T.S. v. Television, Case No. 16 C 8303

CourtUnited States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
Writing for the CourtAMY J. ST. EVE, District Court Judge
PartiesT.S., et al., Plaintiffs, v. TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX TELEVISION, et al., Defendants.
Decision Date20 April 2017
Docket NumberCase No. 16 C 8303

T.S., et al., Plaintiffs,

Case No. 16 C 8303


April 20, 2017


AMY J. ST. EVE, District Court Judge:

On October 5, 2016, minor Plaintiffs T.S. and Q.B., through their legal guardians, brought the present twelve-count First Amended Class Action Complaint against Defendants Twentieth Century Fox Television and other Fox entities ("Fox Defendants"); Cook County, Illinois; Leonard Dixon, the Superintendent of Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center ("JTDC"); the Office of the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County (Chief Judge's Office); and Defendant Does alleging violations of their constitutional rights, along with supplemental state law claims. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1367(a). Plaintiffs, who seek to represent a class of similarly situated juveniles, bring the following substantive claims and claims seeking to establish certain Defendants' liability in their First Amended Complaint: (1) a Fourteenth Amendment due process claim against all Defendants (Count I); (2) a Fourth Amendment claim against all Defendants (Count II); (3) a Monell liability claim against Cook County/and or the Chief Judge's Office (Count III); (4) a joint action liability claim against the Fox Defendants (Count IV); (5) a respondeat superior liability claim against the Fox Defendants in relation to Plaintiffs' constitutional claims (Count V); (6) a constitutional conspiracy claim

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against all Defendants (Count VI); (7) a state law breach of fiduciary duty claim against Superintendent Dixon and Defendant Does (Count VII); (8) an inducement of breach of fiduciary duty claim against the Fox Defendants (Count VIII); (9) an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim against all Defendants (Count IX); (10) a state law civil conspiracy claim against all Defendants (Count X); (11) a state law respondeat superior claim against Cook County, the Chief Judge's Office, and the Fox Defendants (Count XI); and (12) an indemnification claim pursuant to 745 ILCS 10/9-102 against Cook County (Count XII).

Before the Court are three separate motions to dismiss brought by the Fox Defendants, Defendants Dixon and Cook County, and the Chief Judge's Office pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, the Court denies the Cook County Defendants' and Chief Judge's Office' motions to dismiss the following claims - Counts I, III, VII, IX and X, and grants without prejudice these Defendants' motions to dismiss Count VI. As to the Fox Defendants, the Court grants without prejudice Defendants' motions to dismiss Counts I, IV, VI, VIII, IX, and X. The Court grants with prejudice Defendants' motions to dismiss Counts II and V. Furthermore, the Court grants Plaintiffs leave to amend their allegations in Counts IV, VI, VIII, IX, and X in a Second Amended Class Action Complaint - in accordance with this ruling and consistent with counsel's Rule 11 obligations - by no later than May 12, 2017.1 See Runnion v. Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago & Nw. Indiana, 786 F.3d 510, 518 (7th Cir. 2015) (there is a "presumption in favor of giving plaintiffs at least one opportunity to amend."). Last, at this stage of the proceedings, Defendants Dixon and the Chief Judge's

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Office have not established their affirmative defenses regarding immunity. See Hyson USA, Inc. v. Hyson 2U, Ltd., 821 F.3d 935, 939 (7th Cir. 2016) ("a plaintiff ordinarily need not anticipate and attempt to plead around affirmative defenses.").


"A motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) challenges the viability of a complaint by arguing that it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." Camasta v. Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Inc., 761 F.3d 732, 736 (7th Cir. 2014); see also Hill v. Serv. Emp. Int'l Union, 850 F.3d 861, 863 (7th Cir. 2017). Pursuant to Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must include "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Under the federal pleading standards, a plaintiff's "factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S. Ct. 1955, 167 L. Ed. 2d 929 (2007). Put differently, a "complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L. Ed. 2d 868 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). When determining the sufficiency of a complaint under the plausibility standard, courts must "accept all well-pleaded facts as true and draw reasonable inferences in the plaintiffs' favor." Roberts v. City of Chicago, 817 F.3d 561, 564 (7th Cir. 2016).


