202 F.R.D. 559 (N.D.Ill. 2001), 00 C 7352, Dotson v. Bravo

Docket Nº00 C 7352.
Citation202 F.R.D. 559
Opinion JudgeROSEMOND, United States Magistrate Judge.
Party NameShaunte DOTSON, Plaintiff, v. Officer Jamie BRAVO, Star # 4123 and the City of Chicago, Defendants.
AttorneySusan A. Shatz, Chicago, IL, for plaintiff. City of Chicago, Department of Law, Corporation Counsel, Chicago, IL, for defendants.
Case DateAugust 22, 2001
CourtUnited States District Courts, 7th Circuit, Northern District of Illinois

Page 559

202 F.R.D. 559 (N.D.Ill. 2001)

Shaunte DOTSON, Plaintiff,

v.

Officer Jamie BRAVO, Star # 4123 and the City of Chicago, Defendants.

No. 00 C 7352.

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

August 22, 2001

Page 560

Plaintiff sued police officers alleging malicious prosecution. On officers' motion to dismiss, the District Court, Rosemond, United States Magistrate Judge, held that plaintiff's use of false name warranted dismissal.

Motion granted.

Page 561

Susan A. Shatz, Chicago, IL, for plaintiff.

City of Chicago, Department of Law, Corporation Counsel, Chicago, IL, for defendants.

ORDER

ROSEMOND, United States Magistrate Judge.

Before the Court is " Defendants' Emergency Motion For Dismissal And Discovery Sanctions " . The motion is granted.

" Defendants' Emergency Motion For Dismissal And Discovery Sanctions " is brought pursuant to Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure . In their motion, defendants maintain that the history of the lawsuit reveals an ongoing scheme to defraud the courts, law enforcement, and the defendants via the plaintiff's deliberate and intentional concealment of his true identity. The true identity of the plaintiff is not " Shaunte Dotson", but rather, " DeMarco Shaunte Sheppard." 1 Defendants maintain that the plaintiff's subterfuge in this regard subverts the integrity of the judicial process and the civil justice system, and requires as a sanction therefor the dismissal of his lawsuit. To better understand the genesis of the motion, some background facts are necessary.

On February 6, 2001, plaintiff Shaunte Dotson filed his " First Amended Complaint " .2 Count I is a § 1983 federal malicious prosecution claim (42 U.S.C. § 1983); Count II, a pendent state claim for malicious prosecution; and Count III, a pendent state claim for indemnification. In his amended complaint, Dotson alleged the following.

Assertedly, in the late hours of December 31, 1997 and into the morning hours of January 1, 1998, plaintiff, accompanied by a Ms. Tamika Smith, was attending Ms. Smith's birthday party and a New Years Eve party at 8529 South Saginaw. Admittedly, Dotson was " partying" and was intoxicated.3 Shortly after midnight, Ms. Smith went outside in the backyard of the residence at 8529 South Saginaw. Allegedly, at about the same time, defendant police officer, Jamie Bravo, was investigating shots fired in the area. In so doing, he walked down the gangway of the house adjacent to the residence at 8529 South Saginaw. When he reached the end of the gangway, defendant Bravo saw Ms. Smith in the backyard of 8529 South Saginaw, and ordered her to freeze. Assertedly, defendant Bravo did not identify himself as a Chicago police officer. Ms. Smith did not freeze, and instead started walking towards the rear door of the residence with her back to Officer Bravo. Allegedly, Officer Bravo then fired two shots at Ms. Smith, striking her in the back of her right leg. Assertedly, when Officer Bravo shot Ms. Smith, she was alone, and plaintiff Dotson was inside the residence at 8529 South Saginaw. Defendants' version of the facts is that plaintiff was in the backyard with Ms. Smith, fired a shot or shots at the investigating police officer who, in turn, returned fire, and Ms. Smith was caught in the middle. In any event, continuing with the plaintiff's perspective, upon hearing the shots fired by Officer Bravo, and the screams of Ms. Smith, plaintiff Dotson left the rear of the building at 8529 South Saginaw and entered the backyard. Plaintiff went to aid Ms. Smith who was lying on the ground. Plaintiff was arrested. Admittedly, Dotson was on bond at the time of his arrest.4

Plaintiff Dotson was initially charged with possession of a firearm. Later, he was indicted for attempted first degree murder of a police officer and aggravated discharge of a firearm.5 After a bench trial, Dotson was found guilty of the lesser charge of wrongfully discharging a weapon in the direction of a police officer. A motion for new trial was granted when Dotson's defense counsel learned that there was exculpatory material in an Office of Professional Standards file

Page 562

that was not tendered to the defense. A second trial was held. In the second trial, the state court found Dotson guilty of aggravated discharge of a firearm, and acquitted Dotson on the more serious charge of shooting at a police officer.6 Dotson was sentenced to four years with the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Several years later, Dotson defense counsel filed a post conviction petition in state court based on newly discovered evidence, to-wit: certain audio tapes and the deposition testimony of police officers Jamie Bravo and Michael Snow. The petition was granted, and a third bench trial held. At the conclusion of the third trial, the trial judge found Dotson not guilty of all charges. Thereafter, Dotson filed the present action against Officer Bravo and the City of Chicago.

