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Case Name Vergara v. Dal Ponte PN-IL-0013
Docket / Court 1:15-cv-02407 ( N.D. Ill. )
Additional Docket(s) 18-1266  [ 18-1266 ]  Federal Court of Appeals
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Policing
Case Summary
On March 19, 2015, three men arrested in Chicago, IL filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The plaintiffs sued the City of Chicago and Chicago police officers under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by a private firm, asked the ... read more >
On March 19, 2015, three men arrested in Chicago, IL filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. The plaintiffs sued the City of Chicago and Chicago police officers under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by a private firm, asked the court for compensatory and punitive damages. They claimed that the City of Chicago and police officers violated their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that Chicago police officers had subjected them to false arrest at the Homan Square detention facility, excessive use of force, and illegal searches; attempted to coerce them into false confessions without an attorney present; and threatened them that they would be charged with crimes if they did not provide information.

On May 13, 2015, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Primarily, the defendants claimed that plaintiffs' complaint was untimely and that the allegation that the police had threatened plaintiffs into not speaking about their experience was not enough to defeat the statute of limitations. On May 27, 2015, Judge Andrea R. Wood granted the defendants' motion to stay discovery pending the resolution of motion to dismiss.

On March 31, 2016, Judge Wood granted the defendants' motion to dismiss. However, Judge Wood did not issue a Memorandum Opinion and Order on the motion to dismiss until January 31, 2018. The docket does not explain the reason for this large gap in time. In the opinion, Judge Wood held that the case should be dismissed because the Complaint was filed after the statute of limitations had expired and the doctrine of equitable estoppel did not apply to the circumstances. Specifically, Judge Wood held that although the plaintiffs adequately alleged facts establishing the first two elements of equitable estoppel—that the defendants acted affirmatively to prevent them from filing suit and the plaintiffs did actually and reasonably rely on the threats while they were made—the plaintiffs did not file suit promptly after the obstacle to filing was removed and therefore failed to adequately allege facts establishing the third element of equitable estoppel.

The plaintiffs appealed Judge's Wood decision granting the defendants' motion to dismiss to the Seventh Circuit on February 6, 2018. On August 17, 2018, the defendants submitted a docketing statement arguing that the plaintiffs failed to file a timely notice of appeal as required by Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(7)(A)(ii). They argued that the district court entered a dispositive order on the docket on March 31, 2016, meaning that the plaintiffs' notice of appeal filed on February 6, 2018 was more than 30 days after the entry of judgment.

On October 26, 2018, the Circuit Court ordered briefing and asked the parties to address whether the appellants forfeited application of Rule 4(a)(7)(A)(ii) because the issue of the appeal's timeliness was not brought to the court's attention until more than six months after the appeal was filed. As of January 12, 2019, the court is waiting to receive appellees' brief, which is due on February 1, 2019.

Kat Brausch - 03/20/2016
Eva Richardson - 01/12/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Excessive force
False arrest
Over/Unlawful Detention
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) City of Chicago
Plaintiff Description Chicago residents arrested and detained in the Homan Square detention center
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2015
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
1:15-cv-02407 (N.D. Ill.)
PN-IL-0013-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/07/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PN-IL-0013-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/19/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 47] (N.D. Ill.)
PN-IL-0013-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/31/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Wood, Andrea Robin (N.D. Ill.) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0013-0002 | PN-IL-0013-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Amouyal, Kara Brooke (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0013-9000
Fay, Katherine Tapie (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0013-9000
Horwitz, Blake Wolfe (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0013-0001 | PN-IL-0013-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cazares, Jorge V. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0013-9000
Cifonelli, Jonathan Booker (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0013-9000
Jones, Walter Jr. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0013-9000
Steiner, Rachel C. (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0013-9000

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