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Monday, August 4, 2014

Malicious Prosecution Claim Not Proper in Federal Court

Plaintiff filed a federal lawsuit against two Chicago police officers and the City for malicious prosecution after he was acquitted in a state court of aggravated battery.  He claimed that the officers had prepared false police reports for the prosecutor to use to charge him with aggravated battery.  The district court had dismissed his case, however, because federal lawsuits for malicious prosecution are allowed only if the state in which the plaintiff is prosecuted does not provide an adequate remedy.  Because Illinois does, the plaintiff could not bring a federal case against the City or the police officers.  The plaintiff appealed to the Seventh Circuit, which upheld the dismissal of the case in Llovet v. City of Chicago (7th Cir. August 1, 2014).  

The Seventh Circuit acknowledged that other federal courts of appeals do authorize federal claims of malicious prosecution regardless of whether a state remedy exists.  The Court also acknowledged that a federal claim of malicious prosecution may even be permissible in Illinois under certain circumstances (i.e., the claim is based on an unlawful seizure).  Here, however, the plaintiff's initial "seizure" was supported by probable cause, and the court rejected the plaintiff's alternative "continuing seizure" theory.  Therefore, plaintiff's malicious prosecution claim was properly dismissed.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink


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