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Case: 1:13-cv-09278 Document #: 1 Filed: 12/28/13 Page 1 of 16 PageID #:1

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS, EASTERN DIVISION BRANDY ALLEN and NICHOLAS TIMMONS, ) ) Plaintiffs, ) ) v. ) ) LAKE COUNTY METROPOLITAN ENFORCEMENT GROUP;) LAKE COUNTY METROPOLITAN ENFORCEMENT ) GROUP OFFICER DONALD FLORANCE; UNKNOWN ) AGENTS OF THE LAKE COUNTY METROPOLITAN ) ENFORCEMENT GROUP; and UNKNOWN POLICE ) OFFICERS, ) ) Defendants. ) JURY TRIAL DEMANDED COMPLAINT Plaintiffs, BRANDY ALLEN and NICHOLAS TIMMONS, by their attorneys, LOEVY & LOEVY, complain of Defendants, LAKE COUNTY METROPOLITAN ENFORCEMENT GROUP and LAKE COUNTY METROPOLITAN ENFORCEMENT GROUP OFFICER DONALD FLORANCE, UKNOWN AGENTS OF THE LAKE COUNTY METROPOLITAN ENFORCEMENT GROUP, and UNKNOWN POLICE OFFICERS (collectively, individual Defendants) and state as follows: Facts 1. Plaintiff Brandy Allen is a certified nursing assistant

who cares for residents of a nursing and rehabilitation center. Plaintiff Nicholas Timmons performs home remodeling. Ms. Allen

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and Mr. Timmons live together, and jointly care for their four children, who range in age from 6 to 15. 2. In the summer of 2013, the Plaintiffs and their

children resided in an apartment in North Chicago. On or about July 24, Plaintiffs left their home to go grocery shopping. 3. Soon after leaving, Plaintiffs were pulled over. Four

Defendant Officers, clad in fatigues and bulletproof vests, jumped out of an unmarked SUV. They were armed with assault rifles. At least two of the Defendants pointed their assault rifles at Plaintiffs, ordering them out of their van. 4. Mr. Timmons asked why the officers were doing this. One

of the Defendants pushed Mr. Timmons against his van and said words to the effect of: you know what it is for mother fucker. 5. The Defendant handcuffed and searched Mr. Timmons. He

repeatedly demanded that Mr. Timmons tell him where drugs and guns were, and that he would make things easier on Mr. Timmons if he gave the officer this information. Mr. Timmons insisted that he had no information about guns or drugs. 6. Individual Defendants thoroughly searched and damaged

Plaintiffs van, ripping out panels and carpeting. Nothing unlawful was retrieved from the van.

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7.

Defendants kept Ms. Allen sitting on a curb during this

time. She was eventually handcuffed and placed in a police vehicle for transport. 8. Plaintiffs were taken to an office of the Lake County

Metropolitan Enforcement Group (MEG). Defendants put them in separate interrogation rooms. 9. Ms. Allen was searched, and Defendants interrogated her multiple times. They asked whether she had seen Mr. Timmons with guns or drugs. She insisted that she had not, and said that she did not understand why the police were holding her and Mr. Timmons. Despite this, a Defendant threatened Ms. Allen, stating words to the effect of: with this kind of stuff, DCFS [Department of Children and Family Services] could get involved and take your kids. 10. Defendants, including Defendant Florance, a MEG officer, repeatedly interrogated Mr. Timmons about drugs. Mr. Timmons continuously insisted that he knew nothing about the location of drugs. The Defendants urged Mr. Timmons to give them names of people who had drugs, promising to make things easier on him and to let him go. Defendants told Mr. Timmons that otherwise he could go to jail, and DCFS could get involved.

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11. In addition, a Defendant informed Mr. Timmons that while he was being detained in the interrogation room, other Defendants were raiding Plaintiffs home. Later, a Defendant informed Mr. Timmons that they did not find anything during their raid of Plaintiffs home. 12. After a number of hours, Plaintiffs were released. They were not charged with any crime. 13. When Plaintiffs returned home, they discovered their home ransacked and their valuable possessions gone. 14. The stolen valuables included flat screen televisions, laptop computers, computer memory, a small amount of cash, their childrens video game consoles and games, Plaintiffs identification cards, and three blank money orders totaling $1500. These money orders were Ms. Allens proceeds from her tax refund. 15. Every room in the apartment had been upended, including the childrens rooms, and furniture was ruined. The front door frame was broken and the apartment could not be secured. 16. Ms. Allen called the Lake County MEG and asked that they return her property. The Defendant to whom she spoke denied that MEG had taken any of her property, telling her that her property should all be at her home.

