November 3, 2015.
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 13 C 6623 -
Thomas M. Durkin, Judge.
MARY ZAPPA, RANDALL HAHN, Plaintiffs - Appellants: Lance A.
Raphael, Attorney, CONSUMER ADVOCACY CENTER, Chicago, IL.
JEFFREY J. SMITH, GARRISON BENNETT, O.A.G. MOTORCYCLE
VENTURES, INC., doing business as City Limits Harley
Davidson, Defendants - Appellees: David G. Wix, Attorney,
Kevin T. Mocogni, Attorney, TARPEY WIX LLC, Chicago, IL.
CARLOS GONZALEZ, individually and in his official capacity as
a Palatine police officer, VILLAGE OF PALATINE, ILLINOIS,
Defendants - Appellees: Michael E. Kujawa, Attorney, JUDGE,
JAMES & KUJAWA, LLC, Park Ridge, IL.
WOOD, Chief Judge, EASTERBROOK, Circuit Judge, and BRUCE,
case involves a consumer dispute that blew up, unfortunately,
into a federal case. Plaintiffs Randall Hahn and Mary Zappa
thought that they had purchased a certain motorcycle, but it
turned out that they had the wrong one. Conversations between
them and the dealership degenerated into accusations of
theft, which led to the involvement of the police. In the
end, Hahn returned the motorcycle. Believing that their
rights under the Fourth Amendment and state law had been
violated, however, he and Zappa filed this lawsuit against
the private entities involved, the municipality, and the
police officer who was swept up in this dispute. The district
court dismissed the federal claims and declined to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over the state theories, and this
appeal follows. We affirm.
began simply enough when, in early July 2013, Hahn spotted an
internet advertisement for a black FLTHTC Harley-Davidson
motorcycle (" the 1997 motorcycle" ), which was
available at City Limits Harley Davidson (formally OAG
Motorcycle Ventures, Inc.). City Limits is located in
Palatine, Illinois, northwest of Chicago. Interested, Hahn
and Zappa went on July 19 to the dealership and test-drove a
different motorcycle (" the 2004
motorcycle" ). They examined the motorcycle they had
tested and took a few pictures, and then let City Limits know
that they wanted to buy it. That was where the confusion
became serious: Hahn and Zappa thought that they were buying
the 2004 motorcycle, but the bill of sale listed the VIN, the
year, and the mileage for the 1997 motorcycle. There was a
significant difference between the two motorcycles: the newer
model had roughly half the mileage of the older one, and so
presumably was worth more than the advertised one. Hahn and
Zappa paid $6,500 (exclusive of taxes and fees) for the
motorcycle they thought they were buying and made a down
payment of $1,626.66; the remaining balance was $6,000. On
July 22, they returned to City Limits, paid the rest of the
money, and drove the 2004 motorcycle home. At no time did
they spot the fact that the VIN and other identifying
information on the paperwork did not correspond to the
motorcycle they were given.
next day, they tried to arrange insurance for their new
motorcycle. It was then that they discovered that the bill of
sale had the wrong VIN. A little bit of detective work
revealed that their bill of sale described the 1997
motorcycle, not the 2004 motorcycle. Hahn thought this was
just a scrivener's error and called City Limits to ask it
to provide the correct information for the 2004 motorcycle.
Initially he was able only to leave a message; later, he
spoke with Garrison Bennett, City Limits's sales manager.
Bennett promised to call him back. Hahn received not one, but
six phone calls from the dealership, and none was to his
liking. In one, Bennett said that if Hahn and Zappa wanted to
keep the 2004 motorcycle, they would need to pay an
additional $1,000; in another, City Limits upped the ante and
said it would redo the paperwork only for an additional
$2,500. Hahn believed that he owed nothing more and rejected
anything along these lines. Eventually, City Limits
threatened a couple of times to report to the police that
Hahn had stolen the 2004 motorcycle. (Illinois law states
that " [a] person commits theft when he or she knowingly
... exerts unauthorized control over property of the
owner." 720 ILCS 5/16-1(a)(1). It thus does not appear
to matter whether the original taking was or was not
authorized.) Hahn said that he wanted to consult a lawyer
about the whole situation.
p.m. on July 24, Hahn received a call from Officer Carlos
Gonzalez of the Palatine Police Department. Gonzalez told him
that the police had a report that Hahn had stolen a
motorcycle and unless he returned it that night, Gonzales
would come to arrest Hahn and Zappa. Gonzalez was acting on
information he had received from City Limits; he had been
dispatched to the dealership and had been told that Hahn had
bought a 1997 black Harley, but had somehow driven off in a
2004 model. The general manager told Gonzalez that " he
just wanted the motorcycle returned, and [that] Randall could
have the motorcycle he actually bought."
and Zappa argue that this account of Gonzalez's visit to
City Limits shows that he knew that at worst this was a civil
matter that arose from a mistake-not a crime. Hahn said as
much to Gonzalez over the telephone, and he accused City
Limits of a bait-and-switch tactic. Gonzalez was unmoved by
this explanation and threatened to come to Hahn and
Zappa's house and arrest Hahn for grand theft if the
motorcycle was not returned that night.
phone calls ensued, but eventually Hahn took action. He
picked up the motorcycle from the place where he was storing
it and took it to the Lake Zurich, Illinois, Police
Department, which was near his home. He explained to the
police there that he did not want to take it to Palatine,
because he was afraid that he might be arrested there. The
Lake Zurich police took the motorcycle, called Officer
Gonzalez, and Gonzalez went to Lake Zurich with a City Limits
employee and retrieved it. According to the Lake Zurich
police, the motorcycle was never actually reported as stolen.
This left one item of unfinished business: the refund of Hahn
and Zappa's $7,626.66. They ...