Failure to Plead With Specificity Results In Dismissal of Civil Rights Suit

Attorneys: Rettberg, Paul A.

Related Practices: Defense of Civil Rights Claims

September 2008

Paul Rettberg and Stacey McGlynn Atkins recently won dismissal of a counter complaint in favor of a local municipality, its officers, and employees in a civil rights lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983.

The suit had a long procedural history: it began as a non-traffic ordinance violation complaint filed by the municipality against a non-resident landlord based upon the fact that the property in question was being used to store unregistered motor vehicles, and the property owner filed a counter complaint claiming his constitution rights were violated. However, the counter-complaint failed to plead any provisions of the United States Constitution allegedly violated, or factual allegations against the municipality or employees to support the Section 1983 claim.

As a result, Querrey & Harrow moved successfully to dismiss the cause of action three times for failure to comply with Illinois pleading requirements, obtaining dismissals without prejudice the first two times around. Finally, demonstrating that three strikes and you’re out, DuPage County Judge Popejoy dismissed the counter-complaint with prejudice.

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