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Case Name Rodriguez v. City of Highland Park PN-IL-0021
Docket / Court 1:01-cv-04486 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Policing
Case Summary
A Mexican citizen brought this complaint against the City of Highland Park, its mayor, the city manager, the chief of police and the police commander on June 14, 2001 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. According to the plaintiff, an officer sprayed him directly in the ... read more >
A Mexican citizen brought this complaint against the City of Highland Park, its mayor, the city manager, the chief of police and the police commander on June 14, 2001 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. According to the plaintiff, an officer sprayed him directly in the face with pepper spray while he was detained in jail and caused him immense pain. The plaintiff argued the officer’s actions were catalyzed by racial discrimination because the plaintiff was not white. He placed this specific officer’s actions within an alleged policy of discrimination that the police chief promoted. In particular, the plaintiff claimed that the department followed a de facto policy called the “NUT Ordinance,” or “N— Up Town Ordinance,” which referred to the Chicago police tactic of limiting minorities in the traditionally white part of Chicago. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, brought this § 1983 action claiming violations of his Eighth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The plaintiff sought declaratory relief and $3,000,000 in damages.

Several months later, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss. They argued that the plaintiff failed to state a claim of a policy of discrimination. On January 23, 2002, Judge William J. Hibbler denied the motion to dismiss in part. Taking the allegations by the plaintiff to be true, the court found the possibility of a Monell claim, a case that allows a plaintiff to sue a city under §1983. However, Judge Hibbler granted dismissal of the plaintiff’s Eighth Amendment claim because the Eighth Amendment does not extend protection to pretrial detainees. Judge Hibbler denied the plaintiff’s motion to reconsider or certify appeal of the order.

As the case progressed into discovery, the defendants filed another motion to dismiss, this time claiming that the plaintiff had obstructed justice. During discovery, the defendants unveiled that the plaintiff had filed the complaint under a false name. They also called for sanctions against the plaintiff’s attorney because he knew of his client’s false name when the complaint was filed. The court denied the motion to dismiss on November 12, 2002, claiming the issue of fraud against the court was narrow and the defendants were not prejudiced by the new information.

Following the second failed attempt to dismiss the case, the parties began settlement talks. On April 16, 2003, they reported to the court that the parties had reached a settlement. The settlement agreement terms were not publicly available at the time of this writing. The court dismissed the case with prejudice with leave to reopen the case on or by May 16, 2003.

On May 3, 2003, the plaintiff filed a motion to reopen the case. The plaintiff stated that he could not explain the facts of the case, and he did not explain the defendant’s violation of the settlement agreement in his motion. The plaintiff requested that the court court compel the defendants to comply with the settlement agreement within three days or grant the plaintiff damages. The court denied the motion to reinstate the case, but extended the leave to reopen until June 17, 2003. The plaintiff filed twice more to extend the leave. The court granted each motion, extending the final leave until October 13, 2003. The plaintiff stopped filing motions to reinstate the case in June of 2003 and the case has been closed since October 2003.

Amanda Stephens - 02/07/2019

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Equal Protection
Race discrimination
Aggressive behavior
Assault/abuse by staff
Disparate Treatment
Excessive force
Pattern or Practice
Pepper/OC spray
Racial profiling
National Origin/Ethnicity
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Chief of Police
City Manager
City of Highland Park
Police Commander
Plaintiff Description A Mexican citizen detained in local jail
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Unknown
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filed 2001
Case Closing Year 2003
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
1:01-cv-04486 (N.D. Ill.)
PN-IL-0021-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/03/2003
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PN-IL-0021-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/14/2001
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Minute Order [ECF# 25] (N.D. Ill.)
PN-IL-0021-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/23/2002
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 64] (2002 WL 31557628) (N.D. Ill.)
PN-IL-0021-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 11/15/2002
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Hibbler, William J. (N.D. Ill.) show/hide docs
St. Eve, Amy Joan (N.D. Ill., Seventh Circuit) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0021-0003 | PN-IL-0021-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Berk, Peter Lawrence (Minnesota) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0021-0001 | PN-IL-0021-9000
Morgan, Keevan David (Illinois) show/hide docs
PN-IL-0021-0001 | PN-IL-0021-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Argionis, James Gregory (Illinois) show/hide docs
Carriglio, Jack J (Illinois) show/hide docs
Elrod, Steven M. (Illinois) show/hide docs
Katz, Naomi Felicia (Illinois) show/hide docs
Murphey, John B (Illinois) show/hide docs
Regenstein, Elliot M (Illinois) show/hide docs
Stang, Mark A (Illinois) show/hide docs
Volin, Michael Lawrence (Illinois) show/hide docs

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