-26. Johnson was
carrying a stolen firearm with a loaded clip in the waistband of his pants. Id. at ¶¶ 27-28. When
Johnson noticed Garza, Johnson slowed his pace and appeared startled. Id. at ¶ 31. Garza
followed Johnson, approaching him from behind. Ibid. Garza said “Hey,” in an effort to
communicate that he wanted to conduct a field interview. Id. at ¶ 32. Johnson, appearing
agitated and nervous, responded: “Can I help you?” Id. at ¶¶ 34-35. After saying “yes,” Garza
asked Johnson if he had any weapons on him. Id. at ¶ 36. Johnson admitted he did. Ibid.
Garza then asked Johnson to place his hands on a fence. Id. at ¶ 37. Johnson complied,
and Garza patted him down for weapons, discovering a .380-caliber handgun, fully loaded with
seven live rounds. Id. at ¶¶ 37-38. Johnson had neither a FOID card nor a concealed carry
permit. Id. at ¶ 44. After finding the gun, Garza placed Johnson in handcuffs and radioed in a
physical description. Id. at ¶ 39. Jarosz arrived at the scene and identified Johnson as one of the
men who had fled the attempted traffic stop. Id. at ¶¶ 42-43. Johnson was then taken to the
station, where Jarosz completed an arrest and case report. Id. at ¶¶ 45-46. After conferring with
a Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney, Jarosz signed a criminal complaint against Johnson
for unlawful possession of a firearm. Id. at ¶¶ 51-53.
As the court explained in its prior opinion, under Monell v. Department of Social Services
of City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978), a municipality is not liable for constitutional
violations of its employees based on a respondeat superior theory. Rather, to prevail on a
Monell claim, the plaintiff must show that “a government’s policy or custom” is responsible for
the constitutional injury. Id. at 694. Moreover, the plaintiff must allege “that an official policy
or custom not only caused the constitutional violation, but was the moving force behind it.”
Estate of Sims ex rel. Sims v. Cnty. of Bureau, 506 F.3d 509, 514 (7th Cir. 2007) (citation and
internal quotation marks omitted). “An official policy or custom may be established by means of
 an express policy,  a widespread practice which, although unwritten, is so entrenched and
well-known as to carry the force of policy, or  through the actions of an individual who
possesses the authority to make final policy decisions on behalf of the municipality or
corporation.” Rice ex rel. Rice v. Corr. Med. Servs., 675 F.3d 650, 675 (7th Cir. 2012); see also
Milestone v. City of Monroe, 665 F.3d 774, 780 (7th Cir. 2011). Monell liability may be based
on failure to train, but only where “the failure to train amounts to deliberate indifference to the
rights of persons with whom the police come into contact.” City of Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S.
378, 388 (1989).
The City contends that Johnson cannot satisfy Monell because he fails even to show a
constitutional violation, let alone one caused by a City policy or practice. Doc. 228 at 5-10. But
even assuming that Garza’s actions deprived Johnson of his Fourth Amendment rights, the
summary judgment record, drawing all permissible inferences in Johnson’s favor, contains no
basis on which to attribute that deprivation to a City policy or practice. Nor does the summary
judgment record contain any basis on which to conclude that Garza acted at the relevant time as
a policymaker for the City. In fact, the summary judgment record contains no evidence
whatsoever of any City policies or practices, nor any evidence that Garza had policymaking
authority for the City. Consequently, because no reasonable juror could conclude from the
summary judgment record that Johnson could satisfy any of the three ways to establish Monell
liability, the City is entitled to summary judgment.
For the foregoing reasons, the City’s summary judgment motion is granted. With all
claims having been dismissed, final judgment will be entered.
October 6, 2017
United States District Judge
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