The present action is filed in the name of Shaunte Dotson. Shaunte Dotson is a fictitious name. Plaintiff was born DeMarco Shaunte Sheppard. 7 Arrest records for the Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Department of the State of Illinois reveal that throughout the years 1994 through 1997 whenever Dotson, as a juvenile, had any " run-ins" with the law, he truthfully disclosed his identity as DeMarco Sheppard.8 Shaunte Dotson is a " made-up" name-a fake name-a creature of Dotson's imagination created out of self-interest and deceit. " Shaunte Dotson" cannot even be said to be an alias, because, except for the present lawsuit, there is no evidence in the record that Dotson was ever known as Shaunte Dotson by the relevant community prior to the date of his arrest to-wit: January 1, 1998, or for that matter after that date:

It has often been held that an alias is another name by which a person is known and identified. 9

Chicago police department arrest records reveal that he had used the name a few times in 1997. Ms. Tamika Smith knew Dotson as DeMarco Shaunte Sheppard. On the April 10, 1999 birth certificate for her daughter Akia, Ms. Smith identifies the father of the child as " Damarco Shaunte Sheppard" with a birth date of June 24, 1980.10 On the February 13, 1998 birth certificate of her son, Ms. Smith gives the child the first name of " DaMarco" and the surname of " Sheppard" .11 Whether she knew DeMarco Shaunte Sheppard by the name of Shaunte Dotson prior to January 1, 1998 remains to be seen.12

When Dotson was arrested-rightfully or wrongfully-on January 1st, 1998 by Officer Bravo for the charged shooting incident which provided the predicate for his three state criminal trials, two convictions, sentencing, incarceration, subsequent acquittal, and present § 1983 claims, he did not use his true name of DeMarco Sheppard. From the inception of his arrest in January of 1998, Dotson deliberately and intentionally declined to use his real name, because he was a fugitive from the law and did not wish to be discovered:

Question: So if your name is DeMarco Sheppard, and the police asked you on

Page 563

that day [ to-wit: January 1, 1998], what's your name, why did you say Shaunte Dotson?

Dotson: Because ... I was on the run. I had the warrants for juvenile.

Question: Okay. So you gave the police a false name because you were afraid of outstanding warrants at the time, is that correct?

Dotson: Correct, correct.13

Dotson's concealment of his true identity was a material falsehood. 14 Dotson has never initiated any legal proceedings to change his name:

Question: Have you ever filed ... or has anyone filed on your behalf any court papers to legally change your name?

Dotson: No.15

Thus, on January 1st, 1998, when Dotson was arrested for possession of a firearm, he knowingly lied to law enforcement to avoid any adverse legal ramifications that might stem from his arrest while out on bond. He lied to cover-up his true identity so that his fugitive status would be unknown and undetected by law enforcement. He lied so that whatever might befall him with respect to the January 23d, 1998 Indictment for attempted first degree murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm, to-wit: Case No. 98 CR 218210, would not be augmented or affected in any way by his juvenile arrest records or criminal history. There can be no doubt that Dotson's conduct in this regard was an obstruction of justice.16 Dotson continued his charade through each of his three state criminal trials, and each of his two sentencing hearings. With unabashed chutzpah, Dotson, who had successfully interfered with the administration of justice by withholding his true identity from the state and law enforcement, accused the state of withholding vital information from him. Apparently, the charge had force, because, as noted earlier, he was eventually acquitted.

Dotson had much to gain by concealing his true identity. On January 1, 1998, had Dotson identified himself as DeMarco Shaunte Sheppard, law enforcement would have known him as an active member of the Blackstone street gang, with a criminal history, who was either out on bond or a fugitive from the law, and who, by being arrested, ran the risk of being in violation of the conditions of his bond.17 Shaunte Dotson, on the other hand, was-presumably-not a member of the Blackstone street gang, had no criminal history to speak of, was neither a fugitive from the law nor out on bond and, therefore, did not risk being a bond violator. Shaunte Dotson was a name that gave plaintiff several advantages. For example, the state prosecutors were not in a position to argue at Dotson's criminal trial that his creation of an alias at the time of his arrest reflected consciousness of guilt:

