Swanigan v. Trotter, Case No. 07 C 4749.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
Writing for the CourtVirginia M. Kendall
Citation645 F.Supp.2d 656
PartiesRashad B. SWANIGAN, Plaintiff, v. Robert TROTTER, Thomas Muehlfelder, Michael F. Lynch, Kevin T. Mullane, Joseph J. Porebski, James Poremba, Anthony R. Reyes, William N. Woitowich, Max J. Guajardo, Steven Kavanagh, Peter W. Orsa, Matthew B. Rogus, Steven F. Switalla, Keith W. Uginchus, William Kaupert, Luis Montalvo, Michael Frazier, Thomas Beazley, Janice Dillon, Kevin Anderson, City of Chicago, Defendants.
Docket NumberCase No. 07 C 4749.
Decision Date04 August 2009

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645 F.Supp.2d 656
Rashad B. SWANIGAN, Plaintiff,
Robert TROTTER, Thomas Muehlfelder, Michael F. Lynch, Kevin T. Mullane, Joseph J. Porebski, James Poremba, Anthony R. Reyes, William N. Woitowich, Max J. Guajardo, Steven Kavanagh, Peter W. Orsa, Matthew B. Rogus, Steven F. Switalla, Keith W. Uginchus, William Kaupert, Luis Montalvo, Michael Frazier, Thomas Beazley, Janice Dillon, Kevin Anderson, City of Chicago, Defendants.
Case No. 07 C 4749.
United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division.
August 4, 2009.

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Irene K. Dymkar, Irene K. Dymkar Attorney at Law, James L. Bowers, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiff.

Ashley Caroline Kosztya, Liza Marie Franklin, City of Chicago Department of Law, Megan Kelly McGrath, Stacy Ann Benjamin, Rock Fusco, LLC, Matthew Raymond Hader, Chicago, IL, for Defendants.


VIRGINIA M. KENDALL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Rashad Swanigan ("Swanigan") filed this nine-count action against twenty police officers and the City of Chicago, claiming violations of his civil rights following his arrest on August 22, 2006. Swanigan brings five claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983: false arrest (Count I), unlawful detention (Count II), unlawful search and seizure (Count III), violation of due process (Count IV) and denial of access to counsel (Count V). The remaining four claims arise under Illinois law: intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count VI), malicious prosecution (Counts VII-VIII) and conversion (Count IX). Swanigan and the Individual Officer Defendants have filed cross motions for summary judgment.

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For the reasons stated, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is granted in part and denied in part and Plaintiff's Partial Motion for Summary Judgment is granted in part and denied in part.


The Chicago Police Department had assigned Defendant Officers Robert Trotter ("Trotter") and Thomas Muehlfelder ("Muehlfelder") to a bank robbery task force in the 17th District in response to several bank robberies in the area. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 4.)1 On August 22, 2006, before beginning their patrol, Trotter and Muehlfelder participated in the police roll call where other officers distributed a packet of information regarding a suspect wanted in connection with the bank robberies. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 5.) The information packet described the suspect, known as the "Hard Hat Bandit," as a 25-30 year old black man with a dark complexion between 5'6" and 5'8" in height, weighing approximately 135-150 pounds, who wore a yellow construction hard hat and sometimes carried a blue steel revolver. (Id.; Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 7.; Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 11-13.) The packet also included surveillance photographs of various other people and a crime analysis report that indicated that all of the related robberies occurred in the late afternoon hours. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 5, 7.)

At approximately 4:00 p.m. on August 22, 2006, Swanigan, a 30 year old union carpenter, attempted to cash two checks at the Labe Bank located at 4337 N. Elston in Chicago, Illinois, at the intersection of Elston Avenue and Pulaski Road. (Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 7, 9.) The bank refused to cash one of the checks because it was not drawn on Labe Bank. (Swanigan Dep. at 8:17-19.) Although the other check was drawn on Labe Bank, Swanigan chose not to cash that check. (Id. at 158:20-159:5.) After Swanigan exited the bank, while driving in their squad car, Trotter and Muehlfelder observed Swanigan standing at the corner of Pulaski and Elston, in front of the bank. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 6; Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 15.) The officers agreed that Swanigan fit the description of the suspected bank robber. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 7.) As they drove, Trotter made eye contact with Swanigan. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 8.) Swanigan then quickly turned, dropped his head and walked towards the parking lot. (Id.)2 The officers turned the car around to investigate the situation further and observed Swanigan entering a car from the passenger side. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 9; Swanigan Dep. at 131:1-19.)3 Once

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the police reached the parking lot, they entered the license plate of Swanigan's car into the Law Enforcement Agency Database System (LEADS) and received a report that the license plates on Swanigan's car were suspended for a mandatory insurance violation. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 10.)4 Through the police dispatch radio system, they confirmed that the license plates had been suspended. (Id.) Based on that information, Trotter and Muehlfelder decided to perform a traffic stop. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 11.)

