Williams v. City of Chicago

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
Section 1983 Action
Case Number: 
No. 12-3249
Decision Date: 
October 24, 2013
Federal District: 
N.D. Ill., E. Div.
Reversed and remanded
Dist. Ct. erred in granting defendants-police officials’ motion for summary judgment in section 1983 action alleging that defendants subjected plaintiff to malicious prosecution and false arrest on arson and trespass charges stemming from plaintiff’s efforts to assist neighbor to get out of burning home. Under plaintiff’s version of facts, defendants had no reasonable grounds, other than plaintiff’s presence outside of burning home, for concluding that plaintiff had committed arson/trespass or that he was anything other than being good neighbor trying to ensure his neighbor’s safety. Moreover, Dist. Ct. could not resolve in defendants’ favor factual dispute as to their claim that plaintiff smelled of gasoline or that they otherwise had reasonable belief that plaintiff had been in burning home when it granted defendants' summary judgment motion. Jury question also existed as to whether defendants acted with malice with respect to plaintiff’s malicious prosecution claim, where jury could reasonably find that defendants concocted trespass charge where one defendant told plaintiff that trespass charge would most likely be thrown out.