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19 practice notes
  • Malibu Media, LLC v. Tashiro, 051815 INSDC, 1:13-cv-00205-WTL-MJD
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit Southern District of Indiana
    • 18 Mayo 2015
    ..."[k]nowingly incomplete and misleading answers to written interrogatories" can satisfy this element. See Dotson v. Bravo, 202 F.R.D. 559, 567 (N.D. Ill. 2001), aff'd, 321 F.3d 663 (7th Cir. 2003); see also Villareal v. El Chile, Inc., 266 F.R.D. 207, 211 (N.D. Ill. 2010) (answers ......
  • 844 A.2d 964 (Conn.Super. 2003), X05-CV 00-0180933, Stanley Shenker and Associates, Inc. v. World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Superior Court of Connecticut
    • 16 Octubre 2003
    ...and/or misleading interrogatory answers constitutes perjury, as well as fraud on the opposing party and the court. Dotson v. Bravo, 202 F.R.D. 559, 567 (N.D.Ill.2001); In re Amtrak "Sunset Limited" Train Crash, 136 F.Supp.2d 1251, 1257 (S.D.Ala.2001); Chiarappi v. Donovan, Superio......
  • Sanchez v. Litzenberger, 022411 NYSDC, 09 Civ. 7207 (THK)
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 2nd Circuit Southern District of New York
    • 24 Febrero 2011
    ...(citing Wyle v. R.J. Reynolds Indus., Inc., 709 F.2d585 (9th Cir. 1983)). II. Application Defendants rely heavily on Dotson v. Bravo, 202 F.R.D. 559 (N.D. Ill. 2001), asserting that the Dotson case is directly on point and should be followed by this Court. (See Defs.' Mem. at 18.) In Dotson......
  • Stanley Shenker & Assoc., Inc. v. World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc., CTSUP, X05CV000180933S
    • United States
    • Connecticut Superior Court of Connecticut
    • Invalid date
    ...and/or misleading interrogatory answers constitutes perjury, as well as fraud on the opposing party and the court. Dotson v. Bravo, 202 F.R.D. 559, 566 (N.D.Ill. 2001); In re Amtrak Train Crash, 136 F.Sup.2d 1251 (S.D.Ala. 2001). CF. Chiarappi v. Donovan, No. CV0105095895 2002 WL 31991913 (......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
19 cases
  • Malibu Media, LLC v. Tashiro, 051815 INSDC, 1:13-cv-00205-WTL-MJD
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 7th Circuit Southern District of Indiana
    • 18 Mayo 2015
    ..."[k]nowingly incomplete and misleading answers to written interrogatories" can satisfy this element. See Dotson v. Bravo, 202 F.R.D. 559, 567 (N.D. Ill. 2001), aff'd, 321 F.3d 663 (7th Cir. 2003); see also Villareal v. El Chile, Inc., 266 F.R.D. 207, 211 (N.D. Ill. 2010) (answers ......
  • 844 A.2d 964 (Conn.Super. 2003), X05-CV 00-0180933, Stanley Shenker and Associates, Inc. v. World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc.
    • United States
    • Connecticut Superior Court of Connecticut
    • 16 Octubre 2003
    ...and/or misleading interrogatory answers constitutes perjury, as well as fraud on the opposing party and the court. Dotson v. Bravo, 202 F.R.D. 559, 567 (N.D.Ill.2001); In re Amtrak "Sunset Limited" Train Crash, 136 F.Supp.2d 1251, 1257 (S.D.Ala.2001); Chiarappi v. Donovan, Superio......
  • Sanchez v. Litzenberger, 022411 NYSDC, 09 Civ. 7207 (THK)
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 2nd Circuit Southern District of New York
    • 24 Febrero 2011
    ...(citing Wyle v. R.J. Reynolds Indus., Inc., 709 F.2d585 (9th Cir. 1983)). II. Application Defendants rely heavily on Dotson v. Bravo, 202 F.R.D. 559 (N.D. Ill. 2001), asserting that the Dotson case is directly on point and should be followed by this Court. (See Defs.' Mem. at 18.) In Dotson......
  • Stanley Shenker & Assoc., Inc. v. World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc., CTSUP, X05CV000180933S
    • United States
    • Connecticut Superior Court of Connecticut
    • Invalid date
    ...and/or misleading interrogatory answers constitutes perjury, as well as fraud on the opposing party and the court. Dotson v. Bravo, 202 F.R.D. 559, 566 (N.D.Ill. 2001); In re Amtrak Train Crash, 136 F.Sup.2d 1251 (S.D.Ala. 2001). CF. Chiarappi v. Donovan, No. CV0105095895 2002 WL 31991913 (......
  • Request a trial to view additional results