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17. Yet Ms. Allen soon confirmed that Lake County MEG had in fact cashed her $1500 in money orders. See Exhibit A, attached. 18. Ms. Allen called the Defendant back and told him about her proof that his agency had taken and cashed her money orders. This time, the Defendant told Ms. Allen that MEG would not return her money unless she hired a lawyer and proved that it was not drug money. Yet neither Ms. Allen nor Mr. Timmons had been charged with any crime, including any drug crime, by MEG. 19. On the day Defendants arrested Plaintiffs and raided their apartment, Ms. Allen had just begun a new job as a certified nursing assistant. For two days after her arrest, Ms. Allen stayed home, worried that police would return to her unprotected home. As a result, her new employer fired her from her job. 20. As a result of Defendants raid on Plaintiffs home, Plaintiffs landlord ordered them out of their home within five days. The landlord also refused to return their security deposit. 21. Without a security deposit or Ms. Allens income, and with an eviction on their record, the Plaintiffs could not find an apartment. They were forced to live in a motel, where they struggled to pay the hundreds of dollars of weekly rent. They 5

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were forced to turn to charities for aid, including for food. Mr. Timmons young son lived at a relatives house because of the lack of space in the motel room. 22. Plaintiffs and their family lived together in the single motel room for three months. 23. Plaintiffs ultimately found a landlord willing to rent to them. However, their new home is in a different city and school district than the home from which they were evicted, forcing Plaintiffs to drive their children to and from their three separate schools each day. Defendants have not returned Plaintiffs possessions, and Plaintiffs home remains largely empty. Jurisdiction and Venue 24. This action is brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 to redress the deprivation under color of law of Plaintiffs rights as secured by the United States Constitution. 25. This Court has jurisdiction of the action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1331 and 1367. 26. Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. 1391(b). Plaintiffs reside in this judicial district, and the events giving rise to Plaintiffs claims occurred within this district.

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Count I -- 42 U.S.C. 1983 Fourth Amendment 27. Each Paragraph of this Complaint is incorporated herein. 28. As described more fully above, Plaintiffs, and their property and home, were searched and/or seized by individual Defendants in manners that violated the Fourth Amendment. 29. The misconduct described in this Count was objectively unreasonable and was undertaken intentionally with willful indifference to Plaintiffs constitutional rights. 30. Upon information and belief, the misconduct described in this Count was undertaken pursuant to the policy and practice of the Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group (MEG) in that: a. As a matter of both policy and practice, the MEG

directly encourages, and is thereby the moving force behind, the type of misconduct at issue here by failing to adequately train, supervise, and control its employees, such that its failure to do so manifests deliberate indifference; b. Specifically, as a matter of both policy and

practice, the MEG facilitates the type of misconduct at issue here by failing to adequately investigate, punish, and discipline prior instances of similar misconduct, thereby 7

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leading MEG employees to believe their actions will never be scrutinized and, in that way, directly encouraging future abuses such as those affecting Plaintiffs; and c. Upon information and belief, MEG and the relevant

policy-makers have failed to act to remedy the patterns of abuse, despite actual knowledge of the same, thereby tacitly approving, ratifying, and causing the types of injuries alleged here. 31. As a result of the individual Defendants Fourth Amendment violations and the policy and practices of MEG, Plaintiffs have suffered pain and injury, including emotional distress. 32. The misconduct described in this Count was undertaken by one or more individual Defendants within the scope of their employment and under color of law. COUNT II -- State Law Claim Conversion 33. Each Paragraph of this Complaint is incorporated herein. 34. As described more fully in the preceding paragraphs, individual Defendants unlawfully exercised dominion or control over Plaintiffs property, and the property was not

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returned to Plaintiffs, even after they complained to MEG of the theft. 35. The misconduct described in this Count was

undertaken with malice, willfulness, and reckless indifference to the rights of others. 36. The misconduct described in this Count was undertaken by individual Defendants within the scope of their employment and under color of law such that their employer is liable for their actions. 37. As a result of individual Defendants misconduct described in this Count, Plaintiffs have suffered injury, including but not limited to their loss of property, loss of their home, and emotional distress. Count III -- 42 U.S.C. 1983 Due Process 38. Each Paragraph of this Complaint is incorporated herein. 39. In the manner described more fully above, one or more individual Defendants deprived Plaintiffs of their property without due process of law in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

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40. The MEG procedures potentially available to Plaintiffs, if any, were not and do not represent meaningful or adequate remedies for the Defendants deprivation. 41. The state law procedures potentially available to Plaintiffs were not and do not represent meaningful or adequate remedies for the Defendants deprivation. 42. The misconduct described in this Count was undertaken with malice, willfulness, and reckless indifference to the rights of others. 43. The misconduct described in this Count was undertaken by individual Defendants within the scope of their employment and under color of law such that their employer is liable for their actions. 44. The misconduct described in this Count was undertaken under the policy and practice of MEG in the manner described above. 45. As a result of the above-described wrongful infringement of their rights, Plaintiffs suffered damages, including but not limited to emotional distress. Count IV -- 42 U.S.C. 1983 Failure to Intervene 46. Each Paragraph of this Complaint is incorporated herein. 10