I. Introduction

In the summer of 2015, officials placed the JTDC on lockdown so that it could be used to film episodes for the Fox television show Empire. (R. 23, First Am. Compl. Intro. ¶ 1.) More

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specifically, the filming of Empire at the JTDC occurred over three different time periods in the summer of 2015, namely, June 21 through 26, July 13 through 16, and August 23 through 26. (Id. ¶ 30.) Plaintiffs, who were juvenile detainees during that time, allege that JTDC officials "placed off limits" certain areas that are essential to the JTDC's mission of educating and rehabilitating the hundreds of juveniles housed there, including the JTDC's school, its facilities for family visits, the outdoor recreation yard, the library, the infirmary, and the chapel. (Id. Intro. ¶ 1, ¶¶ 30, 32, 35.) JTDC officials placed these areas off limits so the Fox Defendants' agents and employees could use these areas to stage and film the television show. (Id. Intro. ¶ 1.) To that end, JTDC officials ordered that the juvenile detainees either remain in their cells or be placed in jail-style "pod" areas, which significantly limited the juveniles' movement. (Id. Intro. ¶ 2, ¶¶ 34, 36.) As a result, the juvenile detainees sat for days on end, their schooling existed in name only, visits from their families were effectively eliminated, and sick-call requests were ignored, among other alleged deprivations. (Id. Intro. ¶ 2, ¶¶ 35, 38.) In short, these lockdowns effectively cancelled or interrupted the JTDC programs intended to help the juvenile detainees. (Id. Intro. ¶ 2, ¶ 40.) Plaintiffs allege that the purpose of these lockdowns was to provide the Fox Defendants with a realistic prison facility for the Empire episodes. (Id. Intro. ¶ 3.)

II. Agreement to Film at the JTDC

In the spring of 2015, Superintendent Dixon and/or the Chief Judge's Office, one or more of the Fox Defendants, and/or one or more of the Defendant Does entered into an agreement permitting Empire's crew to film at the JTDC. (Id. ¶¶ 29, 56.) The parties' agreement contemplated that the Empire crew of approximately 250 individuals, including dozens of staff,

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actors, and extras, would have access to many of the restricted facilities on the JTDC's second and third floors and that the juveniles would be barred from those facilities so the crews could work without interruption. (Id. ¶¶ 29, 31, 32.) Plaintiffs allege that under this agreement, the JTDC would confine the juvenile detainees to their cells and pods on the JTDC's upper floors for extended periods of time. (Id. ¶¶ 29, 34.) According to Plaintiffs, in reaching this agreement, all of the Defendants knew that filming Empire at the JTDC would result in the lockdowns and attendant restrictions on the juvenile detainees housed there. (Id. ¶ 29.) In addition, internal JTDC planning documents prepared for the Empire filming indicate that many JTDC staff members were expected or directed to leave their normal duties to provide services to the Empire crew, including acting as extras in the show, assisting at the delivery docks to permit the free flow of film equipment, escorting actors and crew members to and from the set, and cleaning up after the crew. (Id. ¶ 33.)

III. Juvenile Pretrial Detainees

To put the disruptions resulting from the filming of Empire in context, Plaintiffs allege that many of the juveniles housed at the JTDC have encountered traumatic experiences prior and during their detention, including that sixty percent of the juveniles who enter the JTDC have been diagnosed with a mental disorder and around one-quarter of them are taking prescribed psychotropic medications. (Id. ¶ 18.) Added to this, Plaintiffs assert that the juveniles frequently arrive at the JTDC in a state of crisis having been separated from their families and placed in confinement. (Id.) Plaintiffs also allege that the 2015 lockdowns were psychologically damaging to many of the juvenile detainees because they were forced to remain idle in their cells and pods. (Id. ¶ 48.) According to Plaintiffs, as a proximate result of these lockdowns and the

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attendant conditions, the juveniles housed at the JTDC suffered emotional and psychological pain, were deprived of meaningful opportunities for rehabilitation, education, and family visits, and were subjected to increased risk of physical violence at the hands of other juveniles at the facility. (Id. ¶ 78.)


I. Constitutional Claims

In Counts I through VI of the First Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs bring substantive constitutional claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as claims seeking to establish certain Defendants' liability for the alleged constitutional violations. To succeed on their § 1983 claims, Plaintiffs must show: "(1) the deprivation of a right secured by the Constitution or federal law and (2) that defendants were acting under color of state law." Wilson v. Warren Cnty., Illinois, 830 F.3d 464, 468 (7th Cir. 2016). As Plaintiffs acknowledge, the Fox Defendants are not state actors, and thus they cannot be liable for...

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