As the officers approached the vehicle in the parking lot, they observed Swanigan lying across the front seat of the car with his feet dangling out of the passenger's side door and his head underneath the steering column as he attempted to "hot wire" the vehicle to get it started. (Def. Add'l 56.1 Resp. ¶ 1; Swanigan Dep. at 130:22-132:10.)5 Swanigan successfully started the car when the officers approached him and asked for his driver's license and insurance information. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 11.)6 Swanigan provided his driver's license and told the officers that he had insurance but he did not hand them a proof of insurance card. (Id.; Def. Add'l 56.1 Resp. ¶ 2.) Despite the information contained in the LEADS report, Swanigan had valid insurance for his vehicle on August 22, 2006. (Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 25.) Trotter ordered Swanigan out of the car and placed him in handcuffs. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 12.) After Trotter searched him and read him his Miranda rights, Muehlfelder escorted Swanigan towards the police car. (Id.; Trotter Dep. at 39:1-4.) As they moved towards the police car, Muehlfelder roughly pushed, tugged and shook Swanigan. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 12.) When Swanigan complained that his handcuffs were too tight on his wrists, Muehlfelder tightened them further and placed Swanigan inside the police car, driving his elbow

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into Swanigan's right side, near his ribs. (Id.; Def. Add'l 56.1 Resp. ¶ 9.) Sergeant William Kaupert ("Kaupert") and Officer Luis Montalvo ("Montalvo") arrived on the scene and attempted to interrogate Swanigan. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 15.) When Swanigan refused to talk to Kaupert, Montalvo pulled Swanigan out of the police car, pushed him once and demanded that he talk to the officers. (Id.; Def. Add'l 56.1 Resp. ¶ 10.) After Swanigan refused, Montalvo put him back into the police car. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 15.)

Trotter and Muehlfelder then conducted a search of Swanigan's vehicle although Swanigan repeatedly informed them that he did not consent to the search. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 14; Def. Add'l 56.1 Resp. ¶ 8.) During the search, they found a steak knife with a fixed blade longer than two and a half inches on the passenger seat and several hard hats in the back seat, including a yellow one. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 13-14; Def. Add'l Resp. ¶ 5; Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 21.) Trotter, Muehlfelder, Kaupert and Montalvo huddled together to discuss how to handle the situation. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 17.) After finding the construction hats in the car and comparing Swanigan with the description of the Hard Hat Bandit, the officers believed that Swanigan could be the Hard Hat Bandit. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 16; Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 17.) Kaupert approved arresting Swanigan for traffic violations and told Trotter and Muehlfelder to contact the detectives investigating the bank robberies. (Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 20.) Trotter and Muehlfelder had Swanigan's car towed and drove him to the 17th District Police Station for processing at approximately 4:20 p.m. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 19; Pl. Add'l 56.1 Resp. ¶ 14.) They notified the FBI and the Chicago Police Department's Detective Division that they had Swanigan in custody and that they believed he could be the Hard Hat Bandit. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 19.) Detectives Kevin Mullane ("Mullane") and Michael Lynch ("Lynch") began investigating Swanigan's involvement in the bank robberies. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 25.) The detectives did not conduct an investigation into the traffic or weapon charges. (Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 44.)

When they arrived at the police station, Trotter left Swanigan handcuffed in a holding cell while he and Muehlfelder prepared the arrest and inventory paperwork. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 20.) The handcuffs caused welt marks on Swanigan's wrist and caused the fingers on one of his hands to go numb but he did not complain about the tightness of the handcuffs. (Def. Add'l 56.1 Resp. ¶ 19; Swanigan Dep. at 204:13-19, 205:1-4.) Trotter prepared an arrest report to indicate that he had cited Swanigan for the following offenses: 1) unlawful use of a weapon in violation of § 8-24-020 of Chicago's Municipal Code; 2) operating a vehicle with suspended registration in violation of 625 ILCS 5/3-702; and 3) operating a vehicle without insurance in violation of 625 ILCS 5/3-707. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 20; Def. Ex. V.) While Swanigan remained in the holding cell, Mullane and Lynch discussed the evidence with Trotter and Muehlfelder. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 26.) After Swanigan had been in the holding cell for about twenty or thirty minutes, two unidentified officers ignored his requests to use the restroom and Swanigan urinated on the floor. (Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 21; Def. Add'l 56.1 Resp. ¶ 16.) When Trotter returned to Swanigan's holding cell and noticed the urine on the floor, Trotter told him that he should remain in the cell "and sit in this piss." (Def. Add'l 56.1 Resp. ¶ 17.)

At 6:57 p.m., Acting Watch Commander Lieutenant Joseph Porebski ("Porebski") approved the arrest reports that Trotter and Muehlfelder prepared. (Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 28.) In reviewing the arrest reports, Porebski examined them for completeness

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