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47. As described more fully above, one or more of the Individual Defendants had a reasonable opportunity to prevent the violation of Plaintiffs constitutional rights as set forth in the Complaint had they been so inclined, but failed to do so. 48. Individual Defendants actions were undertaken

intentionally, with malice and reckless indifference to Plaintiffs rights. 49. As a result of the individual Defendants failure to intervene, undertaken pursuant to the MEGs policy and practice as described above, Plaintiffs have suffered injury, including emotional distress. Count V -- 42 U.S.C. 1983 Conspiracy to Deprive Constitutional Rights 50. Each Paragraph of this Complaint is incorporated herein. 51. As described more fully above, there was an agreement between individual Defendants and other unknown co-conspirators to deprive Plaintiffs of their constitutional rights. 52. Specifically, Defendants conspired by concerted action to accomplish an unlawful purpose by an unlawful means. In furtherance of the conspiracy, each of the co-conspirators committed overt acts and was an otherwise willful participant in joint activity. 11

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53. The conspiring Defendants actions were undertaken intentionally, with malice and reckless indifference to Plaintiffs rights. 54. As a result of individual Defendants conspiracy, undertaken pursuant to MEGS policy and practice as described above, Plaintiffs have suffered injury, including emotional distress. Count VI -- State Law Claim Assault 55. Each Paragraph of this Complaint is incorporated herein. 56. As described in the preceding paragraphs, the conduct of one or more of the individual Defendants, acting under color of law and within the scope of their employment, created in Plaintiffs the reasonable apprehension of imminent harm, undertaken willfully and wantonly, and proximately causing Plaintiffs injuries. 57. The actions of the individual Defendants were undertaken intentionally, with malice and reckless indifference to Plaintiffs rights and to the rights of others. 58. As a result of the individual Defendants actions,

Plaintiffs have suffered injury, including emotional distress.

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Count VII - State Law Claim False Arrest / Detention / Imprisonment 59. Each of the foregoing paragraphs is incorporated as if fully stated herein. 60. As described more fully above, Plaintiffs were arrested and detained by one or more individual Defendant without lawful justification. 61. In addition, Plaintiffs were handcuffed and taken into police custody, and thereby had their liberty to move about unlawfully restrained, despite individual Defendants knowledge that there was no probable cause for doing so. 62. The misconduct described in this Count was objectively unreasonable and was undertaken intentionally with willful indifference to Plaintiffs' constitutional rights. 63. The misconduct described in this Count was undertaken by individual Defendants within the scope of their employment and under color of law such that their employer is liable for their actions. 64. As a result of this wrongful infringement of Plaintiffs rights, Plaintiffs have suffered injury, including emotional distress.

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Count VIII - State Law Claim Conspiracy 65. Each of the foregoing paragraphs is incorporated as if fully stated herein. 66. In the manner described more fully above, individual Defendants entered into an agreement among themselves and other unknown co-conspirators to participate in an unlawful act or act in an unlawful manner toward Plaintiffs. 67. The Defendants committed one or more overt acts to further their common scheme of participating in an unlawful manner toward Plaintiff. 68. The misconduct described in this Count was undertaken by the Defendants within the scope of their employment and under color of law such that their employer is liable for their actions. 69. As a proximate result of this conspiracy, Plaintiffs

suffered damages, including but not limited to emotional distress. Count IX -- State Law Claim Respondeat Superior 70. Each Paragraph of this Complaint is incorporated herein.

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71. In committing the acts alleged in the preceding paragraphs, one or more of the individual Defendants were members and/or agents of the Metropolitan Enforcement Group acting at all relevant times within the scope of their employment. 72. Defendant Metropolitan Enforcement Group is liable as principal for all torts committed by its agents. COUNT X - State Law Claim Indemnification 73. Each Paragraph of this Complaint is incorporated herein 74. Illinois law provides that public entities are directed to pay any tort judgment for compensatory damages for which employees are liable within the scope of their employment activities. 75. One or more of the individual Defendants are or were employees or agents of the Metropolitan Enforcement Group who acted within the scope of their employment in committing the misconduct described above.

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WHEREFORE, BRANDY ALLEN and NICHOLAS TIMMONS respectfully request that this Court enter judgment in their favor and against Defendants, the LAKE COUNTY METROPOLITAN ENFORCEMENT GROUP, LAKE COUNTY METROPOLITAN ENFORCEMENT GROUP OFFICER DONALD FLORANCE, UKNOWN AGENTS OF THE LAKE COUNTY METROPOLITAN ENFORCEMENT GROUP, and UNKNOWN POLICE OFFICERS, awarding compensatory damages and attorneys' fees, along with punitive damages against the individual Defendants in their individual capacities, as well as any other relief this Court deems just and appropriate. JURY DEMAND Plaintiffs hereby demand a trial by jury pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 38(b) on all issues so triable. RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED, /s/ Samantha Liskow Attorneys for Plaintiffs Arthur Loevy Jon Loevy Mike Kanovitz Samantha Liskow LOEVY & LOEVY 312 North May, Suite 100 Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 243-5900

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EXHIBIT A

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